SPEAKING IN TONGUES II

SPEAKING IN TONGUES II

In the previous article, we discussed the questions raised regarding speaking in tongues and their associated assumptions. You can check that here.

In this article, we will be discussing the necessity of speaking in tongues.

Speaking in tongues is one of the most profound and often misunderstood gifts of the Holy Spirit. But when used properly, it can be a tremendous blessing to the body of believers.

Let me share a powerful example I witnessed recently. An English pastor was praying for someone in a country where they didn’t speak the language. Suddenly, the person he was praying for started speaking in tongues. As the pastor listened, the person was declaring the glory and goodness of God. Another pastor nearby tapped the English pastor and said, “No, she doesn’t know any English. That’s her prayer language.”

That’s the real beauty of speaking in tongues – it allows us to communicate directly with God, unhindered by language barriers. It’s a message to others, a divine communication that edifies the whole church.

Now, I know some of you may be uncomfortable with the idea of public displays of tongues. “I want to leave the church now,” you might be thinking. But hear me out. The apostle Paul provided important context for the use of this gift when writing to the Corinthian church, who were serving different gods.

Paul made it clear that every spiritual gift, including tongues, comes from God. The key is using it with wisdom and discernment, not disruptively. We shouldn’t just jump up and start speaking in tongues randomly during a service. There should be interpretation, and it should be done decently and in order.

When used properly, the gift of tongues can be a powerful testimony to the work of the Holy Spirit. It’s not something to be feared or avoided. Rather, it’s a tool that, when wielded with understanding and discretion, can build up the body of Christ. So let’s embrace this gift, and use it to glorify God and edify one another.

Developing the gift of speaking in tongues

As we explore the gift of speaking in tongues, it’s important to understand that this is a skill that takes time and practice to develop. Unlike regular skills that can be lost if not used, spiritual gifts given by God are permanent. But becoming proficient in a gift like tongues requires a process of growth and improvement.

We shouldn’t compare ourselves to others who have been practicing for many years. And we shouldn’t force ourselves to speak in a certain way. Instead, we need to be patient and let our unique “prayer language” emerge naturally. As we continue using this gift, our ability to speak in tongues will become stronger and more fluent.

Underlying this discussion is a broader principle that applies to the Christian life – the value of recording and reflecting on the insights and teachings we receive. The passage reminds us that written notes are more reliable than just relying on our memories. By writing things down, we not only preserve important truths but also deepen our understanding of how God is working in our lives.

The key is to approach the gift of tongues with an open heart, a willingness to learn, and reverence for the power of the Holy Spirit. 

How should we speak in tongues?

Taking this passage of scripture will help explain better. It is fairly long but a must-read.

12 Even so you, since you are zealous for spiritual gifts, let it be for the edification of the church that you seek to excel.

13 Therefore let him who speaks in a tongue pray that he may interpret.

14 For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my understanding is unfruitful.

15 What is the conclusion then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will also pray with the understanding. I will sing with the spirit, and I will also sing with the understanding.

16 Otherwise, if you bless with the spirit, how will he who occupies the place of the uninformed say “Amen” at your giving of thanks, since he does not understand what you say?

17 For you indeed give thanks well, but the other is not edified. 

18 I thank my God I speak with tongues more than you all;

19 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.

20 Brethren, do not be children in understanding; however, in malice be babes, but in understanding be mature.

21 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.

22 Therefore tongues are for a sign, not to those who believe but to unbelievers; but prophesying is not for unbelievers but for those who believe.

23 Therefore if the whole church comes together in one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in those who are uninformed or unbelievers, will they not say that you are out of your mind?

24 But if all prophesy, and an unbeliever or an uninformed person comes in, he is convinced by all, he is convicted by all.

25 And thus the secrets of his heart are revealed; and so, falling down on his face, he will worship God and report that God is truly among you.

26 How is it then, brethren? Whenever you come together, each of you has a psalm, has a teaching, has a tongue, has a revelation, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification.

27 If anyone speaks in a tongue, let there be two or at the most three, each in turn, and let one interpret.

28 But if there is no interpreter, let him keep silent in church, and let him speak to himself and to God.

29 Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others judge.

30 But if anything is revealed to another who sits by, let the first keep silent.

31 For you can all prophesy one by one, that all may learn and all may be encouraged.

32 And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets.

33 For God is not the author of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints.

34 Let your women keep silent in the churches, for they are not permitted to speak; but they are to be submissive, as the law also says.

35 And if they want to learn something, let them ask their own husbands at home; for it is shameful for women to speak in church.

36 Or did the word of God come originally from you? Or was it you only that it reached?

37 If anyone thinks himself to be a prophet or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things which I write to you are the commandments of the Lord.

38 But if anyone is ignorant, let him be ignorant.  

39 Therefore, brethren, desire earnestly to prophesy, and do not forbid to speak with tongues

 
1 Corinthians 14:12-39

There are biblical contexts that mention cultural and worldview aspects. But what was being said here was actually validating the role of speaking in tongues and interpretation.

Not everyone will have the gift of interpretation. Your speaking in tongues is sometimes not for interpretation but for your spiritual edification. There is no doubt that the gift of interpretation of tongues exists.

As we are praying, someone may speak in tongues, and another person receives a message to interpret. They understand what the person is saying and then share that word for the edification and encouragement of the church, not for its condemnation.

Someone cannot speak in tongues and then say “Thus says the Lord, all of you will die in five days.” No, that is not a valid interpretation. We would have to remove that person, as it is not orderly.

So when it comes to the gift of tongues, we must be mature, sensitive, and orderly, and use it to bless and build up one another.

It would not be appropriate for someone to interrupt a teaching and start speaking in tongues. That would be disruptive and disorderly. The spirit of the prophet is subject to the prophet.

Let’s be mature, sensitive, and orderly in how we exercise the gift of tongues so that we can bless and edify one another. Are you understanding this?

Sometimes in Pentecostal gatherings, things can seem out of order. But there should be structure and discernment. You can’t just have someone demand the microphone, claiming God told them to prophesy. That would be disorderly. We need to allow prophecy to be judged so that it truly builds up the body.

the purpose of tongues

In summary, speaking in tongues is a deeply personal and intimate form of communication with our Heavenly Father. When we pray in tongues, we are not in competition with one another. Rather, we are simply pouring our hearts out to the one who hears us and is delighted by our earnest prayers.

You see when you talk to your earthly father or mother, they can hear you, and you can also hear their response. In the same way, when we pray in tongues, we are talking to our Heavenly Father, and He hears us. The goal of our prayer is not to focus on ourselves but to focus on the one to whom we are speaking – our good, good Father.

The issue of prayer is not the prayer itself, but the God who is so willing to listen and respond. Our Father is so good and gracious, and He longs to hear the heartfelt prayers of His children.

So, my friends, I encourage you to rise up on your feet and seek the Lord. Ask Him to fill you with the power of the Holy Spirit and to unleash the gift of tongues in your life. As you do, know that your Heavenly Father is listening, and He is delighted to hear your prayers.

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