Etikettarkiv | corinthians

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

Saved as by fire as per 1 Cor. 3:15? Yes, but NOT if we sin!

eldIf any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire. (1 Cor 3:15)

This verse does not say that we can be saved in our sins, and notice that sins are not even mentioned in the context. This is a warning to christians (not sinners) who might not always build their lives on a proper foundation, and sometimes also lack the proper motivation for doing good works.

There are christians who are satisfied by with having a ”fire insurance” – an insurance that gives them the right to at least be exempted from hell, as long as they believe in Jesus Christ. They are content with this type of  insurance because this means they can still get away with sinning once in a while, and the only thing they would ever risk amounts to reduced rewards in heaven. They might think it’s worth it because heaven is always heaven, and with this type of insurance they can both have their sins and their salvation too. You might exclaim that ”true christians wouldn’t reason in that way!”, but isn’t it true that also christians can choose to sin? And isn’t it likely that they might give in for sins more readily if they are being told they won’t end up in hell for it? The tragic thing is that we do NOT have an unconditional fire insurance. We risk to be cut off the vine and thrown in the fire if we lack fruit (John. 15), and we will not reap eternal life in heaven if we break the commandments and sin. If we love Jesus, we obey him (John. 14:15).

The context in 1 Cor. 3:15 shows that it concerns believing christians and their building material and building methods. Sin is nowhere mentioned, and it’s not even needed to be mentioned since we already know from the rest of the Bible that sins separate us from God unless we repent. Nothing unholy shall enter heaven, and sins evidently make us unholy.  We can read that the foundation that we build upon must be JESUS CHRIST (and not ourselves, a philosophy, a pastor, a church, a dear friend, money, high status, tradition or someone/something else).  It’s the motives in our hearts that will be judged by God. He can see what ground we are building on, and the reasoning in our hearts.  Our motive should be to spread the gospel about Jesus Christ in order to see people saved.

Paul is addressing ”brethren”, but he is warning these brethren. He also lists a few sins that would make us carnal, and if we are carnal we are not saved:

1 C0r. 3:For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?

Rom. 8:6 For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.

Speaking about christians, Paul says that they shall receive ”his own reward” according to their LABOR. This indicates these christians at least do some work, which means they produce some good fruit. That is a good thing because we know that lukewarm christians are not saved. We will reap the reward of eternal life if we show our faith with good works, and we will also be rewarded individually depending on our works.

1 Cor. Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour.For we are labourers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building.

Revelation 3:16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.

Galatians 6:8 For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.

Rom. 6:16 Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?

Paul warns christians that they must take heed on the way they build their lives, and every man’s work shall one day be made manifest. Do we work in order to get a popular position in the society, or because we want to go with the flow? What are our true reasons?

1 Cor.3:10 According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon.11 For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.12 Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble;13 Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.

Paul says ”IF any man’s work abide”, meaning it’s not certain it will. It’s still ”work”, but will it abide? It depends on the motives. If it abides, the man shall receive both eternal life and individual gratification, but if the work does not abide but burned he will be saved but as by fire. If the man would be sinning on the other hand, he would not even be saved as through fire, but he wouldn’t even be able to enter the kingdom at all. This story is about christians who WORK, in combination with their motives for doing so. Paul ends with a warning to christians that if they defile the temple of God, which they all are, they will be DESTROYED.

1 Cor. 3:14 IF any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.15 IF any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.16 Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?17 If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.

Read also the next chapter which is also about the intent of the heart.

1 Cor. 4:Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God.And these things, brethren, I have in a figure transferred to myself and to Apollos for your sakes; that ye might learn in us not to think of men above that which is written, that no one of you be puffed up for one against another.

Three chapters later Paul lists sins that will prevent us from entering the kingdom of God, and christians are not exempted:

1 Kor. 6:Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.

We can unfortunately be the cause for that a brother stumbles/falls/is offended, by the way we are living our lives:

1 Kor. 8:12 But when ye sin so against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, ye sin against Christ.13 Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend. (”stumble” NKJV)

Jesus HEALED the SICK and so can we

Jesus – our great Healer and Doctor!

But how about this Bible text?:

Mark 6:But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own country, among his own relatives, and in his own house.” Now HE COULD DO NO MIGHTY WORK THERE, EXCEPT THAT HE LAID HIS HANDS ON A FEW SICK PEOPLE AND HEALED THEMAnd He marveled because of their UNBELIEF. Then He went about the villages in a circuit, teaching. (NKJV)

It could of course be interpreted as though Jesus was unable to heal sick people due to their unbelief, despite trying a few times, or maybe he gave up before trying because he could sense their unbelief. That scenario would be quite different from other scenarios where Jesus was healing people, because then he healed ALL. Another interpretation of the above verse, is that people lacked belief (in getting healed) to the extent that they didn’t even  approach Jesus about it, because they believed they wouldn’t be able to get healed anyway, so why bother trying? Neither did they believe that sick family members and friends would be able to get healed, so they didn’t bring them to Jesus either. The outcome would be that Jesus couldn’t heal that many people for the simple reason that he didn’t have that many candidates to work on. He did heal a few, because a few people asked to get healed.

Since Jesus was so effective when he performed healing, it increased the level of faith among people – to believe that he could be successful also concerning THEM. If you see friends and family members getting healed (despite knowing they have an illness) then why couldn’t it also happen to you? The more people who got healed, the easier it would be for others to get the needed faith to get healed themselves – much like an avalanche. Jesus fame spread and multitudes followed him and got healed, leading to even more multitudes following him.

Luke 4:17 And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written,18 The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised—21 And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.

Matthew 12:15 But when Jesus knew it, he withdrew himself from thence: and great multitudes followed him, and he healed them all

Matthew 9:35 And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people.

Matthew 4:24 And his fame went throughout all Syria: and they brought unto him all sick people that were taken with divers diseases and torments, and those which were possessed with devils, and those which were lunatick, and those that had the palsy; and he healed them.

Luke 4:36 And they were all amazed, and spake among themselves, saying, What a word is this! for with authority and power he commandeth the unclean spirits, and they come out.37 And the fame of him went out into every place of the country round about.

Luke 5:15 But so much the more went there a fame abroad of him: and great multitudes came together to hear, and to be healed by him of their infirmities.

Jesus is rather clear about that FAITH is an important ingredient for getting healed

Jesus was of course effective when he healed people because he was anointed by his Father to do mighty work, and of course he didn’t lack any belief in that people would be able to get cured. On top of that, it certainly looks like other people’s FAITH had much to do with getting healed, but not always since Jesus’ friend Lasarus was healed despite being dead and unable to have faith.We are not expected to believe anyone is the Messiah just for saying so, but Jesus showed that the circumstances surrounding him were prophesied about him in Scripture long before he was born, and also the miracles he did confirmed that he indeed was the Messiah. Jesus expects us to believe he is who he says he is for these reasons.

John 10:37 If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not.38 But if I do, though ye believe not me, BELIEVE THE WORKS: that ye may know, and believe, that the Father is in me, and I in him.

Matthew 11:21 Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, THEY WOULD HAVE REPENTED long ago in sackcloth and ashes.

Matt. 17:14 And when they were come to the multitude, there came to him a certain man, kneeling down to him, and saying,15 Lord, have mercy on my son: for he is lunatick, and sore vexed: for ofttimes he falleth into the fire, and oft into the water.16 And I brought him to thy disciples, and they could not cure him.17 Then Jesus answered and said, O FAITHLESS AND PERVERSE GENERATION, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? bring him hither to me.18 And Jesus rebuked the devil; and he departed out of him: and the child was cured from that very hour.19 Then came the disciples to Jesus apart, and said, Why could not we cast him out?20 And Jesus said unto them, BECAUSE OF YOUR UNEBELIEF: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.21 Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.

Examples where FAITH plays a big role in order to get healed:

Luke 5:17 And it came to pass on a certain day, as he was teaching, that there were Pharisees and doctors of the law sitting by, which were come out of every town of Galilee, and Judaea, and Jerusalem: and the power of the Lord was present to heal them.18 And, behold, men brought in a bed a man which was taken with a palsy: and they sought means to bring him in, and to lay him before him.19 And when they could not find by what way they might bring him in because of the multitude, they went upon the housetop, and let him down through the tiling with his couch into the midst before Jesus.20 And WHEN HE SAW THEIR FAITH, he said unto him, Man, thy sins are forgiven thee.—24 But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power upon earth to forgive sins, (he said unto the sick of the palsy,) I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy couch, and go into thine house.25 And immediately he rose up before them, and took up that whereon he lay, and departed to his own house, glorifying God.26 And they were all amazed, and they glorified God, and were filled with fear, saying, We have seen strange things to day

John 4:47 When he heard that Jesus was come out of Judaea into Galilee, he went unto him, and besought him that he would come down, and heal his son: for he was at the point of death.48 Then said Jesus unto him, Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe.49 The nobleman saith unto him, Sir, come down ere my child die.50 Jesus saith unto him, Go thy way; thy son liveth. And THE MAN BELIEVED THE WORD THAT JEUS HAD SPOKEN unto him, and he went his way.51 And as he was now going down, his servants met him, and told him, saying, Thy son liveth.

Acts 14:And there sat a certain man at Lystra, impotent in his feet, being a cripple from his mother’s womb, who never had walked:The same heard Paul speak: who stedfastly beholding him, and PERCEIVING THAT HE HAD FAITH TO BE HEALED,10 Said with a loud voice, Stand upright on thy feet. And he leaped and walked.11 And when the people saw what Paul had done, they lifted up their voices, saying in the speech of Lycaonia, The gods are come down to us in the likeness of men.

Luke 17:.17 And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine?18 There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger.19 And he said unto him, Arise, go thy way: THY FAITH HATH MADE THEE WHOLE.

Matthew 15:28 Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, GREAT IS THY FAITH: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour.

Luke 18:41 Saying, What wilt thou that I shall do unto thee? And he said, Lord, that I may receive my sight.42 And Jesus said unto him, Receive thy sight: THY FAITH HATH SAVED THEE.43 And immediately he received his sight, and followed him, glorifying God: and all the people, when they saw it, gave praise unto God.

Some people believed they could get healed just by touching Jesus, and since they believed this very strongly, they got healed:

Luke 6:17 And he came down with them, and stood in the plain, and the company of his disciples, and a great multitude of people out of all Judaea and Jerusalem, and from the sea coast of Tyre and Sidon, which came to hear him, and to be healed of their diseases;18 And they that were vexed with unclean spirits: and they were healed.19 And THE WHOLE MULTITUDE SOUGHT TO TOUCH HIM: FOR THERE WENT VIRTUE OUT OF HIM, and healed them all.20 And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said, Blessed be ye poor: for yours is the kingdom of God.

Mark 5:27 When she had heard of Jesus, came in the press behind, and touched his garment.28 For she said, If I may touch but his clothes, I shall be whole.29 And straightway the fountain of her blood was dried up; and she felt in her body that she was healed of that plague.—34 And he said unto her, Daughter, THY FAITH HATH MADE THEE WHOLE; go in peace, and be whole of thy plague.

Jesus was truly amazed when he saw the faith of the Centurion:

Luke 7:For I also am a man set under authority, having under me soldiers, and I say unto one, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it.When Jesus heard these things, HE MARVELLED AT HIM, and turned him about, and said unto the people that followed him, I say unto you, I HAVE NOT FOUND SO GREAT FAITH, no, not in Israel.

Matthew 8:8 The centurion answered and said, Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof: but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed. —13 And Jesus said unto the centurion, Go thy way; and AS THOU HAST BELIEVED, SO BE IT DONE UNTO THEE. And his servant was healed in the selfsame hour.

People close their eyes and ears and thus make it hard for Jesus to heal them.

Matthew 13:15 For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes THEY have closed; LEST at any time they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them

Acts 28; 26 Saying, Go unto this people, and say, Hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and not perceive:27 For the heart of this people is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and THEIR EYES THEY CLOSED; LEST they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.

John 12:36 While ye have light, believe in the light, that ye may be the children of light. These things spake Jesus, and departed, and did hide himself from them.37 But though he had done so many MIRACLES before them, YET THEY BELIEVED NOT ON HIM:38 That the saying of Esaias the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spake, Lord, who hath believed our report? and to whom hath the arm of the Lord been revealed?39 Therefore they could not believe, because that Esaias said again,40 He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart; that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them.41 These things said Esaias, when he saw his glory, and spake of him.

In Jesus home city he wasn’t successful in his healing due to people’s unbelief. Only a few people got healed, and Jesus MARVELLED at their unbelief:

Mark 6:But Jesus, said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, but in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house.And HE COULD THERE DO NO MIGHTY WORK, save that he laid his hands upon A FEW sick folk, and healed them.And he marvelled because of their unbelief. And he went round about the villages, teaching.

Luke 4:24 And he said, Verily I say unto you, No prophet is accepted in his own country.25 But I tell you of a truth, many widows were in Israel in the days of Elias, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, when great famine was throughout all the land;26 But unto none of them was Elias sent, save unto Sarepta, a city of Sidon, unto a woman that was a widow.27 And many lepers were in Israel in the time of Eliseus the prophet; and none of them was cleansed, saving Naaman the Syrian.

Jesus disciples had the gift of healing as well

Jesus disciples must have watched countless of people getting healed through the hands of Jesus, and it would therefore have been easier for them to actually believe in their own abilities to heal once they got this power. The same thing applies here; they were successful and when people noticed the wonderful results they could easier produce faith to believe that the disciples could heal also THEM.

Matthew 10:1 And when he had called unto him his twelve disciples, he gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease.

Luke 9:6 And they departed, and went through the towns, preaching the gospel, and healing every where.

Acts 28:8 And it came to pass, that the father of Publius lay sick of a fever and of a bloody flux: to whom Paul entered in, and prayed, and laid his hands on him, and healed him.9 So when this was done, others also, which had diseases in the island, came, and were healed

Acts. 3:And all the people saw him walking and praising God:10 And they knew that it was he which sat for alms at the Beautiful gate of the temple: and they were filled with wonder and amazement at that which had happened unto him.11 And as the lame man which was healed held Peter and John, all the people ran together unto them in the porch that is called Solomon’s, greatly wondering.12 And when Peter saw it, he answered unto the people, Ye men of Israel, why marvel ye at this? or why look ye so earnestly on us, as though by our own power or holiness we had made this man to walk?

Acts 5:16 There came also a multitude out of the cities round about unto Jerusalem, bringing sick folks, and them which were vexed with unclean spirits: and they were healed every one.

Acts. 4:Saying, What shall we do to these men? for that indeed a notable miracle hath been done by them is manifest to all them that dwell in Jerusalem; and we cannot deny it.—13 Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.—16 Saying, What shall we do to these men? for that indeed a notable miracle hath been done by them is manifest to all them that dwell in Jerusalem; and we cannot deny it.—21 So when they had further threatened them, they let them go, finding nothing how they might punish them, because of the people: for all men glorified God for that which was done.22 For the man was above forty years old, on whom this miracle of healing was shewed.—.30 By stretching forth thine hand to heal; and that signs and wonders may be done by the name of thy holy child Jesus.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.32 And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common.

We are told to be eager to seek the gift of Healing (and other gifts) TODAY

There are people wanting to see mighty miracles and getting healed just as much today as the case was 2,000 years ago, so there is no reason for this powerful gift to have passed away shortly after Paul wrote his letters. (Surely we would expect to see information about this ceasing if it ever occurred in our past.) That’s why we shouldn’t let the devil fool us into believing that this gift was only for the first christians, and thus miss out on the wonderful promises. Many christians DO realize the gift is for today and are blessed with the gift of healing, and it wouldn’t make sense for them to try to ignore the obvious – loads of people getting healed!

Despite the information in the Bible, and despite that true born again christians have this gift, there are still christians who are skeptic about this gift and some even tie today’s healing with the devil. (Wouldn’t that be close to the unpardonable sin?) Each time Satan manages to convince church leaders that healing isn’t something they should engage themselves with because it’s ”controversial” or because they simply don’t believe they are for today, Satan will stand there as the winner since there WILL be people who miss out on the opportunity to get healed, and God will get less glory when we place the lid on such wonderful manifestations which could actually lead to people getting saved due to what they see.

Some ask for ”proof” (often from secular non-christian sources), but what proof would convince them? There are hospital journals which confirm that a cancer has strangely vanished unexpectedly, and doctors even write ”much like a miracle”, but would the doubters accept this as proof? No, they would say ”Such journals can easily be tampered with” or ”That is no proof” or ”Send it to me then, and let me have a look”. I don’t have these journals in my own possession and naturally a hospital wouldn’t send out copies of other people’s journals. And if I would provide the contact information to a person who got healed so that a copy of such a journal could be acquired, would they actually write and ask for it? I highly doubt it since they wouldn’t accept a copy as proof anyway.

I’ve heard people saying things such as ”I’ve been a christian for 30 years and I have not seen one single example of healing”. Well, I’m sorry that no one has ever knocked on their door to ask if they care to be a witness to a healing, but even if someone did, would they actually believe it and accept it? I don’t think so! If they on top of this attend a church where the leaders don’t even believe in the gift of healing (or it’s nothing they engage themselves in even if they are not officially ”against” it), then of course it’s extremely unlikely that the congregation will ever be witness to a healing. So again, what ”proof” would ever satisfy them? Some might say ”the burden of proof is on those who claim there is healing today”, but why would we even bother trying to provide proof? What would WE gain by spending valuable time trying to convince people who have already made up their mind? They are free to believe whatever they want, and the rest of us can continue praising God for the gift of healing which has been such a blessing to loads of people and which highlights the power of the mighty one.

Yet others try with ”guilt by association”, or they try to convince people that the misuse of the gift of healing (which they claim is SO COMMON despite that they have no means of knowing this since they are not active in charismatic churches) is evidence for that ALL healing should be avoided to all costs. They reason that if the evangelist Smith, the horrible charismatic prosperity preacher, misuses the gift of healing and loves luxurious houses, fancy cars and private jets, then this is ”proof” for that ALL healing are ungodly.

It seems to be easier to believe in healing in certain countries/areas that are less fortunate when it comes to material things, like in the third world. A witness told me that she went with a group to a large christian meeting in a country in Africa and she said; ”It seemed like more people got healed than NOT healed”. That is hard to imagine in a western country where faith is lacking. But the promise to us is that we too can perform healings due to the gift from the Holy Spirit. We are even promised to do ”greater works” than Jesus and that is BECAUSE Jesus went to his Father and made this possible for us. Thanks to his death on the cross and his resurrection, we can get the help from the Holy Spirit to do all those mighty things and even get people back from the dead. Just like Jesus. The reason why we don’t see this very often is likely due to lack of faith.

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.13 And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.14 If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.

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

1 Cor. 13:And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.

Paul provides instructions for how a church (a christian assembly) is supposed to function, and the gift of healing is part of it. We are told to be eager to get the best gifts, and the gift of healing is mentioned fifth:

1 Cor. 12:Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord.—But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit;To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit;10 To 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:11 But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.12 For 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.—And 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.29 Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles?30 Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret?31 But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way.

Also James explains how a gathering of christians should function:

James 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.

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.