I am not going to be exhaustive here so please bear with me, but what I would like to do is offer some insight to this and then ask for responses.
The gift of tongues is one that has obviously been abused all the way back to the very time of when the gifts were first being administered. The abusing of it, by the way, could have been and is being abused, in other gifts as well. I think the easiest one to see is that of being a pastor or a teacher. This is being abused today as much as the gift of tongues were being abused in Paul’s day. Some pastor’s and teachers are prideful and using teaching as a way of hierarchy instead of servitude and humility. But that is for another time.
First, I want to presuppose something. The gift of tongues is an actual language. There is never a use in the Bible where the word for tongues or a tongue does not use the word “glossa” in some tense, which means a language or dialect of a certain people. The other proof of this is that the gift of tongues is said to need an interpreter, you can only interpret an actual language, not babble.
There is something that I would like to point out that I have been “pondering” in my head as I have been a teacher and been very close to our local pastor and also am a PK. Let me ask, what does a pastor want from “his” church? Does he not want the congregants to employ their gifts (serve), be unified in true love, and also evangelize? Take a look at Paul’s three chapters dealing with tongues in 1 Corinthians. Chapter 12 is the “gift” chapter, so that the congregants will now in what capacity to serve, Chapter 13 is the superiority of love so that the church will be united, and Chapter 14 tells us what tongues are for, they are for a sign (verse 22) for the UNbelievers. We also know that very clearly that the use of the tongues, in the early church in Acts, was for evangelizing. Can this not be Paul’s point to a church that was very much out of line and not using their gifts, not unified and not evangelizing?
The other part of tongues that always gets me is “praying in tongues.” I am not going to answer all the questions here but will point to 1 Cor 14:14,15
For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my mind is unfruitful. What is the outcome then? I will pray with the spirit and I will pray with the mind also; I will sing with the spirit and I will sing with the mind also.
Notice that Paul says, “if” I pray in a tongue, big “if” when you ask Paul. He says that if he were to do that, to pray in a tongue, it would be unfruitful. What is the outcome then? Or, what does Paul do? He says that he will pray with the spirit and the mind. Notice that he is not saying the Holy Spirit nor is he saying that he then prays with tongues AND the mind. No, Paul prays with his spirit and his mind. Just as the Shema states, to love the Lord your God with all your mind, soul and strength. Same idea in prayer. Pray so that your spirit and your mind are together and fruitful, for to Paul, to pray in tongues was unfruitful.
I know this is a small post and not that long, but want to discuss where to go from here. So we must understand that tongues were for evangelism (proof in Acts and 1 Cor 14:22) and NOT for prayer. I would like to know anyone’s points against this, not as a “challenge” but just curious on other’s feelings on these two things.
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