The Holy Ghost gives 'speak with tongues' as a Gift



"Matthew 28:20 Teaching them to observe (do) all things whatsoever I (Jesus Christ) have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen. 2 Corinthians 7:1 ... dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God."

 

I am a retired pastor of the Church of God (Tennessee).
My name is Isaac Livingston. I am from Neyyoor India.

The Holy Ghost gives 'speak with tongues' as a Gift

Speak with tongues is a gift of the Holy Ghost. God gives the gift with the instructions to operate his gifts. Speaking in tongues is for self-edification. Believers misuse the gift without knowing proper instructions.

The Holy Ghost gives many gifts to believers. One of the gifts is to speak with tongues. Though these gifts are called as the gifts of the Holy Ghost, actually these gifts come from God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. "1 Corinthians 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." However the operations of all gifts are executed by the Holy Ghost. The Holy Ghost gives the gifts to those whom he seems fit. "1 Corinthians 12:11 But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will."

1. Speak with Tongues

The gift to speak with tongues was first promised to believers by the Lord Jesus Christ. "Mark 16:17 -- these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;"

A. Holy Spirit gives utterance to Speak

If the gift to speak with new tongues is given to a person, the holy spirit that lives in the person gives the utterance as he speaks. We may even say that the holy spirit speaks the tongue through the person. "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."

B. Devout men heard as Believers spoke

God gives believers the gift to speak with tongues. God, who gave the gift to speak, also enabled the devout people to hear the speaking in their own language. "Acts 2:5 .. there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven. 6 --- because that every man heard them speak in his own language. --- 8 And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born? Acts 10:46 For they heard them speak with tongues,.." But others, who were not devout believers, did not understand anything. Always there will be two groups of people. God may interpret the language to the devout group but not to the other. "Acts 2:13 Others mocking said, These men are full of new wine." The ungodly people not only do not understand, but also will think that they are very smart.

C. Believers discerned the Tongues

Believers have discerned and accepted that to speak with tongues, is a gift from the Holy Ghost."Acts 10:45 they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost. 46 For they heard them speak with tongues,.. Acts 19:6 And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied."

D. Apostle Paul spoke with Tongues

Ordinary people took the gift to speak with tongues for drunkenness. Even at this present time people, who are not devoted to God, will not be able to discern the gift to speak with tongues. It is not given to them to understand. "Acts 2:13 Others mocking said, These men are full of new wine." But Apostle Paul encouraged the people that everybody should speak with tongues. He also testifies that he spoke with tongues more than all of them. "1 Corinthians 14:5 I would that ye all spake with tongues, ---. 18 I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than ye all:"

E. The Gifts of God are given to Profit

The gifts of the Holy Ghost are given, even to rebellious (disobedient) people, so that God may dwell among believers. "Psalms 68:18 --- thou hast received gifts for men; yea, for the rebellious also, that the LORD God might dwell among them." The purpose of manifestation is that the believers should be profited by the gifts. "1 Corinthians 12:7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal."

2. Diversities of Tongues

Believers speak with tongues as the Holy Ghost gives them the gift and the holy spirit gives them utterance. They speak in different languages. The tongues have different functions and purposes. These are the diversities of tongues, which are diverse kinds of tongues. "1 Corinthians 12:10 --- to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues. ---- 28 --- then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues."

A. Tongues for Self Edification

God says that those who speak with tongues edify themselves, even though nobody understands how. "1 Corinthians 14:4 He that speaketh in an unknown tongue edifieth himself…"

B. The Tongues of Men and of Angels

Believers are given to speak any language, which are spoken by men or even by angels, if God the Holy Ghost gave the gift and the holy spirit in the person gives utterance. "1 Corinthians 13:1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels,-- 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." But, silly smart aleck people say that there is no gift of speaking in tongues, just because they are not able to understand the language. Ungodly people are clueless. 

C. Speaking to God  with Tongues

Believers can even speak to God even mysteries by the gift of tongues. But others can not understand the language. "1 Corinthians 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." Believers may speak to God by this gift, even who prays in tongues may not understand what he prays. Here, 'the spirit of man' speaks, but the person did not understand. "1 Corinthians 14:14 For if I pray in an unknown tongue, my spirit prayeth, but my understanding is unfruitful. 15 What is it then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also:"

D. God Speaks through Tongues

God speaks his messages through prophetic tongues. Prophesy is for the believers in the Church. So the tongue should be interpreted to them. God gives gift of interpretation to believers so that the church may get the message. If no one in the church have the gift of interpretation, God says that the person who have the gift of tongues pray for the gift of interpretation also so that the person who speak may also interpret the message. "1 Corinthians 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. 6 Now, brethren, if I come unto you speaking with tongues, what shall I profit you, except I shall speak to you either by revelation, or by knowledge, or by prophesying, or by doctrine?-- 13 Wherefore let him that speaketh in an unknown tongue pray that he may interpret."

3. Workers and Gifts of God

There are orders of ranks set by God in the church for his service. These ranks start from the level of apostles and end with the level of believers in his body, the church. God gives gifts in all level for personal profit as well as the profit of the body.

A. The Ministers of God and Miracles

Among the ministers of God, apostles are ranked first, prophets are ranked second and teachers, who are pastors, are ranked third.  Evangelists are in the same rank of pastors, but they minister in the field to bring believers to the church. "Ephesians 4:11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;  1 Corinthians 12:27 Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular. 28 And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, ---."  Workings of miracles are mentioned just after the three ranks of office. Miracles are done by ministers as God gives them power to do it. "1 Corinthians 12:28 --- after that miracles, ---. Galatians 3:5 He therefore that ministereth to you the Spirit, and worketh miracles among you, --- 2 Corinthians 12:12 Truly the signs of an apostle were wrought among you in all patience, in signs, and wonders, and mighty deeds. Hebrews 2:4 God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will?"

B. Ministry Gifts of the Holy Ghost

God brings believers to church. "Acts 2:47 --- And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved." The ministers of the first three ranks are given by God, to bring believers to perfection to the same measures of the fullness of Jesus Christ. "Ephesians 4:11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; 12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: 13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:" The Holy Ghost gives many gifts to benefit believers according his will. "1 Corinthians 12:8 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: 11 But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will."

Helps and governments are not placed one over the other. They work side by side and they are placed under the first group.  Gifts of healings and diversities of tongues operate in this group.  "1 Corinthians 12:28 --- then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues. James 5:14 Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: 15 And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him."

4. Misunderstandings Tongues

Some people reject the gift with bias against tongues. God teaches the church about the gifts, including how to use the gift of tongues. Instructions are meant to use the gifts properly, efficiently and profitably. But ungodly people use them to destroy or to discard the gifts.

A. Sounding Brass and Tinkling Cymbal

Jesus Christ loves his people and saves them from their sins. He gave himself to gain our souls for his kingdom, on earth and in heaven.  "Matthew 1:21--- call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins. Titus 2:13 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; 14 Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works." This love is called charity. If we have charity we will also give ourselves to save others from their sins, and will bury multitude of sins. "1 Peter 4:8 And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins." The gifts of God must be used for the cause of the kingdom of God, which is to save people from their sins. Nobody should use the gifts for a show or for personal fame and profit. God's truth will not discredit God's gifts, but emphasize the importance of why the gifts are in operation. Here the instruction is not to use the gift of speaking with tongues for a show, but only with charity. Charity is the love that gains souls for the kingdom of God. "1 Corinthians 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."

B. Gifts are for ministry, Charity is eternal

Charity is sacrificial love of a person toward anybody to save his/her soul from eternal destruction. Charity, holiness, righteousness, etc becomes the part of the character of a true believer. Charity is not a gift, but it is that we have become, if we have. It is our character attribute. It will never fail. But the gifts are given for the ministry in this world. When the ministry is over, they are ceased and vanish. "1 Corinthians 13:8 Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. --." But, charity, remains with us even through eternity.

C. The gift to 'speak with tongues' ceased!

"1 Corinthians 13:8 ---prophecies they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away." Ungodly teachers claim that the gift of tongues has ceased already.  If so, the knowledge also should vanish with the tongues. But they claim that they still have the Knowledge of God to understand the Bible. As the gifts fail, both tongues and knowledge should have stopped simultaneously. If the knowledge has not vanished, then the tongues also could not have ceased. I wrote this just to answer their argument. They argue as a sign for us to know that they are not of God. Ministry gifts will remain as long as there is ministry.

D. God gives Tongues as a Sign to them

"1 Corinthians 14:20 Brethren, be not children in understanding: howbeit in malice be ye children, but in understanding be men. 21 In the law it is written, With men of other tongues and other lips will I speak unto this people; and yet for all that will they not hear me, saith the Lord. 22 Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not:..." The gift of tongues is used in part of prophesy (with interpretation), for secret prayer of mysteries with God, for self edification, etc. But the gift of tongues is also used as a sign for us to know, who are those ungodly people that will not believe God, but will put up a show. So, this is the most important gift that work in mysterious ways. Speak with tongues is also the fulfillments of an Old Testament prophesy, Isaiah 28:9-13. "9 Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine? them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts." God will teach the gift of tongues, only to those who have grown from the basic doctrines of God. "10 For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little: 11 For with stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to this people." It explains that God is in the gift of speaking with tongues. "12 To whom he said, This is the rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest; and this is the refreshing: yet they would not hear." The gift is rest and refreshing to the people of God, but the ungodly people will not listen to it. "13 But the word of the LORD was unto them precept upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little; that they might go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken." God has designed the gift to speak with tongues, in such a way that it will cause destruction to the ungodly.

5. God wish that all speak with tongues

Through Apostle Paul, God commands believers to desire prophesy and not to stop anyone to speak with tongues. "1 Corinthians 14:37 --- I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord. 39 --- covet to prophesy, and forbid not to speak with tongues." But false workers are trying to stop the gifts of God even by committing blasphemy by saying that tongue speaking is of the devil. "1 Corinthians 14:38 But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant." The gift to speak with tongues edifies the speaker. Joins with the gift of interpretation, it edifies the church. "1 Corinthians 14:4 He that speaketh in an unknown tongue edifieth himself; ---." God desires that every believer should speak with tongues. "1 Corinthians 14:5 I would that ye all spake with tongues." Giving respect to all what God says, I like to bring the warning that God gives to the ungodly hypocrites in the churches, in these verses. "Matthew 13:14 And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive: 15 For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them. Isaiah 28:11 For with stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to this people. 12 To whom he said, This is the rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest; and this is the refreshing: yet they would not hear. 13 But the word of the LORD was unto them precept upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little; that they might go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken." The ungodly people think that it is fun to ridicule the gift and so on, but they do not realize that God is against them and he keeps on giving the warning. If they do not change, God will destroy them. Let me spell out the destruction as the word of God says: "that they might go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken."

Note: If any point needs explanation, OR, if you find an error according to scripture,
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