Speaking in tongues - manifestation of the spirit

WolfgangWolfgang Posts: 3,303
edited December 2020 in Bible Questions

Hello everyone,

I am revisiting a topic of interest because I had recently some questions asked of me to which I could only answer with "I admit, I don't quite know". The questions related to the section in 1Co 12 - 14, and I thought I would post here a part for starters

1Cor 12:7-11 (AV)

7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.

8 For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit;

9 To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit;

10 To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another [divers] kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues:

11 But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.

How do you understand what is stated in these verse?

What was actually going on in the congregation at Corinth which caused Paul to elaborate to quite some detail on these "spirit" related matters? What actually is "[speaking in] tongues"? Is what is mentioned here in 1Co 12:7ff as "tongues" the same as what is mentioned in Acts 2? Here we read of "interpretation of tongues" as accompanying the "tongues", but in Acts 2 no interpreting is mentioned ...

Insights from own study and search of the Scriptures (especially related to the textual evidence rather than long quotations from commentaries) will be appreciated.

Comments

  • WolfgangWolfgang Posts: 3,303

    In connection with my original post above I would like to add a few thoughts for consideration, perhaps these are relevant, perhaps not.

    I noticed that this matter of speaking in tongues is addressed almost exclusively in 1 Corinthians 12 - 14. Was it something of concern only at Corinth, but not in other cities and congregations? Furthermore, the topic is about this "speaking in tongues" in an assembly of the believers, a situation where all that is done should be for the benefit of the whole body / group that has assembled.

    Corinth at the time was rather a city with people from many places and of many tongues,. Could this matter of "speaking in tongues" and in addition then "interpretation of tongues" relate to and address the situation of a multilingual assembly in which not every believer actually spoke the common language - that is, Greek - which would have been understood by most?

  • Dave_LDave_L Posts: 2,356

    Hi Wolfgang, it's been a while. Only a few spoke in tongues in Acts. Most did not. If you locate the times they did, and the conditions that led to it, it's easy to see how fraudulent today's charismatic movement is.

  • WolfgangWolfgang Posts: 3,303

    @Dave_L wrote:

    Hi Wolfgang, it's been a while. Only a few spoke in tongues in Acts. Most did not. If you locate the times they did, and the conditions that led to it, it's easy to see how fraudulent today's charismatic movement is.

    Thank you for your note. I have noticed the few places and occasions in records in the book of Acts where speaking in tongues is mentioned; however currently my concern of study are the chapters in 1Cor 12 - 14 where the speaking in tongues topic is mentioned throughout.

    Today's charismatic movements quite often seem to base their various ideas and teachings as well as practice on very particular intepretations of these chapters or parts thereof. Now, I agree that what is seen nowadays in this charismatic scene does not appear to be in harmony even with what we can read in these sections of Scripture (for example, people in a church assembly doing what they call speaking in tongues out loud together, or desiring to have "the Spirit" take control of them and use them, etc.)

    Would you have further thoughts on the records in 1Co 12 - 14? perhaps insights on the meaning of the term "tongues" there? I understand "tongues" to be an expression using the figure of speech metonymy, by which thee tongue is used to stand for and emphasize the language produced and spoken with the use of the tongue. I also would say that the languages spoken were understandable and recognizable languages, not some "mumbling together of unintelligible sounds" (as little children sometimes do when trying to imitate what they hear when adults are speaking)

  • Dave_LDave_L Posts: 2,356

    Hi Wolfgang, As I see it, only the Apostles could give the gifts outside of the gentile outpouring. All of the gifts in Acts including that involved an Apostle. They gave the gifts but those who received them could not pass them on. You notice this with the Samaritans in Acts 8.

  • WolfgangWolfgang Posts: 3,303

    @Dave_L wrote

    Hi Wolfgang, As I see it, only the Apostles could give the gifts outside of the gentile outpouring. All of the gifts in Acts including that involved an Apostle. They gave the gifts but those who received them could not pass them on. You notice this with the Samaritans in Acts 8.

    You are still talking and writing about Acts .... I am talking, asking and writing about 1Cor 12 - 14.

    So then, to what is Paul referring in those passages? Were there apostles at work in Corinth? Was that speaking in tongues at the Corinth assembly something different altogether from what we read in Acts?

  • Dave_LDave_L Posts: 2,356

    Acts sets the limits for the gifts and how the Apostles distributed them. Apply this to I Cor and you will see it was Paul who passed them out there just as he intended to do with the Romans. “For I long to see you, that I may impart unto you some spiritual gift, to the end you may be established;” Romans 1:11 (KJV 1900)

  • WolfgangWolfgang Posts: 3,303

    @Dave_L , thank you for your thoughts thus far. However, you did not address the aspects about which I was asking, such as questions like, To what is Paul referring in those passages (e.g. languages that could be understood) ? Was speaking in tongues a language which the speaker did not understand or which the hearers did not understand, or both did not understand? Quite many statements of Paul in 1Co 14 concern such, however, how should these be understood correctly and what exactly does Paul mean there?

  • Dave_LDave_L Posts: 2,356

    Paul says tongues speak only to God. But understanding what is said edifies. He said those who speak in tongues edify themselves. So they must have understood what they were saying, unlike today. Prophecy carried the same weight. He also said tongues and prophecy only gave limited knowledge. But scripture, now perfect or complete thuroughly furnishes us replacing tongues and prophecy. The details are there but ignored by most.

  • WolfgangWolfgang Posts: 3,303

    @Dave_L wrote:

    Paul says tongues speak only to God.

    I would understand this to have been the case when the speaking in tongues was not interpreted. When interpreted it seems to have been equivalent to prophecy.

    But understanding what is said edifies. He said those who speak in tongues edify themselves. So they must have understood what they were saying, unlike today. Prophecy carried the same weight.

    I agree ... and would therefore think that those who spoke in tongues would have spoken in a language they understood (otherwise it could not have been edifying to them) but which was not understood by the rest of the assembly (why it required interpretation in order to be edifying to them).

    He also said tongues and prophecy only gave limited knowledge.

    Are you thinking that other mentioned gifts/manifestation of the spirit - as word of wisdom and word of knowledge - are sort of like "outcome or expression of prophecy/tongues"?

    I am thinking more of word of wisdom and word of knowledge as perhaps having served a different purpose; also, these are not mentioned in ch. 14 in the teaching concerning how things were to be done in an assembly.

    But scripture, now perfect or complete thuroughly furnishes us replacing tongues and prophecy. The details are there but ignored by most.

    Perhaps details not so much willfully ignored by many or most, but rather hardly anyone ever mentions or teaches about these chapters in 1Co 12 & 14, and often 1Co 13 is separated completely from this context in which it actually stands.

  • Dave_LDave_L Posts: 2,356

    Paul says they spoke to God and not to man. But understanding what was said was meant to edify. Those speaking in tongues were said to edify themselves. This would mean today's tongues are entirely fraudulent based on this. That is if you are familiar with the Charismatic movement.

  • WolfgangWolfgang Posts: 3,303
    edited December 2020

    Paul says they spoke to God and not to man.

    And what is meant with the very next sentence ??

    1Cor 14:4-5  (AV)

     He that speaketh in an [unknown] tongue edifieth himself; but he that prophesieth edifieth the church.

    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.

    According to v. 5, if and when speaking in tongues was interpreted, the church received edifying, just as with prophecy. Thus, was speaking in tongues when interpreted not a speaking to God but - just as prophecy - a message of edification to the church ?? It seems to me that Paul is stating that such was the case ...did he not?

    Furthermore, Paul adds the following a little later on

    1Cor 14:26-28 (AV)

    How is it then, brethren? when ye come together, every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying.

    If any man speak in an [unknown] tongue, [let it be] by two, or at the most [by] three, and [that] by course; and let one interpret.

    But if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the church; and let him speak to himself, and to God.

    Here again, speaking on tongues in the church assembly is discussed, and some limits put on it, in order to ensure edification of the church and not just the speaker, cp. if in an assembly, at the most two or three speakers, in order and with accompanying interpretation.

    This would mean today's tongues are entirely fraudulent based on this. That is if you are familiar with the Charismatic movement.

    What I know of today's charismatic movements is that what they call "speaking in tongues" is a mumbling of unintelligible sounds, supposedly a language, but the speaker nor anyone else understanding what is uttered. Thus, this alone proves that their claims are not in harmony with what Acts and 1Cor reveal about the matter.

  • Dave_LDave_L Posts: 2,356

    “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 Corinthians 14:2 (KJV 1900)

    The tongue speaker was edified because he understood what he said. But needed to interpret (explain the meaning) so others could be edified.

  • YourTruthGodYourTruthGod Posts: 260
    edited December 2020

    The denominations that teach and believe in their false tongue speaking, they call it a "prayer language". This is from an error in understanding of the scriptures in Corinthians explaining speaking in tongues when no one is around who understands. It is important to realize that after the believers in the bible had the gift of speaking in tongues, it was a sign to the Jews...they kept the gift even when the Jews of other languages were not around. Therefore, the tongue speakers spoke only to God when they spoke in tongues they themselves did not understand and when no Jews from other languages were there, because, God, of course, can understand all the earthly languages. How is that beneficial to anyone, even for the speaker who doesn't understand? It isn't, the Bible says.

    Again, if there were no other people of other languages around to understand the tongue speaker, and if the tongue speaker themselves cannot interpret what they say and there was no other interpreter, then they are speaking only to God, and this speaking edified (nurtured) only themselves. Tongue speaking edifies (nurtures) only the tongue speaker when no one understands; the tongue speakers with no understanding of what they are saying are edified in knowing that God gave them an amazing gift. How greatly edifying it is for oneself just to have a gift such as speaking in tongues; that is the only way it edifies.

    It is a false edification when one is performing nonsense babbling, as the nowadays tongue speakers do.

    Nowadays tongue speakers, while trying to copy the real tongue speaking as is in the Bible, they discount completely that if they do not interpret what they say, even when praying in tongues to God only...then their mind is fruitless. Surely, a fruitless mind is not something one should be aiming for in personal prayer times.

    If someone spoke in tongues, then they should pray that they should also interpret what they say, for the benefit of others (1 Corinthians 14:13, 19). Even when praying and singing while speaking in tongues, the speaker, for himself also, should interpret what he is saying so that it is fruitful for his mind (1 Corinthians 14:14,15). If there is no interpreter in church, then the speaker should keep quiet. The speaker should speak to himself and God ( 1 Corinthians 14:28).

    Post edited by YourTruthGod on
  • YourTruthGodYourTruthGod Posts: 260
    edited December 2020

    @Wolfgang

    In the Old Testament, we read this about tongues...

    Isaiah 28:11 Very well then, with foreign lips

    and strange tongues God will speak to this people,

    12 to whom he said, "This is the resting place, let the weary rest";

    and, "This is the place of repose"—

    but they would not listen.


    Now read what the New Testament says about tongues...


    1 Corinthians 14:21 In the Law it is written:

    "Through men of strange tongues

    and through the lips of foreigners

    I will speak to this people,

    but even then they will not listen to me," says the Lord.

    22 Tongues, then, are a sign, not for believers but for unbelievers; prophecy, however, is for believers, not for unbelievers.

    The nowadays tongue speakers today use their so-called tongue speaking for themselves and other believers in their church, they do not use it for unbelievers as the Bible tells us it is for. Do you see unbelievers coming to God because they hear foreigners to them speaking the words of God in their many languages? No. God can make anything happen, yet tongue speaking is not happening as it did when Jesus and the Apostles and Prophets were laying the foundation.

    We can see from the scriptures that speaking in tongues was prophesied about in the Old Testament, that the Lord would speak to the Jews, as stated in Isaiah 28. In the New Testament, we can see that this is a fulfilled prophecy, as confirmed by Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 14:21. Since the biblical speaking in tongues were for a sign, and God gave the sign for the purpose as prophesied in the Old Testament, it would make sense to believe that speaking in tongues is a gift that would stop.

    (Speaking in tongues were for a sign to the Jews: Isaiah 28:11, 12; 1 Corinthians 14:21;Acts 2:5,8, Acts 10:44.)

    This scripture tells us that tongues “will be stilled”:

    1 Corinthians 13:8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.

    Jesus, the prophets and the apostles have laid the foundation; the Bible is finished. New prophecies and new knowledge have ceased also, just as the Bible says they would, for we know no one can add new prophecies and new knowledge to the Bible.

    The SIGN IS that Gentiles were speaking the Word of God in the many different languages, languages that the JEWS spoke in, because they were dispersed and lived in many different places, so they spoke many different languages. The word for 'languages' is tongues (Acts 2:11). God has fulfilled the purpose of the sign (TONGUES) to the JEWS. Yet many Christians believe their glossolalia is the tongue speaking as in the bible.

    When people spoke in tongues, they spoke mysteries (1 Corinthians 14:2). We are no longer receiving new mysteries. The mysteries of the gospel has been given (Ephesians 6:19).

  • theMadJWtheMadJW Posts: 168

    The fake 'gifts of the spirit' are prevalent in our times, being performed by people who don't know God, and in a pretense!

    The dead are not raised, the Blind are not given sight, the 'Speaking in Tongues; a tragilarious babbling- completely devoid of "the magnificent things of God" spoken in different languages, and when one would enter the congregation speaking a different language and some one would be given the gift of translation.

    Matt 7:22-  Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy by thy name, and by thy name cast out demons, and by thy name do many mighty works? 23- And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

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