Should Tongues be spoken in
Todays Question: I am
not an expert on the subject of the Holy Spirit or speaking in
tongues, but I have read the Lord's teachings on these subjects.
With this in mind, I have a problem with how speaking in tongues
is being allowed to be the focal point in Pentecostal/Charismatic
The Bible is very clear on how tongues are to be
used in the church, and so far the majority of the people that I
have seen use tongues have done it unbiblically. From what I have
read if a message in tongues is spoken, then there must be an
interpretation. All I want to do is have someone show me in the
scriptures where the Lord says we can pray in tongues or speak in
tongues in public, out loud, without an interpretation.
Bible Answer: The confusion that people
have regarding tongues has more to do with misunderstanding the
many purposes and use of tongues. It seems to me that you have
made the same mistake by assuming that the only public purpose
for tongues is to provide a message to a group of people. As far
as tongues as used to bring a message to people, yes, that
tongues must be interpreted or else as Paul says, "the
speaker should keep quiet in the church and speak to himself and
God" (1 Cor. 14:28).
Notice that Paul did not say that the speaker cannot speak in
tongues, but he simply says that he should speak in tongues for
God alone to hear. Obviously, this personal way of speaking in
tongues will probably not be interpreted unless the speaker knows
his own interpretation.
As far as speaking in tongues in public and out loud without
an interpretation, it depends on whether or not the tongues is
designed as a message, or as thanksgiving and prayer to God, or
if the person speaking in tongues is doing it for the first time
when he is baptized in the Holy Spirit. If the tongues is a
message to the congregation, then definitely the tongues must be
However, if the tongues are simply used in a setting where
only believers are gathered to pray or praise God then there is
no need to interpret the tongues since everyone understands what
tongues are. In this situation there are no unbelievers who will
say that "you are out of your mind" (1 Cor. 14:23). And
if a few unbelievers or new believers are present, it might help
if the leader explained to them what was going on. In our church,
we provide a brochure to all visitors with a list of Scriptures
that they can look up if they are concerned about a particular
manifestation of the Spirit. This helps answer some of the
inquirers about the gifts of the Spirit.
There are also times when people are being filled with the
Spirit with the evidence of tongues for the first time as was in
the case with the house of Cornelius (see Acts 10). At this event
everyone spoke in tongues out loud without an interpretation.
This happened also in Act 19:6 when the new believers "spoke
in tongues and prophesied."
As you can see, Melissa, there is much about tongues that we
need to learn, and hopefully, we are opened enough to keep
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