Tongues - Speaking in Tongues

 

Tongues, Speaking in tongues and incorrectly speaking in tongues. Many people believe that one must have this gift as proof of having been baptized by the Holy Spirit. This is false and incorrect. I am going to provide you with biblical evidence for speaking in tongues as one would hear it correctly done and I will provide you with examples of incorrectly speaking in tongues as I often hear done now.

 

So let’s now take a look at scripture of just what exactly are tongues or what does it mean to speak in tongues?

 

Genesis 10:20
These are the sons of Ham, after their families, after their tongues, in their countries, and in their nations.

Genesis 10:31
These are the sons of Shem, after their families, after their tongues, in their lands, after their nations.

 

We can see by the above scriptures that “tongues” refers to language, and it is given to us that there are different languages for different countries, lands and nations by the verses listed.

 

When we use the term, “speaking in tongues”, it is most often referred to as a spiritual gift in where someone with this gift of speaking in tongues is speaking in a language other then that of their own and they are speaking it, under the influence of the Holy Spirit. The language coming out may be either a language of men, as was just discussed above, or the language could be of Angels. 1 Corinthians 13:1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.

 

1 Corinthians 12:8 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:  11But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.

So we see here that the gift of tongues is one of a few gifts and we also see that you may receive several or maybe just one.

Now the hard part comes. When do you speak in tongues? How is it done? Is it different in private then in a large gathering? Paul, along with many other gospel verses tells us the answers to these questions. Lets pull up some verses for discussion.

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;

This is the main verse that some Christians use to infer that if you don’t or can’t speak in tongues, that you have not been given the Holy Spirit. But we have already proven this wrong from 1 Corinthians above. If we take Mark 16:17 and add 1 Cor 12:8-11 we can see that these two verses must work together, otherwise if you just take Mark 16:17, then you would have to omit 1 Cor. 12:8:11, and we know we cannot do that. Mark 16:17 has to be a generalization of the many gifts listed above, but we cannot assume that everyone will have every gift because it states to another this, and to another that which definitely says otherwise but can include all of Mark16:17.

Now the first time we see the gift of tongues being used in the bible is in the book of Acts.

Acts 2:3
And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.

Acts 2:4
And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

In these 2 verses we see that first you must be baptized by the Holy Spirit. This is evident and not something you can miss. In this case, but not all, there was a visual clue, and then the gift of tongues came out of them. The Spirit gave them utterance, it did not come from their own mind. Sometimes the evidence of baptism of the Holy Spirit is a physical feeling like electricity and warmth and emotional love and joy. In this case they saw cloven tongues of fire.

Acts 2: 5And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven.  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.

Here in these 6 verses we actually get to see what is actually being spoken. They are the specific dialect of the Tongues of many different nations. The only exception found in scripture is when Paul states he spoke in tongues of Men and tongues of Angels

1 Corinthians 13:1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal..

So are tongues a spoken language that cannot be interpreted? No. In fact they must be interpreted if others are around. You may pray and sing in tongues without an interpreter if you are alone. But there is a very big clue here also that often gets over looked and to many does not add up to anything significant, but I will show you it does and why. The last verse above, verse 11, it states that these men from all over the world hear them speaking in their own native tongue, (so these are not made up languages), but we get a clue as to the content of WHAT was being spoken. In this example from verse 11 we can see what was spoken was “the wonderful works of God.” Wow, now that is significant, and it would be really significant if we can find more examples of this type. And yes, we can.

Acts 10:46
For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter,

Here they spoke in Tongues … “…and magnify God.” When you magnify God, you thank Him, you praise Him, you tell Him how great and awesome is He, you tell Him He is worthy to receive honor and praise etc… etc….

1 Corinthians 14:16Else 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 all: 19Yet 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.

Notice the underlined parts of the verse above from 1 Cor. Chapter 14. When speaking in tongues the content again that Paul speaks of is again consistent with our last 2 examples, but here is example 3,4, and 5. When you “bless with the spirit”, say Amen at your “giving of thanks” and that you do “give thanks well”.

Now let’s add this all up. When you are heard speaking about “the wonderful works of God.” And you “magnify God.” And “bless with the spirit,  how can anyone say Amen at your “giving of thanks” and know that you do “give thanks well” unless you are speaking DIRECTLY TO GOD so that others can hear and understand you.  Does this now line up with scripture? Yes it most certainly does.

1 Corinthians 14 1Follow 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 speaketh mysteries.

Here we see that when speaking in an unknown tongue, you are speaking to God and not to men, not to the congregation, not to the crowd. You are speaking to God and telling God of His wonderful works, He can hear you magnify Him, bless Him and give Him thanks and praise Him. Others nearby can also hear and understand you giving Him Thanks and Blessings and speaking of His wonderful works only if there is an interpreter.

Now here is why some churches have been misled and or are speaking/interpreting tongues incorrectly. It is when the tongues being interpreted are not praising, thanking, blessing God and of His wonderful works. They might sound like a message is being given to the church, and this is not scriptural. That would be a prophetic word and would not need an interpreter.

Right after Paul teaches on the gift of tongues he clarifies that women should not speak in church. They should not speak, nor speak in tongues. Women can certainly have this gift, but should use it at home, in small prayer groups etc... but not in the large body of the entire congregation.

1 Corinthians 14 33For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints. 34Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience as also saith the law.  35And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.

This was not a command for just Corinth, nor is it an assumption that the women were yelling across to their husbands. These are assumptions, and sadly to say many do assume these things and are wrong for doing so. Why else would that verse appear when the entire context is about speaking to the church?

Now there is much more to this, and if you do anything or speak anything it must be of Love. But we are called to be obedient and this is why Paul was writing this to Corinth because they were not orderly in doing so.