Speaking In Tongues

1 Cor 12:30 Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret?

Let me first of all assert that I am a classic Pentecostal when it comes to the gifts of the Spirit. I pray in tongues, often, and have done so for 28 years. I have received the above scripture as check against judging against or looking down on those who cannot or do not speak in tongues. I make no "tongues test" for anyone, and I UTTERLY REJECT that doctrine of Pentecostalism which makes tongues into the proof of salvation.

However, anyone who denies that tongues is AVAILABLE to "some" in this age, is also rejected by me: they are indeed accusing me of mocking the things of God, and/or of being a lunatic, and/or of being demon possessed.

THOSE WHO DENY that any Christian can speak in tongues anymore often resort to the argument that tongues are always earthly foreign languages. Then, of course, if the tongue speaker does not speak in an actual foreign language, he can be accused of either nonsensical OR blasphemous babbling, or accused demon possession

1 Cor 12:4 Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. {5} And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. {6} And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all. {7} But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. {8} For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; {9} To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; {10} To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues:

Now in order to say that the gift of tongues has already "ceased", you must also say that all these other gifts have ceased. There are those "Quasi-Cessasionists" who say that only tongues and prophecy have ceased. The Greek of the above text does not contain an equivalent word for "divers" (meaning diverse): but it is evident that the Apostle has more than one type of "tongues" in view. I acknowledge that the Holy Ghost may inspire a man to speak in an earthly foreign language that he never learned, but I will prove below that the tongues spoken of in Acts 2 and 1 Corinthians 14 were NOT earthly languages, and that none of these gifts have "ceased" as far as God is concened.

1 Cor 14:2 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 MUCH FOR THOSE who claim that the legitimate gift of tongues is always a foreign language. NO MAN UNDERSTANDETH HIM. Certainly it couldn't be said that "no man understandeth him" if there was an earthly foreign language in view: for then, "some man" would be able understand.......

It is also worth noticing that the word "unknown" is not in the original Greek - what do you suppose made the KJV translators think that the word "unknown" should be in this text? Could it have been that the context of the entire chapter requires that the tongues being spoken of here will be "unknown"?

Please read carefully......

Acts 2:4 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. {5} And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven. {6} Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language. {7} And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galilaeans? {8} And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born? {9} Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia, {10} Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes, {11} Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God.

NOWHERE does it actually SAY that they SPOKE in known FOREIGN LANGUAGES.

Look back again, and make sure.........

It says that the crowd HEARD in their own languages.

Now consider, if the 120 were all shouting away in 17 DIFFERENT languages at one time:

It would have been a confused uproar, and little would have been understood. 1 Cor 14:33 For God is not the author of confusion,...............

But some would have God to be "the author" of THIS "confusion". Please take a moment to imagine what it would sound like, if you were in the presence of 120 people, all praising God aloud at the same time in 17 different languages. Ask yourself, did God equally divide the 120 into "language groups", so that there were approximately 7 people speaking each language? Who could be understood? Can 7 people be heard above 113? Is this not "confusion"?


1. Miracle of tongues on the 120

2. Miracle of interpretation on the 3000

The Cretans did not hear any Arabian, and the Ethiopians did not hear any Greek.

Acts 2:8 And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born?

They only heard in their OWN LANGUAGE. They did NOT hear any OTHER languages.

Almost the entire case used by the Cessasionists is built on this unwarranted distinction that they make: that there are 2 completely different gifts of tongues being referred to in Acts 2 and 1 Corinthians 14. One gift, being the ability to speak in unlearned earthly languages, and the other, to speak in unknown languages. (I know that "unknown" is italicized in the KJV). But that is exactly where the confusion comes from. You make the gifts of tongues in Acts 2 and 1 Corinthians 14 into a single item and all the confusion is gone. There is no sign in any scripture on tongues that there are 2 completely different gifts being acknowledged. The indefensible proposition that there are 2 completely separate gifts of tongues has always caused the problem with sorting out 1 Corinthians 14.

Acts 2:8 And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born?

George Ricker Berry, Greek-English NT TR text:
Acts 2:8 "and how 2we 1hear each in our own language?"

The confusion is in the identification of "every man" - does "every man" refer to the speakers or the hearers? Is "language-tongue" plural or singular?

Berkeley (1947) "How is it, then, that WE each hear THEM in our native speech...?"

"Each" is the hearers, and "speech" is singular.

NEB (1961) "How is it then, that we hear THEM, each of US in his OWN native language?"

"Each" is the hearers, and "language" is singular.

AMP (1956) "Then how is it that we hear, EACH OF US in our OWN (particular) dialect to which we were born?"

"Each" is the hearers, and "dialect" is singular.

They "each" heard ONLY their own native language. They heard "them (all)" speaking in their own language. They did not hear any other language.

1 Cor 14:13 Wherefore let him that speaketh in an unknown tongue pray that he may interpret.

Now...if this was just an ordinary foreign language, why should the tongue speaker pray that HE (himself) should interpret? Why would God give a man a gift of tongues in a church-meeting in a human foreign language that NO ONE THERE UNDERSTOOD???

No, Dear Friend, tongues has always been the same, and always sounded the same. I know a guy in Japan. He says that when the Japanese pray in tongues, it IS ALMOST IDENTICAL to the sound of Americans who pray in tongues. I do not doubt that God can inspire a man to speak in a foreign language that he never learned - but that is NOT what happened on the Day of Pentecost, and that is NOT the gift of tongues that is referred to throughout the book of Acts and in I Corinthians 14.


1 Cor 14:14 For if I pray in an unknown tongue, my spirit prayeth, but my understanding is unfruitful.

Tongues is the spontaneous and uninhibited speech of the spirit. You could say, a form of "baby talk". Baby MAY know what he means, even if you don't. God knows what baby means and wants, even when baby doesn't know why he's distressed. Sometimes even we know what baby means. Tongues by-passes the rational judgements, and is a pure expression of the person's spirit. Just think of how hard it is to be honest when you pray.

When people first begin to speak in tongues, they may truly sound "infantile", and may seem to repeat the same phrase over and over again. The repetition is because they are expressing the ONE THING they need the most right now again and again, or because they are self-consious and restrained. The infantile and forced or strained sound comes because they are trying to control WHAT they are saying or what they sound like out of self-consciousness before others, or because of their own sense of "dignity".

Experienced tongue speakers who have quit trying to "sound intelligent", do sound like they are freely speaking in a language, because they are.

1 Cor 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.

There are only 2 kinds of tongues this Bible acknowledges as existing. One is the language of men, and the other is the language of angels.

I propose that tongues is the language of angels. It is not gibberish, but it takes a while to "learn" to pray fluently because of the temptation to force yourself to sound some particular way. This is why that all fluent tongue speakers, no matter what nation they are from, sound very much alike.

One day, when I was praying in tongues, I noticed that there were no "R's" in my speech. I became self-conscious, and tried to make myself pronounce a few "R's", Subsequently, I became very strained and felt phony. I sometimes, but rarely pronounce "R's" when I pray in tongues. Whenever I become "self-conscious" about the lack of "R's", I begin to stumble.


You just do it, if you need to, and because you want to, and because AND IF you can. I felt NOTHING the first time I prayed in tongues. I was baptized in the Holy Ghost 6 months LATER, and I did NOT speak in tongues at that time. Some, through fear of "faking it" may need a little "push" by the Holy Ghost - they will "feel something". But even those who were overwhelmed the first time they spoke in tongues will admit that they are not overwhelmed every time they speak in tongues. Speaking in tongues, like every other operation of the Spirit, is received and done BY FAITH.

Luke 11:9 And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. {10} For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. {11} If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent? {12} Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? {13} If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?

The context of these words from The Man Who Does Not Lie requires that we account the graces of the Holy Spirit as being particularly indicated here. The Devil and our Cessasionist "friends" would have us believe that we are in danger of ending up with a rock (useless), a scorpion (harmful) or a serpent (deadly).

1 Cor 14:4 He that speaketh in an unknown tongue edifieth himself; but he that prophesieth edifieth the church.

So much for those who say that we no longer have any need for tongues, or that it was only for a sign to unbelievers. "He that speaketh in an unknown tongue EDIFIETH HIMSELF". The need to be edified continues.

1 Cor 14:5 I would that ye all spake with tongues, but rather that ye prophesied: for greater is he that prophesieth than he that speaketh with tongues, except he interpret, that the church may receive edifying. To say that this was only addressed to the Corinthians is to also say that God put this whole long chapter in the Bible just to cause confusion and arguments. Paul doesn't say you MUST speak with tongues, but he certainly does NOT denounce speaking in tongues.

1 Cor 14:39 Wherefore, brethren, covet to prophesy, and forbid not to speak with tongues. How PLAIN must the apostle be? "FORBID NOT TO SPEAK WITH TONGUES".

1 Cor 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.

Once again, the doctrine that makes tongues "the sign" of salvation is not Biblical. They are not a sign of anything to us, but they are a sign of something to the unbeliever: especially if there be an interpreter, or if the man is gifted to interpret, himself. ALSO, tongues are the constant sign to the unbeliever that "these people have got SOMETHING", (whether good or bad), and it disturbs and presses them to decide about this Christian religion.

1 Cor 14:23 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?

And NO.....a whole group of people in an open meeting are not to speak in tongues all at the same time. This is one of the errors I left behind in the Pentecostal Churches I was formerly a member of. If God adds the miracle of interpretation on the hearing of those "unbelievers", then that would be different. It is evident, from Paul's words about "interpreters", that some can or may understand what is said. HOWEVER a room full of people who are all known believers may PRAY in tongues at the same time. There is a difference between PRAYING (for yourself) in tongues, and SPEAKING in tongues for the purpose of interpretation. The tongues are the same, the object is different.

Now that apostates and heretics CAN pray in tongues, is declared and proven in chapter 18 of TGD: however, they are praying AGAINST themselves. There is also a demonic mimic of tongues, but this doesn't happen to anyone who fears God and wants to be saved. Remember what The Man Who Does Not Lie said.

Hope this was satisfactory to you. It answers all the questions for me.

For comments about this article, send mail to:Kevin Burge
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