The Gift of Tongues
The new testament records instances, of various people speaking in tongues. “Tongues” means “languages”. And when people spoke in these languages which they had never been taught, it was a sign from God, that the person speaking in these languages, was speaking God’s word. In other words, they were speaking the truth! And their ability to speak in tongues, was proof, that God had accepted those persons, and approved of those persons. That was in the first century.
Today however, is different. Today, when someone claims to be speaking in tongues, it is proof, of the exact opposite. It is proof, that they are a fraud, and that they are NOT accepted by God, nor are they approved of by God.
Why is that the case? Why was having the ability to speak in languages that you’ve never been taught, proof, in the first century, that you were speaking the truth of God, but claiming to have this ability today, is proof that you’re a fraud? Why is that? Our lesson will explain it.
So here we go then. First, I want to speak to you in a tongue, and then I’ll give you the translation.
“Thana ypu naku vaarini mallinchutaky Jehovah vaari yoddaku pravakthalanu pampagaa, aa pravakthalu vaari meeda saakshyamu palikiri gaani, vaaru chevi yoggaka undiri ”
That was the Telegu tongue. That’s one of the languages that people in India speak. But that didn’t make any sense to you did it? And so here’s the translation;
“Yet He sent the prophets to them, to bring them back to the Lord. Though they testified against them, they would not listen.” 2 Chronicles 24:19 (Now there’s something we can understand, and learn from)
Now here’s a verse of scripture in the Greek tongue. This is the tongue that Jesus and the apostles spoke.
“Nuni de menei pistis, elpis, agape, to tria tauta; Meizon de touton, he agape.”
Do you understand what I just said? Here’s the translation, so that you can understand;
“But now abide faith, hope, and love, these three. But the greatest of these, is love.” 1 Corinthians 13:13
Languages Have Meanings
The point is, that speaking in tongues, is speaking in known languages. It’s not just some kind of “jibberish” that someone might make up, to try to get you to believe that they’re “talking to God”. The definition of the bible word translated “tongue” is.. “a language spoken by a particular people, in distinction from the language of people from other nations”. And when the bible speaks about the “gift of tongues”, it’s referring to the miraculous ability, given by God, that enabled people to speak in a language, or in languages, that they had never been taught.
Known languages, not “jibberish”. God doesn’t want us talking nonsense. What’s the sense of speaking, if no one knows what you’re saying? There is no sense in it. And that’s exactly what the bible tells us.
God explains it in detail, in 1 Corinthians 14, verses 5 thru 11. Listen to what He has to say, beginning in the middle of verse 5; “..And greater is one who prophesies, than one who speaks in tongues, UNLESS he interprets, so that the congregation may receive edifying.” In other words, if you can’t interpret the language that you’re speaking in, it’s of no value at all.
“But now brethren, if I come to you speaking in tongues, what shall I profit you, unless I speak to you either by revelation, or of knowledge, or of prophecy, or of teaching?” Revelations, and knowledge, and prophecies, and teachings, are all understandable things! They’re not, nonsensical sounds!
And the scripture continues; “Yet even lifeless things, either flute or harp, in producing a sound, if they do not produce a distinction in the tones, how will it be known what is played, on the flute or the harp? For, if a bugle produces an indistinct sound, who will prepare for battle? So also you, unless you utter by the tongue, speech that is clear, how will it be known what is spoken? For you will be speaking into the air.”
“For there are perhaps a great many kinds of languages in the world, and none is without meaning! If then, I do not know the meaning of the language, I shall be to the one who speaks, a barbarian. And the one who speaks, will be a barbarian to me.”
In other words; All languages are made up of meaningful words. None are simply jibberish! There is no language, or tongue, that only God can understand. God can understand ALL languages! And they all have meaning. But if someone did have, the miraculous gift of speaking in a language that they have never learned, if they didn’t also have the ability to interpret that language, or if no one else was present who could interpret that language, then the speaker would simply need to shut up, to put it bluntly.
The apostle Paul sums it up like this, in verses 18 & 19; “I thank God that I speak in tongues more than you all. However, in the congregation, I desire to speak five words with my mind, that I may instruct others also, rather than ten thousand words in a tongue!” In other words, the apostle Paul would rather speak just five, understandable words, than to speak ten thousand words that have no meaning to anyone.
There is simply no doubt, concerning how God felt about the use of the miraculous gift of speaking in tongues, in the first century.
Here’s what God says, through the writings of the apostle Paul, in 1 Corinthians 14:27 & 28; “If anyone speaks in a tongue.. (Now this is in the worship assembly) ..may it be by two, or at the most three, and each in turn, and let one interpret. But if there be no interpreter, let him keep silent in the congregation, and let him speak to himself and to God.”
In the a first century congregation, those who had been given the gift of tongues, were forbidden to speak in those languages, unless an interpreter was present!
People today, who THINK that they can speak in “tongues”, have absolutely no regard for what the word of God says on this subject! They think that they can spout out some jibber-jabber, that makes absolutely no sense at all, and call it a “tongue” that only God can understand. That’s complete and utter hogwash, and it’s false teaching!
“Tongues” are languages spoken by man! Not, a bunch of childish sounds, that only God knows the meaning of! The apostle Paul wrote, in 1 Corinthians 13:11; “When I was a child, I used to speak as a child, think as a child, reason like a child; When I became a man, I did away with childish things.” Let’s imitate the apostle Paul, and put away all the childish ideas about supposed, present day “tongue speaking”, and let’s be mature Christians, and believe what the word of God says.
Facts From the Bible
I’m just going to give you a few more facts from the bible, about speaking in tongues, and then when we’re done, if any of you have any more questions on the subject, just contact me, and I’ll be glad to go into it in more detail with you later.
So then, here’s the facts from the bible. There are only two recorded instances, when the Holy Spirit of God, directly, gave men the ability to speak in tongues. The first instance is in Acts chapter 2. The twelve apostles were all gathered in Jerusalem, as Jesus had commanded them to do, waiting for some kind of power from the Holy Spirit, to come upon them. And the bible says, in verses 2 thru 4; “And suddenly there came from heaven, a noise like a violent rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them, tongues as of fire, distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit.. (the term, “filled with the Holy Spirit” specifically means that they were given a miraculous power from the Spirit of God) ..and they began to speak with other tongues, (other languages) as the Spirit was giving them utterance.”
They received this gift, directly from the Spirit of God.
And verses 9 thru 11, specifically names the other languages that the apostles were speaking in; Parthian, Mede, Elamite, Mesopotamian, Judean, Cappadocian, Pontus, Asian, Phyrgian, Pamphylian, Egyptian, Lybian, Cyrene, Roman, Cretan, and Arabian.
So then, that’s the first instance. And the second instance is in Acts chapter 10. Peter had been sent to the household of Cornelius, a Gentile, and Peter was preaching to this household of Gentiles. And it says in Acts 10, verses 44 thru 47; “While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who were listening to the message. And all the believers from among the circumcision.. (in other words, all the Jews) ..who had come with Peter, were amazed, because the Holy Spirit had been poured out upon the Gentiles also. For they were hearing them speaking with tongues, and exalting God. Then Peter answered; Surely no one can refuse the water, for these to be baptized, who have received the Holy Spirit, just as we did, can he?”
These are the only two instances recorded in the bible, when the Spirit of God, directly gave men the gift of speaking in tongues. And the purpose for the giving of that gift, was basically the same in both instances. When the apostles were given the gift of tongues, it was to signify to all those who were about to hear their preaching, that their words were from God, and not just from men. And when the household of Cornelius received the gift of speaking in tongues, it was to signify that God has indeed accepted the Gentiles into the faith, as well as the Jews.
So then the purpose for the giving of the gift of tongues, in both cases, was to signify that the people who received the gift, were approved of by God. The only other person to ever receive miraculous powers directly from the Spirit of God, was the apostle Paul, who receive his gifts at a later date, after he became a special apostle to the Lord.
Now, listen closely please; Everyone else who ever received the gift of tongues, or any other miraculous gift for that matter, received that gift, through one of the apostle laying their hands upon them, and praying for them, that they might receive that gift. There is no other way that the gift was ever given, period! Either you were an apostle of the Lord, or you were a member of the household of Cornelius, or one of the apostles laid their hands upon you.
That fact, is illustrated in Acts chapter 8. Listen to verses 14 thru 16; “Now when the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent them Peter and John, who came down and prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Spirit. For He (the Holy Spirit) had not yet fallen upon any of them, they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.”
In other words; They had been baptized for the forgiveness of their sins, and they had been added to the kingdom of Christ, but they had not yet been given any miraculous abilities, or “gifts”. They didn’t have any miraculous knowledge, they couldn’t prophesy, they couldn’t heal any sickness, and they couldn’t speak in tongues.
Now verses 17 thru 19; “Then they began laying their hands on them.. (Peter and John, were laying their hands upon the Christians in Samaria) ..and they were receiving the Holy Spirit.” (They were receiving miraculous abilities, from the Spirit of God)
“Now when Simon saw that the Spirit was bestowed through the laying on of the apostle’s hands, he offered them money, saying; Give this authority to me as well, so that everyone on whom I lay MY hands, may receive the Holy Spirit.”
The Bible Makes it Clear
The fact is clear; The manner, in which God bestowed miraculous gifts to people, was through the apostle’s, laying their hands upon someone, and praying for them. And when that was done, God, through His Spirit, conveyed those gifts, to those persons. Miraculous gifts, one of which was the ability to speak in tongues, was given to Christians in the first century, ONLY, when an apostle of Jesus Christ, was present to lay their hands upon a person, and to pray for them.
When the people of Samaria first became Christians, they possessed no spiritual gifts, because there were no apostles there to convey those gifts to them. That is exactly WHY, Peter and John were sent to Samaria; So that the Christians could receive those gifts, through the laying on of the apostle’s hands.
The next time you hear of someone claiming to possess the gift of speaking in tongues, kindly ask them which one of the apostles had laid their hands upon them. And while you’re at it, ask them exactly how old they are; Because the last of the apostles, namely John, died around the end of the first century.
Only two groups of people, ever received the ability to speak in tongues, directly from the Spirit of God. Those two groups are the apostles of Jesus Christ, and the household of Cornelius. And since that time, no person ever received ANY spiritual gift, aside from an apostle laying their hands upon them. Those are the words of the bible.
In the first century, the miraculous ability to speak in tongues, was proof, that your words were from God. Today, the claim to possess the miraculous ability to speak in tongues, is proof, that you are a fraud, and a deceiver!
If a person is NOT an apostle of Jesus Christ.. or if they are NOT of the household of Cornelius.. or if they have NOT had one of the apostles lay their hands upon them.. then they do NOT have the gift of “tongues”. And if anyone claims to have that gift, they ARE a fraud! That’s NOT my opinion my friends, that’s God’s word!
Believe and Obey
Believe the word of God, and always confess your faith that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. (John 8:24) Repent of your sins, and pray to God for the forgiveness of those sins. (Acts 8:22) And if you haven’t been baptized yet, do that today, or you will have no forgiveness of sins. (Acts 22:16) And then, live faithfully unto death, and receive a crown of life. (Revelation 2:10)