Speaking in tongues as according to the biblical view:
Speaking in tongues
as a promise which was prophesied:
Isaiah 28:11-13 For with stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to this people. 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. But 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.
Mark 16:17 And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;
Speaking in tongues always involves the working of the Holy Spirit
John 7:38-39 In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)
Joel 2:28-29 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: And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit.
We find this being fulfilled
in the Book of Acts
The beginning of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit is found in the second chapter of the Book of Acts. Jesus promised those who believe in HIM that they would be filled with the Holy Spirit. The disciples, men and women, gathered together in Jerusalem, in order to wait there for the promise.
In the morning, before 9 o‘ clock, the Holy Spirit came down and filled all of the120 people who were in the house. As a sign of having been filled with the Holy Spirit, it is written:
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.
They had never learnt the languages which they spoke here, for this language was the working of the Holy Spirit. They spoke under the influence and power of the Holy Spirit, with which they just had been filled.
Every language which has not been learnt, e.g.
Chinese, is a foreign language to us. We do not understand it, our minds cannot
comprehend what is being said; unless there is a translator close by who translates
for us that what is being said. First of all only then, can we understand it.
This language is a language which the Holy Spirit chooses, there is absolutely no self choosing or deciding.
For those who know this particular language, they are able to understand; see Acts.2:8. For others, who do not know this particular language, they are not able to understand it, unless someone translates for them (because he is talking as according to the will of the Holy Spirit).
The speaking of tongues
on the day of Pentecost:
After having been filled with the Holy Spirit, they spoke in a different tongue (language), however, in a tongue (language) which could be understood.
Acts 2:8/11 And how hear we every man in our own tongue...we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God.
Peter, who had also been filled with the Holy Spirit, begins to explain this phenomenon and he refers to the Word of God which was spoken by the prophet Joel.
of the baptism of the Holy Spirit
Every time a person had being filled with the Holy Spirit, they spoke in other tongues or another language; by this sign the Apostolic Church were able to recognize that the person had been filled with the Holy Spirit. God has chosen the tongue as a sign!
Acts 10:44-45/48 While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word. 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. For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God... And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord.
The commandment and invitation of the disciples of Jesus to those “who had become believers” in Acts 2:38 To repent and thereafter be baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ (by immersion), in view of receiving forgiveness of sins, and the promise of being filled with the Holy Spirit, is the heartbeat of the gospel of Jesus Christ! We see this plan of salvation since the day of Pentecost and in the entire book of Acts. This important “building stone was carried everywhere”, and so it must be today.
They filled the entire city of Jerusalem with the Apostle's doctrine – the belief in the name of the resurrected Son of God, Jesus Christ, who is the revelation of the ONE and only GOD and Saviour, the water baptism in Jesus name and baptism of the Holy Spirit (John 3:1-10) etc . This brought about persecution, and as a result of this, the Christians were scattered in all directions. Despite all this, they held unto the Apostles' doctrine and spread it everywhere they went. It reached Samaria and the surrounding areas. Paul and his other co-workers proclaimed this message in the entire Roman Empire and in Rome.
Just for a moment, I want to direct your attention to this particular aspect, for there is a cause and a reason for speaking in tongues, i.e. in another language, which we need to know about. Jesus speaks to Nicodemus about a birth, a spiritual birth.
John 3:5-6 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
These are the words of Jesus which are firmly
established: If someone wants to be a part of the kingdom of God, then it can
only happen when a birth takes place. Even as it is in the natural so it is
in the spiritual. If a child is born, it will usually receive the citizenship
of its mother and father. This spiritual birth comprises not the natural, by
men's choosing but by Gods and is of water and spirit. So after a person is
born again, his citizenship is in heaven. He has a heavenly ID card. The father’s
name is Jesus and the church is his mother who also carries the Name of Jesus,
for he is the head of the body. It is clear that this birth or rebirth which
Jesus is talking about, is just one spiritual birth and is only brought forth
when water and spirit have been involved. Only when both water and spirit have
been present, then the birth is complete, not just spirit and not just water,
both are necessary. However, what is meant by spirit and water?
The answer we will find, when we continue in the scriptures and pursue the message of the apostles and the early church as we find it inside the Word of God; we see that water is the water baptism in Jesus‘ name, and that spirit is the baptism of the Holy Spirit! No way around it. God’s way is settled and cannot be changed by anyone.
We have the commentaries of Luke, who personally knew the apostles of Jesus, and who was in Jerusalem at the beginning, and who was later among the group of people who travelled with the apostle Paul.
In addition, we can see that those who believed in the gospel were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ in water and they received the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
The scriptures also show us that it is possible for a person to receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit before the water baptism in Jesus‘ name.
For example, during Paul’s conversion, Acts 9:17-18, and in the house of Cornelius, Acts 10:44-48, we always see the connection of water and spirit. This birth is first complete when this biblical prerequisite is fulfilled! Faith is present at the beginning; and when faith is alive, and repentance is done, obedience to this message will consequently take place, even today.
Many people who confess to be Christians have never had the „being born again“ experience! It is not that they may never have had an experience with God, for example, receiving answers to prayers or healing, but they have never received the FULL MESSAGE OF THE GOSPEL that would SAVE them and bring them into the Kingdom of God.
It is unfortunately the case that this message is not preached to everyone. It might be the reason that their teachers do not know this message or they consider it to be foolish, or for any other reasons. Even today, there is a lot of playing around with the Word of God, the gospel and the doctrine; so that many people are put off by it all and end up rejecting important things that would bring them salvation, because they have had a bad experience and have encountered bad examples and false teachers along the way.
I personally believe that the Spirit leads an individual to this truth, when he is truly steadfast and humbly seeks for the whole truth and also lives accordingly to the Word of God, applying the things which have already been revealed to him, he will move on and will not stay in his old place.
of all, only when a person has been born of water and spirit, he is a part of
the body of Christ
Water baptism in Jesus' name follows faith and repentance:
Romans 6:3-5 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:
Galatians 3:27 For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.
and the Baptism of the Holy Spirit:
1.Cor. 2:12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.
1.Cor. 12:13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.
Both of them are one
2.Cor. 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
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Does an individual stop speaking in tongues after he has been filled with the Holy Spirit? No! Does a child stop using his tongue after he has screamed during the birth?
Speaking in tongues
- or in other languages after having been reborn
We find several instructions and explanations in connection with speaking in tongues and the working of the Holy Spirit in the Church. What Paul taught to the church in Corinth, he also taught to all the other churches.
1. Cor. 14:40 Let all things be done decently and in order.
If there is no order in the worship service
and in the proper use of speaking in tongues, then there is confusion in the
church; and this will affect the unbelievers who have contact with this particular
group. God is not a Spirit of disorder¸ but rather of order, power, and
a sound mind! Therefore, He sets the standards by which we should and must go.
If everything is done as required in the way pleasing to God, then everyone
will receive a blessing, the believers as well as the unbelievers!
It has always been the work of the devil to imitate and pervert the true things that originally come from God. He knows that many people are repelled when there is no order in the worship during the worship service. Speaking in tongues should not be part of a show, in order to prove who can speak the best and the most. God will not be able to bless if pride and egoism are present.
1.Cor. 14:23 – (assuming it might be the case, Paul says here...)
Speaking in tongues in worship, in prayer
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.
1.Cor. 14:14 For if I pray in an unknown tongue, my spirit prayeth, but my understanding is unfruitful.
Paul explains that when he prays in tongues, his human mind does not understand, for it is his spirit which is praying. He speaks secrets which no person can understand. Here is an interpretation of speaking in tongues not necessary. For it is his prayer to God and not to people.
prayer in other languages take place?
It is a sign from the Spirit of God for the unbelievers:
1.Cor. 14:22a Therefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not:
and for the believers:
...but prophesying serveth not for them that believe not, but for them which believe.
Speaking in tongues during the time of personal prayer builds the individual up:
Romans 8:26-27 Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.
The apostle says that the Holy Spirit helps us and represents us in a way which is pleasing to God
Jude 20-21 But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.
Eph. 6:18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;
Let us hear again what Paul means when talking about how it should be in our time of personal prayer:
1.Cor. 14:15 Pray in the spirit … “I
will pray with the spirit”
Pray with our understanding, whereby we understand what we are praying about: “…and I will pray with the understanding also.”
Singing in the spirit and singing with understanding.
There is a difference between speaking in tongues
personally to God, whether in the form of a song or in prayer, and that of speaking
in tongues to the congregation during the worship service!
As we have said, when a person speaks in tongues during prayer, there is no need to interpret that what he said. However, in the second case of speaking in tongues, when prophesying or when speaking to the congregation, an interpretation is necessary. If there is none, who would understand him and who would be blessed?
See 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.
1. Cor. 14:13 Wherefore let him that speaketh in an unknown tongue pray that he may interpret.
This is not referring to the occasions when praying personally to God. In this case here we see, that when the speaking in tongues is addressed to those in the church or is being spoken to the church itself, it is necessary for that what was said to be interpreted, i.e. it can only first be understood when it has been interpreted. In addition, the gift of interpreting that what was spoken in tongues needs to be in operation; for who can know what has been said, unless the Spirit of God gives a revelation. Therefore, it is necessary to pray for it to be interpreted.
1. Cor. 14:28 But if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the church; and let him speak to himself, and to God.
Verse 29 Let the prophets speak two or three, and let the other judge.
Verse 30 If any thing be revealed to another that sitteth by, let the first hold his peace.(in the worship service).
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Many say and teach that the gifts of the Spirit and speaking in tongues have ceased; on the other hand, there are those who mock and say that this is not of God.
There are no scripture verses to support these human assumptions rather they contradict God's Word! If they do not believe the scriptures and the gospel, it is up to them – they are the ones who have to sort it out with God. The gospel will be preached until all the ends of the earth have heard it. People today, while you are reading this, are still being filled with the Holy Spirit, exactly like it was in those days; and they end up speaking in a different language as the Spirit causes them to utter and no one is able to stop them or the work of God! HE will build HIS church.
1. Cor. 14:5 I would that ye all spake with tongues (this here is referring not to the baptism of the Holy Spirit, but rather to the general working of the Spirit after having been filled with the Holy Spirit!) Verse 18 I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than ye all:
1. Thess. 5:19 Quench not the Spirit.
20 Despise not prophesyings.
21 Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.
22 Abstain from all appearance of evil.
Read: James 3:1-12 The power of the tongue
of the Spirit > Various forms of speaking in tongues:
There are three different forms of speaking in tongues, as the Bible describes and explains
receiving the Holy Spirit: (Acts 2:4; 10:44-46; 19:6):
Speaking in another language was a sign for the disciples of Jesus that a person had been baptized with the Holy Spirit. The person who has been filled with the Holy Spirit speaks in tongues - speaking in a language which he has not learnt. This language can only be understood when those around him understand this particular language. The one who is speaking in tongues does not know what he is saying, for he is speaking in the spirit. No interpretation is necessary in this case. He can speak to God, or to people, if they happen to understand this particular language. It is also a sign for the unbelievers that they might believe.
worship and in prayer, whilst speaking to God in the spirit:
(1. Cor. 14:2; 14:15):
In this case, speaking in another language is merely a personal matter. It serves to build the individual up, but it can also be a prayer of intercession. In this case too, no interpretation is necessary; for he is speaking to God and that what he is saying concerns nobody else. In the spirit, he is speaking secrets. It is true that his understanding remains unfruitful, however, God understands him.
speaking to the Church, in relation to the interpretation of speaking in tongues:
This gift is connected with a prophecy; when the speaking in tongues takes place in the church, then the interpretation of what was spoken in tongues is necessary. It can be through the same person, or also through someone else.
Prophesy, if it is from God, will always be in harmony with the written Word of God. As a consequence, there will be no NEW DOCTRINE or a NEW REVELATION turning up, which we would not be able to find in the scriptures.
The interpretation of speaking in tongues:
The believer who has this gift, does not understand the particular language which he has interpreted, neither does he explain with his own understanding that which was spoken; but rather, he has received the gift from the Holy Spirit, so that he is able to explain the message which came forth in tongues. He explains that which was said by surrendering himself to the Holy Spirit, he is in the spirit and the Holy Spirit uses his tongue to interpret what was said.
It is important to know when someone is speaking in tongues on an individual basis, whether when praying or singing a song, or during the baptism (receiving) of the Holy Spirit, no interpretation of that which was spoken in tongues is necessary. Only when one receives the baptism of the Holy Ghost then that person should be allowed to speak freely without disturbances.
It is also important to know the difference between the various forms of speaking in tongues; otherwise it will be expected from that person who is speaking in tongues, that he interprets that which he has spoken and they tell him to remain silent. If there is no interpretation of that which was spoken in tongues, the possibility could arise, that someone who has no knowledge of the working of the Holy Spirit could come and say that it is from the devil.
Everything which is spoken in tongues for the purpose to benefit the individual, does not require an interpretation. Only in the case, when the gift of prophecy is going forth to those in the church, is it necessary for that what was said to be interpreted, so it can be for the benefit of everyone.
If there is no interpretation, then the person should not say anything else or pray that he or someone may interpret what was said.
The working of the Holy Spirit is a supernatural work; it is higher than all the norms and rules of creation and that which is of this earth. It is not possible to comprehend it with the human understanding and also it cannot be measured with human standards. For it is the divine working of God, who is above everything. HE, Jesus Christ, reveals himself and blesses His people. He is the King and Lord of Glory forever. Amen. (rw)