Speaking in Tongues can be a Gift from the Holy Ghost



Speak in tongues is a gift of the Holy Ghost. God gives the gift with the instructions to operate his gifts. Speaking in tongues is for self-edification. Believers misuse the gift without knowing proper instructions.

The Holy Spirit gives many gifts to believers. One of the gifts is speaking with other tongues. Though these gifts are called as the gifts of the Holy Spirit, actually these gifts comes from God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.  "1 Cor 12:4 Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. 5 And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. 6 And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all."  However the operations of all gifts in the church are executed by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit gives the gifts to those whom he seems fit.  "1 Cor 12:11 But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will."

1. Speaking With Tongues

The gift of speaking with tongues was first promised to believers by the Lord Jesus Christ. "Mark 16:17 -- these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;"

A. The Holy Spirit gives Utterance as Believers Speak

If the gift to speak with new tongues is given to a person, the Holy Spirit gives the utterance as he speaks. We may even say that the Holy Spirit speaks the languages through the person.  Because the person speaks with the Holy Spirit, it is called the gift of speaking with other tongues.  "Acts 2:4 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance."

B. Devout men heard as Believers spoke

God gives believers the gift of speaking with other tongues. God not only gives utterance to speak, but also enable the devout people to hear the speaking in their own language. "Acts 2: 5 And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven. 6 --- because that every man heard them speak in his own language. --- 8 And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born? Acts 10:46 For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God."  But others, who were not devout believers, did not understand anything.  Always there will be two groups of people.  God may interpret the language to the devout group but not to the other.  "Acts 2:13 Others mocking said, These men are full of new wine."

C. Believers discerned the Tongues

The spoken tongues were not made known to believers who were with apostles Peter and Paul. Even then they were able to discern that the speaking of tongues was of God. "Acts 10:45 And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost. 46 For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Acts 19:6 And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied."

D. Apostle Paul spoke in Tongues

Ordinary people took the gift of speaking in tongues for drunkenness. Even at this present time people, who are not devoted to God, will not be able to discern the gift of speaking in tongues.  It is not given to them to understand. "Acts 2:13 Others mocking said, These men are full of new wine."  But Apostle Paul encouraged the people that everybody should speak with tongues.  He also testifies that he spoke with tongues more than all of them.  "1 Cor 14:5 I would that ye all spake with tongues, ---. 18 I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than ye all:"

E. The Gifts of God are given to Profit

The gifts of the Holy Spirit are given, even to rebellious (disobedient) people, so that God may dwell among believers. "Psalms 68:18 --- thou hast received gifts for men; yea, for the rebellious also, that the LORD God might dwell among them."   The purpose of manifestation is that the believers must be profited by the gifts. "1 Cor 12:7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal."

2. Diversities of Tongues

Believers speak with other tongues as God gives them utterance.  They speak in many different languages.  These tongues have different functions and purposes. These are the diversities of tongues which is diverse kinds of tongues. "1 Cor 12:10 --- to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues. ---- 28 --- then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues."

A. The Tongues of Men and of Angels

Believers are given to speak any language, which are spoken by men or even by angels, as God the Holy Spirit gives utterance.  "1 Cor 13:1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels,-- Acts 2:4 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance."

B. Speaking to God  with Tongues

By the gift of tongues believers speak to God even mysteries.  But others can not understand the language. "1 Cor 14:2 For he that speaketh in an unknown tongue speaketh not unto men, but unto God: for no man understandeth him; howbeit in the spirit he speaketh mysteries." By this gift believers may speak to God, as the Holy Spirit inspires them, even if the person who speaks the language may not understand what he prays. Here, 'the spirit of man' spoke, but the person did not understand. "1 Cor 14:14 For if I pray in an unknown tongue, my spirit prayeth, but my understanding is unfruitful. 15 What is it then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also:"

C. God Speaks through Tongues

God speaks his messages through prophetic tongues.  Prophesy is for the believers in the Church. So the tongue should be interpreted to them.  God gives gift of interpretation to believers so that the church may get the message.  If no one in the church have the gift of interpretation, God says that the person who have the gift of tongues pray for the gift of interpretation so that the person may receive the gift and interpret the message.   "1 Cor 14:5 I would that ye all spake with tongues, but rather that ye prophesied: for greater is he that prophesieth than he that speaketh with tongues, except he interpret, that the church may receive edifying. 6 Now, brethren, if I come unto you speaking with tongues, what shall I profit you, except I shall speak to you either by revelation, or by knowledge, or by prophesying, or by doctrine?-- 13 Wherefore let him that speaketh in an unknown tongue pray that he may interpret."

D. Tongues for Self Edification

God says that those who speak with tongues edify themselves, even though nobody understands how. "1 Cor 14:4 He that speaketh in an unknown tongue edifieth himself…"

3. Workers and Gifts of God

There are orders of ranks set by God in the church for his service.  These ranks start from the level of apostles and end with the level of believers in his body, the church.  God gives gifts in all level for personal profit as well as the profit of the body.

A. The Ministers of God and Miracles

Among the ministers of God, apostles are ranked first, prophets are ranked second and teachers, who are pastors, are ranked third.  Evangelists are in the same rank of pastors, but they minister in the field to bring believers to the church. "Eph 4:11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;  1 Cor 12:27 Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular. 28 And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, ---."  Workings of miracles are mentioned just after the three ranks of office.  These miracles are done by the above ministers as God gives them power to do it. "1 Cor 12:28 --- after that miracles, ---.  Gal 3:5 He therefore that ministereth to you the Spirit, and worketh miracles among you, --- 2 Cor 12:12 Truly the signs of an apostle were wrought among you in all patience, in signs, and wonders, and mighty deeds. Heb 2:4 God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will?"

B. Helps, Governments, Healings and Tongues

In this group two categories of functions and two categories of gifts are mentioned.  Helps and governments are not placed one over the other. But they should work side by side and they are placed under the first group.  Gifts of healings and diversities of tongues should operate in this group.  "1 Cor 12:28 --- then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.  James 5:14 Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: 15 And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him."

C. Believers and Gifts of the Holy Spirit

God brings the believers to the church.  "Acts 2:47 --- And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved." The ministers of the first three ranks are given by God to bring the believers to perfection up to the same measures of the  fullness of Jesus Christ.  "Eph 4:11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; 12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: 13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:"  The Holy Spirit gave many gifts  for the benefit of these believers according his will.  "1 Cor 12:8 For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; 9 To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit: 10 To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues: 11 But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will."

4. The Misunderstandings of Tongues

God gives instructions for the operations of gifts, including the use of the gift of the tongues. But some people throw the gift away by misunderstanding the instructions.  Instructions are meant to use the gifts properly, efficiently and profitably.  But it is not to destroy or to discard the gifts.

A. Sounding Brass and Tinkling Cymbal

Jesus Christ loves his people and saves them from their sins.  He gave himself to gain our souls for his kingdom, on earth and in heaven.  "Matt 1:21--- call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins. Titus 2:13 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; 14 Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works."  This love is called charityIf we have charity we will also give ourselves to save others from their sins, and will bury multitude of sins.  "1 Peter 4:8 And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins."  The gifts of God must be used for the cause of the kingdom of God, which is to save people from their sins. Nobody should use the gifts for a show or for personal fame and profit. God's truth will not discredit God's gifts, but emphasize the importance of why the gifts are in operation. Here the instruction is not to use the gift of speaking with tongues for a show, but only with charity. Charity is the love that gains souls for the kingdom of God.  "1 Cor 13:1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal."

B. Charity compared with the Gifts

Charity is sacrificial love of a person toward anybody to save his/her soul from eternal destruction. Charity, holiness, righteousness, etc becomes the part of the character of a true believer. Character is part of a soul, which will continue through eternity. The Holy Spirit gives the gifts to us for the edification of the church, to bring the church to the maturity of Jesus. When the job is done the gifts will cease. However, charity will remain with us in eternity, since it is the character part of our soul.. "1 Cor 13:8 Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. ---." This is the comparison of the position of the gifts with charity.

C. Has the Gift of Tongues Ceased ?

"1 Cor 13:8 ---prophecies they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away." False teachers claim that the gift of tongues has ceased already.  If so, the knowledge also should vanish with the tongues.  But they claim that they still have the Knowledge of God to understand the Bible.  As the gifts fail, both tongues and knowledge should have stopped simultaneously. They still have the knowledge of God. If the knowledge has not vanished, then the tongues also could not have ceased.

Prophesies are not the full picture of hidden things or things to come.  But they give a partial understanding. All the gifts of the Holy Spirit are supposed to work in part. But when the Perfect comes the believers will have perfect understanding of the mysteries of God and the things to come. Then the gifts which work in part will not be needed. So they will cease.   "1 Cor 13:9 For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.10 But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away." Now the big question is, which is the "Perfect" that comes?

"1 Cor 13:12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.  1 John 3:2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is."  The world is in total blindness concerning the kingdom of God.  But believers are given the sight to see the kingdom through the gifts of the Holy Spirit. However, the given sight is partial as they see through a dark glass.  But when Jesus Christ who is the Perfect comes for his Church, his bride will be transformed to his glory. Then, his bride will see directly, but not as through the dark glass, which was through the gifts.  After that the Church will not need the gifts, so they cease.  But until Jesus Christ, the Perfect, comes for his Church, the gifts of the Holy Spirit will continue in operation to build the Church, his bride.

D. Perfection of the Bride of Christ

"2 Cor 11:2 For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. 3 But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ." Satan and his workers are trying to deceive "the bride to be" of Christ by subtlety so that she may not use the gifts of God to make herself the chaste virgin. Workers of the serpent try to falsify or corrupt the simplicity of Christ. His simplicity will accept only the chaste virgin to be his bride. Without the word of God, the gifts of the Holy Spirit and the work of Lord Jesus Christ, nobody can become the chaste virgin of Christ.  "Eph 5:25 --- Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; 26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, 27 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish."

5. The Tongues are Signs for Unbelievers

A. In the law it is written

"1 Cor 14:20 Brethren, be not children in understanding: howbeit in malice be ye children, but in understanding be men. 21 In the law it is written, With men of other tongues and other lips will I speak unto this people; and yet for all that will they not hear me, saith the Lord. 22 Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not:..." This gift of speaking with tongues is the fulfillments of an Old Testament prophesy.  If one verse in the Bible refers to another verse, then we must study the other verse also so that we may know the actual truth of the original verse.  So let us refer the Old Testament verses Isaiah 28:9-13, which explain the context. There we find that the gift of speaking with other tongues, which edifies the believers as a gift, condemns the unbelievers as a sign. 

B. Are You weaned from the milk?  

There is a time to desire the milk and to grow by it as we drink. "1 Peter 2:1 Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings, 2 As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby: 3 If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious."  But in order to receive milk we should lay aside malice, guile, envies and hypocrisies.  The milk is the basic doctrines of the Word of God. Drinking is to do what the basic doctrines ask us to do. If we have obeyed then we have tasted the grace of God. "Heb 5:12 For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. 13 For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe." Again, just obeying the basic doctrine only is not growth. God wants them to grow from being babies so that they can eat meat.  "Isaiah 28:9 Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine? them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts."  God shall teach spiritual knowledge and doctrines, only to those who has fulfilled and grown above the foundational doctrines.

C. Precept upon precept; Line upon line

"Isaiah 28:10 For (they say*) precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little: 11 For with stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to this people. 12 To whom he said, This is the rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest; and this is the refreshing: yet they would not hear. 13 But (therefore*) the word of the LORD was unto them precept upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little; that they might go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken." (* added to match eastern Bible.) The so called believers, who has no desire to obey God, say that they will obey a little at a time, here a little and there a little.  Because they say thus, God speaks to them with stammering lips and another tongue.  God says that this will give rest to the weary and this is the refreshing. The true believers will receive this. "1 Cor 14:22 Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not:" But the so called believers would not believe what God says.  So God set the gift of speaking in tongues as a sign to the so called believers that “they might go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken.”  This means that they are spiritually destroyed while on earth and will also eternally be condemned.

6. Christ Commands

Lord Jesus Christ, through Apostle Paul, commands the believers to desire prophesy and not to stop anyone from speaking with tongues. "1 Cor 14:37 --- I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord 39 --- covet to prophesy, and forbid not to speak with tongues."  But false workers are trying to stop the gifts of God even by committing blasphemy by saying that tongue speaking is of the devil. "1 Cor 14:38 But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant." The gift of tongues edifies the speaker. With the gift of interpretation it edifies the church.  "1 Cor 14:4 He that speaketh in an unknown tongue edifieth himself; ---." God desires that every believer should speak in tongues. "1 Cor 14:5 I would that ye all spake with tongues."

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God Bless You

I am a retired pastor of the Church of God (Tennessee).
My name is Isaac Livingston. I am from Neyyoor India.

If we love God with reverential fear, we will obey God and We will stop sinning.

 

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Blessings of God

God, having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you,
in turning away every one of you from his iniquities.
Acts 3:26
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and
the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen.
2 Cor 13:14