Writing on such a controversial subject as speaking in tongues is certainly not the best way to make friends. On the contrary, it is the surest method of losing some of them.
Today’s speaking in tongues?
Is the speaking in tongues we hear in the majority of churches today, the true Bible gift of tongues? Well, according to the world view there are two types of tongues.One is the sudden ability to speak in another language of the world, the other is to utter a “heavenly” language, which we will refer to as “ecstatic tongues”. The gift of speaking in another language is a clear Bible teachingand has been happening since Bible times. The other “ecstatic” form of speaking in tongues that has been widely accepted today in churches only started spreading through the churches in the early 1900’s. So our question is, if this speaking in ecstatic tongues is the true gift of tongues as taught in the Bible, then why did it only start being widely spoken 100 years ago? Have a really good think about that. True speaking in tongues as per the Bible, which is the sudden ability to speak in another language, will have continued from Bible times right throughout history, and yet this ecstatic type of tongues we hear, only started spreading recently in history. That should instantly get the alarm bells ringing in our minds.
1Cor 14:33 …’For God is NOT the author of confusion.’
This ecstatic speaking in tongues (gibberish), can be found also in many cults of the world, right throughout Asia and Africa and many other areas. Another cause for concern.
So is the truth about speaking in tongues important to know? Yes it is, just as any other truth from God is important to know and to live according to, because if we reject even the smallest Bible truth, then we are letting the door open for Satan to come in and take control. And it will only be a matter of time before we reject more and more plain Bible truth. We are sanctified by God through His Word, and He declares that His Word is truth, so we should be seeking the Bible truth in ALL areas of our Christian walk, and speaking in tongues is one of them.
Joh 17:17 …..’Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.’
There are over 100 million people throughout the world who are speaking in ecstatic tongues and believe that they have the gift of tongues as found in the Bible. Now something you will notice about this ecstatic tongues is that it seems to largely remain INSIDE church buildings, and yet the clear Bible truth about speaking in tongues and the original purpose of the gift of tongues was for Christian missionaries to take the gospel message into lands where the people spoke different languages. So if this speaking in ecstatic tongues is the true Bible gift of tongues, then why does it remain largely behind closed doors? Please think about these important points, as they help show us whether speaking in “ecstatic” tongues is truth or error, and of a good spirit, or an evil spirit.
Not only that, but the majority of people who hear the preacher or someone speaking in ecstatic tongues have no idea what they are saying, and God is not glorified through it. So what is the purpose of it? We know that true Bible speaking in tongues has a purpose from God, as we will discover throughout this site, but I just don’t see any point or purpose to the ecstatic tongues that are heard throughout many churches today. If a foreign person came into a church and heard people speaking in ecstatic tongues (gibberish), they would just think the people were crazy and God would not be glorified, but if the people were given the gift of speaking in tongues, as per the Bible, then the foreign person would hear the gospel being spoken in their own language and God would be glorified for it.
Part of the problem today is that many Christians are too busy seeking great signs and wonders, just like the Jews did in the days of Christ Jesus. We are too wrapped up in “feelings” to hear the plain truth from God’s Word. Do you want to know the Bible truth about the gift of speaking in tongues, even if it goes against what you “feel”? I hope so! Never forget that we live in bodies that are sinful and are dying, and we are at war with a spiritual enemy that can put thoughts into our minds. So we should never base anything on what we “feel”. Rather, we should base everything on the true Word of God in the Bible. As our Lord and Saviour once said:
Mat 4:4 …..’Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeded out of the mouth of God.’
One thing you can be sure of is that in this website you will find the WHOLE council of God, and not just bits and pieces taken out of context to suit our fancies. We are dedicated to living according to God’s truth in the Bible, no matter what the majority of the world are doing. Sure, the majority of the Christian world are not speaking in tongues or ecstatic tongues, but this charismatic movement of speaking in ecstatic tongues is growing fast, and could end up having a huge bearing on end time deceptions from the enemy. Please give your heart to the Lord Jesus on this issue, and let Him teach you His truth from the Bible.
Tongues after Pentecost
Was the gift of tongues given to other people throughout the New Testament? Yes, the Holy Spirit fell upon many others which enabled speaking in tongues (other languages) to bring glory to God and the gospel message.
Act 10:44-46 …..’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.’
So the Gentiles were given the gift of speaking in tongues. But what tongues were they speaking? Were they speaking ecstatic tongues like so many do today? No, the gift of tongues that they were given was to speak in other languages, and the Jews heard the Gentiles give glory to God in their very own language. Peter confirms this point when he went back to Judea to tell of the story:
Act 11:15-17 …..’And as I began to speak, the Holy Ghost fell on them, as on us at the beginning. Then remembered I the word of the Lord, how that he said, John indeed baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost. Forasmuch then as God gave them the like gift as he did unto us, who believed on the Lord Jesus Christ.’
Do you see what Peter is saying about these Gentiles speaking in tongues? He confirms that God gave them the VERY SAME gift as He did with the disciples on the day of Pentecost. What gift? The gift of speaking in tongues. And what were the tongues that the disciples spoke on the day of Pentecost? Different languages! It’s that simple! This gift of tongues was certainly not the ability to speak ecstatic tongues that no one could understand, because God could not be glorified that way.
What Does Paul say About Speaking in Tongues?
It is well known that the apostle Paul could speak a number of different languages, more than any of the other apostles and disciples. And what did he say about his ability to speak in different languages?
1Cor 14:18 …..’I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than ye all.’
So Paul attributes speaking in different languages as speaking in tongues. This is Bible truth! And Paul also tells us what the purpose was for the gift of tongues in 1Cor 14:22 …..’Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not: but prophesying serveth not for them that believe not, but for them which believe.’ ….. Did you catch that? Paul says that the gift of speaking in tongues is for a SIGN to those who don’t believe. Which makes complete sense when you think about what happened on the day of Pentecost. Because the Holy Spirit gave the disciples the gift of speaking in tongues, and the people there could hear them speak in their own language. Many of them believed the gospel and 3000 people were added to the faith that day.
Think about it. Could speaking in ecstatic tongues like many Christians do today be a sign to those who don’t believe? Not a chance! Why? Because they do not understand what is being said, and they will just think those Christians are just plain crazy! Does that bring glory to God? No!
So where would you see true Bible tongues being spoken today? Most likely out on the missions field. Let me give you an example of what the true Bible gift of tongues is; An English speaking Christian missionary is speaking to a crowd of African people and he needs a translator for the people to understand what he is saying. While he is speaking, the translator stops interpreting and the missionary wonders why he has stopped. Why? Because the Holy Spirit has filled the missionary and given him the gift of speaking in tongues, and the African people can hear him speaking in their OWN language. Friend, this is true Bible tongues, not ecstatic utterances behind closed doors.
Satan has a counterfeit for many of God’s truths in the Bible, and he has a counterfeit for Bible speaking in tongues. That counterfeit is this ecstatic “gibberish” that is heard in many churches today. Please don’t be fooled into thinking that speaking like that is the true gift of tongues, because it is not. Many people will even teach that you don’t have enough faith if you are not speaking in tongues. This is nothing but deception, because God gives different gifts to different people. So what is the gift of speaking in tongues? It’s the gift of suddenly speaking fluently in a different language that people can understand.
The gift of tongues in the New Testament
The gift of speaking in tongues is deeply involved with the great commission that Christ Jesus gave to His disciples before He ascended to heaven. Take a look at what Jesus said to them about speaking in tongues:
Mar 16:15-17 …..’And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.
And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues.’
This is the great commission from Jesus for His followers to go into the world and preach the good news of the gospel message. Now we know that the world is full of different nations, with people speaking different languages, so what gift would the disciples need in order to preach the gospel to these different nations? They would need the gift of tongues, to be able to speak the various languages of the world. Now were the disciples trained in speaking different languages? No, they would need to be filled with the Holy Spirit to start speaking in tongues (languages) to preach the gospel. And Jesus told them to wait in Jerusalem for the power of the Holy Spirit, which would empower them to start speaking in tongues (different languages):
Luk 24:49 …..’And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.’
This is why the disciples were all gathered in Jerusalem. They were waiting for power from on High, as Jesus told them to. The gift of speaking in tongues was given on pentecost up in that room where they were gathered, as we can see in the following Bible verses:
Act 2:1-4 …..’And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.’
This is where taking in the WHOLE council of God is very much needed. Now many Christians will take these couple of Bible verses above and apply it to the gift of tongues as being able to speak in ecstatic “heavenly” tongues, the way millions do in churches throughout the world today. But we cannot just take Bible verses out of the context in which they were written. And if we carry on reading in Acts 2, we will find out the truth about speaking in tongues and what the gift of tongues was for:
Act 2:5-11 …..’And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven. Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language. And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galilaeans? And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born? Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia, Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes, Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God.’
What a glorious God we have. He always exlpains His truth to us in a clear way, so that there be no need for misunderstanding. We can clearly see that the purpose of the gift of tongues was so that the people from other nations who spoke in different languages (tongues) could hear the good news of the gospel of Christ Jesus. The gift of tongues was given to the disciples in the upper room on the day of Pentecost, and they were just speaking as they normally would, BUT the Holy Spirit had enabled them with the gift of tongues to speak in the various languages of the people listening. Are you seeing this Bible truth about speaking in tongues? If you take a look at the following verses, you will even see that the Old Testament teaching on tongues has carried on into the New Testament.
Joh 5:2 …..’Now there is at Jerusalem by the sheep market a pool, which is called in the Hebrew tongue Bethesda, having five porches.’
Act 21:40 …..’And when he had given him licence, Paul stood on the stairs, and beckoned with the hand unto the people. And when there was made a great silence, he spake unto them in the Hebrew tongue.’
Rev 7:9 …..’After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands.’
You see, God’s Word does not change. God Himself does not change and neither does His Word. His Truth is as sure today as it was 6000 years ago. Do you see the truth about speaking in tongues above? Right throughout the Bible the word tongue means language, NOT some ecstatic utterance that many people do today. So who is it that gives people this ecstatic utterance if it is not a Bible teaching? It must be Satan. Which is why we must stand firmly on the truth of God’s Word.
The Old Testament and tongues?
We like to take in the whole council of God here, so to be able to get a clear understanding about Bible tongues, we need to start in the Old Testament. Study of the Old Testament is rejected by many professing Christians, because it’s not as “exciting” as the New Testament, and doesn’t give us the “nice feelings” the way the New Testament does.
But it is vital that we do include the Old Testament to get the whole picture. So what does it teach us about speaking in tongues?
Gen 10:5 …..’By these were the isles of the Gentiles divided in their lands; every one after his tongue, after their families, in their nations.’ Gen 10:20,31 …..’These are the sons of Ham, after their families, after their tongues, in their countries, and in their nations: …. These are the sons of Shem, after their families, after their tongues, in their lands, after their nations.’
So right from the start in the book of Genesis, we can see that the word tongues simply means languages. People speaking in their own tongues were basically speaking in the language of their land. Obviously before Babel, everyone spoke the same tongue (language), so there wasn’t any problem communicating with each other. But this caused a problem with God, because man got together and started doing great things and instead of dwelling with God in the beautiful countryside that He had made, they decided they wanted to build cities for themselves to dwell in, and a great tower.
Gen 11:5-7 …..’And the LORD came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men builded. And the LORD said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do. Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech.’
Do you see what God did? He confused their tongue (language), so that they could not communicate with each other, and the building of the great tower had to stop, and mankind became scattered across the earth amongst their own tongue (speech). Now a long time after this, when God had brought the nation of Israel out of Egypt, and they had disobeyed His commandments, look at what God said would happen ….. Deuteronomy 28:49 …..’The LORD shall bring a nation against thee from far, from the end of the earth, as swift as the eagle flieth; a nation whose tongue thou shalt not understand.’ …..
So at this time, the world was now filled with people who spoke different tongues (languages). And because of the Israelites rebellion against God, He decided to bring another nation against them, whose tongue they would not understand. Now this other nation, would they be speaking in some “heavenly” ecstatic utterances? No, of course not. They would simply be speaking in another language. Just like the different languages (tongues) we have all around the world today.
Ezr 4:7 …..’And in the days of Artaxerxes wrote Bishlam, Mithredath, Tabeel, and the rest of their companions, unto Artaxerxes king of Persia; and the writing of the letter was written in the Syrian tongue, and interpreted in the Syrian tongue.’
Dan 1:4 …..’Children in whom was no blemish, but well favoured, and skilful in all wisdom, and cunning in knowledge, and understanding science, and such as had ability in them to stand in the king’s palace, and whom they might teach the learning and the tongue of the Chaldeans.’
Can there be any misunderstanding about the word tongue in the Old Testament? What would speaking in tongues mean in the Old testament? It simple means speaking in the language of the nation you are from. The tongue (language) that God gave us after the tower of Babel. So if you applied this to the gift of tongues in the New Testament, what do you think it would mean? Would it not mean that God would give His people the gift of speaking in tongues (languages) to be able to communicate with different nations, for the spreading of the gospel message of Christ Jesus?
Speaking in tongues of Angels?
What point was Paul trying to get across when he talked about speaking in tongues of Angels? Let’s take a look at the Bible verse in question:
1Cor 13:1 …..’Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.’
Now the key to understanding this Bible verse about speaking in tongues of
angels, is in the VERY NEXT verse! What does Paul say in the next verse? 1Cor 13:2 …..’And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.’ ….. This is amazing! Did any man or woman who has ever lived (except Jesus) understand ALL mysteries? Did any man or woman that has ever lived have ALL knowledge? Did any man or woman that has ever lived have ALL faith? Of course not! So what is Paul trying to get at? He’s basically making the point that even IF (by the way, that word “though” should be IF). Even IF he or anyone could speak in all languages of men and angels. Even IF he or anyone had ALL understanding and knowledge and faith. Even if they had ALL these things but did not show love and charity, they would have NOTHING. Do you see this? He’s not saying that we CAN speaking in the language of angels, or have ALL wisdom and understanding and faith. He’s just saying that IF we could do these things but still didn’t show love, then they would mean nothing.
Saying it in another more worldly way. If we were like superman, but did not show love and charity, us being like superman would count for nothing! Does it mean we CAN be like superman? Of course not! Paul in 1 Corinthians 13 is talking about the importance of true love in your life. Even if you had ALL gifts and wisdom and knowledge and faith (which you wouldn’t) and did not have love, those gifts would count for nothing. Do you see this truth?
And anyway, take a look in the Bible when angels spoke to people. What language did the angels speak? They spoke in the language of that person, not some ecstatic gibberish that the person could not understand. You really have to stretch and twist God’s Word in order to say that speaking in ecstatic tongues (gibberish) is speaking in a heavenly language of angels.
1Cor 14:2,9,13,14 …..’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. So likewise ye, except ye utter by the tongue words easy to be understood, how shall it be known what is spoken? for ye shall speak into the air. Wherefore let him that speaketh in an unknown tongue pray that he may interpret. For if I pray in an unknown tongue, my spirit prayeth, but my understanding is unfruitful.’
This is another Bible verse that Christians who speak in ecstatic tongues use to defend what they do. They cling to those words “unknown tongue” and make them mean a heavenly language of tongues of angels. But we have learned throughout this website that tongues is basically languages of the earth. So let’s say a Japanese person came into an English church and started speaking in their own language. What would that be? It would be an UNKNOWN TONGUE. And if there wasn’t anyone in the church who had the gift of interpretation, or the person himself could not interpret, who would that Japanese person be speaking to? God alone! Because only God would understand what that person was saying.
Let’s let the Bible interpret itself here. What did God say to Israel in Deu 28:49? … ‘The LORD shall bring a nation against thee from far, from the end of the earth, as swift as the eagle flieth; a nation whose TONGUE thou shalt not understand.’ … Now we know that “tongues” in the Old Testament meant language. So God was basically saying that He would bring a nation against them whose LANGUAGE they would not understand. This also applies to 1 Corinthians 14 above.
And look at what Paul said further on in this chapter, which clarifies what he was talking about:
1Cor 14:18 ‘I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than ye all.’
We know that Paul could speak in a number of different languages of the earth. He wasn’t speaking in ecstatic tongues like many Christians do today, but simply different languages of the earth. This is what he is talking about with speaking in tongues. And in verse 22 he wraps it up by saying ….. ‘Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not: but prophesying serveth not for them that believe not, but for them which believe.’ ….. Speaking in tongues (speaking in different languages) is for a sign to those who don’t believe. Now how can speaking in ecstatic tongues (gibberish) be a sign to those who don’t believe, when all they think when they hear it happen is that the people are crazy! And it largely remains behind closed doors. How can that be a sign to non-believers?
2Cor 12:4 ‘How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.’
Now it’s interesting that Christians use this Bible verse to excuse their speaking in ecstatic tongues, and yet Paul says that the words he heard in Heaven were NOT LAWFUL for a man to utter. Did he tell us what he heard? No, because it would have been sinful for him to do so. And anyway, no one knows what he heard, so how can we attached speaking in gibberish to this verse? Again, some stretching and twisting needs to be done to say that this Bible verse promotes speaking in ecstatic tongues.
1Cor 14:33 ‘For God is NOT the author of confusion.’
The truth is, the gift of speaking in tongues is the sudden ability to speak in another language of the earth, and nothing more! And the lesson to learn is that even IF we could speak in the tongues of angels (which we couldn’t), and did not show love and charity, then we would have nothing. Showing true love is the most important thing in anyone’s life. That is what we should focus on. I pray that your heart would be touched by the truth of God’s Word.
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