Speaking in tongues
There are many professed Christians in this world who speak in an 'ecstatic tongue' (gibberish), believing that this is Biblical speaking in tongues. Not only that, they believe that speaking in ecstatic tongues is the sign that you have the Holy Spirit, and they believe that if you don't speak in this ecstatic tongues, then you don't have the Holy Spirit. But is this Biblical? Oh, it couldn't be further from the truth! The confusion comes from a wrong understanding of what speaking in tongues actually is. And on this page, we will show what the Bible really says regarding speaking in tongues. But first, I want to confirm what the Bible says is THE 'SIGN' that you have the Holy Spirit in your life. In Galatians 5, the apostle Paul tells us what the FRUIT of the Spirit is. Let's take a look:
Galatians 5:22-24 ...'But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.'
Do you see anything about tongues there? No! If tongues was the main sign and fruit of the indwelling Spirit of God, then we would see it above. But no! No mention of it. That is because speaking in tongues is NOT the sign of the Spirit in us. THE sign of the indwelling Spirit is a transformed life from sin to righteousness.
The apostle Paul even says in 1 Corinthians 12 that there are DIFFERENT gifts among the believers, meaning some will not even receive the gift of speaking in tongues. So to say that if you don't speak in tongues you don't have the Spirit is utter foolishness. And if you read the order of gifts in 1 Corinthians 12:28, you will see that the gift of tongues is BOTTOM. And Paul confirms that we do not all have the same gifts. Yet Paul shows us still a 'more excellent way' - SELF SACRIFICING LOVE - which is the TRUE fruit of the Holy Spirit within.
Love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance. THESE are THE sign that you have the Holy Spirit in you, not speaking in some gibberish that no one understands and is utter confusion! God is not the author of confusion (1 Corinthians 14:33) and yet this gibberish that many professed Christians are speaking is utter confusion. Confusion from the devil himself to deceive. So we must seek the truth of this.
THE TRUTH ABOUT TONGUES
This speaking in an 'ecstatic tongue', which I often refer to as 'gibberish' only started spreading throughout the churches in the 1900's with the Charismatic movement, and it is based upon deception, not truth. More and more people are basing their faith upon 'feelings' rather than a plain 'thus saith the Lord.' As mentioned above, the confusion regarding this is due to a misunderstanding of what speaking in tongues is in the Bible. So here I will share the plain truth from the scriptures regarding tongues. Much of the confusion is regarding what the apostle Paul said, which we will deal with, but first let me share from the Bible what tongues actually means.
Genesis 10:5 ...'By these were the isles of the Gentiles divided in their lands; every one after his tongue, after their families, in their nations.'
Genesis 11:5-7 ...'And the LORD came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men builded. And the LORD said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do. Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another's speech.'
What does it mean to be divided after his tongue? The Bible is simply saying that they are divided according to their languages in the land they live. What did God do at the tower of Babel? He divided their languages so that they would not understand each other, to stop the tower being built. Thus the people were divided into their own languages in their own lands.
Deuteronomy 28:49 ...'The LORD shall bring a nation against thee from far, from the end of the earth, as swift as the eagle flieth; a nation whose tongue thou shalt not understand.'
Ezra 4:7 ...'And in the days of Artaxerxes wrote Bishlam, Mithredath, Tabeel, and the rest of their companions, unto Artaxerxes king of Persia; and the writing of the letter was written in the Syrian tongue, and interpreted in the Syrian tongue.'
Daniel 1:4 ...'Children in whom was no blemish, but well favoured, and skilful in all wisdom, and cunning in knowledge, and understanding science, and such as had ability in them to stand in the king's palace, and whom they might teach the learning and the tongue of the Chaldeans.'
What is the 'Syrian tongue'? What is the 'tongue of the Chaldeans'? It is simply the LANGUAGE of that nation. This is what 'tongue' means in the Bible. The language that you speak of your nation.
The Old Testament gives us a basis of truth that we must use to help understand the New Testament. And any true seeker of the truth of the Lord will see that tongues in the Bible is simply the language that is spoken by a person from a certain nation of the world. Nothing more, nothing less. So when the New Testament speaks of the 'gift of tongues' what do you think it is going to mean? Do you not think that it means God would give the sudden gift of speaking in another language to reach people with the gospel message in their language which you don't naturally speak? This is clear. And we can confirm this from what we are told in the New Testament. When we connect the following Bible verses, we can see the clear truth:
Mark 16:15-17 ...'And he said unto them, go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues.'
What were the disciples to do? Go out into all the world and preach the gospel. So what would they need in order to do that? The gift of tongues (languages)
Acts 2:1-4 ...'And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to SPEAK WITH OTHER TONGUES, as the Spirit gave them utterance.'
Now look at the RESULT of the disciples speaking with other tongues:
Acts 2:5-11 ...'And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven. Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his OWN LANGUAGE. And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galilaeans? And how hear we every man in our OWN TONGUE, wherein we were born? Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia, Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes, Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God.'
Praise the Lord for His clear TRUTH! Do you see? The 'gift of tongues' that the disciples received at Pentecost was the gift of speaking in the various languages of the world in order for the gospel truth to go forward to people from other nations, who speak different languages. The disciples were speaking and praising God as they normally would, but the Holy Spirit enabled them to speak in the various languages of the people there listening. And what did Peter say happened to the Gentile converts who spoke in tongues themselves in Acts 10:44-46? Look:
Acts 11:15-17 ...'And as I began to speak, the Holy Ghost fell on them, as on us at the beginning. Then remembered I the word of the Lord, how that he said, John indeed baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost. Forasmuch then as God gave them the like gift as he did unto us, who believed on the Lord Jesus Christ.'
What SAME gift did God give to the Gentile converts as He did with the disciples? The gift of speaking in another world language to spread the gospel!
Other verses in the New Testament also confirm that tongues is simply the language of a nation, look:
John 5:2 ...'Now there is at Jerusalem by the sheep market a pool, which is called in the Hebrew tongue Bethesda, having five porches.'
Acts 21:40 ...'And when he had given him licence, Paul stood on the stairs, and beckoned with the hand unto the people. And when there was made a great silence, he spake unto them in the Hebrew tongue.'
Revelation 7:9 ...'After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands.'
The truth becomes so clear when you take the whole council of God, rather than one or two verses on their own. And this is what the deceived do. They take a verse out of it's context, ignoring the whole council of God and build a faulty teaching out of it. And this 'ecstatic tongue' movement has done just that. Yet again the apostle Paul has been greatly misunderstood. Many professed Christians take Paul's writings, tearing them apart and extracting a few verses that supports their faulty beliefs, and yet Paul plainly stated what speaking in tongues was for:
1 Corinthians 14:21-22 ...'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. Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not.'
Do you see what Paul is saying above? Speaking in tongues is a sign to NON believers. Now ask yourself two questions - Where is 'ecstatic tongues' spoken mainly? Is it not IN CHURCHES TO PROFESSED CHRISTIANS? How can speaking in gibberish be any kind of sign to a non believer? They will think you are just crazy! Whereas, speaking suddenly in their own language WILL be a sign. Praise God for His truth! But let us look at some verses that cause confusion:
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.'
If you look at the context of what Paul is saying in 1 Corinthians 13, you will see he says ... "though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing." Now can any man understand ALL mysteries and knowledge? No. Only God has that ability. So what is Paul saying? He is saying that "EVEN IF" I could do these things, without love it is nothing! So "even IF" I could speak with tongues of angels, but have not love, I am nothing. He is NOT saying that we CAN speak with tongues of angels, but that even IF we could, and had not love, it means nothing. And REALLY? Do you think angels speak in the utter confused gibberish that this charismatic movement speak? God forbid!
1 Corinthians 14:2,9,13,14 ...'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 likewise ye, except ye utter by the tongue words easy to be understood, how shall it be known what is spoken? for ye shall speak into the air. 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.'
These are probably the most well used and ABUSED verses that 'ecstatic tongue' speakers use to support their speaking in gibberish. But when you use the whole council of God as I have done above, then the truth is really quite simple. What does 'tongue' mean in the Bible? It simply means a language of the world from where you come. So to speak in an 'unknown tongue' means to speak in a LANGUAGE that is unknown to the listeners. Let me give you an example. If a Japanese person is with a group of English speaking people and the Japanese person starts to glorify God in Japanese. What is that person doing? Speaking in a 'unknown tongue.' And if there is no one there that understand and can interpret the Japanese language, then that Japanese person is speaking only to God, as God is the only one who will understand what is being said. And thus the understanding of what the Japanese person was praying is really 'unfruitful' to the listeners.
Friend, I hope you can see the Bible truth about speaking in tongues. It is NOT this 'ecstatic tongue' that you hear in many churches today. Speaking in tongues is simply the sudden ability, through the Spirit, to be able to speak in a language of the world like Spanish, French, Chinese, etc. that you don't speak, to be able to share the gospel message to people of other nations. And speaking in tongues is NOT 'THE SIGN' of having the Holy Spirit in your life. THE sign of having the Holy Spirit is displaying the fruit of the Spirit - love, joy, peace, gentleness, longsuffering, meekness, temperance. It is a CHANGED life from sin to righteousness that is the sign of the indwelling Spirit of God - Christ formed within.