Introduction to cover page illustration. The condition of our heart determines the quality of our walk with God and man. To maintain a pure, fervent heart requires discipline in the Word and Prayer. As we diligently seek God's will, His desire becomes our desire and we enjoy feeding and rest in green pastures. Christ daily wants us to open the door of our heart and commune with Him. The temptations and trials of this world are like waves of the sea that continually pound against us. When we are not in the Word and Prayer, with obedience, sin enters our heart. The sins are dark, hideous, blemishes that require repentance and the cleansing blood of Jesus Christ.
Cover: Tad Crisp (Ezra Edition)
1. MY PERSONAL EXPERIENCE *
2. CHALLENGE OF A SAINT AND THE HOLY SCRIPTURES *
3. BREAKTHROUGH TO STABILITY, PEACE AND GROWTH *
4. TONGUES IN THE BOOK OF ACTS
5. TONGUES IN THE BOOK OF 1 CORINTHIANS CHAPTERS 12-14 *
6. THE GIFTS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
7. TEN QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS ABOUT TONGUES SPEAKING *
8. FOUR SOURCES OF OUR EXPERIENCES *
9. EXHORTATION TO TONGUES SPEAKING CHRISTIANS TODAY *
10. EXHORTATION TO NON-TONGUES SPEAKING CHRISTIANS TODAY *
11. DIFFERENT INTERPRETATIONS OF TONGUES *
12. BACK TO WHAT MATTERS MOST *
APPENDIX A - EXAMINATION ON THE SIGN AND GIFT OF TONGUES *
IS THE "GIFT OF TONGUES" FOR THE CHRISTIAN TODAY?
What is the "gift of tongues?" Of course, we must refer to the Bible to define and understand "tongues." A casual review of the book of Acts and 1 Corinthians seem to indicate that tongues are a known language or an angelic language. The book of Acts relates tongues to being baptized by the Holy Spirit at three events (Acts 2,10,19), and implied in Acts 8. 1 Corinthians chapter 12 reveals several gifts of the Holy Spirit and chapter 14 focuses on the "gift of tongues."
Every person who has turned away from sin and believed in Jesus Christ as their Savior begins a new life, with new desires. At the beginning of this new life, also known as our "first love," we are newborn babies or children in the faith (1 John 2:12). How does new life and new desires relate to the gift of tongues? Letís consider our personal experience, beginning with mine.
1. MY PERSONAL EXPERIENCE
I was saved on July 8, 1976 in Ponce, Puerto Rico during active duty with the U.S. Navy. John 14:6 was the final Scripture that convinced me to believe in Jesus Christ as my personal Savior. The blood of Christ cleansed my burden of sin. There was a clear understanding of Jesus Christ as the Son of God and the truth. The Bible became real, powerful, and precious. I wanted to tell others about Jesus Christ. The beginning of the new life and abundant new desires is wonderful.
Within one month a sister in Christ asked me if I spoke in tongues. She explained how in the book of Acts and 1 Corinthians the Christians spoke in tongues. She added that "it was by faith, let go and let God Ė donít let your mind get in the way Ė donít think, just do it." I thought, if they led me to Christ and they speak in tongues, and it is in the Scriptures, then I should do it. They all seemed very happy and desired that I speak in tongues. So, I let the sounds come forth freely and began speaking in tongues, the tongues of angels or a personal prayer language. Abadi-hashi-miashi-abade-omini-manishi-abidi, Ö You know what? I actually felt a release, a pleasant emotional experience associated with the speaking with tongues. From then on, in my personal prayer life I regularly spoke in tongues. Sometimes Iíd speak in tongues during the services with others. I was pleased to have this personal prayer language that spoke to God things I did not know how to say Ė the tongues were talking to God for me, and I felt good emotionally. Just like the early church, speaking in this special prayer language became a normal part of my daily walk and prayer life.
My journal records that on March 24, 1978, Good Friday, one year and eight months later, there was a spiritual problem in my wifeís life. Several Christians were in my room at the military barracks. I read from Acts chapter 2 and there was great praise, thanks, and tongues magnifying the Lord. The Holy Spirit was upon us as in Acts chapter 2. We laid hands on my wife and prayed, then a sister prophesied, "You donít have to worry any more." She touched my wifeís hand and said, "I feel God." My wife began to cry; as she cried, we prayed and spoke in tongues, she cried more. Next a prophecy was given about the gifts of the spirit, "we are children Ė not slaves, gifts are his good pleasure to give us, ask and you shall receive, believe." Finally, we all sang together and were greatly blessed. Yes, what a great fellowship and outpouring of the Holy Spirit.
Before continuing take the "Examination on the Sign and Gift of Tongues" at Appendix A *
2. CHALLENGE OF A SAINT AND THE HOLY SCRIPTURES
Everything was fine until 5 days later when I told an older sister in Christ of the awesome experience we had at my room in the barracks and how God was present with us. She rebuked me about speaking in tongues. I WAS HURT THAT SHE SPOKE SO STRONGLY about something she seemed to know little about. However this did cause me to think and seek more in this area. The Truth does not change, but our understanding of the Truth does change. Really, I did not desire to even consider giving up speaking in tongues.
The next day I visited a pastor and we spoke of the doctrine of tongues. As we exchanged questions and explanations from our own experience compared to the Holy Scriptures. The pastor convinced me that the tongues in the book of Acts were known foreign languages and the tongues that I spoke was not the language in the book of Acts. Also, that the church of Corinth was the most problematic, carnal, and divisive of all the churches in the New Testament. Some convincing Scriptures were, "Do all speak in tongues," (1 Corinthians 12:30) "to covet earnestly the best gifts, I will show to you a more excellent way," (1 Corinthians 12:31) how it was "much better to speak in words to be understood," (1 Corinthians 14:19-20) and finally, "the Spirit itself intercedes for us." (Romans 8:26-27)
Before, no one had explained this to me. Also I never sincerely asked anyone because I thought all was well and I knew it already. I thank God for mature believers in such issues. They waited until the right time to challenge and teach me. I had a fear of leaving my practice of speaking in tongues and perceived that I was in bondage. I was ripe to make a decision not to speak in tongues as a personal prayer language any more, by faith, based on the facts presented and understood in the Holy Scripture.
3. BREAKTHROUGH TO STABILITY, PEACE AND GROWTH
The first days were strange because I was accustomed to speaking in my personal prayer language. It was a strong habit and experience. However, as I choose not to speak in tongues, by faith, I noticed a continual, solid, peace in my soul and conscience. This peace continued in everyday life and daily events. The longer I continued not to speak in tongues the more consistent my life became. Before when I spoke in tongues my life was full of emotional highs and lows, and the objective was to maintain the highs. Now, the peace and emotions grew steadily and my inner life was much more balanced, which caused my inner experience and outward testimony to grow more Christ-like.
Now, how does new life and new desire relate to the gift of tongues? When we are young Christians we can believe teachings that are in error and not Biblical. We do not understand how to seek God and study Scripture in the context of the passage. Now, I believe that 1 Corinthians 12 to 14 is the Apostle Paul exhorting the church to use the true gift of tongues for the correct purpose (as in the book of Acts) and in the correct procedure. Also, he cautions them about using the tongues of a personal prayer language for self-edification. The following will prove my conclusion.
4. TONGUES IN THE BOOK OF ACTS
This section contains 30 scriptural points to prove why tongues is not required; as a sign or evidence of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, and to a lesser degree, the gift of a personal prayer language for self-edification.
1-2 Acts 1:8
3-11 Acts 2-28
12-13 Acts 2:16-21 Joel's Prophecy
Introduction to the Book of Acts. The Acts of the Apostles is a book of transition from the Jew to Gentile. Acts chapter 15 is the hinge point of this transition 1 (this is the first of 14 endnotes) of which Acts 2, 8, 10, and 19 fulfill Acts 1:8, "you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you shall be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and to the uttermost part of the earth." By the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross, the mystery of the gospel is accessible to both the Jew and Gentile (Romans 1:16, chapters 9-11).1. There are twenty-one accounts of sinners who repent toward God and put faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and only on three occasions were tongues heard or spoken. (Jerusalem: Acts 2:4-11, 2:41, 3:16, 4:4, 5:14. Samaria: Acts 8:14-17, 8:36. Acts 9:35, 9:42, Judea: 10:44-47, 11:21, 12:24. Acts 13:48, 14:21-23, 16:1, 17:4, 17:12, 17:31, 18:26, and to the uttermost part of the earth: 19:4-6 and 28:24). In Samaria the sign of tongues was not recorded or required.
2. As the gospel spread from Jerusalem, it was confirmed by the laying on of hands or speaking, "only" by the Apostles and to those who already believed and worshipped the One True God of Israel. Acts 8:14-17 tells of the laying on of hands by the Apostles Peter and John to the Samaritans who are 1\2 Jews. Acts 10:44-47 tells of the speaking by the Apostle Peter to Cornelius, "a devout man, and one that feared God with all his house, who gave many alms to the people, and prayed to God always" (Acts 10:2). Acts 19:4-6 tells of the laying on of hands by the Apostle Paul to Jews in Ephesus that only heard of John the Baptist's baptism.3. Acts 2:2-4. There are three signs that accompanied Baptism of the Holy Spirit: (1) tongues, (2) noise, and (3) fire. Noise and fire are not evident at the other 3 occasions of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit (Acts 8:14-17, 10:44-47 and 19:4-6) or any other time people were saved. The sign of tongues was never evident when individuals were saved or Baptized by the Holy Spirit, nor large groups such as the 3000 who were saved that same day in Acts 2:41. Tongues were evident as a sign in small groups, at particular locations, for a specific purpose.
4. Acts 2:5-13. The tongues in Acts speak the "wonderful works of God." Pentecost was an annual festival exactly 50 days after the celebration of the Passover that brought Jews from many nations to Jerusalem. From fifteen nations the foreign speaking Jews and proselytes heard and understood in their own native language and were "amazed and marveled" as they heard the "wonderful works of God."
5. Acts 2:14-41. These "wonderful works of God" spoken loud and boldly at 9:00am caused the Hebrew speaking Jews to form the opposite and appropriate point of view of the foreign speaking Jews and proselytes. They "mocked that they were drunk with new wine" (vs 15). Afterwards Peter spoke so that the Hebrew speaking Jews could understand the "wonderful works of God" by preaching the 12 point message on the Gospel of Jesus Christ:
Now! "those who gladly received Peter's word were baptized in water, vs 41; and that day about 3000 souls were added to the church." The Epistle to the Romans chapters 1 to 11 fully explain the doctrine of these "wonderful works of God."
6. Acts 2:42-47. The evidence of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit for the 3000 souls who gladly received the word of Peter and were baptized was:
Quoted from the Interlinear Greek-English New Testament by George Ricker Berry
They were baptized by the Holy Spirit and filled with the Holy Spirit at the same time. There was no need for them to speak in tongues then, as well as today. The fact that the disciples were speaking in other languages was quite incidental. The important thing was the subject of their speech, and that was 'the wonderful works of God.' This is what caused the other manifestations of the Holy Spirit filling God's people.
7. Acts 4:29-35. These same believers were again filled with the Holy Spirit as in Acts 2:42-47 and again produced the same evidence of the powerful working of the Holy Spirit. The true evidence of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit is the public evidence, which proclaimed the wonderful works of God with boldness, they prayed to speak the word with all boldness, then they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God with boldness.
The Epistle to the Romans, chapters 12-16 explain the "evidence of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit" in practice and daily Christian living. These evidence of the Baptism and filling of the Holy Spirit are the Biblical "manifestations of the Holy Spirit," then and now.
8. Being filled with the Holy Spirit is never associated with speaking in tongues, (Acts 4:8-10, 4:31, 6:3, 7:55-56, 9:17, 11:23-24, 13:9-10.) Ephesians 5:18-21 further describes the same manifestations of being filled with the Holy Spirit.
9. Acts 15:6-12. This chapter is the hinge of the book of Acts and emphasizes the critical importance of the Gospel spreading from the Jew to the Gentile. Peter spoke: "God which knows the hearts, bare them (Gentiles) witness, by giving them (Gentiles) the Holy Spirit (Acts 8:14-17, 10:44-47) just as he did to us (Jews in Acts 2:2-13); and put no difference between us (Jews) and them (Gentiles), "purifying their (Gentiles) hearts by faith." Speaking tongues that proclaimed the wonderful works of God was the witness or "sign" of the Gospel spreading from the Jew to the Gentile, "purifying their hearts, by faith."
10. Doctrine of Baptisms. The tongues in Acts is associated with the coming of the Comforter and Helper (John 14:16, 16:7). When the Comforter comes we are:
The doctrine of baptisms is fundamental to the Christian faith (Hebrews 6:1-2). The Baptism of repentance for the remission of sins by John the Baptist was under the Old Covenant, to prepare the way for the Messiah. As our Lord Jesus did need to be baptized for salvation, neither do we. Water baptism is after salvation, not part of our salvation. Much occurs at that glorious moment of our salvation, in fact 6 of the 7 baptisms above, that takes the rest of our life to learn and understand.
11. Summary so far. The tongues spoken in the Book of Acts were a sign to the unbelieving Jews. God was departing Israel and going to the Gentiles (1Corinthians 14:20-22). The tongues spoken on the 3 occasions in the Book of Acts was only and definitely known-understood-foreign languages and confirmed by the Apostles and to small groups, at particular locations, for a specific purpose, by those who already knew the One true God of Israel. The tongues in the book of Acts proclaimed the wonderful works of God. The evidence of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit was purity of heart by faith, manifested by the believers having one heart and souls, and all things in common. The other 17 times people were saved in the Book of Acts tongues was not spoken. To interpret that none were baptized by the Holy Spirit because they did not speak in tongues does not fit the context. Baptism of the Holy Spirit takes place at the moment of salvation without the sign of tongues.
12. Acts 2:16-21. Acts 2:16-18 fulfills the prophecy of Joel 2:28-29 "Ö and it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and daughters shall prophesy,.." shall prophesy, is speaking the "wonderful works of God" in Acts 2:5-13 and Peter's 1st sermon in Acts 2:14-41, and continues up to today, until "that great and notable day of the Lord." This day is the second coming of Jesus Christ. Tongues as a sign is only incidental to the fulfillment of Joel's prophecy. Acts 2:17. "In the last days" includes the day of Pentecost, the beginning of the Church Age (dispensation), and "if this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel" (Acts 2:16) refers to Pentecost, then it cannot mean at the same time the "last days" of the Church Age, or today as an extraordinary outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Rather the "last days" begins at Pentecost and continues through the dispensation of the Church until Christ returns (Hebrews 1:2, 1 Peter 1:20, 1 John 2:18).
13. Acts 2:19-21 fulfills the prophecy of Joel 2:30-32 is fulfilled in "And I will show wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath: blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come; and it shall come to pass that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved. Before that great and notable day of the Lord come" which refers to the 2nd coming of our Lord. The period between the early church beginning in Acts 2 and the 2nd coming of the Lord Jesus is known as a "dispensation of God" given unto the Apostle Paul for both the Jew and the Gentile (1 Corinthians 9:17, Ephesians 3:2, Colossians 1:25), until the "fullness of the Gentiles has come" (Romans 11:25).
Notes: This dispensation is also called a mystery in reference to : the Church (Luke 8:10, Ephesians 5:32, I Timothy 3:9, Revelations 3:20), the saints (I Corinthians 4:1, I Timothy 3:9, Colossians 1:26-27), godliness (I Timothy 3:16), Jesus Christ (Romans 16:25, Ephesians 3:4, 3:9, Colossians 4:3).
The "latter rain" of Joel 2:23 and Hosea 6:3 is seasonal rainfall in Israel, spring rains in contrast to later rains in the fall. Rains represent Gods healing of the land when "my people (Israel) humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways,... and then I will forgive their sin and heal their LAND" (2 Chronicles 7:14). In context of the prophet Joel, the rain is a sign of deliverance for the LAND when Israel repents. In context of the book of Acts the coming of the Holy Spirit is a sign of Godís blessing upon the world and specifically those praying and waiting in Jerusalem for the "comforter" during the period of the early church and extends through the dispensation of the church.There is no Biblical evidence that there will be a recurrence in the Church of the sign gifts (Hebrews 2:3-4) near the end of the Church Age. However, there is ample evidence that near the end of the Church Age there will be false prophets and christs who perform miracles, prophesy, and cast out demons in Jesusí name (Mathew 7:21-23, 24:4-5, 11, 24-26). "False teachers who shall be among the church, who secretly shall bring in destructive teachings, and many shall follow their destructive ways, Ö carousing in their own deceptions while they feast with you" (2 Peter 2:1-22, Jude1-25). There will be false leaders who fashion themselves as ministers of righteousness (2 Corinthians 11:13-15), and false brethren (2 Corinthians 11:26).
5. TONGUES IN THE BOOK OF 1 CORINTHIANS CHAPTERS 12-14 *1. Introduction to 1 Corinthians 12-14. The church at Corinth was the most problematic and divisive in the New Testament. Paul could not find one mature believer (1 Corinthians 2:14-3:4) at the Corinthian Church. This body of believers were full of deception in doctrine and practice. Corinth was a great commercial seaport city with many vices. On the highest hill in the city stood the pagan temple of Aphrodite, the goddess of love, full of religious prostitutes. The believers at Corinth mixed their culture with their faith in Christ, what we may call "cultural Christians." Their great immaturity, divisiveness, spiritual pride, and many other problems caused the Apostle Paul to express his love for them even more. "My love be with you all in Christ Jesus. Amen." (1 Corinthians 16:24) "And I will very gladly spend and be spent for you; though the more abundantly I love you, the less I am loved" (2 Corinthians 2:4, 11:11, 12:15). We must follow Paul as he followed Christ (Philippians 3:17).
2. 1 Corinthians 12:1-3. Paul exhorts the brethren concerning spiritual gifts. "I would not have you ignorant, you know that you were Gentiles carried away unto these dumb idols, even as you were led. Wherefore I desire you to understand that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calls Jesus accursed." Remembering they were Gentiles in pagan religions; 2 now they must understand what they speak or risk calling Jesus cursed. No Scripture teaches us to give up control of our minds and speak words we do not understand. Rather, we see what can happen if we speak what we do not understand. An interesting note is that 1 Corinthians chapters 12 to 14 begin and end addressing the ignorance of the church at Corinth as related to the gifts of tongues 3 and speaks of tongues which is the least of gifts more than all the other gifts, why? Because of the ignorance of the church at Corinth (1 Corinthians 12:1 and 14:38). We can apply this to the church and tongues speaking today. It is very relevant.
3. 1 Corinthians 12:7. Tongues is the manifestation of the Spirit "for the common good" and must be done "to edify the body of Christ," never for self-edification. If the Apostle Paul spoke to them in tongues it shall not profit the church, except there be an interpreter (1 Corinthians 14:5, 14:12, 14:17, 14:26 and 1 Peter 4:10).
Note: A comparison between the Old and New Testaments helps us realize how important it is to understand with our mind. The Old Testament says we are to love God "with all our heart, and with all our soul, and with all our might" (Deuteronomy 6:5). The New Testament says to love God with all our heart, all our soul, all our MIND, and all our strength (Mark 12:30, Luke 10:27). Our mind has a more significant role today. "LET this mind be in you which was also in Christ" (Philippians 2:5-11), "be transformed by the renewing of your mind" (Romans 12:1-2), and, "I press toward the call of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus, Ö if you be otherwise minded God shall reveal this to you" (Philippians 3:14-15). This is a fundamental truth contrary to the teaching and process of tongues as a personal prayer language. To speak in tongues you must not think Ė just let it come out. Now get this: If you canít express yourself to God in known-understood, then we have the Holy Spirit. "Likewise the Spirit also helps us in our weaknesses: For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God" (Romans 8:26-27). Praying in the Spirit is also exhorted in Ephesians 6:18 and Jude 20.
4. 1 Corinthians 12:10-11, 28-30. Tongues is a gift to some and the least of gifts. It is always at the end of the list. 1 Corinthians chapter 12 speaks of the gift of tongues, a known-understood-foreign language for the purpose of speaking the "wonderful works of God." 1 Corinthians 14 speaks of the true and the counterfeit gift of tongues. Tongues is clearly not a gift for all.
Note: The church at Corinth is already "puffed up" (1 Corinthians 4:6, 18-19, 5:2, 8:1-2, 13:4, Colossians 2:18). To interpret that God gives a gift to edify or "puff up" ourselves does not align and is contrary with the basic principals of Christian growth. "Puff up" in Greek is translated "bellows", to blow up or inflate one self, high-minded, pride, arrogant. The opposite of puff up is "edify" that is translated, "the act of building a home" build up others, the Body of Christ. We are lively stones, built up a spiritual house (1 Peter 2:5).
5. 1 Corinthians 13:1. The Apostle Paul opens this chapter or change of theme addressing the least of the gifts - tongues. Apparently he is persuading them to correct an error in their beliefs. "Though I speak with the tongues Ö of angels, and have not love." The tongues of angels is clearly not a personal prayer language. Here are a few times angels were used to speak the will of God (Genesis 16:9, 22:11, 31:11, Numbers 22:35, Judges 2:4, 6:12, 13:3, 1 Kings 13:18, II Kings 1:3, Zechariah 1:12-14, Mathew 1:20, 28:5, Luke 1:13, Acts 5:19, 12:7, Revelations 1:1, 22:6). Angels always spoke in a clear, understandable, perfect language.
6. 1 Corinthians 13:8. "Whether there be tongues, they shall cease." Prophesies and knowledge shall vanish (slowly fade away) and tongues shall cease (stop abruptly). From the accounts of the early Church Fathers, there is no evidence of the continuation of this spectacular gift. Israel was judged when the city of Jerusalem was destroyed by the Gentile Roman Empire in 70 AD, therefore the gift of tongues was no longer necessary as a sign of judgment and ceased. Validation of this purpose for tongues is clear in 1 Corinthians 14:21-22.
Note: Our speech has limitations and our words need improvement. This is evidenced by the Apostle Paul when he requested the saints pray so that "utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel" (Ephesians 6:19). King Solomon, the most wise person on earth "sought to find out acceptable words: and that which was written was upright, even words of truth" (Ecclesiastes 12:10). We must desire to speak as Ezra "caused the people to understand Ö as he read distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading" (Nehemiah 8:1-12). Here in Nehemiah we see the cause (understanding the Scriptures and effect (repentance and obedience to the Scriptures) of a true Biblical revival. There is nothing more precious then being able to speak the truth clearly and boldly so others understand with life-changing effects.
7. 1 Corinthians 14:2-17 demonstrates that UNDERSTANDING OF WHAT IS SPOKEN IS CRITICAL FOR GENUINE TONGUES. The Corinthians are corrected for the manner they spoke in tongues as follows: "no man understands Ö speaking mysteries" (vs 2), "they edify themselves" (vs 4), they speak "as a trumpet with an uncertain sound" (vs 8), "speaking as a barbarian" (vs 11), "speaking into the air" (vs 12), "canít bless or say amen due to lack of understanding" (vs16), "be not children in understanding" (vs 20), and "visitors or unbelievers will say you are crazy" (vs 23). In other words the tongues speakers will be mocked as those "drunk with new wine" in Acts 2:13. The same results whether true or counterfeit tongues are spoken and nobody understands - they will mock you, think you are crazy or drunk - and are Biblically correct. 1 Corinthians chapter 14 speaks of the true gift of tongues and the counterfeit "gift" of tongues.
8. 1 Corinthians 14:5 . "I would that you all spoke with tongues" refers to the true gift that Paul had and must be done to edify the church (vs 12, 26), to be understood by all (vs 15), with an interpreter, if necessary (vs 13, 27-28), and in order during the public meeting (vs .27, 33, 40). Prophecy or forthtelling the truth was much more desired than the true gift of tongues (vs 1, 3Ė5, 24-25, 39). Peter's 1st message was evidence of this in Acts 2:14-40 where 3000 were saved. How many were saved when the true gift of tongues were spoken in Acts 2:2-13? Zero.
Note: The Corinthians were speaking true (known-understood-foreign language) and counterfeit (personal prayer language that edified themselves, ecstatic speech or gibberish) tongues in the church. Speaking without your personal or another's understanding is only speaking in mysteries, edifying yourself, speaking in the air, like a trumpet that nobody understands, as a barbarian, and crazy. The Bible tells me so! "Let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written. That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged" (Romans 3:4).
9. 1 Corinthians 14:18. Paul spoke in tongues as in the book of Acts. He spoke with the true gift more than the whole Corinthian church. As an Apostle and missionary, Paul used the gift of speaking known-understood-foreign languages frequently, for (1) the edification of the church by the saving of the unbeliever and (2) to proclaim the wonderful works of God.
10. 1 Corinthians 14:19. In the church Paul said he would rather speak 5 words others can understand than 10,000 words in an unknown tongue. This unknown tongue is an imitation of the true gift of tongues and a manifestation of pagan worship that entered the Corinthian church. 10,000 is the word Murio in Greek. Murio is an adjective signifying numberless. It is used in the indefinite sense in 1 Corinthians 4:15 and 14:19.
11. 1 Corinthians 14:20. "Brethren, be not children in understanding: howbeit in malice be ye children, but in understanding be men." The Corinthians were children in understanding the gift of tongues. This strongly substantiates the wrong use of tongues at Corinth and the purpose of the true gift of tongues.
12. 1 Corinthians 14:21. "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." This quote of the Old Testament prophecy of Isaiah 28:7-8 is clearly a sign of judgment on the nation of Israel. Isaiah 28:7-13 warned of the future judgment by the Babylon empire. This is fulfilled by the Babylonians in 586 BC. Also, tongues or foreign languages are signs of judgment in Genesis 11:9, Deuteronomy 28:49, and Jeremiah 5:15. In the book of Acts the future judgment on the nation of Israel was fulfilled by the Roman Empire in 70 AD when Jerusalem was destroyed.
13. 1 Corinthians 14:22. "Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not." Genuine tongues is not for the believers, they are for the unbeliever. The gift of tongues has no purpose in the church of God when everyone present is a believer. When an unbeliever hears and understands the truth, the church is edified. The incorruptible seed of truth is planted in the hearer of the Scriptures.
Note: The Jews always sought a sign (1 Corinthians 1:22, Mathew 16:1-4). The sign of the rainbow in Genesis and the sign of tongues in Acts are both "signs" of Godís grace in judgment. Tongues are one of the sign gifts to confirm the message and spreading of the gospel by the Apostles (Mark 16:20, Hebrews 2:4, 2 Corinthians 12:12). Godís people (Israel) rejected Godís Son and deserved His wrath. In wrath God remembered mercy (Habakkuk 3:2) and the outward physical sign of mercy was tongues, in known-foreign-understood languages. Tongues was a "sign to unbelievers" which clearly parallels the transition of the gospel from Jew to Gentile in the book of Acts.
14. 1 Corinthians 14:26-35. Speaking tongues in the church must be done with interpretation - how else could they know if the language that was spoken did curse or glorify God (1 Corinthians 12:1-3). The Holy Spirit moved the Apostle Paul to provide guidance on how to speak tongues when the believers came together. "If any speak in an unknown tongue, let it be by 2, or at the most three, and that by course; and let one interpret", otherwise be silent. There was chaos when all spoke or prayed at the same time. If nobody had the gift of interpretation then the tongues speaker could be cursing God, nobody knew. When tongues were spoken in the church, this was the purpose and procedure.
15. 1 Corinthians 14:36-40. Paul rebukes the spiritual pride at Corinth (14:36), and to those who will not obey his sound teaching he says, "let the ignorant remain ignorant." Tongues may be spoken as a known-understood-foreign language "decently and in order," for the purpose and by the procedures clarified in 1 Corinthians 12-14. These things that Paul wrote to the church at Corinth "are the commandments of the Lord." This rebuke of ignorance is similar to "receiving one who is weak in the faith, but not to doubtful disputations" (Romans 14:1).
Note: Speaking was a problem in the Corinthian church. Paul addresses the confusion in speaking during the church services: in general (14:26), with tongues (14:27-28), the prophets (14:29-33) and women (14:34-35). To each specific target group he gave specific directions to maintain peace and order in the house of God.
6. THE GIFTS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
Later in Biblical history, gifts are written about with no reference to tongues. The tongues cease in Romans 12:3-8, Ephesians 4:7-16, and 1 Peter 4:7-11. 4 1 corinth - 1st missionary journey?
1 Corinthians 12:1-31 Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant. Ye know that ye were Gentiles, carried away unto these dumb idols, even as ye were led. Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.
Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit (Holy
And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord (Son Jesus Christ).
And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God (Father) which worketh all in all.
But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.
But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing
to every man severally as he will. 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. For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body,
whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all
made to drink into one Spirit. For the body is not one member, but
many. If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of
the body; is it therefore not of the body?
And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling? But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him. And if they were all one member, where were the body? But now are they many members, yet but one body. And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you. Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary: And those members of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness. For our comely parts have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honour to that part which lacked:
That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another. And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it. Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular. And God hath set some in the church,
verse 28 verses 29-30
But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way. 1 Corinthians 13
1 Corinthians 13:1-13 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. 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. And though I bestow
all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and
have not charity, it profiteth me nothing. Charity suffereth
long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not
itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own,
is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but
rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth
all things, endureth all things. Charity 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.
For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that
which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.
When 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. For 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. And now abideth faith, hope,
charity, these three; but the greatest of these is
Taken from "The Evidence Bible" by Ray Comfort 1 Corinthians chapter 14:1-40
Follow after charity, and desire spiritual gifts, but rather
that ye may prophesy. For 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.
But he that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort. He that speaketh in an unknown tongue edifieth himself; but he that prophesieth edifieth the church. 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. Now, 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? And even things without life giving sound, whether pipe or harp, except they give a distinction in the sounds, how shall it be known what is piped or harped? For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle? So 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. There are, it may be, so many kinds of voices in the world, and none of them is without signification. Therefore 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. Even so ye, forasmuch as ye are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek that ye may excel to the edifying of the church. Wherefore let him that speaketh in an unknown tongue pray that he may interpret. For if I pray in an unknown tongue, my spirit prayeth, but my understanding is unfruitful. What 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. 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? For thou verily givest thanks well, but the other is not edified. I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than ye all: Yet 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. 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. 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? 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: 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. How 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. If 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. But if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the church; and let him speak to himself, and to God. Let the prophets speak two or three, and let the other judge. If any thing be revealed to another that sitteth by, let the first hold his peace. For ye may all prophesy one by one, that all may learn, and all may be comforted. And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets. For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.
Let 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. And 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. What? came the word of God out from you? or came it unto you only? If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord. But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant. Wherefore, brethren, covet to prophesy, and forbid not to speak with tongues. Let all things be done decently and in order.
Romans 12:3-8 For I say, through the grace
given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more
highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt
to every man the measure of faith. For as we have many members in one
body, and all members have not the same office: So we, being many,
are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.
Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us,
Eph 4:7-16 But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ. Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? 10 He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.)
For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.
1Peter 4:7-11 But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer. And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins. Use hospitality one to another without grudging. As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.
that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.
Final conclusion: First century tongues were to be understood by all, and as a sign of judgment against the Jews. On the 3 occasions in the Book of Acts tongues are a sign of judgment which was fulfilled in 70 AD when the Roman Empire destroyed Jerusalem. Tongues was a gift to some when used in order and with interpretation in the church for the benefit of unbelievers. Biblical tongues by the gift of the Holy Spirit were never used as a personal prayer language for self-edification. Biblical Holy Spirit given tongues is a known-understood-foreign language, either heard or spoken, that had an extra-biblical spiritual counterfeit. 5 The burden of proof that this sign gift still exists is first, on those who teach others that tongues is evidence of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit and even necessary to be saved and second on those who practice tongues as a personal prayer language for self-edification. They must prove that their experience is:
7. TEN QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS ABOUT TONGUES SPEAKING TODAY1. What is occurring if the tongues spoken is not of God? Tongues may be a learned behavior, psychologically induced, soul or satanic activity. To most true believers I hope that it is only a learned behavior or emotionally induced.
2. How should we respond to charismatics and pentecostals who insist their "experience" is true and Biblical? In humility (Romans 12:3). With meekness (Galatians 6:1). Have a thankful attitude toward those captive in false doctrine (2 Thessalonians 2:13). In love (1 Peter 4:8). Remember that this "alone" is a minor matter, it is up to you to keep it minor and not divisive. Donít major in the minors!
3. If one is personally edified by speaking in tongues, arenít they edifying the church? True gifts are always exercised in and for the body of Christ. 1 Corinthians 12:4-11, Romans 12:3-6. Human reasoning or vain philosophy (Colossians 3:8) alone may justify "if I am edified, the church is edified."
4. Are the tongues of Acts and 1 Corinthians different? 1 Corinthians was written before Acts. Paul and Luke used the same word in the original Greek for tongue (glossa) and language. No, both are references to known-understood-foreign languages. However 1 Corinthians 14 speaks of "tongues" and "unknown tongue." The unknown tongue is the gibberish of pagan religions. This counterfeit tongue is in context with 1 Corinthians 12 - 14 and the complete letter to the Corinthians.
5. Arenít tongues for personal self-edification? Tongues were given for the purpose of convicting unbelievers. 1 Corinthians 14:6-23 establishes this very point. Would unbelievers be impressed by, convicted by, or challenged by "unintelligible syllables"? We are warned not to speak in unintelligible babblings or vain repetitions as the pagans (Mathew 6:6-13).
Note: The word "unknown" is in italics in the King James Version (KJV) Bible and is supplied by the translators (1 Corinthians 14:2,4,13,14,19,27). The word unknown does not appear in the original manuscripts. This indicates their understanding of this teaching during the translation from the original Greek. 1 Corinthians 14:27-28 tells us of a need to have an interpreter when unknown tongues are exercised, the same pattern as the prophets in verse 29, they needed others to judge. However with tongues you cannot judge if it is of God or not, unless you have an interpreter. If no interpreter is present; keep it to yourself - between you and God, unless you speak and blaspheme God without knowing it (1 Corinthians 12:1-3).
6. Does my experience prove that tongues as a personal prayer language for self-edification is true? One cannot build their faith on emotional experiences but rather upon inner assurance (our spirit - Romans 8:16). A more Biblical way of communicating with God is by the Holy Spirit within us praying (Romans 8:26-27). Only the Holy Scriptures can illuminate our minds to discern the difference between what is of the soul (fleshly) and what is of the spirit (Hebrews 4:12, Romans 8:2). We must study the Word and ask for wisdom (2 Timothy 2:15 and James 1:5-8), then obey by faith (Hebrews 11:6).
7. What is the Biblical definition of tongues? New Testament tongues is the Spirit-given ability to speak a human language not previously learned by a person to enable them to communicate the gospel to someone else in their native language. Biblical words such as tongues must be defined by their immediate context and then by the complete Bible. Use the Bible to define words in the Bible. Words are doctrines or teachings of God.
8. I speak in a personal prayer language tongues, will this harm my spiritual life? Hopefully no more than laughter, or speaking with a friend when you are lonely. This is a common human experience where you feel better. It is wrong, however, when it is claimed to be an evidence of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, is substituted for prayer, has excessive control of your spiritual life, or leads to other related, experimental, unscriptural beliefs and practices. Only as much as you permit it to exceed moderation and affect your relationship with other Christians and your obedience to the Holy Scriptures - it will then be made manifest as harmful. What are the Christian spiritual benefits of speaking in tongues as a personal prayer language? NONE! Beware of opening your spirit to unholy spirits.
9. How can we prevent division in our local church concerning tongues? The Pastor should make a written policy statement similar to the following:
10. Many people are being saved by those who speak in tongues as a personal prayer language or believe it is the sign of the baptism of the Holy Spirit. How many are genuine salvations? What is the fruit of their life? A false prophet who used the Bible showed me how to be saved. I led others to Christ under the deception of this false teacher. See 2 Peter 2 and Jude for the characteristics of false teachers. Scriptures reveal that deception within the church shall increase toward Christís 2nd coming. Just because a ministry has many people or even that people are saved and changed does not mean the Lord is there. It does mean that the Holy Scriptures are powerful no matter who is using them. Other religions claim the same life changing effects of their belief system. We must compare spiritual experiences, practices and worship with the Bible - in context, church history, and the experiences of pagan religions.
We sincerely love and appreciate our brothers and sisters in the "charismatic and pentecostal movements" and deeply respect their faith tradition. We would simply ask that our faith tradition be respected and the tongues speaking in unintelligible syllables not be promoted or propagated in any way at this local church (substitute your church name). 6
8. FOUR SOURCES OF OUR EXPERIENCES
1. They are experiences from God. An experience from God must be in context with the Bible. This is simple and not complex. We have all truth in the 66 books. Now we need the Holy Spirit to illuminate and renew our minds to understand and walk in "the way, the truth, and the life." Then, by faith we practice the truth in our daily life. (Titus 3:5, Ephesians 1:15-21 and 3:13-21).
2. They are experiences from the flesh or "old man". When Christians put their faith in erroneous doctrine and directions, they risk living "in the flesh" 7 or by soul power, 8 the seat of our emotions and desires. Only the Bible can help us discern what is of the spirit and the soul (Hebrews 4:12). An example of the fleshly experience was King David's dance before the Ark "with all his might." For more understanding request my booklet, King Davidís Dance at the Ark Ė In Context.
3. They are experiences of pretenders. Some people are influenced by "friends" or follow the crowd. Feeling left out, lukewarm, or with unconfessed sins may draw us to pretend an experience, to be accepted (Colossians 2:4-8, 18-19, Ephesians 4:14).
4. They are experiences from an evil spirit. A few people, especially teachers and leaders, may have an evil spirit giving them the experience. Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light (2 Cor 11:14). Like transcendental meditation, mystic rituals, and other mind-emptying procedures, it may open the door to demonic influences. Some Christians, especially missionaries who understand foreign languages, have testified of understanding the foreign language spoken in tongues as words blaspheming God, and have run from the place (1 Corinthians 12:1-3). A personal testimony: Once during my time of ignorance, a sister and I were praying, speaking in tongues, and laying hands on the head of a woman of well known evil practices in the community. As we spoke in tongues she said, "I feel close to your God." Now, my conclusion is that the tongues we spoke was not of God.
9. EXHORTATION TO TONGUES SPEAKING CHRISTIANS TODAY
I must modify to calvary chapel with chuck smith (article-link on prayer, and chuck missler (study in Acts
Examine what the Scriptures say. First, the teaching or doctrine of tongues is confined to a small quantity of text and is called the least of the gifts. So to balance the inspired Holy Scripture with our practice we must not give too much attention to this specific doctrine. The priority God gives in His Word must be the priority we give in our heart, mind, and daily life. Tongues is similar to marijuana, which seems harmless at first, but is an entry point for harder drugs and addiction. Test the spirits. Let no man deceive you of your reward in a voluntary humility (Colossians 2:18), speaking of reward for the Christian at the Judgment Seat of Christ. God knows how to deliver the godly out of temptation (1 Peter 2:9). Examine the Holy Scriptures as the Bereans (Acts 17:10-12) and pray for wisdom (James 1:5-8).
An unjust balance is hated by the Lord (Proverbs 11:1, 20:23). If we permit this doctrine to cause division or hold that those who donít speak tongues are carnal, worldly, cold, or missing a blessing in their lives - this is deception. When we let experience and emotions be our guide and not the Holy Scriptures we open our minds to be deceived and to deceive others. "Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God" (Romans 10:17). Yes, pastors, evangelists, teachers, "apostles and prophets" can be deceived and deceive others. We all have some degree of deception, misunderstanding, or lack of full understanding of one doctrine or another. In Godís wisdom this is permitted for a season and a reason, as well as for our spiritual growth. If we don't have spiritual growth we stay as babes in Christ. Spiritual growth comes by studying, understanding and obeying the "words of faith and sound doctrine" (1 Timothy 4:6).
Now is your time to take a step of faith and be delivered from the bondage of the gift of tongues as a personal prayer language (if it is not a gift of the Holy Spirit to you). 9, 10 Donít fear you will miss a blessing. On the contrary, you will be more of a blessing by your trust and new obedience to the Word of God. "The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death" (Romans 8.2). "You shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free" (John 8:32). 11
10. EXHORTATION TO NON-TONGUES SPEAKING CHRISTIANS TODAY
Baby and young Christians beware. Believe not every doctrine but search the Scriptures and test the spirits. Ask older mature Christians. Our greatest goal is to become more Christ-like as we grow in the faith. "We should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine" (Ephesians 4:14). This leads to a consistent, stable, faithful life which is prepared for the storms and has a peace that passes understanding and love that abounds. You may be under great bondage and fear because others say you need to speak in tongues to be saved or as evidence you are baptized in the Holy Spirit. 12 Don't fear! May you "study to show yourself approved onto God, a worker that doesnít need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of God" (2 Timothy 2:15).
There may be a profound, life-changing experience after salvation. This experience provides power for service and being used of God. This is an easy time to confuse the doctrine of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit and the filling of the Holy Spirit. Remember, this occurs when God has more of us, not we have more of God. This experience may be called dedication, absolute surrender, complete consecration, or understanding the truth of "the old man being crucified with Christ" (Romans 6:6, 11, 13; Galatians 2:20). We grow in grace and knowledge by faith and obedience of the Holy Scriptures (2 Peter 3:18 and Ephesians 1:15-22).
Just because groups are growing, their followers are enthusiastic, and there are alleged or real miracles does not mean the phenomena are from the Holy Spirit, since all these criteria occur in pagan religions also. These experiences are derived from the soul power, which is potentially there in all people. The Bible may be used and Biblical words, along with extra-biblical words or expressions and unbiblical definitions. The charismatic leaders may speak with force, eloquence, or zeal. Beware, look for unbiblical emphasis on group worship style, or their particular church or leader is lifted up above Jesus Christ and the Holy Scriptures. Pay attention to their lifestyles, and emphasis - test the spirits. As Saul went for the wrong spiritual help Ė be careful! (I Samuel 15:23).
Communication in the spiritual realm "apart from control of the mind, and the body" though found in various religions, is contrary to Biblical Christianity. 13 This results in putting "experience" over Scripture, also called mysticism. The experience of a power or force "overcoming" the participants is characteristic to many pagan religions. You have heard, "You can love the sinner, but hate the sin," also you can "love the believer and hate their false teachings (doctrines) and practices." Be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. (Ephesians 6:10). Love never fails (1 Corinthians 13). Diligently seek God (Hebrews 11:6).
Now that you have learned what the Bible teaches about tongues you can "in meekness, instruct those that oppose themselves" (2 Timothy 2:23-26) and "speak the things that become sound doctrine" (Titus 2:1).
Our challenge is to revive our own lives and our local church. Because of mediocre Christianity a void has been created. We must fill this void with true revival. An intense love for God, Jesus Christ, the Holy Scriptures, the saints, and His will, must be evident. Pray with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit (Ephesians 6:18).
11. DIFFERENT INTERPRETATIONS OF TONGUES
If you are not sure of a groupís belief and practice with tongues, ask the leader up front: (A simple yes or no reply should follow)
"Do you believe that the Bible teaches that the gift of tongues is a personal prayer language for the self-edification of the believer?"
"Do you believe that the Bible teaches that the gift of tongues is an evidence of the baptism of the Holy Spirit for all believers?
Church History. Tongues as a personal prayer language is seldom mentioned; the rare instances are in the 3rd century by Montanus and Tertullian, whom the church labeled as heretics. Much later the same experience arose in the United States with the "Shakers" in the 17th century, forerunners of modern spiritualism under Ann Lee; who influenced the Cane Ridge Revival in the 19th century, the Irvinites in 1831, and finally the Azusa Street Revival in the 20th century, which is considered by most as the beginning of the modern Pentecostal movement in the United States. In Japan's written history, Roman Catholic missions came in the 16th century and were forced to depart in the 17th century. Due to Japan's isolation policies no Christian missions were permitted until the mid 19th century. After that similar patterns of church movements and organizations occurred as in the United States.
Secular History. Mormons, Spiritualists, Hindus, Buddhists, Zulus, Kundalini Yoga, Subud, Qigong, New Age Movement, and other non-Christian (pagan) religions speak in unknown tongues (gibberish or ecstatic language), a personal prayer language to commune with their god(s), and have a spiritual, uplifting, emotional experience. This is a mystical, pagan experience. Mix a few bible scriptures from Acts and 1 Corinthians 12 and 14 out of context, with the experience, and what do you have? Error. The person who doesnít understand a foreign language cannot discern between a foreign language or pagan mystical gibberish or ecstatic language. Whether you use the Bible or another religious writing; the worship, procedures and experiences of tongues as a personal prayer language are the same.
Other Considerations.1. Deaf Christians around the world pray with their eyes open and use sign language. They cannot speak in tongues. However they can have the Spirit intercede for them, as all born-again Christians have this privilege.
2. During the time of the great tribulation the known-understood-foreign language tongues of Acts 2 and 1 Corinthians 12-14 are possibly required by the 2 witnesses (Revelations 11:3) and the 144,000 (Revelations 14:1).
3. Whether the miracle in Acts was the tongues heard or spoken, I don't know. But I do know that God can do it either way. All speaking one language happened at the Tower of Babel, and God created several languages to effect lack of understanding, due to man's evil ways (Genesis 11:1-9). To all speak or understand one tongue provides for unity. One day we shall all understand the same language, when we die and go to be present with the Lord. Then the miracle of tongues is practiced in truth, totality and perfection (Rev 19:1-6).
4. REVISE - The Lord Jesus said "He that is not with me is against me" (Luke 11:23) and "he that is not against us is for us" ( Mark 9:40). First of all, these two text which many use to declare that denominations and doctrine create walls of separation between believers must look at the context. Both are referring to casting out demons by: Jesus himself, the Pharisees children, and other followers of Jesus not with the 12 disciples. Nothing more and nothing less. Please do not read more or less into it. The deceptions of Satan cannot withstand obedience to "It is written," as Jesus said during the 3 temptations in the wilderness after fasting for 40 days. ( Mathew 4 1-11). A parallel text is when the Lord sent the 70 out to preach the Gospel and Jesus told them not to marvel that the demon's were subject to them, but rather to rejoice that their names are written in heaven (Luke 11:1-24). The Lord taught his disciples not to forbid others to cast out demons in Jesus name (Mark 9:14-40).
6. Balanced Christian doctrine and practice. In a recent study by a Methodist Minister on the Holy Spirit at the Chapel of Hope in Yokosuka Japan, the Baptism of the Holy Spirit and the gift of tongues were left for last. Why? Because they are the least important in our belief and practice, but cause the most division, especially the doctrine of tongues. We must avoid extremes in belief and practice. What we believe strongly effects what we practice in our daily lives.
Remember the Holy Spirit is creative, dynamic, holy, and a person. We must avoid legalism, tradition, un-Christ like attitudes or acts. The Holy Spirit leads our lives in the will of God. To maintain a pure, fervent and soft heart is vital for effective Christian testimony. The fruit of the Spirit must grow in us, and then we will bear fruit.
My testimony of service in a Pentecostal church. So far in life I am not called to full-time ministry and serve God in His will in a local church, in the duties of my occupation and family (wife and 3 children). It is my conviction to serve God and others in a geographic local church and not drive for hours. My last church was a Pentecostal church, Iglesia Evangelica de la Palabra, and balanced in doctrine and practice. The Pastor, Brother Eduardo Soto-Padin, and several members spoke with tongues in their personal prayer life, but not during the services. In effect, I practiced the Christian and Missionary Alliance stand, "Do not seek. Do not forbid." Here I served here as a founder, Treasurer, Deacon, and occasional teacher for almost 2 years. There was a strong honoring of the Holy Scriptures, belief in personal holiness, balance in music, and love for one another. Praise be to God! We have choices and as believers we are accountable to our Lord Jesus Christ at His Judgment Seat for the choices we make. Do not blindly follow leaders or experiences, do follow but what the Scriptures say.
12. BACK TO WHAT MATTERS MOST update with calvary-missler experience in whole document
It is important to present "in writing" what we believe. We must understand, "What does the Bible teach?" Ultimately, of course, this question is reduced to "What do I personally believe the Bible teaches?" The doctrine of tongues in itself can be a divisive issue. In the Church today each individual, leader, and group of believers make their choice of its relative value. The sad thing is that tongues spoken in a personal prayer language for self-edification may be the beginning point to a system of doctrines and a host of false, extra-biblical teachings, practices and experiences that lead to pride, deception, emotionalism, and division.
This study is written from July 1998 to March 1999 in Yokosuka, Japan, upon the request of a bondservant living in Okinawa, Japan. As it goes forth as a booklet translated into Japanese, I pray it will be a source of strength and discernment to those who read it. May our Lord prosper this writing and give you peace, discernment and strength to "contend for the faith once delivered unto the saints" (Jude 1:3). As of April 1, 1999, several that read this article have been blessed, instructed and strengthened in the faith. None have challenged the doctrine of tongues as presented, with the Holy Scriptures.
Is the Gift of Tongues for the Christian Today? As a personal prayer language Ė No. As a sign of judgment for the Jews Ė No. As evidence of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit Ė No. As a miracle for the unbeliever to understand the wonderful works of God in a known-understandable-foreign language Ė Yes. If the gift of tongues were operating in this manner more, then fewer translators of the Bible and less language schools would be required. It seems that God normally chooses not to use the miracle of true tongues in this manner, except in rare cases where his mercy deems it necessary, then it truly is a miracle . An example of this is the manner in which our Father in Heaven could use the angels to do His work on earth, but instead uses us as His ambassadors. Glory, honor, power and dominion to our Lord, forever and ever.
Many will appreciate this doctrine being clearly presented in the context of the Holy Scriptures, some will think it is too critical, others will be perplexed or confused, a few could care less. Personally, my understanding of the Scriptures has been strengthened and firmed on how to interpret this secondary doctrine of tongues. It can be a divisive issue, if you permit it to be. It is my opinion that this doctrine is secondary and we can agree to disagree. At the Judgment Seat of Christ it will not matter. Study the Scriptures Ė take a stand Ė continue on. Now I shall continue on with greater and more precious issues of the Christian life and look forward to writing on, "Love One Another with a Pure Heart Fervently, Overcoming the Wicked One, and The Dance of King David at the Ark - in Context." Farewell with these quotes:
A.B. Simpson: "Once it was the blessing, now it is the Lord; once it was the feeling, now it is His Word; once His gift I wanted, now the Giver own; once I sought for healing, now Himself alone." Dr. A.B. Simpson is founder of the Christian and Missionary Alliance, 1887, a Presbyterian.
W. Heath: "A Christianís belief about the gifts of the Holy Spirit should not determine the bonds of Christian love. However, the over or under-emphasis must raise the flag of caution." An unknown Christian who loves God.
Dr. Robert A Jaffray, missionary, suffered indescribable indignity and anguish at the hands of the Japanese. Before he died on his filthy prison cot at Parc-Parc two weeks before World War II ended and prisoners were freed, Dr. Jaffray in his last report exhorted his fellow workers to be faithful unto death: "Let us keep our eyes steadily on the goal. . . . For when we hear the shout from the skies, all else will fade into utter nothingness. For the Lord shall descend - from heaven with a shout. Even so, come, Lord Jesus."
Acknowledgements: A sincere thanks is extended to the Saints at Yokosuka, Japan who gave there input to the several drafts of this article and more so to my wonderful wife Brunnie who is patient and permits me time in His Word and prayer. All Bible text is from the KJV or NKJV.
If you have been helped, have questions, or desire to have a copy of this in Japanese or Spanish to share with others please be free to email: firstname.lastname@example.org or write: William (Bill) Heath PSC 475, Box 1564 FPO AP 96350-1564
APPENDIX A - EXAMINATION ON THE SIGN AND GIFT OF TONGUES
|Write the Correct Answer "True or False Statement, or Don't Know" in the box for the 16 questions. See if any answers change after completing this study on Tongues.|
|1. Foreign speaking Jews of 15
different languages heard the Hebrew Jews proclaim the "wonderful works of
God" in their native tongue (known-understood-foreign language).
Acts 2:5-13 \ 1 Corinthians 14:20--22 (Tongues as Public and a Sign)
True or False Statement, or Don't Know
|2. Tongues as a personal prayer
language is spoken in the Book of Acts.
Acts 2:5-13, 8:14-17, 10:44-47, 19:4-6; Acts 15:6-12
True or False Statement, or Don't Know
If it is Ė then what verses?
|3. New Testament tongues is the
Spirit-given ability to speak a known, understood, human language not
Acts 2, 8, 10, 15, 19 and 1 Corinthians 12-14
True or False Statement, or Don't Know
|4. Tongues is a gift to some but not
to all. Also, the gift of tongues is the least of the
1 Corinthians 12:11-30 (Tongues as a Gift)
True or False Statement, or Don't Know
|5. When tongues is spoken in the
church it must be by 2 or 3 at the most, with interpreters and in order.
This is a commandment of God.
1 Corinthians 14:26-28, 33, 36-37 (Tongues as Public and a Gift)
True or False Statement, or Don't Know
|6. Tongues in Acts is a sign to
unbelievers, not to believers, a sign of judgment to the Jewish nation
that rejected and crucified Jesus Christ.
1 Corinthians 14:20-22, Isaiah 28:11-12 (Tongues as Public and a Sign)
True or False Statement, or Don't Know
|7. The evidence of the Baptism
of the Holy Spirit is to proclaim the wonderful works of God, have a
purified heart, all things in common, favor with men, and continue in the
Acts 2:42-47, 4:32-37, 15:6-12
True or False Statement, or Don't Know
|8. Tongues as a sign ceased
when Jerusalem and the temple were destroyed by a foreign nation (the
Roman Empire) in 70 AD. Tongues as a sign of judgment was no longer
1 Cor 13:8, 14:20-22, Isaiah 28:11-12, Church History (Public Tongues as a Sign)
True or False Statement, or Don't Know
|9. Tongues are compared to
prophesy (speaking the truth with boldness). Prophecy is much
greater and desired for all. Tongues without understanding of the hearer
is of no value.
1 Corinthians 14:1, 3-5, 24-25, 39 (Tongues as Public and a Gift)
True or False Statement, or Don't Know
|10. The church at Corinth
didn't have one mature believer to teach the doctrines of the Apostles,
were ignorant and needed correction. Much correction concerned the
gift of tongues because of mis-understanding.
1 Corinthians 3:1-4, 12:1-3, 14:20, 14:38
True or False Statement, or Don't Know
|11. In Acts the Truth of Jesus
Christ is spreading from the Jew to the Gentile as prophesied in Acts 1:8;
from Jerusalem to Samaria, to all Judea, and then the far parts of the
Acts 2:5-13, 8:14-17, 10:44-47, 19:4-6; Acts 15:6-12 (Public/a Sign
True or False Statement, or Don't Know
|12. Tongues as a personal
prayer language to God edifies (build or puff up) oneís self, not the
1 Corinthians 12:11-30 14:4-5, 12, 26 Tongues as Personal and a Gift. 1 Corinthians 4:18-19, 13:4
True or False Statement, or Don't Know
|13. Tongues as a personal prayer
language that edifies oneself instead of another or the body of Christ
never existed as a gift. The Apostle Paul only spoke in tongues of a
known-understood-foreign language to preach the Gospel to the
Acts 2, 8, 10, 15, 19 and 1 Corinthians 12-14
True or False Statement, or Don't Know
|14. When one or more people spoke
tongues without an interpreter the unsaved or unlearned said: "they edify
themselves, were as barbarians, speaking in the air, can't bless, children
in understanding, are crazy.
1 Corinthians 14:2, 4,8, 11-12, 16, 20, 23 Tongues as Public and a Gift
True or False Statement, or Don't Know
|15. Tongues is spoken by the
Corinthians as part of their past Gentile life, when they worshipped
idols, and they called Jesus accursed but did not understand what they
said. This was a counterfeit tongues
1 Corinthians 12:1-3 Tongues as a Gift
True or False Statement, or Don't Know
|16. Tongues as a personal
prayer language between a person and God has the same form of worship and
experiences as the pagan religions of Mormons, Spiritualists, Hindus,
Buddhists, Qigong, Tibeton Monks, Indians, Ö
1 Corinthians 14:1-3, Study and experience of different religions
True or False Statement, or Don't Know
|1. The Council of Jerusalem in Acts 15 is the watershed for the entire book of Acts. Our Father Abraham, Jewish Roots of the Christian Faith by Marvin R. Wilson, (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.,1989) p. 48.|
|2. Anthropologist George Jennings tells of
Tibetan Monks who, in their ritual dances, spoke "in English with
quotations from Shakespeare and with profanity like drunken, or in German,
or French." He also reports the experience of a scholar who, while
studying the customs of North American Indians, took the drug peyote and
heard in the Fox language what he knew was being sung in the Winnebago
dialect. The words left the mouth of the sinners in Winnebago; they
entered his ears in Fox. If true, these amazing phenomena cannot easily be
explained as the product of the subconscious.
|3. Study notes in The MacArthur Study Bible (Word Publishing, 1997) ISBN 0-8499-1222-9, p.1750.|
|4. The chronology of the Holy Scriptures related to the doctrine of tongues: 30 A.D. Acts 2, 40 A.D. Acts 10, 53 A.D. Acts 19, 57 A.D. 1 Corinthians, 58 A.D. Romans, 63 A.D. Ephesians, 64 A.D. 1 Peter, 70 A.D. Jerusalem fell to Rome. 90-100 A.D. I, II, III John and Revelations. Unger's Bible Dictionary by Moody Press, third edition, 1979, p. 201.|
very challenging alternate view of the gift of tongues. The
Apostle Paul had a high degree of learning, he knew nine (9) languages and
they were not foreign to himself, but to the listeners who could not
understand. At the great commercial city of Corinth there were
people of many languages, or dialects, present at the same service.
The gift of interpretation of tongues is translating a known language for
somebody that needs to hear the gospel. In this perspective both the
words tongues and unknown tongue both represent a known-understood
language in 1 Corinthians 12-14, and as always in the book of Acts.
If this were so, the gift of tongues and interpretation of tongues do not
need each other, they are independent of one another. Why would God
give one gift that could not be exercised without another gift? If
the gift of tongues and interpretation of tongues are independent of each
other, this sure falls in place with all the other gifts of the Spirit
mentioned in the New Testament (27 each), order in the church and
edification of the body of believers. If this is true, then Church
at Corinth needed this gift more than the other churches, this is why the
gift is not mentioned in the 3 other Epistles, God gives gifts according
to the need of the body of Christ. This view would do away with
counterfeit tongues or pagan tongues being spoken, as referred to in 1
Corinthians 12:1-3, and still prohibit the personal prayer language of
tongues. True Bible Tongues, Their Proper Place and Use in the
Church by Lawrence J. Chestnut, 1975.
|6. Taken from What the Church of the Nazarene Believes About Speaking in Tongues. General Assembly of the Church of the Nazarene, Manual of the Church of the Nazarene, section 905, 1985, and Rev. Bud Reedy, Stillmeadow Church of the Nazarene, York, PA.|
Concerning the source of the tongues
experience. ||Dr. Ernst Lohmann explains the
process: "What physical occurrences accompany this
phenomenon? The lower nerve-centers (the ganglionic system),
which have their chief seat in the region round the pit of the
stomach, i.e., solar plexus, are excited to increased
activity. At the same time the central region of the higher
nervous system (cerebral), which in a normal state of affairs is the
medium of conscious perception and action, becomes paralyzed..
. Those in this condition feel as it were an electric stream
pass thro ugh the body, which is an exciting of the lower nerves by
which a feeling of bliss is produced, and the jaws are moved in
speaking in tongues ... (The Overcomer, 1910, p. 114.)|
When the initial short circuit of the nervous system has occurred, the nerve pattern is thereby established and tongues speaking may be triggered at will. At first some stimulus may be required, but soon it is simply a matter of choice. Actually, some find themselves unable to control the babbling when stirred by the excitement of a meeting.
There are other penalties involved in this unnatural stimulation. The nervous system becomes affected: the highs are too high, and the inevitable lows are too low. Extended periods of deep depression occur, often resulting in nervous breakdowns. A far cry from the miraculously-given languages of the transitional early church days, and further still from the Christ-centered ministry of the Holy Spirit! The Complete Green Letters by Miles J. Stanford, Clarion Classics, 1975, pp. 309-310.
Be discerning of which version of War on the Saints and publisher you read. The abridged edition, 1912, by Christian Literature Crusade is the best. However the unabridged edition may be profitable if you replace the word "baptism" with "filling" regarding the Holy Spirit and replace "possession" with "oppression" regarding demons power over the saints. The abridged edition by Whittaker House (a Pentecostal Publisher) is missing at the end of the book; Summary of Ground, Brief Notes explaining what is meant by key words, and 31 points on "The True Workings of God, and the Counterfeits of Satan." These "endnotes" are vital to interpret and understand the whole book. The unabridged edition by Thomas E. Lowe LTD, 1974. has an overemphasis on Demons possessing Christians and the Baptism of the Holy Spirit as a second work of grace after salvation. Also the publisher Thomas Lowe endorses a modern book, The Bible, the Supernatural and the Jews, (see Amazon.com), which is watered down, mystical and Arminean. Note by William Heath.