This is just a little ‘did you know’ informational post on the subject of speaking in tongues, shared as some food for thought. It is for those reading this blog series who wish to know my beliefs.
I believe in the gifts of the Spirit, including speaking in tongues, and that they are available today. In addition to the nine often focused upon in Pentecostal churches (1 Corinthians 12), the Bible does mention others. Nowhere can I find where the Bible teaches that tongues are necessary evidence of Spirit baptism or a matter of salvation.
There is a wrong overemphasis on speaking in tongues in some churches (as well as an equal lack of emphasis regarding other gifts), in addition to their misuse, like there was among the Corinthian believers. The Bible says very little about speaking in tongues, with the most being found in 1 Corinthians 12 & 14, where correction and teaching were given by Paul.
I believe the Bible teaches that tongues do not have a place in a gathering of believers unless there is an accompanying interpretation or unless there are those present who understand the language(s) being spoken, such as in Acts 2. This is based upon what Paul taught in 1 Corinthians 12-14 with regard to the gifts.
Nowhere in the Bible do I see speaking in tongues as anything more than one of many gifts of the Spirit that a believer might possibly receive. Paul showed that all do not speak in tongues and that we should desire gifts that edify all and not only ourselves.
In none of my blogs am I trying to discredit or say that speaking in tongues isn’t for today. They are not at all trying to take from anyone’s experience. What they ARE trying to do, is put tongues in what I believe to be their proper biblical place – one of many gifts of the Spirit a believer might or might not receive. I see it as nothing more and nothing less. They are also meant to bring attention to instances where things are read into the Bible and assumed, which leads to erroneous teachings. This includes the thought that tongues are an angelic or heavenly language or a groaning.
The main point I am trying to make with these posts is that in the Bible, there is nothing that tells or shows us that speaking in tongues is a matter of salvation, the initial sign of receiving God’s Spirit, or was expected and emphasized as it is today. The truth that it is mentioned so few times in the Bible, with the majority of them being Paul’s instructions on their proper use and showing how they were misused by a group of believers, shows that today’s overemphasis on them- especially in saying they are mandatory- is in error. We have been taught things about this subject that are not true, often have not compared our practices with what we see in the Bible, and many can only see the teachings and passages through what their church teaches. It is important to allow the scriptures to speak for themselves and not be seen through the glasses of any church or organization.
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