1 Corinthians 12:28 – “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. NKJV
I understand that the topic of “speaking in tongues” is as controversial as the topic of the candidates for the presidency. Unfortunately, a vote won’t decide the outcome of tongues. It may not even decide the controversy over the presidency!
In my previous blog, I shared about tongues as the initial evidence of the baptism of the Holy Spirit. However, that is not the only “tongue” that the Bible references, and I would like to shed some light on that in this blog.
In our text, Paul makes mention of a variety of tongues. First, let me just say that “speaking in tongues” is supernatural. The Holy Spirit speaks through us. There is a documentary, filmed by ABC, that shares some amazing truths about the aspect of speaking in tongues. I have included that link for you. Suffice it to say, they have scientifically proven that when we use our natural language, our frontal lobe is active; however, when we pray in tongues, it is silent. This proves that the genuine “glossolalia” Hebrew for “speaking in tongues” is not babbling, as some say. I encourage you to check it out! If this link doesn’t work, just type in documentary about speaking in tongues in YouTube.
A variety of tongues, includes speaking in a heavenly language that communicates with God, receiving the gift of “tongues”, as well as the initial tongues that’s evidence of the baptism of the Holy Spirit. I’ll try and separate them for you. My last post spoke of the initial tongues, so I will address the other two today.
The disciples in the book of Acts, not only received tongues, but they also spoke in languages they had not previously learned, but others understood. When I read about the Azusa Street revival that happened in the early 1900s, there were many testimonies of people experiencing this same ability. Only with some of them, the language remained with them and they would go to that country as a missionary. For example, if they received a Chinese dialect, they would go to China as a missionary. So I have heard of people experiencing tongues to this degree.
There is a pastor in Africa who went on an interview to enroll in Bible College after getting saved and baptized in the Holy Spirit. The knowledge of English was required, and when he sat down for the interview, he opened his mouth and out came English. He had never learned it, but he knew it, and understood it. As a matter of fact, I think he said that he thought he was speaking in his native tongue the whole time.
Another wonderful testimony was of a young lady in Mexico. She was in a service when they asked if anyone could speak English well enough to translate for the speaker. I believe she knew a little, but not enough for translating. She had recently been baptized in the Holy Spirit and felt His prodding for her to go up. She was instantly downloaded with English and has been fluent ever since. I would love to be able to speak every language known to man, so I’m hoping for that ability one day!
Another person, was led by the Spirit to stand up and speak in tongues in church. He obeyed, then sat down. After service, there was a man in the audience who spoke that language and received a word that encouraged him. Thinking the man spoke his language, he approached him after the service. The man had no idea how to speak that language, but it convinced the other person that God had spoken to him; and not only did he give his life to the Lord, but he received the baptism of the Holy Spirit!
Our prayer language, truly can be an unknown tongue, or “glossolalia”. This is the tongue that Paul refers to as a language spoken to God:
1 Corinthians 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.” NKJV
For the most part, this is a private language to be enjoyed in fellowship with the Lord. If in a prayer meeting, where you are encouraged to pray in the Spirit, this language will come forth at will, and the Spirit will give you utterance.
But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, Jude 1:20 NKJV
This is my favorite, the prayer language. It is a time of communion with the Father that is personal and intimate. Mysteries are truly opened up to you during or after this time and can be a strength. You can pray for 5 minutes to 5 hours in the Spirit, and enjoy the peace and blessings of praying in the Spirit!
Nadia went missing from her front yard in Florida, in 2010. When the family couldn’t find her, they sent in a prayer request to the church. Four days had transpired, and she hadn’t been found. King, a member of the Church, was praying in the Spirit. As he prayed, He felt the leading of the Holy Spirit and went looking for her. God began to give him directions through a part of the swamp that was alligator infested. He found the girl. It was supernatural! It was in the newspapers and Christian magazines. Google it!
When you don’t know what to pray, when you can’t find the words, pray in the Spirit! He knows!
Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. Romans 8:26 – NKJV
Then there’s the language of tongues that is associated with the gift of tongues:
1 Corinthians 12:10 – “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.” NKJV
It’s been my understanding that this gift is different from just speaking in tongues in the sense that this gift comes with a variety of tongues, and can be interpreted with the gift of interpretation, to give a prophetic word to the Body. The individual with this gift may speak in tongues in an Asian language one time, then French, then Native American, or many others. This may be the gift operating in some of my above examples. Whatever the case, the gift of tongues is the one that Paul brings caution to the church about, when he shares a lot of warnings. If you speak in tongues in a church setting, and you don’t have the gift of interpretation, nor does anyone else, then his encouragement is that you keep silent. Trust the leading of Spirit, and you’ll be fine!
I’ve tried to be thorough, while remaining brief and to the point. However, if you have questions or an interest to learn more, there are many great books out there to assist you as you pour over the Scriptures. If I can recommend one to you, I’d be happy to do so!
What we don’t understand, we reject or criticize. What we need to do is ask God to lead us to truth. That will help you get the right answer. Don’t accept my word, or anyone else’ word. God’s word can stand alone. Check it out! Wonderful Jesus!