Sunday Word: Revisiting ‘speaking in tongues’

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In case I get back into my old habit of lambasting certain sections of our Christian sects whom I have pointed my fingers at in accusations, lets read some quotes from our scriptures of what some of our religious gurus say therein on the topic. I will let the Bible do the talking I will not speak this time.

In 1 Corinthians 14:6-9 St. Paul, the Apostle, says: “Now brethren, if I come to you speaking in tongues, how shall I benefit you unless I bring some revelation or knowledge, or prophecy or teaching? If even lifeless instruments, such as the flute or the harp, do not give distinct notes, how will anyone know what is played? And if the bugle (trumpet) gives an indistinct sound, who will get ready for battle? So with yourselves; if you in a tongue utter speech that is not intelligible (not known), how will anyone know what is said?

“For you will be speaking into the air. There are doubtless many different languages in the world, and none is without meaning; but if I do not know the meaning of the language, I shall be a foreigner to the speaker and the speaker a foreigner to me. So with yourselves; since you are eager for manifestations of the spirit, strive to excel in building up the church.

“Therefore, he who speaks in a tongue should pray for the power to interpret. For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays but my mind is unfruitful. What am I to do? I will pray with the spirit and I pray with the mind also, I will sing with the spirit and I will sing with the mind also. Otherwise if you give thanks to God with the spirit, how can anyone in the position of an outsider (him that is without gifts) say the “Amen” to your thanksgiving when he does not know what you are saying? For you may give thanks well enough, but the other man is not edified (not improved morally or of mind).

“I thank God that I speak in tongues more than you all; nevertheless, in church, I would rather speak five words with my mind, in order to instruct others, than ten thousand words in a tongue.

“Brethren, do not be children in your thinking; be babes in evil, but in thinking be mature. In the law it is written, “By men of strange tongues and by the lips of foreigners will I speak to this people, and even then they will not listen to me, says the Lord”.

“Thus, tongues are a sign not for believers but for unbelievers, while prophecy is not for unbelievers but for believers. If, therefore, the whole church assembles and all speak in tongues, and outsiders or unbelievers enter, will they not say that you are mad?” But if all prophesy, and an unbeliever or outsider enters, and he is convicted by all, and he is called to account by all, the secrets of his heart are disclosed; and so, falling on his face, he will worship God and declare that God is really among you.

“What then, brethren? When you come together, each one has a hymn, a lesson, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification. If any speak in a tongue, let there be only two or at most three, and each in turn; and let one interpret. But if there is no one to interpret, let each of them keep silence in church and speak to himself and to God. Let two or three prophets speak, and let others weigh what is said. If a revelation is made to another sitting by, let the first be silent. For you can all prophesy one by one, so that all may learn and be encouraged; and the spirits of prophets are subject to prophets. For God is not a God of confusion but of peace”.

In 1 Corinthians 14:1-5 Apostle Paul concludes in advance saying, “Make love your aim, and earnestly desire the spiritual gifts, especially that you may prophecy. For one who speaks in a tongue speaks not to men but to God; for no one understands him who speaks in tongues, but he utters mysteries in the spirit. On the other hand, he who prophesies speaks to men for their up-building and encouragement and consolation. He who speaks in tongues ‘does it for himself’, but he who prophesies ‘does it for the moral improvement’ of the church. Now I may want to you to speak in tongues, even more to prophesy. He who prophesies is greater than he who speaks in tongues, unless someone interprets, so that the church may grow morally and in knowledge”

Where the power of the Holy Spirit is at play, there might sometimes be no need for an interpreter because everyone will be understanding whatever the language being uttered.

Such is what happened on the day of the Pentecost when people of various languages were gathered together for the occasion, during the days of the Apostles of Christ.

The book of Acts of the Apostles, 2:1-13 reads; “When the day of the Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly a sound came from the heaven like the rush of a mighty wind, and it filled the house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them tongues as of fire, distributed and resting on each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

“Now there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men from every nation under heaven. And at this sound the multitude came together, and they were bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in his own language. And they were amazed and wondered, saying, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans?” And how is it that we hear, each of us in his own native language?

Par’thians and Medes and Elamites and residents of Mesopota’mia, Judea and Cappado’cia, Pontus and Asia, Phryg’ia and Pamphyl’ia, Egypt and part of Libya belonging to Cyr’ene and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabians, we hear them telling in our own tongues the mighty works of God”.

And all were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “What does this mean?” But others mocking said, “They are filled with new wine”.

Long before, God would speak to any man directly if he needed to send a message within a group of people of the same language.

However, with time especially after He had sent His Begotten Son, Jesus Christ, to minister His word, it became necessary that His word be disseminated across the planet and across many languages.

After sacrificing His son’s life for the cleansing of our sins, and after his resurrection, the Son addressed the Apostles (Mark 16:15); “Go into the entire world and preach the gospel to the whole of creation.”

 God would then send the Holy Spirit to enable a mixed language group of people to hear and understand each other.

This communication is between man and man, not man and God. Amen.   

  • Prosper Tingini is the Scribe of the Children of God Missionary Assembly — God’s messengers. Contact details: Mobile and whatsapp: 0771 260 195. Email address: [email protected] 

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