What does the Bible say about speaking in tongues?
The gift of speaking in tongues is a spiritual gift; however, it is one of the most understood gifts of the spirit. Speaking in tongues means speaking with words or in a language one doesn’t know in order to edify both oneself and others. Jesus foretold of speaking in tongues in the Book of Mark: “And these signs will follow those who believe…they will speak with new tongues” (Mark 16:17). The first time anybody spoke in tongues was on the day of Pentecost, recorded in the Book of Acts, when the Holy Spirit was poured out on the apostles. The apostles spoke the gospel to the crowds in Jerusalem, and what they said could be understood by people speaking many different languages: “…we hear them speaking in our own tongues the wonderful works of God” (Acts 2:11). Later Paul wrote about the gift of speaking in tongues, in 1 Corinthians 12 and 14. Here, he writes that the person speaking in tongues doesn’t speak an understandable language: “no one understand him; however in his spirit he speaks mysteries” (1 Corinthians 14:2). Yet, this gift that has been given to believers can be of benefit to the recipients and used to edify others in Christian gatherings. Here are five things you should know about speaking in tongues.
1. Most of What We Know About This Gift is Written By Paul
Much of what is written in Scripture about the gift is written by Paul to the Corinthian church. Apparently many of them had received this gift but did not understand the proper use of it in their gatherings. Paul attempted to help them understand its purpose: “There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues” (1 Corinthians 12:4-10). The gift of speaking in tongues was one of many given to believers to aid in the building up of the body of Christ, which is the Church.
2. It Manifests as Spiritual Language
Supernatural utterance through the power of the Holy Spirit in a person that manifests as spiritual language. The Holy Spirit energizes the tongues to edify believers through language and music. Speaking in tongues is the most misunderstood and dynamic gift. It is not your prayer language, but it can surface through intercession, conference or through the individual. Supernatural utterance in languages known to the speaker, these languages may be existent in the world, revived from some past culture or unknown in the sense that they are a means of communication inspired by the Holy Spirit (Isaiah 28:11).
3. It is a Sign For Unbelievers
One reason the gift of the tongues is given is as a sign for unbelievers: “In the law it is written: ‘With men of other tongues and other lips I will speak to this people; And yet, for all that, they will not hear Me,’ says the Lord. Therefore tongues are for a sign, not to those who believe but to unbelievers” (1 Corinthians 14:21-22). In this way, it could benefit those who attend a gathering but have not yet committed their life to Christ. There are also occurrences in the Book of Acts in which people who were baptized with the Holy Spirit spoke in tongues at the same time. This occurred most notably on the day of Pentecost when the baptism of the Holy Spirit was given for the first time, related in Acts 1.
4. Interpretation of Tongues is Not the Same Gift
Interpretation of tongues is a supernatural verbalization that reveals the meaning of a diverse tongue. This fits operates out of the mind of the Spirit rather than out of the mind of man. It is important to note that interpretation of tongues in not the same thing as the translation of tongues, for the interpreter never understands the tongue he or she interpretation. For example, the message in tongues may be long and the interpretation short because the interpretation only gives meaning.
5. It Can Benefit a Person
Speaking in tongues in itself can benefit a person. Paul states: “He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself” (1 Corinthians 14:4). Speaking in tongues can help you express what is in your spirit and which you cannot express with words. Paul makes it clear that the best way to edify the church is to speak prophetically, with “plain” words that build faith and understanding for all who hear the message. “I thank God I speak with tongues more than you all; yet in the church I would rather speak five words with my understanding, that I may teach others also, than ten thousand words in a tongue” (1 Corinthians 14:18-19).
God can give a person the gift of speaking in tongues to enable him or her to communicate with a person who speaks another language. The Bible tells us. “All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as He wills” (1 Corinthians 12:11).Tongues does not seem to occur today in the manner it did in the New Testament, despite the fact that it would be incredibly useful. The vast majority of believers who claim to practice the gift of speaking in tongues do not do so in agreement with Scripture. The gift of tongues today is a rarity.
Written By: By Lesli White
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