1 Cor. 13:1(NRSV), "If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or clanging cymbal."I was in a class where the discussion of speaking in tongues was brought up. Based on Acts ch. 2 where the disciples were speaking languages they didn't know but those around them did, I asked the question, "Speaking in tongues is then a known language, not by the one speaking but someone within hearing?" The teacher quoted this verse and said "no". He said "that based on this verse there are heavenly languages, so speaking in tongues is as the Spirit gives utterance."After going back to the text, I'm assured that the teacher is mistaken. It is evident that Paul makes a contrast that goes down the next couple of verses. I can't accept that the purpose of this verse is to set a doctrine on the language of tongues.Is there someone who can lead me through this text?
The verse in its context speaks of love, thatis the subject of I Corinthians 13. Yourquestion is right, the verse refers to knownlanguage; but words are empty and vain if loveis not the motive behind them !!
_________________Martin G. Smith
This is my limited experience/understanding with 'speaking in tongues':The verse says, 'though i speak in the tongues of men and of angels'....I believe [by reason of experience] there are instances where the one praying/speaking in tongues is, by the anointing of the Holy Spirit, speaking a human language with which he has previous facility. I also believe [for the same reason as above] that we may, by the anointing of the Holy Spirit, pray in a heavenly language to accomplish the Father's purpose. There are testimonies to both observations.As shown in this passage and others, the essence of human involvement in spiritual/supernatural doings is to manifest the love of God to His creation.