Tongues And Prophecy - Benefit For Whom?

Discussion in 'General Discussions' started by Ravindran, Jul 18, 2014.

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  1. I am reading 1 Corinthians chapter 14. A few questions came to my mind. Below is one of them. I will open another thread for another question.

    It sounds Paul is saying tongues are not a sign for believers, but for unbelievers. But then he says, if an unbeliever enters a Church where everyone is speaking in tongues, they would be confused and think people are out of their minds. Are tongues sign for unbelievers or not? Same way, the verses are a little confusing for me about prophesy as well. How do I interpret these verses? I read a commentary on ESV study bible. I am posting that also. But I would love to hear everyone's thoughts on this

    1 Corinthians 14:22-25 ESV
    Thus tongues are a sign not for believers but for unbelievers, while prophecy is a sign not for unbelievers but for believers. If, therefore, the whole church comes together and all speak in tongues, and outsiders or unbelievers enter, will they not say that you are out of your minds? But if all prophesy, and an unbeliever or outsider enters, he is convicted by all, he is called to account by all, the secrets of his heart are disclosed, and so, falling on his face, he will worship God and declare that God is really among you.

    Commentary - 1 Cor. 14:22–25Thus tongues are a sign … for unbelievers. Not a positive sign, to lead people to faith (as in John 2:11; 20:30–31), but as in1 Cor. 14:21 a negative sign that facilitates God’s judgment on the unbelieving. Uninterpreted tongues function as a sign of judgment for the outsider and unbeliever because they may conclude from hearing them that Christians are out of their minds and so leave the church, never to return.prophecy is a sign … for believers. Although the purpose of prophecy is primarily for the benefit of believers, prophecy (unlike tongues) also has the secondary benefit of convicting the unbeliever, exposing the secrets of his heart and causing him to worship God. When believers see this happen, prophecy encourages them that God is at work, and thus it serves as a positive “sign” of God’s blessing on the congregation (a “sign” in Scripture can be either positive or negative; cf. Ex. 8:23; 10:12; Luke 21:11; Rom. 15:19).
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  2. There are three types:
    1. a language the Spirit speaks to help our infirmities which cannot be uttered, used for our edification;
    2. a foreign language like Spanish (and you don't know Spanish);
    3. a language of the Spirit where another interprets for the edification of those hearing it.
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  3. Praying in tongues honors God. It is like me learning your language and addressing you in it. When believers all pray in tongues it is honoring God. Each believer is praying their own prayer to God. There is nothing wrong with it. When a meeting is 'disrupted' by 'some' praying in tongues, there better be an interpreter as in the absence of one it was a disruption to the flow of a meeting. The Holy Spirit is for order, not disorder.

    If the believers know unbelievers are coming, they should only pray a short while in tongues, like after a worship song for example. I think Paul is referring to a meeting where believers pray for long in tongues...whilst knowing unsaved will be there.
  4. #3 KingJ, Jul 18, 2014
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2014
    I read your other thread and replied to it here...then caught the 'unbelievers' part of this OP toward the end :giggle:.
  5. A lot of new threads. Keep em comin Rav
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  6. I know.. I think even I am going to be confused by all the threads i started :D
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  7. Are you saying Paul is talking about type #2 in this post? Otherwise I don't see how tongues could serve as a sign to unbelievers.. If that is the case, why would unbelievers think people are out of mind?
  8. Indeed. Read Acts 2. If there is no one to interpret, the speaker needs to be silent.

    1 Corinthians 14:13-14 (KJV)
    Wherefore let him that speaketh in an [unknown] tongue pray that he may interpret. For if I pray in an [unknown] tongue, my spirit prayeth, but my understanding is unfruitful.

    All gifts are for one thing and one thing one: edify the church.

    Some heard them in their own native language, others babbling... all the edify the church. Not everyone hears the same when it's of the Spirit:

    John 12:29 (KJV)
    The people therefore, that stood by, and heard [it], said that it thundered: others said, An angel spake to him.
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  9. Hello Rav, you've posted a few threads so I thought I'd comment. I just thought I'd add to your thoughts in that when you consider 1st Corinthians 12 and 14, they sandwich the power of the gifts etc in 12 and prophecy in 14. The gifts are to be spoken, acted out, given in love there fore, for another individual or assembly to benefit. You can know all knowledge but without love, nothing. I'd say the gifts are for others to benefit but you can't help being blessed yourself in the process. God bless....
  10. Hey Rav, good question, the word tongues is glōssa in the New Testament and is used 27 times and all 27 times is it used as know language spoken somewhere on the planet, the only exception, that could by implied, is where he says, "Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels....," and that is where the confusion begins, is Paul saying he speaks the language of angels or is a comparison for the point he is trying to make that any gift without love is vanity and useless?

    Truthfully we just don't know, however, we do know he went to the third Heaven and quite possibly heard angels speaking, but if that were so he also says it would be unlawful to say what he heard, so that kind of tips the scales to where it was a comparison rather than instruction about the language of angels, if we couple that with Isa 8:19,

    And when they shall say unto you, Seek unto them that have familiar spirits, and unto wizards that peep, and that mutter: should not a people seek unto their God? for the living to the dead?

    We are informed of the language of the demons, which makes sense that they lost their heavenly language along with their other angelic qualities when they fell, ...personally, that is all I have ever heard from meetings that claim to be speaking in tongues, ...peeping and muttering.

    Now let me tell you of an experience I am familiar with that might help you with your question, a church rented a meeting hall in a large hotel for a men's conference, the only hall available at the time had a bar and if they rented the bar they had to pay the bartender. They naturally didn't need the bar but they rented the hall, during the conference on the last day there was a manifestation of tongues, the pastor stopped the meeting and asked for an interpretation, no interpretation came and that started a lot of discussion, some of it favorable and some of it not so favorable, time came to close the meeting and dismiss the men, after everyone had left and they were cleaning up the hall the pastor noticed the bartender pacing back and forth, he assumed he was waiting to be paid, finally when he was alone with just the bartender, the bartender came to him and asked Him about Jesus, curious as to his sudden interest he asked the bartender why, his reply, "I'm Iranian, and I wasn't interested in your conference so I wasn't paying any attention, until today, when that man spoke of the wonderful things of your God in perfect Farsi!" ...The pastor spent some time with him, gave him the Gospel and he believed and received Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior.

    You're smart, I think you can plug in and understand what Paul is telling us in 1 Cor 14 from this incident.

    Blessings my brother,

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  11. Paul quotes the OT to establish that tongues are for communication with unbelievers. Paul used tongues for this on his missionary journeys. We also see an example in Acts 2 where the disciples spoke in the various languages of those around. When you're speaking to unbelievers, you're speaking their language and you're speaking outside of the church. (Because we have Christians of all languages now, tongues no longer is necessary.)

    But, if people are using tongues in church, amongst each other, in church, they're not communicating. They're just making noise. If an unbeliever walks in on them, he'll just hear people speaking various languages to each other, without purpose, and not the language of the unbeliever who just walked in. (Not to say that someone who is making random noises is speaking a language.)

    In short, Paul is saying that tongues isn't for use in church. (But, if you insist, only two or three at most, if there is an interpreter.)
  12. Tongues passed away.

    Now you're going to start a war on that.
  13. No, let's try and be mature Christians for once and stop all of this silly bickering, let's leave personal feelings and personal dogmas and doctrines out of this and just look at what the Word tells us, and most important let's glorify our Lord with our conversation, also let's have some respect for our brother Rav and not turn his thread into a name calling bout, I've never seen him participate in such childish actions so, ...when in Rav's thread let's do as Rav does.

    Jesus told His disciples that tongues would be a sign for them, sort of an authentication of they were doing what He had told them to do, that is, Evangelize the world starting in Jerusalem, then Samaria and to the ends of the world. We see this accomplished in Jerusalem with the disciples speaking in tongues, then Samaria with Cornelius and his family speaking in tongues and then in Ephesus when Paul laid hands of the disciples of John the Baptist, hence the sign of speaking in tongues authenticated two things, the Gospel had reached the ends of the world and Paul was the Lord's twelfth disciple and not Matthias, they had accomplished what the Lord had told them to do.

    Then the Lord gives us the account of the church in Corinth speaking in tongues also, and it for correction, because they we out of order, every instance we find the word tongues it is a know language, which tell us why tongues were spoken in Ephesus and Corinth, both cities were major trade centers and people from the whole world would be there, at Corinth they would take the ships out of the water and transport them across land about six miles, so while this was taking place there would be many sailors in the city of many different languages and Ephesus was situated at the foot of a mountain pass that was a major trade route in to Asia, so again many people with different languages would be there.

    Have tongues ceased? Where does the Word say that, in the context of the gifts, besides, tongues were given to the church for edification, has the church, comprised of sinners with fleshly desires needed edification continually since the day of Pentecost, does the church today need edification?

    Has the gospel been preached in all of the world? I agree that tongues are for today,in certain instances, but I also see the misuse of the gift in the church with brother and sisters speaking gibberish instead of a known language, what I don't understand is why would the Holy Spirit give the gift of tongues to someone speaking Chinese or Russian in a, let's say English speaking church ,when everyone there understood the Gospel being preached in English?

    Now please, with respect to Rav, anyone that says they speak in tongues, before they comment, write out the language you speak for all of us to see, in this technological age we can easily have it translated for all of us to be edified and blessed, that way we can glorify God with you.


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  14. So then where does Paul explain language in the Spirit? I am trying to understand scripturally if there are different kind of tongues. The passage in OP clearly seems to indicate that Paul is actually talking about human languages and not heavenly language. Where does Paul talk about the unknown language of angels?
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  15. Thank you for your kind words Gene! Encouraging :)

    I totally see your point. I am trying to understand from the Word on tongues. Because this is the most controversial spiritual gift! Not from God's perspective. Man has made it controversial!!

    I used to wonder how Paul and other apostles spread the gospel so effectively in so many different parts of the world. In India we all believe that Thomas visited India and he was the first one to bring gospel to India. And we believe he shed his blood in India and the revival in India is a blessing Lord brought to us through Thomas's work in India. I used to wonder how Thomas conveyed anything to the Indians! I am very certain now he would have simply been filled in Spirit and started preaching the gospel in Indian languages. There is no other way. And even today such gift is required. Because we still see so many tribal people in many countries. Gospel can reach them only if Lord opens the mouth of missionaries to speak in their own native languages..
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  16. 1 Corinthians 14:14-15
  17. Couldn't it still be a human language? For example, if I pray in Chinese, I am only praying in my spirit. Because I don't know Chinese and my mind can't grasp anything I am praying. However, if there is a Chinese person in the room, he could interpret it. Otherwise, I should keep quiet.

    I thought with Abdicate and others I just agreed that the tongues referred to in verses 22 onwards is a simple human language. Why would Paul switch between 2 kind of tongues?
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  18. In that passage, he is referring to both earthly languages and angelic. God can give us interpretation of either.
  19. The first evens signs of tongues happens in pentecost. It is quite explicit that it was human languages.. After that, at what point of time Bible explains that tongues is a spiritual language as well? I am trying to get to that. If this verse talks about both, then it is an assumption that there are 2 kinds of tongues.. Which would mean, there should be some other place where this is explicitly mentioned. Because the more I study, it seems tongues are always referring to some form of human language only (when rest of the verses in the chapter are considered)

    I have always believed there are 2 kinds of tongues. I am trying to validate my understanding through Word of God. Because even if every one else on the planet believes something else, it does not make it truth! Word of God is the ultimate authority. So no number of human experiences can validate these things. That is why I am probing. So for everyone, please don't take this as a stab against anyone's belief. I am only trying to understand my own belief :)
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  20. Congrats on your 1000th post.
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  21. Glad to see someone is keeping track off my records :D
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