Etikettarkiv | Acts. 2

Speaking in tongues was NOT a sign for unbelieving jews, and the gift is still in use

speaking in tonguesSpeaking in tongues was NOT only a sign for unbelieving jews (as a sign of God’s judgment on Israel)

1 Cor. 14: 3-4 He that speaketh in an unknown tongue edifieth HIMSELF; but he that prophesieth edifieth THE CHURCH

Paul writes extensively about speaking in tongues in the Bible, and he devotes three chapters in his first letter to the Corinthians to describe how the speaking in tongues should be used properly. At no time did he suggest that speaking in tongues would soon cease, but he rather encouraged the Corinthians (and all of us) to seek this gift and the others, in order to get edified and maybe even edifying others. We are to be EAGER to get the gifts, so it’s a shame that there are some christians who try to amend what Paul is telling us, by suggesting that speaking in tongues was only a sign for unbelieving jews and of God’s judgment on Israel. Instead, we are told to pray for one another so that we may be healed, regardless of if unbelieving jews are present or not. Since we can read ”is any sick AMONG YOU”, it suggests unbelieving jews might not be present at all.

Ja. 5:13 Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms.14 Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord:15 And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.16 Confess your faults one to another, and PRAY ONE FOR ANOTHER, THAT YE MAY BE HEALED. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.17 Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months.18 And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit.

John. 14:11 Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works’ sake.12 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.

A few questions – mainly about Paul’s teaching…

  • Why would Paul give the Corinthians instructions how to handle the tongues among themselves, when they were NOT ”unbelieving jews”?
  • Why does he suggest that the gift of tongues is one of many gifts that helps to build up the body of Christ? What does this have to do with unbelieving jews, particularly when Paul emphasizes that this is a rule for both jews and gentiles? (1 Cor. 12:10-13)
  • Why would he suggest that God has set diversities of tongues IN CHURCH apart from apostles, prophets, teachers, miracles, healings, helps and governments? Where do the unbelieving jews fit in here? (1 Cor. 12:28)
  • Why does he say that we don’t even speak to man but UNTO GOD, if the signs were supposed to be for unbelieving jews? (1 Cor. 14:2)
  • Why does he say that NO MAN UNDERSTANDS due to tongues being a MYSTERY, if unbelieving jews were supposed to understand? (1 Cor. 14:2)
  • Why does he distinguish speaking in tongues (not understood) with prophesies (understood), if the speaking of tongues were supposed to be for unbelieving jews? (1 Cor.14 1-3)
  • Why does he suggest that the one who speaks in tongues edifies himself if they were supposed to be for unbelieving jews? (1 Cor 14:4)
  • And why doesn’t even interpreted tongues (prophesies) seem to be for unbelieving jews, since Paul specifically says they are for edification, exhortation and comfort, rather than being a sign for unbelieving jews? (1 Cor. 14:3)
  • Why are the tongues called ”unknown” tongues, if tongues were always supposed to be known and understood by unbelieving jews? (1 Cor. 14:4)
  • Why does he again say that interpreted tongues are good for the edification of the CHURCH rather than unbelieving jews? (1 Cor. 14:5)
  • Why does he say that speaking in tongues can be made among BRETHREN (so not unbelieving jews), but that it wouldn’t profit anything unless there were interpreted – when they would indeed be profitable for these brethren? (1 Cor. 14:6)
  • Why does he indicate that speaking in tongues is not connected to knowledge (unless interpreted)? (1 Cor. 14:6-9)
  • Why does he again suggest that spiritual gifts (such as speaking in tongues if interpreted) can be used for edification of the church, rather than being for unbelieving jews? (1 Cor. 14:12)
  • Why is there a separate gift called ”interpretation of tongues”, if tongues were always understood by unbelieving jews, and why do not all people who can speak in tongues have this gift? Why even call them ”unknown tongues”? ( 1 Cor. 14:13)?
  • Why does he again say that a person’s understanding is unfruitful if he speaks in tongues, if they are always supposed to be understood by unbelieving jews? (1 Cor. 14:14)
  • Why does he make a distinction between praying with our spirit (when we don’t understand) and praying with our understanding? And if speaking in tongues are always supposed to be understood by unbelieving jews, why does Paul say we should pray in BOTH ways (without our understanding and with our understanding) and IN CHURCH? (1 Cor.14:15)
  • Why does he again suggest that not all people understand the tongues (unless interpreted), and why does he suggest that people are able to say AMEN to tongues whenever they DO understand them (when they are interpreted)? Why does he suggest that speaking in tongues can involve GIVING THANKS, if they are supposed to be for a judgment towards unbelieving jews? (1 Cor. 14:16)
  • Why does he again make a distinction between speaking in tongues with and without interpretation if tongues were always supposed to be understood? And why does he say that whenever tongues ARE understood, they can be used for TEACHING, rather than being for a sign/judgment for unbelieving jews? (1Cor. 14:18-19)
  • Why would he assume that unbelievers, who might visit the church, think we are mad when we speak in tongues? Could it be because we speak gibberish? (1 Cor. 14:23)
  • Why does he again make a distinction between speaking in tongues (no one understands) and speaking in prophesies (interpreted tongues) where people DO understand, and where they can even get the benefit of being convinced of all and able to worship God – thanks to realizing that God is with these christians who speak with interpreted tongues? (1 Cor.14:24-25)
  • Why does he again suggest that speaking in tongues has a valid place in the body of Christ, and that they can be used for EDIFICATION of the body/church, rather than being for unbelieving jews? (1 Cor. 14:26)
  • Why does he again separate the gift of speaking in tongues with the gift of interpretation of tongues? (1 Cor. 14:26-27)
  • Why does he suggest that we should speak in tongues to OURSELVES and to GOD, if we are not able to get the gift interpreted IN CHURCH? How many unbelieving jews do we expect to find in our own closet where we are told to pray? If the tongues were for unbelieving jews, why would we think about using them for ourselves and for GOD? (1Cor. 14:28)
  • Why does he again say that speaking in tongues is for learning and comforting (of the church), rather than being for unbelieving jews? (1 Cor. 14:31)
  • Why does he again suggest that speaking in tongues has a place among the saints in church, rather than being for unbelieving jews? (1 Cor. 14:33)
  • Why does he give instructions for the church that they should seek to get the gift of prophesy (interpretation of tongues) and not forbid people to speak in tongues? (1 Cor. 14:39)
  • Why does the Bible provide a few accounts of people who are speaking in tongues where unbelieving jews are not around?
  • Why did so many people from various countries understand the tongues to be about ”the wonderful works of God”, rather than being judgments/signs for unbelieving jews?(Acts. 2:11)

We are encouraged to speak in tongues

Speaking in tongues is never labelled as means to spread the gospel, but if someone will hear interpreted tongues they will hear a christian praising and magnifying God about his wonderful works, and/or making prophesies. If the tongues are not interpreted, they will come out as gibberish because the person speaks mysteries which NO MAN UNDERSTANDS, and Paul specifically says that the tongues (unless they are interpreted) are not even supposed to be for man but UNTO ourselves and UNTO GOD. We are not told to not pray in tongues every again if we don’t have the gift of interpretation, but we are told to pray at home for ourselves and to God. Tongues (if interpreted) are supposed to be for the edification of the church, but how can one be edified by speaking words of judgment against the Jews? The reason God sent tongues (prophetic speech) to the believers is for power and praise.

Believing jews (not unbelieving jews) were astonished when they realized that gentiles had received the holy Ghost, and they were confident that they had received the holy Ghost precisely because they heard the gentiles spoke in tongues and magnified God.

Acts 10:44 While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word.45 And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost.46 For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter,47 Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we?48 And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then prayed they him to tarry certain days.

We can get power, after the holy Ghost has come upon us, and we can begin to speak with other tongues:

Joh. 7:37 In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.38 He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.39 (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)

Acts 1:8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

Acts. 2:1 2 And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

Some people use Acts 2 as a proof text and as a filter to read Paul’s letter to the Corinthiansspeaking in tongues 3

It’s a risk that skeptics misunderstand Acts 2 (or purposely add things which are not stated), and read 1 Corinthians 12-14 in the light of their misunderstanding of Acts 2. They are not as keen to read Acts 2 in the light of 1 Corinthians 12-14! 

Acts 2 says that ”every man heard them speak in his own language”, but it does NOT say that ALL men understood ALL tongues by ALL disciples. If that were the case, then each of those individuals understood an awful lot of languages and must have been incredibly talented! Note that people from EVERY NATION under heaven were present, and is it really likely that every single one of those men understood ALL languages that the disciples spoke?! Just imagine how it would be to understand all languages under heaven! Depending on how we count, no less than 14 different people are listed as present. I don’t know to what extent these 14 different groups of people understood each other’s languages (I’m for instance Swedish and I also understand Norwegian and Danish), but the whole point with this story is to tell us that different kinds of people from all nations, still understood what the disciples said. Maybe it wasn’t unusual for some exceptionally learned men to speak maybe 2-3 languages, but to understand more languages than that must have been highly unusual, even if we reduce the 14 languages to a smaller amount.

Acts 2:And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, OUT OF EVERY NATION UNDER HEAVEN.Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language.And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galilaeans?And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born?Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia,10 Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes,11 Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God.

1 Corinthians 14:21 and the quote from Isaiah 28:11

Just as the OT Jews were perplexed by the Assyrian dialect, so they are perplexed today by tongues they don’t understand, and uninterpreted tongues will not help them in any way.

Paul’s message is to NOT stand up and speak in tongues in church unless there is interpretation, because only then will the listeners be able to understand, learn and be edified. The consequence of tongues-speaking is that unbelievers (Jew and Gentile) do not understand what is being spoken, so to them it is just a mysterious ”sign” and nothing they can grasp.The Greek word for ”sign” can apart from ”sign” also mean ”wonder”, ”mystery” or ”perplexity”.  Paul wrote 1 Cor 14 to show that tongues without interpretation does not benefit anyone except the speaker, and therefore the Corinthians should not speak tongues loudly in the church service (without interpretation) because for others, it is just a mystery/sign.

1 Cor. 14:20 Brethren, be not children in understanding: howbeit in malice be ye children, but in understanding be men.21 In the law it is written, With men of other tongues and other lips will I speak unto this people; and yet for all that will they not hear me, saith the Lord.22 Wherefore tongues are for a SIGN, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not: but prophesying serveth not for them that believe not, but for them which believe.23 If therefore the whole church be come together into one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in those that are unlearned, or unbelievers, will they not say that ye are mad?24 But if all prophesy, and there come in one that believeth not, or one unlearned, he is convinced of all, he is judged of all:25 And thus are the secrets of his heart made manifest; and so falling down on his face he will worship God, and report that God is in you of a truth.

Isaiah 28:In that day shall the Lord of hosts be for a crown of glory, and for a diadem of beauty, unto the residue of his people,And for a spirit of judgment to him that sitteth in judgment, and for strength to them that turn the battle to the gate.But they also have erred through wine, and through strong drink are out of the way; the priest and the prophet have erred through strong drink, they are swallowed up of wine, they are out of the way through strong drink; they err in vision, they stumble in judgment.—:11 For with stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to this people.12 To whom he said, This is the rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest; and this is the refreshing: yet they would not hear.13 But the word of the Lord was unto them precept upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little; that they might go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken.14 Wherefore hear the word of the Lord, ye scornful men, that rule this people which is in Jerusalem.15 Because ye have said, We have made a covenant with death, and with hell are we at agreement; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, it shall not come unto us: for we have made lies our refuge, and under falsehood have we hid ourselves:16 Therefore thus saith the Lord God, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste.17 Judgment also will I lay to the line, and righteousness to the plummet: and the hail shall sweep away the refuge of lies, and the waters shall overflow the hiding place.

Paul also talks about the church order, and he says that tongues are for a sign (sēmeion Strong’s 4592) to them who do not believe, but prophesying (interpreted tongues) are for those who BELIEVE – for their instruction and edification. Prophesying can also convict a stray unbeliever that happens to be there, and therefore prophecy is better than tongues in the church unless there is an interpretation. Mark tells us on the other hand that speaking in tongues is one of the signs that shall FOLLOW a believer, but then he is referring to  something that you would normally expect to see among christians (and he doesn’t say this was a fact for his generation only).

Mark 16:17 And these signs (sēmeia Strong’s 4592) shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;18 They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.

As Paul gives these instructions, he lets us know that speaking in tongues had actually been prophesied beforehand by the Prophet Isaiah, centuries before Pentecost. Paul didn’t say that tongues are a sign to only unbelieving Jews, but that tongues were a sign ”...to them that believe not…”, and tongues can be a sign to unbelieving Jews and/or to unbelieving Gentiles alike. If speaking in tongues were a sign to only Jews, and Jews had to be present before speaking in tongues could be exercised, he would have made this clear. Are we actually to believe that Paul would not pray to God in other tongues, unless an unbelieving Jew were present with him in his prayer closet? In Isaiah 28 God is basically telling Israel that they have been so wicked that he will allow them to be conquered by Assyria, so it was a judgment and an assurance that they would be taken captive. The quote in Isaiah can’t be a prophecy that is fulfilled by the church because Christians did not take the Jews captive to a foreign land. The prophecy was only to be fulfilled once – in the 700’s B.C. Cessationists might say that tongues are still a judgment against the Jews, to show them that they are no longer God’s exclusive people, but Paul is speaking of prophecies/tongues in the church service where there are believers – for their edification and instruction. If tongues are a sign of judgment against the Jews because they do not understand it, then it is also a sign of judgment against everybody (including apostles) because NO MAN understands unless it is interpreted.

Speaking a message in tongues and interpreting it in a public service can have convicting effect on an unbeliever – by exposing them to their  faithless state, and stirring them to rededicate their lives to Christ. Today millions of millions of christians speak in tongues despite no presence of unbelievers, and if the tongues have ceased, we must ask ourselves why they haven’t ceased! Many true born again christians, who show lots of good fruit, still speak them! Are they demonic? Would God give a stone to someone who asks for a spiritual gift?

Did they speaking in tongues occur only when unbelieving Jews or Gentiles were present?speaking in tongues 2

Unbelieving jews were not always present when people spoke in tongues.

Peter preached the gospel to the gentiles in Cornelius’ house, and those present were already believers before coming there, or they were born-again in that instant. So now, you have a room full of christians, speaking in tongues, with no unbelieving jew hear them.

Acts. 10:45 And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost.46 For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter,47 Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we?

In Ephesus, Paul found 12 of John the Baptist’s disciples and he preached the Gospel to them, resulting in that they believed and were baptized.  The only ones present were Paul and twelve born-again christians – so no unbelieving jews.

Acts. 19:Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied.And all the men were about twelve.

Annonser

The danger of misusing the misuse of tongues

Below I use the word ”cessationist” (a person who believes speaking in tongues is not for today but a gift that has ceased) but I could address anyone who is skeptic about tongues and especially those who have produced ”anti-tongue material” – like uploaded video clips on youtube. Sometimes I wonder if cessationists feel that if they can’t pray by the Spirit’s power, they assume that no one else can either and they therefore prefer to read the Bible accordingly.  I don’t wish to cause bad feelings with what I write, but would like to defend the gift of speaking in tongues, and to make some clarifications concerning some common misunderstandings.

Speaking in tongues does not mean that the language is always understood, but actually the exact opposite

It’s very common for cessationists to base their views about tongues on Acts 2 alone, with hardly no aid from 1 Cor. 11-14 where Paul quite extensively describes tongues and the way to use them. If the agenda is to show that speaking in tongues has either ceased or nothing to strive for,  people would likely try to ignore 1 Cor. 11-14 to avoid the clear information we can find there:

  • we should be eager to get this gift
  • tongues can edify YOU ALONE, which is something good
  • NO MAN understands the tongues (unless interpreted)
  • you’re not even addressing people with your tongues but you’re praying to GOD
  • you should pray in BOTH ways; 1) with the spirit and 2) with your understanding

Acts 2 of course doesn’t contradict 1 Cor. in any way, but it’s still not a good approach to avoid the larger passages about tongues and focus on the very first experience alone. What if the very first experience was totally unique and a bit different than the experiences which followed? The Greek word ”dialectos” is used only in the original Pentecost of Acts 2. The other occurences of tongues-speaking (Acts 19, Acts 10) was not in earthly dialects and ”dialectos” is not found in the text. All we know from Acts 2 is that ”every man heard them speak in his own language”. Notice:

  • It does NOT say that each man understood ALL the languages spoken
  • It does NOT say that each man understood every single disciple
  • It does NOT say that no ”gibberish” was uttered apart from the comprehensible languages

If tongues are always foreign languages, then there is no reason for anyone to ever do it alone (where no foreigners can hear) and yet we are told to pray privately:

1 Cor. 14:28 But if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the church; and LET HIM SPEAK TO HIMSELF, AND TO GOD

Also, there would have been no reason for the Ephesians (of Acts 19) or for Cornelius’ family (Acts 10) to speak in tongues since there were no foreigners there to understand it. If tongues were always understood, why is ”interpreting tongues” a separate gift? And how come believers with the gift of speaking in tongues don’t automatically have the gift of interpreting? We are told to pray in two ways; 1) with the spirit (where we don’t understand what we are saying) and 2) with our own words (which we understand):

1 Cor. 14:19 I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding ALSO: I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also.

1 Cor. 14:13 Wherefore let him who speaks in an unknown tongue pray that he may interpret (so clearly not a gift always combined with speaking in tongues)

1 Cor. 14:17 For you verily give thanks well,[in tongues] but the other is not edified (because he can’t understand)

Since the Bible says that no one understands a person who speaks in tongues, it means that ”gibberish” fits this description rather well. That people sometimes understand the tongues is likely due to that they are interpreted.

Speaking in tongues is for praise, worship, edification and not for evangelism

Tongues are for praise and nowhere are we told they are meant for evangelism. The Ephesians in Acts 19 and the Romans in Acts 10 (Cornelius’ house) spoke in tongues but there were no foreigners around to hear in a foreign ”known language”. What purpose would a foreign dialect serve as they all already spoke the same language? Two portions from the book of Acts show that tongues are for praise rather than for evangelism:

1) Acts 10:44-46 While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word. And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost. For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God

In Cornelius’ house there were no foreigners to hear what was spoken. ”And Cornelius waited for them, and he called together his kinsmen and near friends.”Acts 10:24

2) Acts 19:5 When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied. And all the men were about twelve.

Paul met some faithful Jews who believed in John’s baptism and when Paul told them of Jesus and laid his hands on them they spoke in tongues. But not to evangelize foreigners but they where simply prophesying (and we have learned that prophesying is mainly for believers). No foreigners were present.

When a cessationist says that pentecostals over-emphasize tongues; he is basically saying that Pentecostals over-emphasize prayer and praise. A good church service shouldn’t contain all the important aspects of a church service; teaching, song, praise, edification, etc.

The tongues (interpreted) are not for the jews but for the CHURCH

1 Cor. 14: 3-4 He that speaketh in an unknown tongue edifieth himself; but he that prophesieth edifieth the church

Cessationists might say that tongues were only meant to judge the unbelieving Jews. This idea is proved false because there were no unbelieving Jews to hear the words of ”judgment” at Cornelius’ house (Acts 10) or at Ephesus (Acts 19) as mentioned above. The Scriptures that cessationists use to support their idea is below (notice the absence of the word ”judgment”):

1 Cor. 14:20-22 Brethren, be not children in understanding: howbeit in malice be ye children, but in understanding be men. In the Law it is written, With men of other tongues and other lips will I speak unto this people; and yet for all that will they not hear me, saith the Lord. Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not: but prophesying serveth not for them that believe not, but for them which believe.

The OT quote within 1 Cor 14:20-22 (above) is from Isaiah 28, where God is telling Israel that they have been so wicked that He will allow them to be conquered by Assyria.

Isaiah 28:11 For with stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to this people.

Therefore cessationists have come to the conclusion that hearing a foreign language is a judgment. However, the judgment against Israel in Isaiah’s day was not a strange tongue but that they would be taken captive. The strange language was not a judgment, but a consequence of the judgment. The consequence of tongues-speaking is that unbelievers (Jew and Gentile) do not understand what is being spoken and therefore to them it is just a ”sign.” The Greek word ”semeion” means a ”sign” as in a ”wonder” or a ”mystery” or ”perplexity.” This same word is used in a similar way in Rev. 12:1, Rev. 12:3 and Rev. 15:1. Paul, wrote 1 Cor 14 to show that tongues without interpretation does not benefit anyone except the speaker; therefore, do not speak tongues loudly in the church service (without interpretation) because for others it is just a mystery/sign. And just as the OT Jews were perplexed by the Assyrian dialect, so they are perplexed today by tongues, and it will not help them.

Paul wants to show that the church is made up of believers, and prophecy is for believers in the church-service for their instruction, and that prophecy can also convict a stray unbeliever that happens to be there. Therefore prophecy is better than tongues in the church unless there is an interpretation:

1 Cor. 14:24 But if all prophesy, and there come in one that believeth not, or one unlearned, he is convinced of all, he is judged of all:25 And thus are the secrets of his heart made manifest; and so falling down on his face he will worship God, and report that God is in you of a truth.

Speaking in tongues is a sign that shall follow them that BELIEVE:

Mark 16:17 And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues

If speaking in tongues has ceased, then people who still speak in tongues would have to be faking them or being possessed by the devil. This would in turn lead to that a sure sign of an unsaved person would be if he spoke in tongues! That is the exact opposite of what Mark 16:17 is saying!

It is only during the portion of the church service that is set aside for prophetic speaking that the tongues-speakers should keep silence – if there is no interpreter. However, there are no verses which prohibit quiet tongues-speaking during the prayer/worship portion of the service. If you would normally pray quietly for yourselves in church, perhaps due to a common request from the pastor, then speaking in tongues would be one way to express yourself. There is a chance/risk that a person who sits beside you overhears your mumbling, but this is not against Paul’s teaching. Someone might also overhear another person praying in Spanish who sits beside him, and no one would be offended unless the prayers are inconveniently loud. It’s only when a person requests the attention of others that irritation can be the outcome. If a person stood up in an American church speaking in another language, then that would clearly violate Paul’s instructions, and it’s not hard to figure out why. A person who repeatedly shouts ”Praise the LORD, Halleluyaaaa, Amen”…” etc, and jumps up and down, would equally disturb the church service and contribute to chaos. This could not be filed under ”dangerous” but rather ”silly” and ”annoying”. Paul advised against speaking in tongues publically because no others would be edified, and outsiders would think you’re nuts. Not because it’s ”dangerous”.

Yes, speaking in tongues is a GIFT freely provided by God

1 Cor. 12:11But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.

It’s nothing controversial about the fact that speaking in tongues is a GIFT freely offered by God and something that you can’t earn, because this is generally accepted both inside and outside of the Pentecostal church. Sadly people misunderstand this to mean that we should just forget about this subject altogether since it’s God’s business to intervene in our lives and give us any gift he wants us to have. How is this ”covet earnestly the best gifts” which we are told to do? Although it’s true that we certainly can’t give ourselves any gifts, it doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t approach God and ask for them, and be EAGER to get them. Sometimes we don’t get because we don’t ask (it’s still a free gift), and if we on top of this doubt that we might be the lucky recipients of spiritual gifts, then this might hinder us to get them. It doesn’t matter if God is standing there handing out gifts if we don’t even look for them or stretch out our hands to get them.

Luke 11:9 And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.10 For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.—13 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?

Speaking in tongues is not a ”less important gift”

1 Cor. 12:8For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit;9To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; 10To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues: 11But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.12For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.

Paul never says that he is listing the gifts of the Spirit in a descending ranking order. If that was his aim, we would have to conclude that the interpretation of tongues is not as important as tongues-speaking, because it is listed below ”tongues”. Yet, the ”best gifts,” according to Paul in 1 Cor. are ”prophecy” and ”interpretation” because more people can be edified. Paul goes on to explain right after the verse above that all parts of the body are necessary and equally important. Also:

1 Cor. 14:5 I would that ye all spake with tongues but rather that ye prophesied:For greater is he that prophesieth than he that speaketh with tongues, except he interpret, that the church may receive edifying

With other words, we are told to earnestly covet the best gifts, meaning that we should be eager to get gifts where as many people as possible can be edified. This means that we shouldn’t be satisified with only being able to speak in tongues, but we should also earnestly seek the gift of interpretation since this would lead to prophesying. Are you honestly seeking the gifts on Paul’s list as he tells you to, or have you brushed all these gifts aside? (Or even worse; are you spending your valuable time giving warnings to fellow christians to be aware of spiritual gifts, and hindering them as well from being eager to get them?)

A believer can be ”filled” again by the Holy Ghost

Below we can see WHY the believing jews understood that certain gentiles had received the Holy Ghost. It was ”FOR they heard them speak with tongues and magnify God”. We can trust that this reason is correct, maybe in combination with noticing good fruit. These gentiles had not yet been baptised in WATER but they had received the baptism of the HOLY GHOST. Also Peter was certain of that these gentiles were ready to be baptised also in water since he understood that they had been baptised in the Holy Ghost. No one involved seemed terrified that these gentiles maybe faked their tongues or that they were demon possessed. They didn’t feel it was ”dangerous” at all, but they took what they heard as a sign for that the gentiles were true believers and ready to be water baptised since they had the Holy Ghost:

Acts 10:44While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them whichheard the word. 45And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost. 46For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter, 47Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we? 

It is a spiritual power seen as manifestations of the Spirit which are demonstrated by the working of spiritual gifts. Acts 1:5, Acts 1:8 and Joel’s prophecy point to a filling of the Holy Spirit that is more than just a salvation experience.They speak of a ”drenching, soaking” of the Spirit known as ”baptizo”. The ”baptizo” experience happening to someone who already has the Holy Spirit in him (because he is already saved) might be for him to attend a powerful prayer meeting, like the one in Acts 4:31, and this person would gain the power to prophesy through tongues, the word of wisdom etc. A power that the believers received when the Holy Spirit was poured out was the ability to praise God through the Holy Spirit. A true believer who has the Holy Spirit dwelling inside him can still be said to be ”filled with the Holy Ghost/spirit/power” at a later stage in his life and on several different occasions. This can happen through prayers:

Acts 4:31 And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness 

Luke. 24:48-49 ye are witnesses of these things. And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high

Acts 2:16-17 But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy”

Acts 1:5 For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence. But ye shall receive power after that the Holy Ghost has come upon you

Acts 1:8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

Eph 5:17 Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is. 18And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;19Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; 20Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;

John 7: 37-39 If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given because Jesus was not yet glorified.)

The Apostle Peter was filled with the Spirit when Jesus breathed on him. He was filled again on the Acts 2 Pentecost. After that, he was at a powerful prayer meeting where the whole house was shaken. John was ”in the Spirit” (as opposed to just a normal day when he would not be considered as being ”in the Spirit”) when he wrote the book of Revelation. Stephen was ”filled” when he saw Jesus at the right hand of God. Even though the Ephesians were already saved, Paul still tells them to be ”filled” with the Spirit. At the moment that someone prophecies he is filled with an extra anointing of the Holy Spirit for that occasion.

”Baptism” has a primary meaning which is ”to drench”, but the proper definition of the word ”baptizo” (”drenching”) is something that not all Christians receive. For instance, there are many Christians who have never been baptized in water yet they may be said to be ”baptized” in a more general sense. When Bible writers use the word ”baptism” to describe the Holy Spirit falling on someone causing him to speak in tongues, they are not speaking of ”baptism” in a vague sense; rather they are speaking of a Holy Spirit drenching that is a spiritual equivalent of a water-baptism.

Why do people get so scared when it comes to speaking in tongues?

Maybe because they have come across some of the material from people who have an agenda to scare people away from the Pentecostal churches and from the spiritual gifts. This might even inspire them to produce their own material and continue spreading the rumour that pentecostal churches are dangerous and filled with unruly people who speak with fake tongues which we would do well to keep away from. Why is this not slander? What if we would start a campaign where we claimed that MOST baptist churches are like the Westboro Baptist Church?

A common denominator among those who fervently speak out against tongues (and others who have a negative attitude towards them) seems to be that they are not members of a charismatic church and possibly haven’t made many visits in one either (I know there are exceptions). There are some who spend their valuable time to produce video clips, audio clips and articles where they write warning upon warning about the misuse of tongues. Some of them are cessationists and some of them are ”just against the misuse” of tongues as they say. But in the latter category you will find some starting out saying ”I’m not a cessationist, BUT…” followed by several pages of warnings and examples of negative things about tongues. Why not doing the exact opposite? Why not start out saying ”I’m aware of that there is a misuse of tongues in some odd churches, BUT…” followed by page upon page with encouragement to speak in tongues, and with wonderful examples across the world where people have been much edified by them? If the idea isn’t to scare people away from speaking in tongues, and to run away from Pentecostal churches, then what do they think such scare-tactics material will do to people? Why not at least spend 50% of a video clip with encouragement to use the spiritual gifts?  The risk is that viewers might believe the material and flee from tongues. This means that SATAN is the winner.

People who produce this type of warning-material, and compare the practice of pentecostals with pagans, might feel they are doing a good deed among christians. Instead they are causing a DIVISION about something that is neither common nor dangerous. Why not give warnings about doctrines or traditions which could harm your soul? There are plenty to choose from. (But maybe the same people refrain from doing this to ”not cause a division”.) How ”dangerous” would it be if I stood up in an American church and spoke in Swedish? It would be irritating at worst, and I would be wasting people’s time, but dangerous? Hardly. You might say that people wouldn’t know if I spoke with ”demonic” tongues or not, but how many examples of ”demonic” tongues do we really know from the western world, and how many examples inside a CHURCH? (Do give me a source with valid examples because it would be interesting reading.) Anyone could stand up in a church and say a curse in another language (not necessarily in tongues) but this isn’t very likely, and of course everyone would notice a person who is disturbing the church service. Besides, a ”curse” wouldn’t make anyone lose his soul. Satan can’t touch a christian’s heart unless the christian person opens up for him. I’m saying this to show that it wouldn’t be ”dangerous” to stand up speaking in tongues with no interpreter, but just dumb.

The anti-tongues videos can cause christians to be robbed of spiritual power

By scaring christians away from the spiritual gifts, Satan robs them of the many benefits of speaking in tongues and the power of the holy spirit. So instead of helping christians, this anti-tongue material is causing much harm and is a GREAT aid for Satan to diminish our strength. Keep this in mind if you think you’re doing something good by producing and/or endorsing such material.

Some pastors might feel that the subject of speaking in tongues is so controversial that  they won’t raise up this topic at all in church, to avoid being charged for influencing the members in either direction. But do they reason the same way when it comes to the subject of Creation or Evolution, or other touchy subjects? There are even pastors who WARN members against speaking in tongues. Why not making videos and warn people against churches which are negative towards tongues? By speaking in tongues, Christians would be edified and get much power,joy and confidence, and yet these pastors try to prevent them from getting these benefits! If you are in a church where the pastor is speaking about the spiritual gifts in negative terms, then I hope you will consider leaving this church. It’s rather serious (and dangerous) if a leader of a church warns people against something that Paul encourages. Paul gave instructions about tongues and seemed to take this gift for granted in churches, so he would likely be appalled if he lived today and realized that this gift is totally ABSENT in many churches! I believe he would like to have word with the church leaders if he realized they have tried to put a lid on the holy spirit:

1 Thess. 5:19Quench not the Spirit. 20Despise not prophesyings. 21Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.

You might hear cessationists say ”MOST pentecostal churches misuse the tongues” and ”the misuse of tongues is INCREASING” and ”it’s dangerous” but they of course have no sources or statistics to back up their claims. By doing false generalizations like this, and painting with a broad brush, they just want to build up a scenario where they try to show that their warning-material is much-needed. Instead the misuse of tongues might not be common at all, and only tied to a small group of infamous preachers and their supporters.

I read on a thread on Facebook the other day: ”Having been originally taught as a Baptist, tongues were not talked about hardly at all” and someone else said ”As a Presbyterian growing up the Holy Spirit was never mentioned except in the doxology” and another person said ”I would ask him why would we not believe the Bible on the issue of spiritual gifts, and his excuse was because some had abused the gifts”. No wonder that the gifts of the holy spirit is absent in so many churches!

People feel ”pressured” to speak in tongues in Pentecostal churches?

One argument against the Pentecostal church that I’ve heard on several occasions, is that people might feel ”pressured” and even ”forced” to speak in tongues when they are in a Pentecostal church. I find this to be very strange considering that not all people inside the pentecostal church have this gift, which pentecostals are well aware of, and pentecostals are also aware of that you’re not supposed to speak in tongues with no interpreter. Do people feel bothered and pressured to speak in tongues because they overhear people who speak them? If my praise and worship to the Lord bothers someone else, then so be it. I shouldn’t have to feel pressured to reduce my time of praise in order to accommodate someone else. Naturally I shouldn’t be too loud, and I shouldn’t be disturbing the rest of the service by praising and praying in the wrong time. Not even misuse of tongues should have to cause a person to feel ”pressured” to speak in tongues, unless he enters a church where pretty much everyone babbled in unknown tongues. Still, he shouldn’t be judging all Pentecostal churches based on one where they misuse tongues. What if a person enters a church and finds the members there sing beautifully, unlike him? Should the church members try to sing less beautifully, or reduce their singing, in order to not make the visiting person feel bad?

1 Cor 1: 4-7 I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ; That in everything ye are enriched by him, in all utterance, and in all knowledge; Even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you: So that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ 

Speaking in tongues can edify both you and others and we are encouraged to use them

The Bible says that when we speak in tongues then NO MAN UNDERSTANDS and that we in the spirit speak MYSTERIES not unto men but unto GOD. This should settle the whole argument about tongues always being understood, because the Bible says they are not understood (unless they are interpreted).

1 Cor. 14:2For he that speaketh in an unknown tongue SPEAKETH NOT UNTO MEN; BUT UNTO GOD: for NO MAN UNDERSTANDETH HIM; howbeit in the spirit HE SPEAK MYSTERIES.

1 Cor. 14: 16 Else when thou shalt bless with the spirit, how shall he that occupieth the room of the unlearned say Amen at thy giving of thanks, seeing he understandeth not what thou sayest?

Nowhere in the Bible does it say speaking in tongues was ever used for spreading the gospel. Here is what Acts says about the very first encounter of the tongues:

Acts 2:1And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. 2And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. 3And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. 4And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.–-6Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language. 7And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galilaeans? 8And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born? 9Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia, 10Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes, 11Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God. 12And they were all amazed, and were in doubt, saying one to another, What meaneth this?13Others mocking said, These men are full of new wine. 14But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words: 15For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day. 16But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; 17And it shall come to pass IN THE LAST DAYS, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit UPON ALL FLESH: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: 18And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy: 19And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke: 20The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and notable day of the Lord come

Notice that is says THE LAST DAYS, and surely we are living in that last days even more today than 2,000 years ago?

We can read above that every man heard them speak in his own language” but does it say that every man understood ALL languages spoken by ALL disciples? No, it doesn’t say that. If a Cretan man heard his own language spoken by a disciple, is it certain that he also understood Arabic and other foreign languages spoken by OTHER disciples? It doesn’t sound likely that ALL those men who were present had knowledge enough to understand 10-20 languages. One can easily assume that for a Cretan person most other languages must have sounded like total gibberish to him – but we know that at least ONE disciple spoke in such a way that this Cretan person understood since ”every man heard them speak in his own language”. It doesn’t say each person understood ALL languages spoken. The case could also be that the tongues that were spoken were already ”interpreted” into worldly languages. (I’ve heard myself speaking in French and Finnish, and actually also in Swedish but when I did not use my own words.)

Acts 10:44While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word. 45And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost. 46For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter, 47Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we? 48And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then prayed they him to tarry certain days.

Above we can read that these particular jews understood that the Gentiles in question had received the Holy Ghost for the reason that they spoke in tongues and magnified God. This was a SIGN to these people. Below we can read again that speaking in tongues, among other things, is one of the signs for a believer:

Mark 16:17And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; 18They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.

Since Paul gives instruction about tongues within the christian church, it’s evident that tongues should be used among christians – and of course only if someone can interpret them. Speaking in tongues is naturally controllable just like any other language. You decide when to speak and when not to.

It’s in the book of Corinthians where we can read the most details about tongues (see further below)

The book of Corinthians tells us that the reason for speaking in tongues is that IT CAN EDIFY BOTH YOU AND (if you have the gift of interpreting) ALSO OTHERS. It is a BETTER deal if you can edify the church, but if you don’t have the gift if interpreting SPEAK TO YOURSELF AT HOME SO YOU CAN BE EDIFIED.

1 Cor. 14:4He that speaketh in an unknown tongue EDIFIETH HIMSELF; but he that prophesieth edifieth the church. 

1 Cor. 14:28 But if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the church; and LET HIM SPEAK TO HIMSELF, AND TO GOD

So speaking in tongues is not only for other ears, particularly not when we can read:

he that speaketh in an unknown tongue SPEAKETH NOT UNTO MEN; BUT UNTO GOD”

If, according to Paul, you don’t even speak to men but to GOD, then of course speaking in tongues is not only for others to hear. IF they are interpreted, then they could be for others to hear, if done in proper order. It’s not certain that a person who can speak in tongues also has the gift of interpretation, but he should be EAGER to get also this gift so even MORE people can be edified.

1 Cor 11:30Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret? 31But COVET EARNESTLY the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way.

1 Cor 14:1 Follow after charity, and DESIRE SPIRITUAL GIFTS, but rather that ye may prophesy. 2For he that speaketh in an unknown tongue SPEAKETH NOT UNTO MEN; BUT UNTO GOD: for NO MAN UNDERSTANDETH HIM; howbeit in the spirit HE SPEAK MYSTERIES.

We are to speak in both ways; 1) spirit (tongues) and 2) mind (our own understanding):

1 Cor. 14:19 I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding ALSO: I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also.

If you’re honest; are you really eager to speak in both ways as Paul says you should? Take notice of that not ONCE does Paul discourage people to speak in tongues in any way but he ENCOURAGES them, and that is what I feel all pastors and evangelists should do. It’s just the disorder that Paul warns about. If tongues were supposed to cease shortly after the generation he was addressing, why are we not able to read information about this anywhere? It would have been so easy to add a little note about this to warn people about upcoming ”fake” tongues or similar IF that were true. The question that needs to be answered by those who believe speaking tongues has ceased is this: Why haven’t they ceased? I can only see two reasons to why christians in MANY MILLIONS continue to speak in tongues (if they have indeed ceased)

1) The tongues spoken today are not real tongues but from Satan, so the people who speak in tongues are demon possessed.

2) Those who speak in tongues today make them up, i.e. those who use them are LYING since the speaking in tongues is fake.

Both these options result in that those who speak in tongues are not saved unless you believe that people who are demon possessed or unrepentant liars will be saved. So this means that the cessationists believe speaking in tongues is a sign for that they are UNBELIEVERS – contrary to what Mark 16:17 says.

Paul encouraged tongues and spent a considerable amount of time and words in the book of Corinthians to give instructions about them. It certainly doesn’t seem he believed they would shortly cease and that all those instructions were in vain. IF they would shortly cease, he should have spent some time to WARN about upcoming fake tongues, but he doesn’t say one word about it. Paul gives two cases where PUBLIC speaking of tongues is inappropriate:

1) Unbelievers would think you’re crazy if they ONLY hear gibberish from you

2) No one would understand you and thus it wouldn’t really benefit others. The case could be that you actually prayed for others BUT the thing is that they would still not UNDERSTAND that, so it would be totally useless if you stood up in church and spoke in tongues. Praying for others or yourself using other tongues is fine, but just not out loud in a church for obvious reasons.

Maybe the corinthians believed ”the more tongues the better” since they really believed that tongues are from the Holy Spirit, but it still doesn’t mean it’s appropriate to babble them in any way you want. There must be a proper order. So Paul’s friendly instructions should not be viewed as rebuke, but just a help to sort out misunderstandings and to enable a better order in church. Public speaking in tongues would be a total waste of time if there is no interpreter.

1) The term ”oudies” in 1 Cor. 14 rules out tongues being a known language.

2) The phrase ”face to face” is a Judaic idiom expressing personal interaction with the presence of God and is the same Greek as the LXX in Moses ”face to face” with God. This means that tongues will cease when we meet God face to face so clearly not NOW.

3) ”The perfect” cannot be the Bible because the canon wasn’t even finished.

4) Tongues as a sign to unbelievers is only ONE of the uses of the gift. Acts 10 and 19 say that the sign is to believers, just as Mark 16:17.

5) Why is there a gift called ”interpretor” if all tongues are languages that can be understood? Why are we asked to pray for the gift of interpretation of tongues? 

Rom. 8:26Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.

It’s true that speaking in tongues is a free GIFT, but this doesn’t mean it’s wise to do nothing and wait for this gift to be handed to you. It’s called ”free” because you can’t work for it, and it’s not given to those who have reached a higher level on the ”holiness scale”. However, we are told to DESIRE this free gift and be EAGER to get it. If you’re not even seeking this gift or consider it valuable in your life, then there is a risk you’re quenching the power of the holy spirit. You’re risking to miss out on a wonderful and powerful gift.

1 Thess. 5:19Quench not the Spirit20Despise not prophesyings. 21Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.

Examples from real life

Do you obey the below instructions to the fullest?:

Matthew 6:6″But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.”

Do we always obey this exactly as it says? Of course we don’t. We check the context and try to understand the reasoning behind the words. Surely we sometimes get together with other christians and pray together with them and NOT in our closets? Paul wants order in church and gave this as a reason for his instructions about tongues. Let’s not add to his words.

Let’s take a private setting as in a Thursday night prayer meeting in church OR in someone’s home. Suppose 10 christians are present and the leader asks them to start off with prayers and thanksgiving to God. Everyone begins to pray quietly, and there is usually a person who is leading the prayers and speaks out loud (naturally so that all can understand) whereas the others might say ”amen” or just continue in their own private prayers. Well, what if a few of these christians prefer to speak in tongues in his/her prayers? Only believers are present, and no one is standing up demanding other people’s attention. If you wouldn’t be upset if you heard Spanish beside you in a prayer meeting, why would you be upset about tongues that you happen to overhear? You weren’t supposed to listen anyway, and Paul’s instructions concerned PUBLIC speech. If you still feel this violates Paul’s instructions, then aren’t you also violating the instructions in Matt 6:6? You are supposed to pray SECRETLY inside your closet and you should shut the door, and not to be in a public prayer meeting praying together with others.

What if Charlie asked the others to pray for him? The others wouldn’t say that they preferred not to because it would violate Matt 6:6, but they would pray for Charlie who asked for it. Maybe one person would take the lead and pray so that Charlie can hear and understand, and maybe the rest would pray quietly at the same time – some in their own language and some in tongues. Charlie has no reason to be upset about other people praying for him in whatever way they like. The same people might later on return home and continue to pray for this person, and he won’t be able to hear, understand or say Amen to those prayers either. Again, the prayers are NOT for anyone to listen to but they are prayers from one person to GOD. When someone wants another person to understand, then naturally a foreign tongue is NOT a good idea since other people cannot say Amen.

Tongues in churches today

Ja. 5:13 Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms.14 Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord:15 And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.16 Confess your faults one to another, and PRAY ONE FOR ANOTHER, THAT YE MAY BE HEALED. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.17 Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months.18 And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit.

People seem to be so freaked out about tongues that they decide to turn their backs on tongues altogether. Doesn’t this mean that Satan is the winner with this type of reasoning? Speaking in tongues is a very useful weapon against the darkness, so it’s a shame that we let Satan fool us by making us flee from this wonderful gift which could edify us. He would then have disarmed us of a weapon which could be used against him.

WHERE in the Bible can we read that pastors should discourage church members to speak in tongues and/or neglect to inform them about the benefit of them? Paul is definitely encouraging tongues. He said ”I would like every one of you to speak in tongues”. Since Paul is highlighting the benefit of tongues I wouldn’t be comfortable in a church where the pastor doesn’t do his job to encourage them. The best way to avoid the misuse of tongues is not to avoid tongues all together, but to obey Paul’s instruction about them.   Speaking in tongues is supposed to be a sign that will accompany those who believe, so it’s rather essential. I therefore feel it’s a duty of a pastor to encourage the spiritual gifts such as driving out demons, healing people, speaking in tongues, etc.

Maybe there are people who get mightily upset if they are in a church where the pastor might be overheard speaking a few words in tongues quietly to himself when he walks from the pulpit (where he just had a sermon) back to his seat. They might jump up and say:

– ”See?!! I heard him speak in tongues! That’s clearly unbiblical because tongues are supposed to be interpreted if made in public, and this was not the case here so this church must be really BAD!” etc

But what about other churches where the gifts of the spirit are not even in use? Why would THIS not be a cause for concern? Why don’t the same people jump up and say:

– ”See?!! I have been to this church for weeks now and not ONCE have I heard a single whisper in tongues from anyone, nor seen anyone speaking in tongues in public (interpreted of course), nor seen any signs for ANY of the gifts of the holy spirit. This is clearly against the Bible so this means this church must be BAD!”, etc.

”Follow after charity, and desire spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may prophesy.” Some people interpret this as in ”Forget about tongues, and rather desire to prophesy ONLY” but it doesn’t say that. It says ”desire spiritual gifts”. That would include tongues. Of course it’s better to be able to prophesy since MORE people can be edified, but if you don’t have this gift then don’t neglect the desire to at least speak in tongues! Of course one gift is better than no gift at all!

Finally, here is what the book of Corinthians says about tongues

1 Cor. 1:8 For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; 9To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; 10To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues: — 28And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues. 29Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles? 30Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret? 31But COVET EARNESTLY the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way.

1 Cor. 13 8Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. 9For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. 10But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away11When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 12For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. 

1 Cor 14:1 Follow after charity, and DESIRE SPIRITUAL GIFTS, but rather that ye may prophesy. 2For he that speaketh in an unknown tongue SPEAKETH NOT UNTO MEN; BUT UNTO GOD: for NO MAN UNDERSTANDETH HIM; howbeit in the spirit HE SPEAK MYSTERIES. 3But he that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort. 4He that speaketh in an unknown tongue EDIFIETH himself; but he that prophesieth edifieth the church. 5I would that ye all spake with tongues but rather that ye prophesied: for greater is he that prophesieth than he that speaketh with tongues, except he interpret, that the church may receive edifying. 6Now, brethren, if I come unto you speaking with tongues, what shall I profit you, except I shall speak to you either by revelation, or by knowledge, or by prophesying, or by doctrine?— 9So likewise ye, except ye utter by the tongue words easy to be understood, how shall it be known what is spoken? for ye shall speak into the air. 10There are, it may be, so many kinds of voices in the world, and none of them is without signification. 11Therefore if I know not the meaning of the voice, I shall be unto him that speaketh a barbarian, and he that speaketh shall be a barbarian unto me. 12Even so ye, forasmuch as ye are zealous of spiritual gifts, SEEK that ye may excel to the edifying of the church. 13Wherefore let him that speaketh in an unknown tongue PRAY THAT HE MAY INTERPRET14For if I pray in an unknown tongue, my spirit prayeth, but my understanding is unfruitful. 15What is it then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding ALSO: I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also. 16Else when thou shalt bless with the spirit, how shall he that occupieth the room of the unlearned say Amen at thy giving of thanks, seeing he understandeth not what thou sayest? 17For thou verily givest thanks well, but the other is not edified. 18I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than ye all19Yet in the church I had rather speak five words with my understanding, that by my voice I might teach others also, than ten thousand words in an unknown tongue. —22Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not: but prophesying serveth not for them that believe not, but for them which believe. 23If therefore the whole church be come together into one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in those that are unlearned, or unbelievers, will they not say that ye are mad? 24But if all prophesy, and there come in one that believeth not, or one unlearned, he is convinced of all, he is judged of all: 25And thus are the secrets of his heart made manifest; and so falling down on his face he will worship God, and report that God is in you of a truth. 26How is it then, brethren? when ye come together, every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying. 27If any man speak in an unknown tongue, let it be by two, or at the most by three, and that by course; and let one interpret. 28But if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the church; and LET HIM SPEAK TO HIMSELF, AND TO GOD. —39Wherefore, brethren, COVET to prophesy, and FORBID NOT to speak with tongues.