WEBPAGE ADMINISTRATOR: Please read this article with an open mind, bent on the continual study of God’s word “THE BIBLE”. I know this subject is “Controversial” due to the fact that the Majority of Main stream Churches preach “Speaking in Tongues” as the only way to pray and receive the Holy Spirit; In accordance with God’s Holy and Accurate Word the Bible, “This is not so”. God is not a God of confusion, He is a God of order; He does not want people to pray to him without knowing what they are praying about. Please read the article below knowing that my objective is that everyone comes to know God as a loving Creator and Father of Mankind; He is a God of Love, and Order, and I place this article on my Webpage with love, knowing that the time of Jesus Christ arrival for his Church is very imminent, let us “Study” the word and prepare for his coming.
SPEAKING IN TONGUES
QUESTION: I have a question for you regarding being filled with the Holy Spirit. Do you believe, and does the Bible support, being filled with the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues or was it just for the book of Acts? My husband has been saved for 3 years and is still waiting for the evidence of speaking in tongues. Is it for everyone to use at all times or just certain times that the Lord decides? Any info you have would be great. Thanks!
ANSWER: All Christians have the Holy Spirit. At the first moment of our belief, the Holy Spirit comes to dwell within us (Ephes. 1:13-14) and will remain there till we’re raptured or die. Upon arriving, He begins counseling us to change our behavior to conform us to the image of Christ. He also assigns us one or more of His special gifts to help us fulfill the role He has for us in serving the Church (1 Cor. 12:7) The gifts He invests in us may include the ability to speak and understand languages we haven’t learned, or it may not. His gifts are distributed as He alone determines. (1 Cor. 12:11) Paul made it clear that not all would be given this gift because that wouldn’t serve the Body of Christ well. (1 Cor. 12:27-31)
The idea that speaking in tongues is a necessary evidence of Salvation stems from a generalization of two passages in Acts involving special circumstances. I’m setting aside Acts 2 because most everyone agrees that that situation was unique. There it wasn’t just the Apostles speaking in other languages. It was also that everyone heard what they were saying in his own native language (Acts 2:6)
The first time tongues is mentioned after that is in Acts 10 when Peter gave the Gospel message to a group of gentiles at Cornelius’ home. This was the first instance of the Gospel being officially and publicly shared with Gentiles, and speaking in other tongues was used to show the Jews that the Holy Spirit could be given to Gentiles as well. (Acts 10:44-46)
In the other one, Paul met some Gentiles who had only received John’s Baptism and were unaware of the Holy Spirit’s existence. When Paul baptized them some spoke in tongues and others prophesied. This was to show them the power of the Holy Spirit. (Acts 19:1-7) In both cases observers recognized other languages being spoken and saw the power of the Holy Spirit at work.
In the Greek language three words are used in conjunction with the Holy Spirit. The first is “para.” It means to be with someone. This is the way the Holy Spirit is described in the Old Testament. The second word is “ein” It means to be in someone, as is the case with every believer. The third word is “epi.” It means to come upon someone. Usually this is a temporary thing to accomplish a specific purpose. In all three cases in the Book of Acts the word “epi” is used to show that something unique and special was happening.
All of that said, there is no Biblical mandate that the gift of tongues is a necessary component of our salvation.
Today most people confuse the gift of tongues, which is literally the ability to speak understandably in a language you haven’t learned, with something called a prayer language, an ecstatic manifestation not meant to be understood. Advocates of this say that it’s found in two places in Paul’s writings. One is in 1 Cor 13:1 where Paul is really saying that even if he could speak in the language of angels, if no one could understand him it wouldn’t do any good. The other is in Romans 8:26-27 which says that the Holy Spirit intercedes for us in groaning that words cannot express. But in the first Paul was not claiming to speak in angelic tongues, but saying that even if he could it wouldn’t help anything if no one could understand. And in the second, it’s not the person who is praying, but the Holy Spirit praying for the person.
The Bible offers no further explanation on this, but it has always puzzled me that in some congregations everyone has a prayer language, while in others no one has one, and yet there must be at least some there who need the Holy Spirit’s intercession. Why, if it’s the Holy Spirit doing the praying, would He only pray for some? It makes me wonder how much of this is man made.
Here’s a link to a series I wrote that’ll give you more detail on Spiritual Gifts.
MORE ON SPEAKING IN TONGUES
QUESTION: I have always heard that speaking in tongues in the evidence of the baptism of the holy spirit. My Mother has never spoke in tongues but I am sure she is spirit filled. I know she is very shy and feels people are always looking down on her. Because of her my brother and sister are saved along with many of my extended family on my fathers side. She wants to have a prayer language. Also I cannot find the verse in the bible that states that speaking in tongues is evidence. Thank you so much for your help on this. I love reading your website. It has been alot of help to me.
ANSWER: You can’t find the verse because there is no Biblical support for the opinion that speaking in tongues is the only acceptable evidence for the baptism of the Holy Spirit. In the most comprehensive discussion on Spiritual gifts in the Bible (1 Cor. 12 -14) Paul made it plain that the Holy Spirit gives His gifts to believers as He determines for the good of the entire body. He specifically said that not all would speak in tongues.
There is also no support for the idea that the so-called prayer language is a manifestation of the gift of tongues, since its use is inconsistent with Paul’s instructions on the proper use of tongues. Prayer language cannot be interpreted, even by the person uttering it, and therefore its use is not edifying to the body. To the extent that it’s legitimate, it’s intended as a private communication between the spirit of the believer and the Spirit of God and should be exercised only in a believer’s private prayers.
CONTROVERSY OVER TONGUES
QUESTION: Please interpret this passage, as you believe what Paul is saying regarding the Gentiles?
“Ye know that ye were Gentiles carried away unto these dumb idols even as ye were led”. (This is from 1 Cor. 12:2 in the KJV)
Does this mean Gentiles are now Jews? Or,
Does this mean the Gentiles are now believers in Jesus Christ, having become “Born Again”, yet remain Gentiles?
ANSWER: Paul divided mankind into three groups, Jews, Gentiles and the Church. (1 Cor. 10:32) In writing to Corinth, he was addressing Gentiles who had been born again and were now members of the Church. As such they were neither Jew nor Gentile.
Evidently some who didn’t speak in tongues were saying that those who did were under the influence of their pagan idols and were actually cursing Jesus. Paul said that since their idols couldn’t speak, then no one speaking in tongues could be influenced by their idols to say “Jesus be cursed.” Conversely only a person under the influence of the Holy Spirit can say, “Jesus is Lord.” It was the first of many instances where jealousy over the gift of tongues has caused controversy in the Church.
DID THE GIFT OF TONGUES CHANGE?
QUESTION: At Pentecost when the Holy Spirit came upon the Apostles they spoke in Tongues and everyone understood them in their own language. It seems later the gift of Tongues changed to something secret and required an interpreter. What happened?
ANSWER: The purpose of the gift of tongues is to communicate a message from God. So everyone can know the message is truly from Him, He enables a person to speak the message in a language he or she doesn’t understand, and then enables another person to translate it into the common language of the listeners. In this way two different miracles confirm the validity of the message. In 1 Cor 14:27-28 Paul explained this.
If anyone speaks in a tongue, two—or at the most three—should speak, one at a time, and someone must interpret. If there is no interpreter, the speaker should keep quiet in the church and speak to himself and God.
This tells us under normal circumstances the gift of tongues has always required an interpreter. That’s why there’s also a gift of interpretation (1 Cor. 12:10) But at Pentecost the languages the disciples spoke in were the native languages of their listeners (Acts 2:3-11) so no interpreter was necessary.
DID SPEAKING IN TONGUES END OR NOT?
QUESTION: The gifts of the Spirit in the Bible lists speaking in tongues. Why do only Charismatic type churches practice this gift. Most other churches say it ended, I am confused. Where does it say it ended. The Bible does not say the other gifts ended, why that one?
ANSWER: The argument over spiritual gifts is man made and can not be justified Biblically. Every born again Christian has at least one Spiritual Gift. The problem started when theologians first took emotional positions either for or against them and then looked for Biblical confirmation to support their positions.
Pentecostals, of which Charismatics are a subset, are wrong to insist that the gift of tongues is mandatory evidence of the baptism of the Holy Spirit. This position has forced many thousands into false manifestations of the gift of tongues in order to avoid embarrassment and explains why nearly all Charismatics appear to have the gift of tongues.
Evangelicals are wrong to insist that Spiritual gifts were only given to the Apostolic (1st Century) Church. As a result most of their members don’t even look for their gifts, and others are forced to suppress theirs.
Paul chastised the early church regarding both these positions and clearly explained the purpose and function of spiritual gifts. (1 Cor. 12-14) But both groups are now “married” to positions that can’t be supported Biblically, and as a consequence very few are seeking the truth about one of the great blessings bestowed upon the Church.
THE GIFT OF TONGUES REVIEWED
QUESTION: Please help me on the issue of speaking in New Tongues. Mark 16: 17-18 says,
“And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.”
In our churches we see people going out of their way speaking in tongues because they are told that they are spiritually immature if they do not speak in tongues and they have been using the above verse and Acts 2 as something that obligates them to speaking in tongues.
I actually don’t speak in tongues and I cannot fake them if there is nothing that allows me to do that. I’m a principled believer that doesn’t do what I’m not sure of. I saw several people speaking this language that they cannot even know nor can they be known by any interpreter or outsider, claiming that God hears it. In some churches they even teach members how to speak in these funny tongues.
Please explain this issue of tongues before I get more confused or prejudiced or feel less of a believer because I don’t speak in tongues.
ANSWER: Technically, the people you refer to are not speaking in tongues, which is a supernatural ability to communicate in a language you haven’t learned. They’re expressing something called a prayer language which they say is not meant to be interpreted but is for God alone to understand. Some churches incorrectly teach that this prayer language is evidence that a believer has been baptized in the Holy Spirit. This is a practice that cannot be supported by Scripture.
There’s no Biblical requirement that all believers should speak in tongues. In 1 Cor. 12 where Paul explained the Spiritual Gifts, he said that the Holy Spirit gives different gifts to different people as He determines for the good of the body. Then he made a specific argument against all believers having the same gifts. And Mark 16 doesn’t say all believers will speak in tongues. It says that certain signs will accompany believers, tongues being one of them. If someone uses Mark 16 to say that everyone has to speak in tongues, then they have to agree that every believer also has to cast out demons, handle deadly snakes, drink poison and heal the sick.
Most scholars see Acts 2 as a special event where the Holy Spirit enabled the disciples to deliver the gospel message to the Jews gathered there from several different countries. It says the Holy Spirit “came upon” them visibly, like tongues of fire, indicating a special empowerment for that occasion. This visible sign does not normally accompany the gift of tongues. And notice that every person in the crowd heard and understood the message in their own language. This is not true of the so-called prayer language.