Archive for the ‘Holy Spirit’ Category

The gift of tongues

1 Corinthians chapter 12 verse 10 and to another workings of powers, to another prophecy; and to another discerning of spirits; and to another kinds of tongues; and to another the interpretation of tongues.

This is probably the most controversial of the gifts and was first spoken of  as a gift from the Holy Spirit in the book of Acts.

Acts chapter 2 verse 4 And they were all filled of the Holy Spirit, and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

There are various beliefs within the Christian world as to what the gift of tongues refers to.  Generally speaking there seems to be three views.  Some Christians believe that tongues relate entirely to the various different languages spoken by the world’s populations.  These new tongues (languages) enabled the disciples to spread the gospel as revealed in Acts chapter 2 verses 4 to 11.

Other Christians believe that tongues refer to a prayer language not a human language which God understands but is not understood by humans :-

1 Corinthians chapter 14 verse 2 For he who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God. For no one hears, but in spirit he speaks mysteries.

There are some Christians who believe that both of these views are true.  That tongues is indeed a gift which allows Christians to speak to God in a language that only He understands; but also that it is a gift allowing them to be able to speak to those of a different nationality like what happened in Acts chapter 2.  You can often find those of differing beliefs regarding the gift of tongues in the same congregation.  Unfortunately some who hold to just one of the variations can find it difficult to worship with those of a differing view.

There is still a belief that those who cannot speak in a tongue are not true born again believers.  This stems from Mark chapter 16 verses 16 to 18 where Jesus told the disciples; He who believes and is baptized will be saved, but he who does not believe will be condemnedAnd miraculous signs will follow to those believing these things: in My name they will cast out demons; they will speak new tongues.   They will take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not hurt them.

It is thought by some scholars that Mark 16 verses 9 to 20 was added at a later date than the rest of this gospel; so it is unsafe to use them as a basis to build any doctrine.  Taken in isolation from the rest of the Bible it would be unsafe to build doctrine on it.  However, all the Bible is God approved and as such serves His purposes and has meaning.   There is no mention in these few verses of the tongues being empowered by the Holy Spirit.  The apostle Paul writing to the church in Corinth clearly believes that tongues are empowered by the Holy Spirit.  These verses in Mark go on to say that Christians can handle venomous snakes and drink poison without being harmed:  This may well be the case for those believers who are completely obedient to the will of the Lord such as the Apostle Paul (Acts 28 verses 3-6).  Yet, I doubt there are many responsible Pastors or Ministers who would encourage their congregations to drink poison or handle venomous snakes.

To finish with the apostle Paul did not consider tongues as important a gift as that of prophesy (1 Corinthians chapter 14 verse 5).  In fact in the list of gifts those appertaining to tongues are listed last.

Paul claimed to have the gift of tongues (1 Corinthians chapter 14 verse 18) but he certainly did not believe that all Christians had the gift (1 Corinthians chapter 12 verses 29-30).

Paul regarded tongues as more a gift for use in private than in public (1Corinthians chapter 14 verse 19).  If tongues were used in public then they should be conducted in an orderly manner (1 Corinthians chapter 14 verse 27); and there should be an interpretation (1 Corinthians chapter 14 verses 27-28).

If there was an intrinsic  risk involved in using the gift of tongues then surely Paul would have forbid all Christians, especially a church as dysfunctional as the one in Corinth, from using or seeking it.  The main risk being that some tongues could be from a demonic source rather than the Holy Spirit.  However, Paul does not ban it (1 Corinthians chapter 14 verse 39).

All Bible quotes taken from Modern King James Version