I know my language; but what is yours?
by Justin Thomley 2/05/2009 / Bible Studies
What is all the confusion with the body of Christ today about tongues. It's no wonder that the apostle Paul teaches far more on the subject of tongues, than he does on any other singled out subject! I have noticed today that there are so many in the church today claiming to have spiritual tongues, but yet not knowing the knowledge of tongues. I would just like say: that something smells fishy about that. Most people when they think of the word tongues, they automatically think about "tongues of angels"(heavenly language). Not considering the other types of tongues taught about in the NT. Please know that my intentions here is not to take away from the truth; but to help gain a deeper understanding of the truth. I understand that this subject may hit home hard for some. You see tongues in the heavenly language sense is not something that you habitually practice, nor is that even biblical! Rather something you exercise through the power of the Holy Spirit. Keep this in mind: you either posses something from God or you don't! You cannot twist God's arm into giving you something, because you went out of your way with practice. God freely gives, "dividing to every man severally as he will". That is why it's called a gift! Forming a false habit instead of the genuine thing, is not the proper way of receiving from God. The apostle Paul shows us the way, by saying,"Praying us with much entreaty that we would receive the gift",(2 Corinthians 8:4). Praying and "coveting earnestly the best gifts",(1 Corinthians 12:31), is the way you should expect Holy Spirit gifts from God! So with that being said; let's get deep into God's word and find out what He teaches about tongues. First off, let us note: that there are three (the number of witness) types on tongues. In which we will begin with the order starting with Jesus' teaching.
1. For signs.
2. Gift of various tongues(foreign languages).
3. Heavenly language.
1.When I was twelve my Dad took me to an R.W. Shambach revival in Houston,TX.. Now at that time I never knew much about Jesus Christ and nothing about the Holy Spirit whatsoever. It was that night that I received Christ in my life through an alter call. Shortly after that, Mr. Shambach came off the stage and at that time it seemed like the crowd parted, like the Red sea. All I remember at that moment was him speaking with authority and coming straight towards me. Keep in mind there was around 5,000 people there. So that seemed a little strange to me that he came straight to me with everyone else around and me being at the back of the building. Long story short, he touched my head and when he did I fell out on the ground. Unusual utterances came out of my mouth. NOTE: I had no control over them. And I remember that I could hear around me; but it was like putting my ear to a wall and listening to people talk in the other room; only hearing the base in their vocals. Well Jesus teaches about this particular experience with tongues in,(Mark 16:16-17): "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". In order for me to have spoke in "new tongues" that night I had to first: believe which was my salvation prayer and the acceptance of Christ in my heart. Then I had to be baptized which came by the laying on of hands from the man of God. "Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost",(Acts 8:17). It was at that moment that I spoke in tongues as for a 'sign' of my Holy Spirit baptism for those around me to witness. This shows the evidence that you are baptized in the Holy Spirit, just as casting out of devil's and so on does. If you receive the free gift of the baptism of the Holy Spirit, than you too will speak in this heavenly language as a "sign" of your baptism. I also want to add, that this could also mean foreign languages as well, because Jesus told us to go into all the world preaching the gospel, casting out devils, healing the sick, raising the dead and speaking in "new tongues". Impossible if you could not speak the language of the land! As for my case it was heavenly language for a 'sign'.
2.This next tongue is one that many confuse with the heavenly language. It is one that must not be confused, yet understood. Let me first just say; that the Greek meaning for the word 'tongue' means (language). Also the Greek meaning for the word 'divers' means (various). Remember that the NT was written in the Greek. Ok, keep that in mind as we go over this study. On the day of Pentecost in the book of Acts, the Spirit "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",(Acts 2:3-4). You will then read in v.5; "And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven. Now here is the understanding to this particular type of tongue. "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 marveled, 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",(Acts 2:6-8)? This is obviously foreign language being taught here. Further on the apostle Paul tells us about the gifts of the Spirit in:(1 Corinthians 12:7-10). Remember the definitions that we went over above? When he speaks about the "divers kinds of tongues" in v.10; he is not talking about heavenly language tongues; yet is saying in the Greek: various kinds languages. "Though I speak with the tongues(languages is plural) of men and of angels",(1 Corinthians 13:1). This is the same gift poured out on the disciples on the day of Pentecost! It's no wonder that Paul said:"I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than ye all". Why? I will tell you why. Because the Lord knew that Paul strongly needed that gift of 'various kinds of languages', or "divers kinds of tongues"; in order for him to be equipped in his special ministry to spread the gospel throughout the land. "To every Gentile", in every village, town, city, country and island "abroad the land" in those days! He had no language interpreter with him. Most of the time he went alone or with Silas and Barnabas, who spoke the same language as Paul. I'm sorry; but I don't think they had 'Language Learning with Rosetta Stone' in those days! Yet he was able to communicate to all foreigners. Because of the "divers kinds of tongues" that God knew he needed! That's why God through Paul said; "the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit with". Did you know that Paul considered this special gift a ministry? "And God hath set some in the church, 1.first apostles, 2.secondarily prophets, 3.thirdly teachers, 4.after that miracles, 5.then gifts of healing's, 6.helps, 7.governments,8.diversities of tongues",(1 Corinthians 12:10).Where in the world did people get the 5-fold ministry thought from? They got it from the word "then" on #5, supposing that to be the end, because of that word. Sorry about that! Moving on. If these "diversities of tongues" were a heavenly language tongues, than seeing though Paul puts them in the class of being the least edifying to the church, by saying,"He that speaketh in an unknown tongue edifieth himself"; but he that prophesieth edifieth the church",(1 Corinthians 14:4). "for greater is he that prophesieth than he that speaketh with tongues, except he interpret, that the church may receive edifying",(1 Corinthians 14:5). That would make this gift (supposing to be a heavenly language) out for a pretty poor ministry don't you think? Hello! So you see it's obviouse that this 'gift' of "variuos langauges" is not that of the heavenly language, which is for "signs"; but rather heavenly knowledge of all languages for the edifing of the church throughout the world. The apostle Paul said "In the law it is written, With men of other tongues and other lips will I speak unto this people",(1 Corinthians 14:21). This scripture fit's Paul and his traveling ministry better than any other scripture. Seeing though he was a foreigner "unto them all". Just a note: that in the book of Revelation alone, God use the meaning of this tongue 6 times concerning people's language's. "There are, it may be, so many kinds of voices in the world, and none of them is without signification. "Therefore if I know not the meaning of the voice, I shall be unto him that speaketh a barbarian, and he that speaketh shall be a barbarian unto me", (1 Corinthians 14:10-11). If you would like further insight in this tongue, please fell free to email me with your questions.
3.Last but not least,heavenly languages. As we know this language is used in part 1 for signs. "Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not",(1 Corinthians 14:22). There must be interpretation present in order for those who believe not, to believe. "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",(1 Corinthians 14:27-28). Why? Well, "If therefore the whole church be come together into one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in those that are unlearned, or unbelievers, will they not say that ye are mad",(1 Corinthians 14:23)? Of course they would! Wouldn't you? We must be sure to: "Let all things be done unto edifying",(1 Corinthians 14:26). "For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body",(1 Corinthians 12:13). That was not a question; but a statement! That is why you must "covet earnestly" the 9th and last gift; which is: "interpretation of tongues",(1 Corinthians 12:10). I would like to add that this gift is not only for heavenly languages; but also for earthly languages as well. That is why you will sometimes see a man or woman on a platform interpreting worldwide for an evangelist at crusades or missionaries across the land. Having the "Interpretation of languages", of both "men and of angels",(1 Corinthians 13:1). Performing the ministry called "diversities of tongues",(1 Corinthians 12:10). NOTE: A power point. Th quote: "as the Spirit gave them utterance", (which was only written once in the NT) was referring to foreigner languages, see (Acts 2:4-11). The heavenly language is also referred to in (1 Corinthians 14:2) as the "unknown tongue". If it was that of the foreigner language; it could not be called the "unknown tongue", because it would be known unto a particular nation in the world. Therefore it could not be unknown! So that is it's proper name. There are those who pray and worship in the spirit and since there are two spirit's in the believer: which is your spirit (who is tapped in with God, because man is made up of body,soul and Spirit) and the Holy Spirit (who dwells also with your spirit): we will find ourselves praying and worshipping from our spirit(heart-man) and sometimes from the Holy Spirit (God's Spirit "abiding within you"), manifesting himself with "unknown tongues". I must say from experience: both produce results. For both are Spirit "and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth".(John 4:24). Have you not ever "groaned in the spirit",(John 11:33)? Was that of groaning heavenly? No! But it was from deep within your heart. Have you not ever had a Delilah pressing you until your "spirit was vexed (troubled,irritated) unto death",(Judges 16:16)? Of course you have. These are just a few of many examples that tells us: just because the bible talks about the spirit in us does not necessarily mean that it's talking about the Holy Spirit in us. When we have "unknown tongues" speaking forth out of us it is very important that we receive the interpretation so that the church and all who are near may be edified,(1 Corinthians 14:5). I ask you now, have you ever spoken in the heavenly language? If so: have you received the revelation of the message?=Biblical. Have you ever acted like you were speaking in tongues? To impress those around?=Unbiblical. Have you ever spoke in tongues in church not under the anointing, because everyone was shouting out in tongues around you?=Unbiblical. Do you ever see those in the ministry preaching and praying in tongues, yet there is no interpretation whatsoever?=Unbiblical. If you have answered yes to any of the last three questions, then I urge you to stop! First: because you are going against what God's word says,(1 Corinthians 14:13). Secondly: you are not edifying to the church. God required all things for the edifying of the church,(1 Corinthians 14:26). And thirdly: you take the chance of turning the unlearned who came to church, against the church causing them to think you all are crazy,(1 Corinthians 14:23). So please if you have this "tongue of angels", which comes only from the baptism of the Holy Spirit, than I urge you to please ask God for the gift of "interpretation of tongues". Therefore making you complete in the edification to the body... I am here for your questions and concerns....