Speaking in tongues is the most talked about phenomena in Christianity. Pentecostalism and the Charismatic movement has brought speaking in tongues to the forefront, and these branches of Christianity are without doubt the fastest growing segments of Christianity. These movements are impacting the world even more than the reformation did.
Yet with all the talk about speaking in tongues, few understand what it's all about. It is the least understood subject among believers. People will be surprise to find that the Bible mentions speaking in tongues thirty-five times. That is a lot, so this subject should not be cast lightly aside as unimportant to the Church. God does not fill His book with things of minor importance.
Many people who have never spoken in tongues speak as though they're experts in this field, when in reality they teach only from theory.
Who should know more about tongues: those who speak in tongues or those who don't? Well, shouldn't we learn from those who do speak in tongues!? Since I do speak in tongues, I feel that I can bring scriptural wisdom with experience in this article. This column will clarify common misunderstandings and show the importance and benefits of speaking in tongues.
WHAT GOOD IS IT?
The Apostle Paul writes, "He who speaks in tongues edifies himself...I would like every one of you to speak in tongues" (1 Corinthians 14:4,5). With these positive statement about tongues, why do so few Christians speak in tongues? I believe the answer is because there is very little sound, logical and scriptural teaching as to the scope and value of speaking in tongues.
Recently I spoke to a group of Pentecostals in Dallas. I shared my testimony on how God saved and filled me with the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues. After the talk, the number one question the students asked was on speaking in tongues. One inquisitive student asked, "What does speaking in tongues do for you?"
I answered, "It does exactly what the Bible says it does: He who speaks in tongues edifies himself." The word "edify" means to "build up" or "charge up"--much like charging up a battery. We all need a spiritual charge. All of us at times feel spiritually drained. One of God's ways to charge your spirit is through speaking in tongues.
A HEAVENLY LANGUAGE
Many people inaccurately define speaking in tongues as "speaking gibberish" or "talking nonsense." The truth is, speaking in tongues is the most intelligent, perfect language in the universe. It is God's language.
What language do you suppose people speak in heaven? Languages are given their name based on the countries they come from. For example, English comes from England. Spanish comes from Spain. Italian comes from Italy.
Well, where does tongues come from? It comes from Heaven! Tongues is the heavenly language. It is what is spoken in heaven; the only difference is that the people in heaven understand what they are saying. Here on earth Paul says, "For anyone who speaks in tongues does not speak to men but to God. Indeed, no one understand him; he utters mysteries with his spirit" (v. 2).
Jesus says that those who believe in Him will "speak in new tongues" (Mark 16:17). The word "new" means appearing for the first time. No one had spoken these languages before. Contrary to bad theology tongues is not an ability given to preach the gospel in the language of foreigners. This would make tongues "old" languages. It is only appropriate that "new tongues" should be spoken by those of the "new birth." It is natural and normal to speak in the language of your birth. We are born again from above, therefore we should speak the language from above--that language is called "new tongues."
To Be Cont...........