What would the language of God be?

What is the gift of speaking in tongues? Is speaking in tongues valid for today? What about prayer in tongues?

The first speaking in tongues happened at Pentecost in Acts 2: 1-4. The apostles went and preached the gospel to the crowd in their own language, "we hear them speaking in our tongues the great works of God" (Acts 2:11). The Greek word for "tongues" literally means "languages." The gift of speaking in tongues is the ability of a person to speak in a foreign language to someone else in that language. In 1 Corinthians chapters 12-14, in which Paul discusses various miraculous gifts, he says: “But now, dear brothers, if I came to you and spoke in tongues, what use would I be if I did not speak words to you either revelation or knowledge or prophecy or doctrine? " (1 Corinthians 14: 6). According to the Apostle Paul and in accordance with the tongues described in the Acts of the Apostles, speaking in tongues is useful to one who hears the message of God in his / her own language, but is useless to anyone else unless it is interpreted / translated.

Someone with the gift of interpreting tongues (1 Corinthians 12:30) could understand what a speaker in tongues was saying even though they did not know the language spoken. The tongue interpreter would then convey the speaker's message to everyone else for everyone to understand. “Therefore, whoever speaks in tongues, pray that he can also interpret it” (1 Corinthians 14:13). Paul's conclusion regarding unexplained tongues is strong: “But I would rather speak five words in the church that are intelligible, so that I may teach others, than ten thousand words in tongues” (1 Corinthians 14:19).

Is speaking in tongues still valid today? 1 Corinthians 13: 8 mentions that speaking in tongues will cease, but the cessation is linked to the coming of the “perfect one” in 1 Corinthians 13:10. Some point to different usage of the words for cessation of prophecy and knowledge and silence of speaking in tongues as evidence that speaking in tongues will cease before the "perfect" comes. Although possible, this is not clear from the text. Others point to scriptures such as Isaiah 28:11 and Joel 3: 1-2 that speaking in tongues was a sign of God's coming judgment. 1 Corinthians 14:22 describes tongues as "a sign for unbelievers." According to this argument, the tongues served as a warning to the Jews that God would judge Israel for rejecting Jesus Christ as Messiah. When God actually judged Israel with the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans in AD 70, the gift of the tongue would no longer serve its original purpose. While this view is possible, the fulfillment of the primary purpose of tonguing does not necessarily require its termination. Scripture does not necessarily claim that the gift of speaking in tongues has ended.

Likewise, if speaking in tongues in the church today it would be done in accordance with the scriptures. It would be correct and understandable language (1 Corinthians 14:10). It would be for the purpose of communicating God's word to someone in another language (Acts 2: 6-12). It would be according to the instruction that God gave through the apostle Paul: “If anyone speaks in tongues, there should be two of them, or at most three, and one after the other; and someone will interpret it. But if there is no interpreter, let him be silent in the community and speak for himself and for God ”(1 Corinthians 14: 27-28). It would also be in accordance with 1 Corinthians 14:33: "For God is not a God of disorder, but of peace."

God can certainly give someone the gift of speaking in tongues to enable him / her to communicate with someone of another language. The Holy Spirit acts sovereignly in the distribution of spiritual gifts (1 Corinthians 12:11). Imagine how much more productive missionaries would be if they didn't have to go to a language school and talk to people in their language right away. But God doesn't seem to be doing this. Tongues do not happen today as they did in the New Testament, despite the fact that doing so would be of tremendous benefit. The vast majority of believers who claim to practice the gift of speaking in tongues do not do so in accordance with the scriptures listed above. These facts lead to the conclusion that there is no longer the gift of speaking in tongues, or at least that it is a rarity in God's counsel for the church today.

Those who regard the gift of speaking in tongues as a “prayer tongue” for self-edification prove their point of view with 1 Corinthians 14.4 and / or 14.28: “He who speaks in tongues edifies himself; but whoever prophesies builds up the church. " Throughout chapter 14, Paul emphasizes the importance of interpreting (translating) tongues, see verses 5-12. What Paul says in verse 4 is, “When you speak in tongues without interpretation, you are only edifying yourself and appearing more spiritual than others. If you speak in tongues and it is interpreted, then you edify everyone. " The New Testament nowhere gives instructions about "praying in tongues." The New Testament nowhere mentions the purpose of "praying in tongues" or describes one who "prays in tongues." Furthermore, if “praying in tongues” is self-edification, wouldn't it be unfair to those who do not have the gift of speaking in tongues and therefore cannot edify themselves? 1 Corinthians 12: 29-30 clearly states that not everyone has the gift of speaking in tongues.


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What is the gift of speaking in tongues? Is speaking in tongues valid for today? What about prayer in tongues?
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