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Discussion Forum : Scriptures and Doctrine : tongues

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Joined: 2003/5/12
Posts: 573


I'll take a crack at it again.

I think I see what you're saying about 1 Cor. 14:2, but I think it's clearly a stretch to see it that way. It clearly says that the one who speaks in a tongue "does not speak to men." If it was just a case of a Hebrew speaking Spanish, as you mentioned, it doesn't add up. Who would he speak Spanish to? The moment he spoke to another man this theory is done. Because the tongues Paul is talking about here does not involve speaking to men, only to God.

It says that "no one understands." Again, if it was the case with a Hebrew speaking Spanish, the minute the Spanish-speaking person understood this theory is done. Because it seems clear that the tongues Paul is talking about here is understood by nobody. If the language is understood, then how could it be the tongues Paul is talking about here?

One verse is enough. If it says it, it says it. Who says there has to be a strong doctrine made out of it? It's simply a truth.

But I also think 1 Cor. 14:4 is relevant here.

1 Cor. 14:4
"One who speaks in a tongue edifies himself."

If it was just some real language he was speaking which he didn't know, and not a spiritual language, how would that edify him? If I just started reading off vocabulary words in Spanish that I didn't know in some random order and the sounds were just coming out of my mouth and I had no idea what any of it meant, I don't think I'd be edified.

Why would the Holy Spirit ever give this gift to someone and have them use it unless an interpreter is there? Clearly, according to 1 Cor. 14, the gift functions when there is no interpreter there. And if there's no interpreter, what's the point, according to the theory you are proposing?

I think the most obvious point the Scripture makes about speaking in tongues is that it edifies the believer. And the stronger the believer is in God, the more of a blessing he will be to the Church and the world.

But I believe there are many other benefits and fruits of speaking in tongues.

 2005/7/13 1:47Profile

Joined: 2004/9/28
Posts: 957
Cleveland, Georgia



I know exactly what your asking, and I worried myself for sometime trying to figure that out. I don't know whether it's a language of heaven or a language of man. But make sure to post a thread when you find out! I've heard good godly men preach both sides, and I just decided to "covet earnestly the best gifts" and not to divide from anybody that loves Jesus Christ and the Bible!

Hal Bachman

 2005/7/13 2:13Profile


hmm, good stance... ill probly get back on this topic within a week hopefully.

 2005/7/13 2:15

Joined: 2003/7/18
Posts: 6566
Reading, UK


This has been a long thread and I have only scanned it but I think it is instructive and challenging to note how Paul expected 'tongues' to function. I don't think there are many who would dispute the interpretation than in 1 Cor 14...'“For if I pray in an unknown tongue, my spirit prayeth, but my understanding is unfruitful. What is it then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also: I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also.” (1Cor. 14:14-15, KJVS)...the phrase "with the spirit" is synonymous with "in an unknown tongue". The interesting thing is that when Paul illustrates his point he identifies three areas of activity...
1. I will pray with the spirit
2. I will sing with the spirit
3. when thou shalt bless with the spirit
4. giving of thanks

The orientation of these activites is always God-wards. This is the individual reaching out to God in each instance. Paul follows this with the statement that his personal exercise of 'speaking in tongues' was more than those to whom he wrote. He plainly does not expect any 'interpretation' of this exercise, either from others or from himself. He is confident, nevertheless, that 1Cor. 14:4 He that speaketh in an unknown tongue edifieth himself...In our own meetings tongues and interpretation takes two clear routes. Sometimes the 'tongue utterance' is interpreted with a prophetic orientation. By that I mean that the interpretation is as though God were speaking to the gathered saints. At other times, however, the 'tongue utterance' is interpreted with a prayer orientation. By that I mean that the interpretation is as though the speaker was addressing God. We have no laws about this but when the gathered saints are given an insight into the 'prayer with the spirit' of an individual it is always a powerful spur to personal response to God.

I think many may have narrowed the usefulness of this 'manifestation of the Spirit' by their own narrowed expectations.

Ron Bailey

 2005/7/15 5:07Profile

 Re: tongues - a few thoughts

1 Corinthians 13:1
Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels,

2 Corinthians 12:4
How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.

When I was first attending gatherings with those who had received the Holy Spirit, there was a young man (leading) who had many questions to the Lord, about the gifts of the Spirit. He was new to the demands of being a Christian, and was trying to understand gifts as well as the benefit of obedience, having recently found himself applying paint to someone else's walls. He was not used to doing things for other people.

His helpful observation was this: that one has to 'put the power of one's body' into comlying with the Spirit, whether it be obedience to undertake a new activity (such as painting) or, obedience to operate gift(s) one has received.

This understanding has made a huge difference to my life. Eventually, when God was giving me the gift of tongues, I [i]understood[/i] that if I wanted to benefit from it, I had to be obedient to put the 'power of my body' into giving voice to the word from the Spirit. In the same terms as Romans 8:27 'he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what the mind of the Spirit' somehow, tongues work both to communicate with God and for God to minister. Sometimes, it is a different tongue from other times, but this is not a frequent occurrence, nor anything but a matter for praise and worship.

Regarding the discussion in previous posts about language, therefore, this is what happened to a girl I once knew. She was German and before I met her, had come to the UK to learn English. She was soon invited to a local charismatic church and had what can only be described as a striking spiritual experience. She had no idea what to expect, or, faith in God, having become an atheist and leaving behind her Roman Catholic roots long before she came to Britain.

What she heard at church, eventually, was someone speaking in an unknown tongue. It was neither English, nor German, BUT SHE UNDERSTOOD EVERY 'WORD'. In other words, as the person gave the 'tongue' the Holy Spirit was giving the [i]interpretation[/i] to [i]her[/i] heart and [i]mind[/i]. (She responded to God once she was back in her room and many demons left her body that afternoon. This was the beginning of her conversion and salvation.)

 2005/7/15 9:19


Here is my question, those both are great testimonies to tounges/gifts. and that encouraged me.

But, here is my question. Paul said the purpose of tounges, is a 'sign to the unbeliever'. But later says 'if an unbeliever or ungifted man walks in, he will think your mad'.

So, there must be more than one purpose of tounges, yes?

*going against my own made up stuff, ie, tounges is just a man language*

Haha, i orginally made this reply to be 'against tounges being spiritual language' but since i quoted that last verse...umm it went the other way..

So, maybe i was truly hearing from God.

1. Prayer (unknown to anyone except the Lord)
2. Prophetic (2-3 needs to interupt)
3. Mysteries, Evanglistical (No one, it just happens 'Peter/disciples/120 spoke, everyone heard the words in their own language')

That was my first stance on tounges, because i truly felt this is what God spoke to me.

I'm not dissing the bible, but that is where People's lives come in. To fill the 'missing words' in the bible. Or 'unknown things'. The epistles of Christ help us understand the Written Word of God.

I need to pray about this. Peace. Thanks folks, any more people?

 2005/7/15 10:37

 Re: tongues and prophecy

2. Prophetic (2-3 needs to interupt)


Not all prophecy comes forward in tongues. It is very often in the language spoken locally.

I would not assume either, that there [i]ought[/i] to be interruptions when a prophecy is being given, especially if it is being given in tongues, when it is next natural to wait for the Spirit to give someone the interpretation.

The verse which says the spirits of the prophets is subject to the prophets, (1 Cor 14:32) suggests there is a choice about whether to speak now, or in the next 'window' which becomes available.

 2005/7/15 11:10

Joined: 2005/6/26
Posts: 55

 Re: tongues

About understanding tongues may I recount a story I read in J.I. Packer's book "Knowing God". He told of a time when an African got up in church to recite Psalm 23 in an obscure African dialect. That reading was "interpreted" in a totally unrelated way. Packer asks - where did all this come from. In one of Art Katz sermons - the Crucified Christ (I think), he also questioned this practice and regreted that churches are giving room to this.

Where do I stand on this? I feel there are indeed many types of tongues and in the confusion, the Devil is right in the midst of it sometimes. There is a huge demand on our own part to be discerning and that is the very reason why I doubted myself. I dont want to throw out the baby with the bathwater but on the otherhand I dont want to hold on the the Devil's baby. Truly it is a dilema.

If I err, I stumble myself and thats okay. My faith would just be held back for a while. But if I stumble unbelievers and they are turned off by my behavior, I am responsible.

 2005/7/15 11:23Profile



dorcas wrote:
2. Prophetic (2-3 needs to interupt)


Not all prophecy comes forward in tongues. It is very often in the language spoken locally.

I never said that. I am a straight forward person.

I was speaking of TOUNGES and the purposes of it. Not of any other gift.

Prophesy can work thru our language and thru tounges. Don't be so quick to speak. The topic is Tounges, not prophesy.

There is only 3 purposes of tounges.

1. Edify self (Prayer language)
2. Edify church *Prophesy*(Tounges, with 2-3 interupting)
3. Waken or Edify unbeliever (Acts 2, Speaking mysteries in their own language, or receving a certain language , 'record' time.)

understand? Again, i need to pray and dwell about this more.

 2005/7/15 12:42

 Re: EDIT: tongues and prophecy re Jeshua


First, I accept I may seemed to have misunderstood you and even when I was responding, I was wondering if your word 'interupt' was supposed to be 'interpret'. However, as you have repeated it again, I have reread 1 Cor 14.

2. Edify church *Prophesy*(Tounges, with 2-3 interupting)

In the post to which I replied, you had used the word 'prophetic'. This did not clarify you were referring to tongues, as Paul is switching between tongues and not tongues, as you will see. He also says that a person who gives a tongue, should be willing to interpret, or, keep silence. And he says if 2 or 3 people give a tongue 'and let [u]one[/u] interpret'. I had the impression you were saying prophets could interupt the one who was already speaking, but now, I wonder if you meant 'interpret', all along; in which case, it is possible for each person to interpret the tongue they bring.

If may comment further, the gift of interpretation is a specific gift. Paul is saying that if the person giving the tongue doesn't have it and neither does anyone else, the person should not give the message to the church in tongues (v 28).

Do we have lift off, or am I still missing a cue?

 2005/7/15 14:40

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