1Co 12:1-14 “Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I do not want you to be ignorant…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. There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.”
Who gave the gift of tongues and why?
Mar 16:17-20 Jesus says, “And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”
1Co 12:7 “But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit, 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.
1Co 14:12 “…for spiritual gifts, let it be for the edification of the church that you seek to excel.”
Not everyone is going to speak in tongues.
The manifestation of the Spirit is give to all, but the gifts manifested in each through the Spirit vary, “for to one is given….wisdom” “to another…[is given] tongues.” 1 Cor 12:7-8
If we tried to all have the same spiritual gift, we would not function properly.
1Co 12:16-18 “And if the ear should say, ‘Because I am not an eye, I am not of the body,’ is it therefore not of the body? If the whole body were an eye, where would be the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where would be the smelling? But now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as He pleased.” (Note this passage comes directly out of Paul’s commentary on Spiritual Gifts)
Are tongues still being used today? Or have tongues ceased?
If tongues were not meant for us today, then are the other gifts in this list also not meant for today? I think we would have a lot of trouble functioning as a church today if all of these things were no longer meant for us to have and use today.
1 Co 12:27 “Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually. And God has appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, varieties of tongues.”
What is the gift of tongues actually used for?
How does using tongues actually work?
1Co 14:2 “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.”
1Co 14:4 “He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself…”
1Co 14:14 “For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my understanding is unfruitful.”
1Co 14:15 “…I will pray with the spirit…I will sing with the spirit…”
1Co 14:16 “…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?” (You can bless and give thanks in tongues with the spirit, but this blessing and giving of thanks are only understood by other’s if there is an interpretation of what is said.)
1Co 14:22 “…tongues are for a sign, not to those who believe but to unbelievers”
How do we use tongues correctly?
“But earnestly desire the best gifts. And yet I show you a more excellent way. Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have…all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.”
Paul says, “Earnestly desire the best gifts,” and then he says: “And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” 1Co 13:13
Pauls says after this is, “Pursue love, and desire spiritual gifts…” 1Co 14:1
So if we are using spiritual gifts (no matter which gift) we need to make sure we are using it with love.
How do we use tongues correctly in church?
Paul says, “I thank my God I speak with tongues more than you all; 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.” 1Co 14:18-19 (Notice, he says, “in the church.” Outside the church, Paul thanks God for the gift of tongues he has through the Spirt.)
1Co 14:13-15 “…let him who speaks in a tongue pray that he may interpret….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.”
1Co 14:26-28 “…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. If anyone speaks in a tongue, let there be two or at the most three, each in turn, and let one interpret. But if there is no interpreter, let him keep silent in church, and let him speak to himself and to God.”
1Co 14:33 “For God is not the author of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints.”
1Co 14:39-40 “…do not forbid to speak with tongues. Let all things be done decently and in order.”
Can the gift of tongues be abused?
Yes, just like any other spiritual gift, tongues can be abused. I believe this is exactly why Paul included the statements above about how tongues need to be used decently and in order. Don’t rob the church of the blessing of tongues and interpretation in fear of them, but use them the right way through the Spirit.
Just like a true Christian should reflect the nature of Christ.
True tongues given by the Spirit should reflect the nature of the Spirit.
If tongues are not matching who the Spirit is, then either they have not been given by the Spirt of Christ, or they are not being used according to the way Scripture says to use them. Both are an abuse of this gift.
1Jo 4:1 “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world.”
2Th 3:13-15 “But as for you, brethren, do not grow weary in doing good. And if anyone does not obey our word in this epistle, note that person and do not keep company with him, that he may be ashamed. Yet do not count him as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother.”
Believer’s receiving the gift of tongues
Act 10:43-46 “‘To Him all the prophets witness that, through His name, whoever believes in Him will receive remission of sins.’ While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the word. And those of the circumcision who believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also. For they heard them speak with tongues and magnify God.”
Act 19:1-6 “And it happened…Paul…came to Ephesus. And finding some disciples he said to them, ‘Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?’ So they said to him, ‘We have not so much as heard whether there is a Holy Spirit.’… when Paul had laid hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke with tongues and prophesied.”
Challenge: 1Co 12:1-14 “Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I do not want you to be ignorant (Agnoeō)”
1. to be ignorant, not to know
2. not to understand, unknown
3. to err or sin through mistake, to be wrong