Speaking in Tongues

Speaking in Tongues
 
Let us seek God’s understanding of speaking in tongues.
 
First let us see how speaking in tongues was understood by the Apostles, from Strong’s. Then we can look at the scriptures themselves.
 
Tongues, Strong’s 1100. glossa, gloce-sah’; of uncert. aff.; the tongue; by imp a language (spec., one naturally unacquired):­ tongue {50x}.
 
Glossa is used of (1) the “tongues … like as of fire” which appeared at Pentecost; (2) “the tongue,” as an organ of speech, e.g., Mk 7:33; Rom 3:13; 14:11; 1 Cor 14:9; Phil 2:11; Jas 1:26; 3:5,6,8; 1 Pet 3:10; 1 Jn 3:18; Rev 16:10;
 
(3) “a language,” (spec., one naturally unacquired:3a) or (spiritually :3b) (3a) coupled with phule, “a tribe,” laos, “a people,” ethnos, “a nation,” seven times in the Apocalypse, 5:9; 7:9; 10:11; 11:9; 13:7; 14:6; 17:15;
 
(3b) the supernatural gift of speaking in another language without its having been learned; in Acts 2:4-13 the circumstances are recorded from the viewpoint of the hearers; to those in whose language the utterances where made it appeared as a supernatural phenomenon; to others, the stammering of drunkards; what was uttered was not addressed primarily to the audience but consisted in recounting “the mighty works of God”.
 
(3c) in 1 Cor. chapters 12 and 14, the use of the gift of “tongues” is mentioned as exercised in the gatherings of local churches; 12:10 speaks of the gift in general terms, and couples with it that of “the interpretation of tongues”; chapter 14 gives instruction concerning the use of the gift, the paramount object being the edification of the church; unless the “tongue” was interpreted the speaker would speak “not unto men, but unto God,”;
 
14:2; he would edify himself alone, v. 4, unless he interpreted, v. 5, in which case his interpretation would be of the same value as the superior gift or prophesying, as he would edify the church, I vv. 4-6; he must pray that he may interpret, v. 13; if there were no interpreter, he must keep silence, v. 28, for all things were to be done “unto edifying,” v. 26. “If I come, speaking with tongues, what shall I profit you,” says the apostle (expressing the great object in all oral ministry), “unless I speak to you, either by way of revelation, or of knowledge, or of prophesying, or of teaching?” (v. 6). “Tongues” were for a sign, not to believers, but to unbelievers, v. 22, and especially to unbelieving Jews (see v. 21): cf. the passages in the Acts.
 
(4) There is no evidence of the continuance of this gift after apostolic times nor indeed in the later times of the apostles themselves; this provides confirmation of the fulfillment in this way of 1 Cor 13:8, that this gift would cease in the churches, just as would “prophecies” and “knowledge” in the sense of knowledge received by immediate supernatural power (14:6). The completion of the Holy Scriptures has provided the churches with all that is necessary for individual and collective guidance, instruction, and edification.
 
1 Corinthians 12:1-13 (NKJV) 1 Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I do not want you to be ignorant: 2 You know that you were Gentiles, carried away to these dumb idols, however you were led. 3 Therefore I make known to you that no one speaking by the Spirit of God calls Jesus accursed, and no one can say that Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit.
 
4 There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. 5 There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. 6 And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all.
 
7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: 8 for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit, 10 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.
 
11 But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills.
 
12 For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ. 13 For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body–whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free–and have all been made to drink into one Spirit.
 
1 Corinthians 13:8-10 (NKJV) 8 Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away.
 
9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part. 10 But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away.
 
1 Corinthians 14 New King James Version (NKJV) Prophecy and Tongues 1 Pursue love, and desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy.
2 For he who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God, for no one understands him; however, in the spirit he speaks mysteries.
 
3 But he who prophesies speaks edification and exhortation and comfort to men.
4 He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself, but he who prophesies edifies the church.
 
5 I wish you all spoke with tongues, but even more that you prophesied;
for he who prophesies is greater than he who speaks with tongues, unless indeed he interprets, that the church may receive edification.
 
Tongues Must Be Interpreted 6 But now, brethren, if I come to you speaking with tongues, what shall I profit you unless I speak to you either by revelation, by knowledge, by prophesying, or by teaching? 7 Even things without life, whether flute or harp, when they make a sound, unless they make a distinction in the sounds, how will it be known what is piped or played? 8 For if the trumpet makes an uncertain sound, who will prepare for battle?
 
9 So likewise you, unless you utter by the tongue words easy to understand, how will it be known what is spoken? For you will be speaking into the air. 10 There are, it may be, so many kinds of voices in the world, and none of them is without signification.
 
11 Therefore if I know not the meaning of the voice, I shall be unto him that speaks a barbarian, and he that speaks shall be a barbarian unto me.
 
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.
 
Tongues a Sign to Unbelievers 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.
 
Order in Church Meetings 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 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. 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.
 
40 Let all things be done decently and in order.
 
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