|’False beliefs, ‘mysteries’, ‘biblical’ tongues, unbelievers, interpretation, prayer language, Holy Spirit baptism evidence’:

The entirety of this post is expressed in greater detail in the 5-part series entitled ‘Baptism Of the Holy Spirit Evidence: Tongues? This current post is closely drawn in large part from there and focuses more specifically on the nature and practice of ‘tongues’.

Firstly, the Word of God reveals throughout it that ‘tongues’ in the Hebrew and Greek are earthly languages which is seen in the earthly languages (presumably about 14 in a count) spoken in Acts chapter 2 at ‘Pentecost’.

In this context, the ‘mysteries’ spoken of by Paul in 1 Cor 14:2 simply means that an earthly language like French for example spoken by a believer today is a ‘mystery’ to a hearer that does not understand the French language. It is not in any way meaning a special “heavenly” or personal “prayer language” to God which a great proportion of the Church has wrongly believed and which would contradict that nowhere in the Bible is the word for ‘tongue’ or language translated or known as a “heavenly” language for humans.

Relatedly, many believers are under the false impression that because Paul mentions in 1 Corinthians 13:1 that a person may supposedly speak in the tongue of an angel that he is talking as if it were ‘normal’ practice. Rather, Paul is speaking in the context of if a person were to do such unusual feats including for instance giving their bodies to be burned or give all they possess to the poor or move mountains that doing so without love means they gain nothing.

That is, Paul is contrasting a person’s ability to for instance figuratively move mountains by faith, though, without love, with one that does so with love. By this he is also implying that it is not his mere mention of an ‘angel’s tongue’ in verse 1 that is somehow revealing a need to speak in a “heavenly language” rather than an earthly language. This is advanced in context where the unique and various feats he writes of in 1 Corinthians 13:1-3 illuminate the futility of such in light of God’s instrinsic loving character and, in any event, such feats are rarely or uncommonly done which means that they cannot be regarded as normative except speaking in the ‘tongues of men’ (1 Cor 13:1) as a gift of the Holy Spirit.

Therefore, with this understanding and focus, Paul is in no way suggesting or advocating that it is the normal practice that believers will speak in a heavenly language as such. This is especially because the nature of ‘speaking in tongies’ must unfailingly be consistent with how he portrays the practice of it and which is further affirmed in the earlier Acts chapter 2 ‘Pentecost’ experience. That is, in 1 Corinthians 14, Paul builds upon his point of distinction of the need to ‘love’ by explaining that there is an order in God’s kingdom involving intelligibility in language and propriety for all things in God and specifically in the case of speaking in tongues where the principle benefit of such gift is for unbelievers (1 Cor 14:22) to hear about God in their own earthly language.

Thus, Paul states in 1 Corinthians 14 that the practice of ‘tongues’ requires an interpreter so that the meaning of the earthly languages spoken can be established. In this regard, in Acts chapter 2, we see that the earthly ‘tongues’ spoken represented the region or country the people were from and which shows how God is able to supernaturally reach the nations with the message of the Gospel. Thus, as expressed above, ‘tongues’ are actual earthly Languages spoken by a nation or a people (Gen 11:1-9; Acts 2:4-12; Rev 17:15) and which is the reason the scripture in 1 Corinthians says ‘tongues’ are a ‘mystery’ being that nobody can interpret the meaning of the earthly ‘tongue’ if the lsnguage is not understood.

Moreover, examples of the nature of ‘tongues’ are for instance found in Esther 1:22 where ‘tongues’ or languages are associated with the earthly languages that peoples ordinarily use to communicate with each other. Also, Psalm 114:1 makes mention of how Israel came out of Egypt, from a people of strange ‘language’, namely the Egyptian ‘tongue’ or language that was spoken. Furthermore, in Isaiah 66:18, God states that He will gather all nations and ‘tongues’ which the passage speaks of how every person of a ‘tongue’ or earthly language shall see the glory of God.

Additionally, the angel in Revelation 17:15 reveals to John the apostle that the waters upon which God’s opponent sat include the nations and ‘tongues’. This is important to note because the latter’s Greek root word for ‘tongue’ (‘glossai’) is the same as that found in Acts 2:4 for the earthly languages spoken at ‘Pentecost’ and which verse 6 affirms this as such in the use of the word ‘dialekto’ translated as earthly languages.

Further still, as mentioned above, the connection with ‘tongues’ as earthly languages in Acts chapter 2 is evidenced by the languages that are associated with the regions represented through the expression of ‘in our own tongues’ in Acts 2:11. In this regard, then, a final point to be made is that there is no biblical and logical justification for believers to “switch” from speaking in their own native languages to speaking in different earthly languages except for the purpose of connecting with a person or people of that new language.

That is, there is no benefit in praising God suddenly or otherwise in a known foreign language without the presence or attention in some way of unbelievers who know that language.

That said, relatedly, it is important to address the purpose or justification of speaking in another language. Critically, ‘tongues’ are a sign for unbelievers (1 Cor 14:22). Thus, believers should always bear in mind that, when they are praying in these earthly languages, they are blessing God (vv.16-17), thanking God (v. 17), and declaring God’s wonderful works (Acts 2:7-11) – as a ‘pointer’ for the unbeliever to ‘hear’ God (Isa 28:11-12).

This means that the focus of the earthly ‘tongues’ is for unbelievers to believe in the Salvation wrought by Jesus Christ and be Saved. And, that therefore, self-edification (1 Cor 14:4) is not the primary focus or primary purpose of ‘speaking in tongues’, but it is a benefit of doing so.

To elaborate, many believers are under the false impression that tongues are primarily or only for self-edification. This belief is also at times founded on the basis that this benefit is written early in 1 Corinthians chapter 14. This is error which is mainly due to wrong teaching or incorrect textual understandings that wrongly associate the usage of words early in a chapter as always or perhaps usually bearing the primary purpose or meaning for a topic.

As stated, the scriptural focus of ‘tongues’ is for unbelievers to ‘hear’ or listen to God and therefore to repent as implied in Isaiah 28:11-12 which Paul the apostle shows is the foundational context and revelation of the purpose of ‘tongues’. That is, Paul references Isaiah in 1 Corinthians 14:21-22 which reveals that the actual justification for speaking with various tongues (1 Cor 12:10) is taken precedently from the ‘Old Testament’ and was always intentioned as and is an ordinary earthly language (Isa 28:11-12).

In this light then, relatedly, there is also absolutely no biblical justification for a believer to speak to God (1 Cor 14:2; 16-17; 28; Acts 2:7-11) audibly in an earthly language in a church setting let alone in a false “language”, in the absence of an interpreter (1 Cor 14:28; 13). In this situation, it is the responsibility of the earthly tongue speaker to be quickly mindful of whether an interpreter is present and if there is none to be quiet according to the Scriptures (1 Cor 14:28) in light of the chapter’s admonition that order in the church of God is paramount.

In this regard, 1 Corinthians 14:15 reveals that ‘tongues’ speakers that do this are engaging with ‘the understanding’ and are not allowing their spiritual exercise of praying ‘with’ the Spirit to overwhelm the need to be led by the Word (v. 28) which is Spirit (John 6:63). Therefore, by doing so, speakers are being led by the Spirit (Rom 8:14) when they exercise this understanding. Further, this discipline is made more important by a need to understand that it is sin for believers to be engaging in God in some way or praying for instance and then suddenly and intermittently interrupting such with interspersed interjections of supposed “tongues” which in my view are generally false and do not have unbelievers in mind.

Further still, it is sin against God for an earthly ‘tongue’ speaker to continue to ‘speak with other tongues’/languages (Acts 2:4) where there is no true or proper length interpretation of it. Or, for that matter, for an observing believer or participant to agree with it or support it. In this respect, to iterate, a believer is also sinning by falsely justifying that speaking in tongues is mainly or solely for self-edification purposes and therefore elevating personal spiritual growth above the need of others which is the primary intent of ‘speaking in tongues’ (1 Cor 14:21-22; vv 4; 5; 12; 17; 26; 31).

That is, as stated, the ‘sign’ (v. 22), or purpose of earthly tongues, is specifically for unbelievers to hear believers thanking and praising God (1 Cor 14:16-17; Acts 2:7-11) in the unbelievers’ earthly languages. This is so that they would believe in the truths of God (Isa 28:11-12) and that Jesus Christ is Lord through believing that God is truly with the believers because they are blessing God in an earthly ‘tongue’ or language. Thus, it is falsity and error if an interpretation of ‘tongues’ is given where the content communicated contains ‘God’ speaking to the ‘tongues’ speaker when rather clearly ‘tongues’ is an expression from the speaker to God (1 Cor 14:2; 16-17; Acts 2:7-11).

Therefore, as presented above, there are no “personal” and ‘unintelligible’ “prayer languages” but biblically only one language ‘form’ spoken by believers and all people, which are always earthly languages. And, this is irrespective of whether a person is speaking in a tongue privately or publicly, and, regardless of how ‘obscure’ an earthly ‘tongue’ may appear to be there is some place or person in the world that speaks and hears that language or dialect because the Gospel is for the unbeliever in that place or somewhere.

This, as stated, is because scripturally ‘tongues’ are grounded as earthly languages for the yet unsaved unbeliever to believe in Christ in his or her Own language as like the unbelievers at ‘Pentecost’ (Acts 2:13-21).

In closing, the ‘Pentecost’ account in Acts 2 reveals that God in His wisdom determined that the 120 believers would at the time speak with various earthly languages at the establishment of the Church. In doing so, unbelievers witnessed the believers praising God in the unbelievers’ own languages as a ‘sign’ for them to ‘hear’ God (Isa 28-11-12) and consequently heard Peter the apostle’s sermon that Jesus was Lord and Christ (Acts 2:4-36).

Therefore, in the context of the above and the part 1 post on the ‘Baptism of the Holy Spirit’ series (in ‘Articles’), it is sin against God to teach or tell others that ‘speaking in tongues’ is a “personal prayer language” or “heavenly language”, as this is contrary to God’s Word. Rather, biblically, the truth is ‘tongues’ are clearly earthly languages only and can be The, or, An evidence of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit for a particular believer and not all believers as detailed in part 1 of the ‘Baptism’ series above.