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Do All Speak with Tongues ?
Written by arkwriter   
Sunday, 10 April 2011 20:03
 

Do All Speak with Tongues ?

 

The answer to this question “Do all speak with tongues?” can be “Yes” and also “No”, depending on the kind of tongues that is in reference with.  According to the Holy Bible there are many kinds of tongues (1 Cor. 12:27-31).

[27] Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually. [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. [29] Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Are all workers of miracles? [30] Do all have gifts of healings? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret? [31] But earnestly desire the best gifts. And yet I show you a more excellent way. (1 Cor. 12:27-31)

We read in verse [28] there are “varieties of tongues” and “various kinds of tongues” (1 Cor. 12:10). There are two basic kinds of tongues.

 

The Disciples of Christ assembled in Two Places

and they received Two Kinds of Speaking in Tongues

 The First Apostolic Church began with about one hundred and twenty disciples (Acts 1:15). They assembled and worshiped in the temple and also in the church members' homes (Acts 2:46). They went up into the Upper Room . . . These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication (Acts 1:13-14).  The Bible clearly recorded that after the Lord Jesus Christ ascended into Heaven the disciples "continually" worshiped God in the Temple.

 And He led them out as far as Bethany, and He lifted up His hands and blessed them. Now it came to pass, while He blessed them, that He was parted from them and carried up into heaven. And they worshiped Him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and were continually in the temple praising and blessing God. Amen.” (Lk. 24:50-53)

 The word "continually" could mean every day.  During the Feast of Pentecost thousands of Jews go to the temple in Jerusalem to worship God.  The disciples most definitely would join the other Jews to worship God in  the Temple.

 Now when the Day of Pentecost had fully come. They were all with one accord in one place.” (Acts 2:1). And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak (laleō λαλέω) with other tongues (glossa γλῶσσα), as the Spirit gave them utterance.” (Acts 2:4) Bear in mind that this Prayer Meeting occurred in the Temple and not in the Upper Room.

 

 The Disciples went to the Temple on the Day of Pentecost 

When the disciples were worshiping God in the Temple there were devout men, from every nation under heaven.” (Acts 2:5) There must have been thousands of Jews who had come to Jerusalem for the Feast of Pentecost because about three thousand souls” had heard Peter's gospel message and were baptized (Acts 2:14, 41). The temple in Jerusalem had enormous courtyards that thousands of people could assemble

 This is the photograph of the model of the Temple in Jerusalem that the disciples had assembled on the Day of Pentecost when they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke wih tongues.

And when this sound occurred, the multitude came together, and were confused, because everyone heard them speak in his own language.” (Acts 2:6)

The disciples were speaking in human languages in turn, one after another, that could be understood (Acts 2:6-11; 1 Cor. 14:27; ). Luke did not record they were speaking in unknown tongues which is glossa γλῶσσα but in known 'languages” which is dialectos διάλεκτοςin Greek (Acts 2:6).

This ability of speaking in a human language that the speaker could not have learned is a spiritual gift of tongues - charisma χάρισμα  in Greek (1 Cor. 12:4-10).

Throughout the New Testament this phenomenon of speaking in human languages have only been recorded in Acts chapter 2, and it is not repeated elsewhere. This spiritual gift is not the prayer language as described in 1 Corinthians 14:2, but the one that God uses for preaching to unbelievers (1 Cor. 14:21-22), and it needs to be interpreted (1 Cor. 14:27-28).

This spiritual gift of speaking in human languages is not given to everyone in the church, therefore the apostle Paul wrote: Do all have gifts of healings: Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret?” (1 Cor. 12:30)  Do not use this verse to justify the position that you do not need to speak in tongues because this spiritual gift is not given to every Christian.

Two Common Errors of Opponents

to Speaking with Tongues

Christians who take the position that speaking with tongues is not for every believer make these two common errors.

 [1] They think that all the events in Acts chapter two happened in the Upper Room. They fail to realize that the disciples were at first speaking in tongues as a prayer language in the Temple  (Acts 2:4; 1 Cor. 14:2).  This tongues is a prayer language.  Then God gave them the spiritual gift of speaking in human languages which they have never learnt.  This tongues is a spiritual gift for preaching.

 [2] They think that there is only one kind of speaking in tongues and present day speaking in tongues do not resemble the ones that the disciples of Christ were having, which are human languages.  They think present day speaking in tongues are not genuine, worse still, they think Christians who speak with tongues are either disillusioned or faking the tongues.  

 [1] Speaking with Tongues is the Evidence of Receiving the Holy Spirit therefore every Christian should have it.

"And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance."  (Acts 2:4) In this verse it is clearly stated that every one of the about one hundred and twenty disciples spoke with tongues.  Ten days prior to Pentecost the Lord Jesus Christ had told the disciples: "You shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit" (Acts 1:5).  The manifestation of  speaking with tongues in Acts 2:4 is the fulfilment of Jesus' statement in Acts 1:5., so this kind of tongues is the evidence of receiving the Holy Spirit.

The experience of the first Gentile converts indicates Speaking with Tongues is the Apostolic criiteria for receiving the Holy Spirit.

"While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the word. And those of the circumcision who believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also.  For they heard them speak with tongues and magnify God. Then Peter answered, "Can anyone forbid water, that these should not be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?" (Acts 10:44-47)  How did Peter and the Jews who accompanied him know that that Gentiles had received the Holy Spirit?  Here is the answer:  "For they heard them speak with tongues"  and  "who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have". 

 Peter went to the church in Jerusalem and testified to the other apostles and elders: 

"And as I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell upon them, as upon us at the beginning. Then I remembered the word of the Lord, how He said, "John indeed baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit.'  If therefore God gave them the same gift as He gave us when we believed on the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could withstand God?" When they heard these things they became silent; and they glorified God, saying, "Then God has also granted to the Gentiles repentance to life."  (Acts 11:15-18)

Experience of the Ephesian Converts

"And it happened, while Apollos was at Corinth, that Paul, having passed through the upper regions, came to Ephesus. And finding some disciples he said to them, "Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?" So they said to him, "We have not so much as heard whether there is a Holy Spirit." And he said to them, "Into what then were you baptized?" So they said, "Into John's baptism." Then Paul said, "John indeed baptized with a baptism of repentance, saying to the people that they should believe on Him who would come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus." When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke with tongues and prophesied. Now the men were about twelve in all." (Acts 19:1-7) 

Visible and Audible Manifestations of the Holy Spirit

On the Day of Pentecost there were three manifestations of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:1-4).

1. Sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind”.

2. “Divided tongues as of fire.”

3. “Speak with other tongues , as the Spirit gave them utterance.”

The first manifestation of the wind is audible and the second one "tongues as of fire" is visible, but both are external to the person. The third manifestation of speaking with tongues is visible and audible, and it was personally experienced by each and every disciple of Christ. Speaking with tongues is the only manifestation that was repeated and experienced by other believers and recorded in other verses in Acts (Acts 10:44-46; 19:5-6).

The apostles Peter and John came from Jerusalem to pray for the Samaritan Christians who had been baptized, but did not receive the Holy Spirit (Acts 8:14-16). “Then they laid hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit. And when Simon saw that through the laying on of the apostles' hands the Holy Spirit was given, he offered them money,” (Acts 8:17-18) Simon must have seen and heard the Samaritan Christians speaking with tongues when they received the Holy Spirit so he offered money to buy this gift.

Speaking with tongues is the visible and audible manifestation of receiving the Holy Spirit. After the Holy Spirit was poured down on the disciples on the Day of Pentecost the apostle Peter said in his sermon: “This Jesus God has raised up, of which we are all witnesses. Therefore being exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He poured out this which you now see and hear. “ (Acts 2:32-33). The baptism of the Holy Spirit can be seen and heard.

Problematic Exegesis of the Pentecostal Phenomenon

Some tongues-speakers explain the 120 disciples were all praying and all spoke in tongues at the same time, therefore no one could discern what they were speaking unless God had given the Jews who came to the Temple the gift of hearing them speaking in their own languages. This is not pure biblical exegesis but circular reasoning.  There are problems with this kind of explanation which contradicts with the Word of God.

First, there is a Bible prophecy: "In the law it is written: "With men of other tongues and other lips I will speak to this people; And yet, for all that, they will not hear Me," says the Lord." (1 Cor. 14:21) They will not hear God's message when the disciples speak with tongues.

Second, The tongues” that is spoken during the prayer is not given for men to hear. 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.” (1 Cor. 14:2) The apostle Paul wrote: “For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my understanding is unfruitful. What is the conclusion then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will also pray with the understanding. I will sing with the spirit, and I will also sing with the understanding.” (1 Cor. 14:14-15) This kind of tongues for prayer edifies the individual Christian (1 Cor. 14:4)

Third, the Lord Jesus Christ have already prophesied, "And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues." (Mk. 16:17)  Our Lord's prophecy is that believers would "speak with new tongues", that means speaking new languages that they have never spoken before and which they have never learned. Our Lord did not prophesy that unbelievers would hear new tongues. The fulfillment of the Lord's prophecy of this miracle that occurred on the Day of Pentecost was given to the believers (disciples) who spoke, and not to the unbelievers who listened. There is a spiritual gift of speaking "different kinds of tongues", but there is no such gift of hearing languages when believers are praying in tongues (1 Cor. 12:1-10).

Fourth, The whole church can all pray together in the spiritual tongue, but God had given the Early Church very clear rules that the whole church must not have everyone speaking (preaching) with tongues at the same time, but they can speak one after another so that people can hear what they are speaking (1 Cor. 14:23-33). No one would be able to hear anything if the disciples had all spoken at the same time. God is not the author of confusion.

True Exegesis of the Pentecostal Phenomenon

[2} Speaking with Tongues for Preaching and Witnessing is a Charismatic Gift that is NOT  given to every Christian.

This spiritual gift of speaking with tongues in known languages is for the edification of the church therefore rules have been established for its application.

There is a tendency for people who oppose speaking with tongues to get confused between the two basic kinds of tongues. The first type of tongues is for prayer therefore the whole congregation may speak in tongues at the same time. On the Day of Pentecost all the 120 disciples were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in tongues as the Spirit gave utterance."  The disciples later spoke in human languages. This ability of speaking in a human language that the speaker could not have learned is a spiritual gift of tongues - charisma χάρισμα  in Greek (1 Cor. 12:4-10). 

1. “Therefore if the whole church comes together in one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in those who are uninformed or unbelievers, will they not say that you are out of your mind?” (1 Cor. 14:23)

Here, the apostle Paul was rebuking the Corinthian Church for abusing the kind of tongues that is used for preaching. In 1 Corinthians 12 this gift is charisma” χάρισμα  in Greek (Strong's G5486). The congregation was not praying but everyone was trying to vainly exhibit this charismatic gift of tongues simultaneously. Visitors coming to attend the service would think that was a madhouse.

The apostle Paul's comment applies only to the spiritual gift of tongues for preaching and not to the speaking with tongues for prayer.

On the Day of Pentecost the disciples were, at first, praying and “speaking with other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance” (Acts 2:4).  After receiving the Holy Spirit God gave them the charismatic gift of speaking in human languages in the Temple where they encountered “devout men from every nation under heaven.” (Acts 2:5)  At that time they were speaking “the wonderful works of God” in fourteen known languages that could be understood (Acts 2:5-11). This kind of tongues is for preaching and witnessing to unbelievers, and it should be clearly distinguished from the tongues for prayer that they were speaking at first (Acts 2:4-5). 

Hence the apostle Paul wrote: “Therefore tongues are for a sign, not to those who believe but to unbelievers; but prophesying is not for unbelievers but for those who believe.” (1 Cor. 14:22). There were thousands of Israelites who had come to Jerusalem for the Feast of Pentecost and they had not yet believed in the Lord Jesus Christ. When the disciples first received the spiritual gift of speaking in known languages that they had never learned, many Isrelites were convinced this was truly a miracle and it is the work of God. The result is that about three thousand people had accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as their Savior, repented of their sins and were baptized into Him (Acts 2:36-41).

There were other rules for exercising the gift of tongues for preaching.

2. How is it then, brethren? Whenever you come together, each of you has a psalm, has a teaching, has a tongue, has a revelation, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification. (1 Cor. 14:26)

3. If anyone speaks in a tongue, let there be two or at the most three, each in turn, and let one interpret. (1 Cor. 14:27)

4. But if there is no interpreter, let him keep silent in church, and let him speak to himself and to God. (1 Cor. 14:28)

Not all tongues need interpretation.  There are many kinds of tongues (1 Cor. 12:10). There are tongues for prayer that need no interpretation because it is not spoken to men but to God. (1 Cor. 14:2) No one can understand it, even the speaker himself do not underand it (1 Cor. 14:14). Nevertheless the apostle Paul concluded: “What is the result then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding. . .” (1 Cor. 14:15)

5. Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others judge. (1 Cor. 14:29)

6. But if anything is revealed to another who sits by, let the first keep silent. (1 Cor. 14:30)

7. Therefore, brethren, desire earnestly to prophesy, and do not forbid to speak with tongues. (1 Cor. 14:39)

8. Let all things be done dcently and in order. (1 Cor. 14:40)

(Acts 2:4)

 

Nature of Speaking with Tongues

The nature of speaking in tongues” is very difficult to debate. I have seen congregations split over this issue. Some insist speaking in tongues” must be words that sound like a human language while others say it must only be simple monosyllabic words that can be repeated.

One thing the Bible is very clear is this: For one who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God; for no one understands, but in his spirit he speaks mysteries.” (1 Cor. 14:2) For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my understanding is unfruitful.” (1 Cor. 14:14) Speaking in tongues” is not a human language and it is not for the speaker or others to understand. It is a language for prayer that only God understands

Sound of Infants  Speaking in Tongues may sound like infants talking and so it is unintelligible to ordinary people, but God understands and accepts it. and said to Him, "Do You hear what these are saying?" And Jesus said to them, "Yes. Have you never read, "Out of the mouth of babes and nursing infants You have perfected praise.?" (Mt. 21:16)

Sound of Groaning. 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.” (Rom. 8:26)

Sound of Water. It can be like the gurgling sound of water from a river. On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, "If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water." But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.” (Jn. 7:37-39)

Sound of the Wind The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit." (Jn. 3:8)

I remember at one time I was attending the National Church Conference in Hawaii.  The Honolulu Church had rented a large seaside home on the northside of the island. One early morning while it was still dark I heard the distinct sound of the wind. I got up and went outside the building and there was no wind at all. When I went inside the building I heard the sound of the wind again, so I investigated where the sound came from.  I followed the sound of the wind to the verandah and there was a sister praying in the Spirit. She was praying in tongues that sounded very much like the wind blowing.  After she stopped praying there was no more sound of the wind.

Sound of the Dove When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him.” (Mt. 3:16)

Do All Speak With Tongues ?

The answer is 'Yes' . All Christians should receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking with tongues. The Lord Jesus Christ said: “And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues;” (Mk. 16:17). This speaking with tongues is a prayer language that only God can understand and it edifies the speaker.

The answer is 'No' if the question is in reference to the spiritual gift of tongues for preaching in a known human language that the speaker has not learned before. This spiritual gift is not given to every Christian, therefore we are not expected to exercise it  

May God bless You

Links to Related Articles

The Lord Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit

You shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit

Is speaking tongues needed today?

Slain in the Spirit

                                                     Questions on the Holy Spirit

The above Article is based on the Study by Paul Wong
for Discussion to the Ark Forum
 on April 10, 2011.

 

Paul Wong is a Christian minister and the President of ARK International.
His ministry also serves as an architectural service company in Houston.
The ARK Forum on the Internet is international and non-denominational

 

 

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Last Updated on Wednesday, 19 September 2012 12:36