12-Gift of Tongues
THE GIFT OF TONGUES
Mark 16:15-20; Acts 2:4
Mark 16:15-20 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. (16) He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. (17) And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; (18) They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover. (19) So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God. (20) And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen.
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.
WHAT IS THE GIFT OF TONGUES?
- The Spirit-given ability to speak in languages not known to the speaker or
- In an ecstatic language that could not normally be understood by the speaker or the hearers.
- Apparently the only possibly direct reference in the Old Testament to speaking in another tongue or language is found in Isaiah 28:11 "For with stammering lips and another tongue He will speak to this people."
- This references an invasion by the Assyrians.
- They would speak in another language, one probably unknown to the people of Israel.
- And would sound like stammering on the lips.
- The apostle Paul later cited this verse when teaching on speaking in tongues; — 1Cor 14:21 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.
- The apostle Peter considered the phenomenon of speaking in tongues that occurred on the Day of Pentecost in Acts 2 as the fulfillment of OT prophecy — Joel 2:28-32 And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: (29) And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit. (30) And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke. (31) The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the LORD come. (32) And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the LORD hath said, and in the remnant whom the LORD shall call.
- Jesus in His after resurrection appearance to His disciples declared in, Mark 16:17 "And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues".
- On the Day of Pentecost, the followers of Christ "were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance" Acts 2:4.
- The people assembled in Jerusalem for this feast came from Roman provinces representing various and variety of languages.
- They were astonished to hear the disciples speaking of God's works in their own national languages.
- Some have suggested that the miracle was in the hearing rather than in the speaking.
- This explanation, however, would transfer the miraculous from the believing disciples to the multitude who may not have been believers.
- Tongues as a Gift of the Spirit is especially prominent in 1Corinthians 12 and 14.
- In 1Corinthians 12 the phenomenon of tongues is listed with other Gifts of the Spirit under the term gifts. As one of the several gifts given to believers as a manifestation of the Holy Spirit, tongues is intended, with the other gifts, to be exercised for the building up of the church and the mutual profit of its members.
- In 1Corinthians 13 the apostle Paul puts the Gift of Tongues in perspective by affirming that though we "speak with the tongues of men and of angels" v.1, if we do not have love, the Gift of Tongues has no value.
- In 1Corinthians 14 Paul deals more specifically with the Gift of Tongues and its exercise in the church. In this chapter the tongue is not an intelligible language, for the listeners cannot understand it.
- Therefore, a parallel to the Gift of Tongues is the Gift of Interpretation. The Gift of Tongues was used as a means of worship, thanksgiving, and prayer.
- While exercising this gift, the individual addresses God not man; and the result is to edify himself and not the church — 1Cor 14:2-4 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. (3) But he that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort. (4) He that speaketh in an unknown tongue edifieth himself; but he that prophesieth edifieth the church.
- This gift is never intended for self-exaltation but for the praise and glorification of God.
- Paul does not prohibit speaking in tongues in a public service 14:39. But he seems to assign it to a lesser place than the gift of prophecy. — 1Cor 14:39 Wherefore, brethren, covet to prophesy, and forbid not to speak with tongues.
- Paul claims for himself the Gift of Tongues – 1Cor 14:18-19 I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than ye all: (19) Yet in the church I had rather speak five words with my understanding, that by my voice I might teach others also, than ten thousand words in an unknown tongue.
- The Gift of Tongues is to be exercised with restraint and in an orderly way.
- The regulations for its public use are simple and straightforward. The person who speaks in an unknown tongue is to pray that he may interpret — 1Cor 14:13 Wherefore let him that speaketh in an unknown tongue pray that he may interpret.
- Or, someone else is to interpret what he says.
- Only two or three persons are to speak, with each having an interpretation of what he says. Each is also to speak in turn.
- If these criteria are not met, they are to remain silent — 1Cor 14:27-28 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 be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the church; and let him speak to himself, and to God.
- Paul also points out that tongues are a sign to unbelievers. — 1Cor 14:23-26 If therefore the whole church be come together into one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in those that are unlearned, or unbelievers, will they not say that ye are mad? (24) But if all prophesy, and there come in one that believeth not, or one unlearned, he is convinced of all, he is judged of all: (25) And thus are the secrets of his heart made manifest; and so falling down on his face he will worship God, and report that God is in you of a truth. (26) How is it then, brethren? when ye come together, every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying.
- If these guidelines are not observed, unbelievers who are present will conclude that the people of the church are out of their minds.
- The phenomenon of speaking in tongues described in the New Testament is not some psychological arousal of human emotions that results in strange sounds.
- This is a genuine work of the Holy Spirit.
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