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Understanding The Baptism Of Holy Spirit

By Bobby Long Th.D

My prayer is to help Christians get a better understanding of the biblical teaching on the Baptism and gifts of the Holy Spirit. Before we get started, please understand that I believe the gifts are for today. I believe the gifts are a vital part of the church and that the church cannot operate in the full extent that Christ would have it operate without them.

My kids go to karate.

I watch as they try to mimic their instructors. As they emulate the

teacher, they may have a foot in the wrong place or they may not be standing correctly. Bad form leads to bad habits. I see the other teachers come behind my kids and take them by the shoulders or by the arm and place them in the correct position; good form develops good habits. My boys were being instructed to do things right in the beginning so as they learned, they have a good fundamental foundation on which to build. Practice does not make perfect, perfect practice makes perfect.

On any given Sunday, one may visit a hyper charismatic church or, on the other end of the spectrum, they may attend a church that believes the gifts are not for today. They see people that exercising [or not] their charismata; however, they are in bad form. How do I know?

Look at the strife, discontent, division, and pride that, is so prevalent, not to mention unbiblical. This has been going on for years. Tell me then; how can they be in good form, yet be so messed up! Something is wrong. The formation of unbiblical habits has led to True charismata will exhibit agape love.

unbiblical charismata [or lack of].

The gift of tongues will come up frequently, so I want to give a Biblical definition that fits what scripture tells us about tongues. The gift of tongues is a gift from God (1Cor. 12:11) where the chosen recipient [by the Holy Spirit] expresses the inexpressible TO God (1Cor. 14:2). What do I mean by that? There may be times when the known vocabulary cannot

express the prayer, praise, or declaration in words that the heart desires. The spirit then helps in that weakness. We have faith that what the Spirit is praying is what we want conveyed except in a language that is beyond understanding. This is what it is.

There is only one gift of tongues which is synonymous with tongues throughout scripture. Do all have this ability? NO (1Cor. 12:30). It is a gift that is given by God to whom He

chooses. It cannot be learned, taught, bought, or forced; it is not a gift the believer gets by DEFALT. 1 Cor. 14:15 tells us that with the Spirit we pray to God, sing to God, and bless God. Does that mean that when I pray with understanding, or I groan in my spirit that which words cannot express, its really not a spirit filled prayer and my prayer is less effective? By NO means! The Bible clearly says that the prayer of a righteous man avails much (James 5:16). Tongues is a gift of God given to whom He chooses by which that individual prays outside their understanding when a known vocabulary is not enough to express what they wish to convey (1Cor. 14:2, 14). Do I have to pray in tongues when my spirit groans; NO.

Let me turn my attention to prophecy. Prophecy does not come to us by the gift of tongues (1Cor. 14:6&19). Prophecy is not the interpretation of the gift of tongues. By means of sheer definition, interpretation is translation from one dialect to another. If I said, What is 2 + 2? in French and I asked for the interpretation or translation of what I just said in English, what would the interpretation be? Answer: What is 2 + 2? The interpretation would not be 4. Prophecy comes to us by means of God speaking to man (1Cor. 29-32). Man must discern if what God gave is individualistic in nature or something God wants to share with others. The words of prophecy are always subject to the prophet (1Cor. 14:32). A good definition of prophecy is found in 1 Corinthians 14:3. comforts. Prophecy edifies, exhorts, and

In a private setting, we may pray in tongues TO God and God reveal something to us in the form of a prophecy (1Cor. 14:31). God gives us words of edification, exhortation, and

comfort. In a congregational setting, where someone stands up, draws attention to them selves, and speaks in a tongue, the interpretation should not be prophecy, words of knowledge, wisdom or revelation (1Cor. 14:6). The interpretation of the tongue should be what was put forth in tongues. It should be the inspired interpretation of what the tongue of the man said TO God. If the interpretation is directed FROM God TO man, then by all

Biblical accounts it is not the correct interpretation (1Cror 14:15, 16, 17). Does that mean that it was not of God? NO. What was bypassed was the interpretation of the tongue.

Does this mean that one cannot pray in tongues to themselves during a church service and receive a prophecy from God that is for the congregation; By all means, NO. However, the prophecy shared with the congregation will come in a known language and not a tongue (1Cor. 14:19). There is no need to interpret this tongue because it was not shared with the congregation. Can God supernaturally interpret words of prophecy to so that others of another dialect understand and be exhorted, edified, and comforted? YES

With this said, I will now try to explain what I just put forth.

Baptism of the Holy Spirit does not always result in the gift of tongues.
We will take each of the instances of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit one by one.

The Baptism of Jesus (Luke 3:22) The first and most overlooked scripture that deals with this is the Holy Spirit Baptism of Jesus Himself. We find, and the Holy Spirit descended upon Him in bodily form like a dove, and a voice came out of heaven, "You are My beloved Son, in You I am well-pleased." Luke 3:22. This brings me to my first point. The Baptism of the Holy Spirit enables the believer to face the temptations and trials of this world and to live a victorious Christian life of service through Godly agape love.

Before Jesus started His formal ministry, He was empowered by the Holy Spirit when the Holy Spirit fell upon (epee) Him. To say that Jesus didnt need the power of the Holy Spirit upon His life is to deny His humanity. Jesus was 100% man and 100% deity. either is heresy. To deny

Because Jesus was a man, the empowering of the Holy Spirit was a pre-

requisite for victory in His life. Nowhere in scripture does it account that Jesus spoke in tongues.

The Promise of Power

In Luke, we see Jesus providing the same path to His disciples that He took. Jesus didnt want them in the world without the empowering of the Holy Spirit. He instructs them to wait until they are empowered from on high. Again, there is no mention by Jesus of tongues in this conversation. The monumental effect on the disciples will be power for ministry. "And behold, I am sending forth the promise of My Father upon you; but you are to stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high." Luke 24:29 In the book of Acts in chapter 1, we find the promise being restated and the mission that the power of the promise will help them undertake. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon [epee] you, and you will be my witnesses [martuv martus Martyr witness in a legal, social, and ethical sense.] in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the farthest parts of the earth. Acts 1:8 Jesus was telling them what to look for and what to expect. This brings up the question, Why do we look for a sign other than what we were told to look for by Jesus Himself? The undeniable characteristic of the baptism of Holy Spirit is a life that is unshakable in their witness. In every sense of the word, they become a martyr for Christ. I think the answer is 3 fold.

1. We want to know now It is our nature to want to know and have confirmation immediately. 2. The alternative may yield uncomfortable results It is so much easier to point to a time and place and an event and say, This is when I received the Holy Ghost. How do you know? Because I spoke in tongues. What if we were to look for the power for ministry and witness that Jesus told us to look for? What if we examined our life and saw no power? What if we examined our life and saw no fruit? I feel that people are more comfortable with disillusionment than with the truth. 3. Tongues is something that I can counterfeit; supernatural fruit is something that I cannot. Enough said.

The Promise Fulfilled

Acts 2 In Acts 2 we see the prophecy of Joel being fulfill in that the Spirit of God was being poured out on all flesh not just the Jews. The time is Pentecost and every able body Jewish man is in Jerusalem. Some scholars believe there could have been as many as 3 million people in the city at that time. Contrary to popular belief, Acts 2 has nothing to do with speaking in

tongues but the pouring out of THE PROMISE, who is the Holy Spirit on ALL.

Acts 2: 2-4 And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance. NASB They did not speak in tongues as a result of the Baptism but in addition to the Baptism. They spoke in tongues as the Holy Spirit GAVE them the gift of tongues.

The disciples were in the upper room waiting as instructed. Then a hurricane force wind blew in causing the crowd of people to start to gather outside the upper room to see what was happening. When the Jewish crowd got there, they found the disciples declaring the

wonderful works of God in their native tongue (Acts 2:11) .. as the Spirit enabled them. 11 Cretans and Arabs--we hear them speaking in our own tongues the wonderful works of God." The word enabled is the word, didmi. It means: 1) to give 2) to give something to someone a) of one's own accord to give one something, to his advantage 1) to bestow a gift b) to grant, give to one asking, let have c) to supply, furnish, necessary things

God gave the gift in Acts 2; it was not something that happened as a result of anything. The gift of tongues is not the overflow effect of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. It is given by God to those He chooses to enable. This view is consistent with the gift of tongues found in Corinthians when Paul says the Holy Spirit gives gifts as He chooses.

There are a few things to notice here. 1. The tongues were over heard; the disciples were not speaking directly to the people. 2. The tongues came as God enabled them or better yet, As God GAVE them. 3. Teachers sat, heralds proclaimed; Peter stood and proclaimed the gospel in a known language (probably Konia Greek due to Alexanders proclamation) This is what we know. This is all we know concerning the gift of tongues in this instance. However, this is not the purpose nor is it the thrust of Peters message. The thrust of Peters message was to repent and believe on Christ and Him crucified.

It was Peters declaring the gospel under the newly gained power of Holy Spirit that convicted the hearts of the Jews and prompted the question: "Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ." 37 Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, "Men and brethren, what shall we do?" Peter was exhibiting the power to be Jesus witness (martyr) in Jerusalem just as Jesus said they would do. It wasnt the tongue that takes main stage in this story, it is the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ and that power being used to bring the lost to repentance.

The gift of the Holy Spirit is literally talking about the person of the Holy Spirit which is called the promise. and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call." Acts 2: 38b - 39 The Promise is not Tongues; the Promise is the Person of the Holy Spirit The Promise endows with Power for ministry, service, and witness The Promise is for all nationalities and genders not just for the Prophets.

Paul Receives the Holy Spirit (Acts 9:17)

In this passage of scripture, we find no mention of the gift of tongues. What we do find is something like scales falling from his eyes. Some scholars believe the reason is that there was no purpose for the gift at that time. We do know from other passages in Corinthians

that Paul did receive the gift of tongues, but when is not known. God chose to give the gift of tongues to Paul, just not at his Holy Spirit baptism. So Ananias departed and entered the house, and after laying his hands on him said, "Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road by which you were coming, has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit."Acts 9:17 What we do know from Acts 19: 20 is that, immediately he began to proclaim Jesus in the synagogues, saying, This man is the Son of God. Act 19:20. This is consistent with what Jesus said would happen at the baptism in the Holy Spirit. Paul immediately began to be a witness saying, This Man is the Son of God.

Scripture does not indicate that Paul spoke in tongues Scripture does indicate that immediately he began to proclaim Jesus as Lord

The Gentiles Receive the Holy Spirit

Note: For the moment, I will skip Acts 8:14-17 but will return to that after we discuss Acts 10 and 11. We will only discuss Chapter 10 in detail because Chapter 11 is not another

instance of tongues, but of a recap of the events of Chapter 10.

Peter is still thinking very Jewish in his attitude toward other races. We see this from the following passages: But Peter said, Certainly not, Lord, for I have never eaten anything defiled and ritually unclean! Acts 10:14 He said to them, You know that it is unlawful for a Jew to associate with or visit a Gentile, yet God has shown me that I should call no person defiled or ritually unclean. Acts 10:28 It wasnt until Acts 10:34 that Peter finally realizes that the Gospel was for all peoples. Then Peter started speaking: I now truly understand that God does not show favoritism in dealing with people, Acts 10:34 As Peter was speaking, the Holy Spirit fell and Cornelius, along with all that were there, began to praise God in tongues just as they did in the beginning. This phrase is important because it clarifies what the activity of the tongue was. Some could argue that there were two things going on 1) speaking in tongues and 2) praising God. In the beginning, referring to Acts 2, they were declaring the wonderful works of God. This is a major point in Peters defense later in Chapter 11. Peter took six brothers of the circumcision with him to witness this. They were astonished, not at the tongue, but at the realization that salvation has now come to the Gentiles. 10:45 The circumcised believers who had accompanied Peter were greatly astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the Gentiles, 10:46 for they heard them speaking in tongues and praising God. Then Peter said, No one can withhold the water for these people to be baptized, who have received the Holy Spirit just as we did, can he? Acts 10:45-47 11:18 When they heard this, they ceased their objections and praised God, saying, So then, God has granted the repentance that leads to life even to the Gentiles

We can pick out some very important observations from this passage.

This was the turning point that caused Peter to finally realize that salvation is universal to all who call on the name of the Lord. Those that did speak in tongues were understood to be praising God because if fell on them as it did in the beginning. Peter understood because of the tongues that had fallen on the Jews, that salvation had also come to the Gentiles. This praise in tongues had as its first goal, to glorify God, the secondary goal was to show the full scope of Gods redemptive plan. The important fact of the matter is not tongues, but that salvation has come to the Gentiles. This should excite us!



In Chapter 11, we see Peter making the case to the Jewish counsel in Jerusalem that salvation is for all races. It is very clear from scripture that if any other person would have witnessed these events other that a prominent Jew as Peter, the counsel would have taken issue with them to the point of denying the salvation experience altogether; even if that person would have been Paul. Notice the Holy Spirit makes a point to ensure the reader realizes that the counsel that Peter was confronting was of the circumcision (Acts 11:2).

Notice the fact that the Gentiles had now accepted the gospel was totally over looked at first. What they were more concerned with, at the beginning, was that they went to uncircumcised men and shared a meal with them.(Acts 11:3)

Acts 11:1 Now the apostles and the brothers who were throughout Judea heard that the Gentiles too had accepted the Word of God. 11:2 So when Peter went up to Jerusalem, the circumcised believers took issue with him, 11:3 saying, You went to uncircumcised men and shared a meal with them. Acts 11: 1-3


The Samaritans Receive the Holy Spirit

Now we will turn our attention to the Samaritans of Acts Chapter 8. Earlier in the chapter we find Phillip performing signs, miracles and preaching. The result was that many were

being saved. Notice that Simon was amazed at the working of miracles and signs so much so that he stayed close to Phillip constantly. Acts 8:12 But when they believed Philip as he was proclaiming the good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they began to be baptized, both men and women. 8:13 Even Simon himself believed, and after he was baptized, he stayed close to Philip constantly, and when he saw the signs and great miracles that were occurring, he was amazed. [Keep in mind, the events of Acts 8:12 happens prior to Peters attitude changing experience in the Gentile home of Cornelius in Acts 10.] When the Jerusalem counsel heard that salvation had come to the Samaritans, they sent Peter and John. What they found was salvation had truly come to the Samaritans. We all know the position the Samaritans held in the minds of the Jewish people. people the Jews would openly accept into the family by any means. This was not a race of

14 Now when the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them. 15 These two went down and prayed for them so that they would receive the Holy Spirit. 16 (For the Spirit had not yet come upon any of them, but they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.) 17 Then Peter and John placed their hands on the Samaritans, and they received the Holy Spirit. Acts 8:14-17 Lets review this passage and see what the Bible says. 1. The counsel was inquisitive about the Samaritan believers so they sent witnesses. 2. When Peter and John prayed for them to receive the Holy Spirit, they did. 3. There is no mention of tongues. 4. It does state that something happened after words that cause Simon to pursue the power to give the Holy Spirit but it does not say what it was.


Many argue that the Samaritans did speak in tongues; the Bible just doesnt mention it. My inclination is that the Bible doesnt mention tongues because tongues didnt happen but that other gifts were given by the Holy Spirit.

1. My reasoning is as follows: 2. Peter was there at Samaria and 3. Peter was the one that went to Cornelius home in Acts 10. 4. He was also apart of the laying on of hands in Samaria and 5. He also was preaching in Corneliuss home. 6. He was witness to the Samaritans receiving the Holy Spirit, yet he was not swayed to believe that salvation was for all. 7. It wasnt until he was in the home of Cornelius and heard them speaking in tongues as they did in the beginning, that he now believed. I would argue that Peter would have believed the moment the Samaritans received the Baptism of the Holy Spirit if they had spoken in tongues due to the fact that they were not regular Gentiles, but Samaritan Gentiles. The fact that Peter didnt believe until Acts 10 is a strong indication that the Samaritans didnt speak in tongues upon receiving the Holy Spirit. Not to mention the fact that the Bible doesnt say they did.

Could they have received the same gifts that Phillip exhibited causing Simon to stand in amazement? YES Do we know for sure what those were? NO

I feel Simon was amazed at the miracles and signs that accompanied Phillip. He was so astounded that he stayed close to Phillip apparently to watch and learn more about how those miracles occurred. When Simon saw the people exhibiting the same miraculous acts when Peter and John lay hands them, he wanted it. He concluded that in order to do the same

miracles and wonders that Phillip, John, and Peter did, he must have same ability that flowed through the act of lying on of hands.


Johns Disciples Are Granted Repentance that Lead to Life

In Acts 19: 1-7, we see Paul laying hands on those of Johns baptism and them receiving the Holy Spirit, speaking in tongues, and prophesying. This is unique in that someone who used to persecute the Christians is now seeing the same gifts and tongue that Peter and John (prominent Jewish Christians) saw upon their laying on of hands on the Gentiles. Remember Peter was the apostle to the Jews and Paul will be the apostle to the Gentiles.

Acts 19:1 While Apollos was in Corinth, Paul went through the inland regions and came to Ephesus He found some disciples there 2 and said to them, Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed? They replied, No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit. 3 So Paul said, Into what then were you baptized? Into Johns baptism, they replied. 4 Paul said, John baptized with a baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in the one who was to come after him, that is, in Jesus. 5 When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus, 6 and when Paul place his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they began to speak in tongues and to prophesy. 7 (Now there were about twelve men in all.) (Acts 19:1-7) Some point to this as proof that tongues can be used to prophesy or how God can edify, exhort, and comfort men. I would have to say that this is not what the passages say. If this be the case, it is no longer consistent with the separation of the primary goal of the gifts. This interpretation also puts tongues at odds with its primary goal of praise, prayer, adoration, or a communication to God.

Note that in Acts 10 the passages reads, 10:46 for they heard them speaking in tongues and praising God. Some say there are two things going on here: 1) speaking in tongues and the other 2) praising God. This is not the case because later in Chapter 11 Peter says that the Holy Spirit fell on them as it did on them in the beginning. If this were the case [and it is], then it would be them declaring the wonderful works of God. tongue was a communication to God from man. Therefore, the


However, in Acts 19: 1-7 we see that the Holy Spirit came upon them AND they began to speak in tongues AND TO prophecy. There ARE three different things going on otherwise the passage would have read something like, [ Holy Spirit came upon them, and they began to speak prophecies in tongues].

In Acts 19:1, we see that the disciples of John were 1) Baptized in the Holy Spirit, 2) Spoke in tongues of which we are not told what they were speaking and 3) they also prophesied. and they began to speak in tongues and to prophesy. conjunction and meaning also. They are connected by a

It is a building effect. Paul says that to prophecy is

better that speaking in tongues. Here we see a progression after the baptism of power by Holy Spirit; speaking in tongues (praising God) and the better; prophecy.

Summary of the Holy Spirit Baptism Passages in Acts and Luke:

Luke 3:22

Tongues did not accompany Jesus Baptism in the Holy Spirit

Acts 2:11 Tongues accompanied Baptism in the Holy Spirit declaration to God & Sign to the Jews Acts 8: 14-17 Tongues did not accompany Baptism in the Holy Spirit Acts 9:17 Tongues did not accompany Baptism in the Holy Spirit

Acts 10:46- Tongues did accompany Baptism in the Holy Spirit declaration to God & Sign to the Jews Acts 19:1Tongues did accompany Baptism in the Holy Spirit unknown Speech & Fulfillment of Jesus Baptism with fire.


Here we have 50% of the time tongues did happen at the same time, and 50% of the time it didnt. Observations that occur only fifty percent of the time simply do not prove a universal generalization. Even the Assemblies' of God position paper must admit that speaking in tongues is not mentioned in the accounts of the Samaritans receiving the Holy Spirit in Acts 8, and the account of Paul receiving the Spirit in Acts 9:17. Although attempts are made to evade the issue by saying that "details are not given" in these accounts and arguing that "circumstances seem to indicate" tongues were present, the truth is that the Bible does not say tongues occurred. They fail to even acknowledge Jesus baptism and the fact that two separate events happened in Acts 19. important as what IS printed. What is NOT printed in scripture can be just as

I believe that the point is clear. Some say we should assume the gift of tongues is there even though the Bible doesnt say they were. I say that if the Bible says it didnt happen then we cannot assume it did. I believe the latter is on more solid ground.

The Baptism of the Holy Spirit isnt about speaking in tongues or not speaking in tongues. It is about being empowered to love people enough to boldly proclaim the Word of God, to be a true witness to a dying world, and to love God with all our heart, soul, and mind and loving our neighbor as ourselves. It is about power for ministry; it is about dedication to service to our Lord and being a vessel of honor used to bring a true testimony of Jesus to the world, as we go; We Are To Be MARTYRS.

I will say this again. My views are my views. This is not a point of division. If some do not believe the argument that I am putting forth, then that is their right. I must stress that doctrine cannot be founded on emotion, our interpretation of an event, or an experience. If that experience does not match up with the Word of God, then dont doubt the experience, but doubt YOUR interpretation of the experience. Be a Berean and search yourself without any denominational prejudices and see what you find. Call me a liar, but let the Word be true.


Baptism of the Holy Spirit is evidenced by power for ministry and is recognized over the life of the believer and not a one time event.
Baptism means to be fully permeated in something as with a cloth in dye. If we are fully emerged in the Holy Spirit then we should take on the attributes of the Holy Spirit. The main attribute of the Holy Spirit is to testify of Jesus Christ. In the life of the believer, He produces fruit: Gal. 5:22-23 says, "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law." We are called to be fruit inspectors not tongue inspectors. The true evidences of the life of a believer living under the anointing of the Holy Spirit are as follows: Their devotion to Jesus is more important than their dedication to the world. Their humility was more important than their prominence. Their bond was more important than their belongings. Their love for one another is more important than their love for themselves. Unity in love and devotion to one another is more important than individual achievement.

To say that the overwhelming, undeniable, constant, initial characteristic of a Holy Spirit Baptized believer is first tongues is both superficial and premature. I see that scripture tells us that the Characteristic of the Christian life both in the Old Testament and in the New Testament is one of FAITH. Some say the initial evidence or proof of the Baptism of Holy Spirit is a tongue, and this one exception is a characteristic of God? scripturally supported and therefore should be rejected. This can not be


Some say that it is a response to the overwhelming presence at the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. That sound good, but that statement is totally grounded in assumption not scripture. We are talking about a life that already has the Holy Spirit present and living inside of it. Why doesnt this happen when the Holy Spirit first regenerates a dead and lifeless soul? The later would seem to be the more drastic.

I receive salvation by faith, I receive forgiveness by faith, My hope is grounded in faith, We are called to walk by faith, It is by faith that we live, It is by faith that we move, It is by faith that we have our being,

Yet in all this, God gives a sign that we have been baptized in the Holy Spirit by an unknown tongue? This doesnt make sense on a scriptural level nor does it make sense on a logical level. God calls us to walk by faith in the power of the Holy Spirit. If we ask for power of the Holy Spirit to come upon our life with the right heart and motive, then we must have faith that God has given us that power. The gift of tongues is not a gift we receive by DEFALT. It is a gift given by God to who He chooses.

1. We can walk by faith that when our time comes to be a witness for Christ, that God will be faithful to give us the words to say. 2. We can rest assured, by faith, that when we are called upon to live holy when the temptation is great, God will give us that power. 3. We can rest assured, by faith that when overwhelming trials come, God will give us power to overcome by His Spirit upon us.


We receive and walk in the power of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit not because we speak in tongues but because we trust God that when we are called upon to be a witness, we will have the power to do so in a manner that is pleasing to God and is powerful in Spirit. If someone speaks in tongues and does not manifest the results listed in Ephesians 5:19; 6:9 or has the fruit listed in Galatians, I would be hard pressed to say the proof is in the tongue. They are a sounding cymbal and clanging brass to use Pauls expression.

Our error may be that we have not created a separation between God giving spiritual gifts as HE chooses and God pouring His Spirit upon us for ministry. These are two separate events. Can they happen at the same time? YES. Does it HAVE to happen at the same time? NO. Is their one gift that God gives each time He Baptizes someone in the Holy Spirit? NO.

We will touch more on this later, but even though there is one gift of tongues it can have many activities. Notice that in every case the gift of tongues is specifically mentioned as being praise or declaration to God, its first purpose is glorifying God, a residual purpose was a sign to the JEWISH BELIEVERS that salvation and repentance has come to the Gentile. [Act 2 & 10] However, in Acts 19, we read, when Paul place his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they began to speak in tongues and to prophesy. Paul placed his hand on the 12 people in the room and they did 2 things. 1) They spoke in tongues and 2) They prophesied. That is the clear reading of the scripture. Do we know that they all spoke in tongues? NO Do we know if they all prophesied? NO. spoke in tongues and some prophesied. I believe the meaning of the text is that some Do we know what they were saying in tongues?

Not really. We can see that in every place in scripture where tongues are defined, they were either declaring the wonderful works of God or praising God. In 1 Corinthians 14:2, it says that those who speak in tongues speak not to man but to God. Paul goes on to say that he will sing, pray, and bless God in the Spirit. These verses give clear indication that those in Acts 19 were communicating to God their praises and prayers.


There is only one gift of tongues and it is just one of many given by God to whom He Chooses.
1 Corinthians 12 opens with Pauls statement that he does not what them to be ignorant. There are instances in scripture that Paul is appealing for understanding. We must be careful to distinguish when Paul is discussing the gifts in personal devotions or in a congregational setting. We must be equally careful to acknowledge that when we get to the gift of tongues, that there is only ONE gift of tongues. However the gift of tongues was being used in a

public setting and therefore, needed correction and control.

There are three things that Paul does not want us to be ignorant about: First, dont be ignorant of Gods plan for Israel (Romans 11:25). Second, dont be ignorant of spiritual gifts (1 Corinthians 12:1). Finally, dont be ignorant about the second coming of Jesus and the eternal state (1 Thessalonians 4:13)

Jesus made it plain, saying that when the Holy Spirit would come, He will testify of Me (John 15:26), and He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you (John 16:14). The ministry of the Holy Spirit is not to promote Himself or any man, but to glorify and represent Jesus accurately. We can therefore trust that the true ministry of the Holy Spirit will be according to the nature and person of Jesus. The Holy Spirit testifies OF Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit glorifies Jesus Christ.


There are many gifts, but the Spirit is the source of it all. These gifts have different ministries and activities but it is God who works in them and through them for His glory not ours. There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all. 1Cor. 12:4-6 Ministries probably have in mind the different offices in the church, such as apostles, prophets, evangelists, and pastor-teachers, as Paul also described in Ephesians 4. Pauls point is clear: though there are different offices, it is the same Lord granting the offices and directing the service.

The Greek word for activities is energemata, where we get our words energy, energetic, and energize from. It is a word of active, miraculous power. Activities is the same word as working in verse ten of this chapter (the working of miracles). Differences of activities means that God displays and pours out His miraculous power in different ways, but it is always the same God doing the work.

Some gifts are ministries standing offices or positions in the church. Some gifts are activities miraculous events or outpourings at a particular time and place. The Holy Spirit is always present in and among Christians. Jesus said of the Holy Spirit, He may abide with you forever (John 14:16). Some times the Spirits presence is more apparent than other times. There are times when He may choose to manifest Himself, that is, to make Himself apparent. We should never think the Holy Spirit is more present when He is manifested through the gifts. The Holy Spirit is always present with believers, but at times He is more apparent through the manifestation of the Spirit. This manifestation doesnt have to happen at church. If the only time a believer manifest the gifts is at church, I would question the motive.


But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues.

But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills. I Cor. 12: 7-11 Notice the last part of this section of scripture. There is one Spirit that distributes to each one individually as He wills. There is nothing anyone can do to earn a gift. There is nothing

that we can do to force a gift. A gift from God cannot be taught, a gift cannot be learned; it is given freely by God to whom He chooses for us to exercise in faith according to His call and His purpose in us.

The one trying to learn it, force it, or earn it, will experience no power, and will have no lasting fruit. The one who embraces the gift that God has intended for them will step out in faith and the result will power in their ministry.


Lets take a look at the gifts that Paul outlines here.

The Word of Knowledge: This is the unique ability to declare knowledge which could only be revealed supernaturally, as shown in Jesus (Matthew 17:24-27) or Paul (Acts 27:10, 23-26). We must understand the difference between the word of wisdom and the word of knowledge. Someone may have great knowledge, even supernatural knowledge, yet have no wisdom from God in the application of that knowledge.

As well, we must always use discernment in the receiving of a word of knowledge, remembering that God is not the only source of supernatural knowledge - even if a word is true, it does not mean that it is from God and that the one speaking the word is truly representing God.

The Gift of Faith: Though faith is an essential part of every Christians life, the gift of faith is the unique ability to trust God against all circumstances, as Peter did when he walked out of the boat on onto the water (Matthew 14:22-33).

Gifts of Healing: This is Gods healing power, either given or received, and has been repeatedly documented in the New Testament and since. A great time for the gift of healing to come would be during communion when we focus more intensely on the body and blood of Jesus that was given to take away our sin.


Working of Miracles: Literally dynameis, or acts of power. This describes when the Holy Spirit chooses to override the laws of nature (as a pilot might use manual controls), working in or through an available person. Gifts of healing and working of miracles often operate in conjunction with the gift of faith, as in Acts 3:1-8; these things are not done on the whim of the individual, as if the power to heal or work miracles was at their permanent disposal - instead, they operate as an individual is prompted by God and given the faith to perform such a work (another example of this is in Acts 14:8-10). When the Lord made the sun stand still in the sky is a miracle.

Prophecy: Prophecy is the forth-telling of Gods message in a particular situation, always in accord with His Word and His current work. Sometimes this has the character of foretelling the future, as in Acts 21:10-11 and Acts 27:21-26. To say that Paul is talking about Preaching here is false. There is a Greek word for preaching (Kerysso), and a Greek word for divinely inspired speech (Propheteuo). Paul is using the word for divinely inspired speech, not preaching. Although good, Spirit anointed preaching will often use the spontaneous gift of prophecy, it is inaccurate to define prophecy as good preaching. Paul will better define the gift of

Prophecy in a congregational setting in Chapter 14 when he declares that,

But he who prophesies speaks edification and exhortation and comfort to men. 1 Cor. 14:3 One thing to notice here is that the gift of Prophecy requires no interpreter. The plain reason is that no where in scripture is a prophecy (edification, exhortation, and comfort from God to man) ever brought to a congregation by an unknown tongue. The prophecy requires

judgment because all things FROM GOD must agree with the WORD OF GOD. The prophecy requires judgment not interpretation as in the tongue. This is where so many

charismatic congregations move from be scriptural in there operation of the gift of tongues and prophecy in a corporate setting.


If God wants to give a prophecy through someone, why does God need to validate it through a tongue? The answer is: He would not and does not. God allows those who hear the

prophecy to judge it for accuracy according to the Word of God and relevance to what God is doing at that time. If God is the one validating the prophecy by the tongue, then there is no reason to judge for who are we to judge what God validates.

A scenario would be like someone standing up, gaining the attention of the entire body and speaks in tongues. What is normally given as the interpretation is really a work of Prophecy and not the interpretation of the tongue. A normal interpretation sounds something like this [Note: Most of the time its in King James English],

Thus saith the Lord, return to me and I will give thee life and life everlasting. For you have turned your back on me and I am waiting for my people to return to me. Notice the conversation direction. It is God TO man. As we will see later in vs. 14 of Chapter 14: For he who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God. 1Cor. 14:2.

Am I saying that this was not a valid tongue: NO.

Am I saying that this is not a valid

Prophecy for the church? NO What I am saying is that there was no interpretation of the tongue. If I stand up in a congregational setting and ask God for direction in a situation in tongues and the interpretation is a prophetic answer, then how are any to judge if that is correct? WE DONT KNOW THE QUESTION.

Nowhere in scripture can one find Biblical grounds that the gift of tongues and praying privately in tongues is any different that the gift of tongues in Acts or when Paul mentions the Gift of tongues or speaking in tongues. In each case, we see the gift of tongues. Paul does not make any distinction at all. In the scenario above, the gift of tongues is exercised and the gift of prophecy is exercised, however, there was NO interpretation of the tongue. We will delve into this more later.


Another important aspect of prophecy is its purpose. Many words spoken in church services today are those of condemnation, rebuke, and judgment. According to Paul, this would not be a prophetic message. More than likely, the words give to the speaker are meant for the speaker alone and should not have been shared. This is where the prophecy should be JUDGED not interpreted. There is no such thing as a gift of interpretation of prophecy.

Discerning of Spirits: How we need the gift of discernment in the church today! The ability to tell the difference between true and false doctrine and between what is of the Holy Spirit and what isnt (Acts 8:18-23; 16:16-18). This is a gift that is in dire need in the church today. Satan appears as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14). He deceives with a false, tempting message (Genesis 2:16-3:5). There can be lying spirits in the mouths of prophets (1 Kings 22:21-23; 2 Chronicles 18:20-22). Satan can speak right after God speaks (Matthew 16:23). Sometimes people who seem to say the right things are really from the devil (Acts 13:6-12; 16:16-18). It is important to test the word of anyone who claims to speak from God (1 John 4:13). Satan can work deceiving miracles (2 Thessalonians 2:9-10, Revelation 13:11-14). The devil will try to infiltrate the church with false teachers (Jude 4, 2 Peter 2:1-2). And we sleep and say AMEN.

The Gift of Tongues This is a personal language of prayer given by God to whom He chooses, whereby the believer can communicate with God beyond the limits of knowledge and understanding (1 Corinthians 14:14-15). Language is an agreement between parties, where it is agreed that certain sounds represent certain objects or ideas. When using the gift of tongues, we agree with God that as the Holy Spirit prays through us, though we may not understand what we are praying, God does.


The Biblical aspects of tongues that is put forth in this paper is that:

1. Tongues have an important place in the devotional life of the believer whom God gives the gift to, but a small place in the corporate life of the church (1 Corinthians 14:18-19), especially in public meetings (1 Corinthians 14:23). 2. When tongues are practiced in the corporate life of the church, it is to be carefully controlled, and never without an interpretation given by the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 14:27-28). 3. The ability to pray in an unknown tongue is not a gift given to every believer (1 Corinthians 12:20). 4. The ability to pray in a tongue is not the evidence of the filling of the Holy Spirit; this emphasis has led people to seek the gift of tongues (and to counterfeit it) merely to prove to themselves and others that they really are filled with the Holy Spirit. We will spend more time on this gift in Chapter 14, but for now, realize that even though we are focusing particularly on a few gifts, Paul does not identify any gift over another except the gift of prophecy. comfort men. This is simply because the gift of prophecy is to edify, exhort, and

The Gift of the Interpretation of Tongues: This gift allows the gift of tongues to be of benefit to those other than the speaker. As they are able to hear and agree with the tongue-speakers words to God, they too are edified. The gift of interpretation is necessary because the conversation of tongues is directed TO God FROM man. If there is no interpreter or God has not given the speaker the interpretation, then the speaker should keep silent.

This is another area that people seem to go astray. Some say that they go into a trance and cannot control the tongue. There absolutely no Biblical basis for this at all. I say that is

false and unbiblical. If Paul says that only 2 or 3 at the most should speak in tongues and if there is no interpretation they should speak to themselves and to God, then there is a level of control exercised by the speaker.


All believers do not have the gift of tongues.

Later, Paul elaborates on the exclusivity of God in the distribution of gifts. Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually. And God has appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, varieties of tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Are all workers of miracles? Do all have gifts of healings? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret? But earnestly desire the best gifts. And yet I show you a more excellent way. 1 Cor 12:27-31 Notice here that we are all apart of the body. Christ makes sure that every person has a gift but not everyone has all the gifts. Another point to make is that there are offices that God appoints apostles, prophets, and teachers. This list is expanded in Ephesians by the addition of evangelists and pastors to teachers. After this there are the gifts of:

Miracles, healing, helps, administrations, varieties of tongues. The gift of tongues here by the way, is the same gift of tongues just as it is the same gift of healings, and miracles. There are many varieties of tongues as there are people with the gift. The gift of tongues may have different activities, but these activities happen within a stated parameter.

The point is well taken. Not all have the gift of miracles, not all have the gift of healings, not all have the gift of tongues, not all are apostles, not all are evangelists; but, we are ONE body working together for the edification of each other toward the glory of God.


The more excellent way is the famous love chapter; 1 Corinthians 13. Here Paul says that,

1 Corinthians 13 "If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 And if I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing... 1 Cor13: 1-2 Love is the key. The gift is the container, but what should pour from any and all gifts is We, as Christians are nothing

love. Without that, the gift is meaningless and harmful.

without love. We are an inconsistent witness to Christ. The inference that one can speak with the tongues of men and angels and have not love is a direct rebuttal to tongues being evidence of any Holy Spirit baptism power in the life of the believer.

Paul is disqualifying ANY gift being what we should seek after if our motive for attaining that gift is not to be a vessel that we can store up and pour out love. Without love the vessel of the gift is useless and meaningless and we are NOTHING.

The first verse of chapter 14 says it all: Pursue love, and desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy.! Cor. 14:1

However, many charismatic churches of today have it backwards; we pursue the gifts and desire love. God wants us to go after love with everything that is in us for God is LOVE. Along the way, we should desire the gifts to help us attain the goal of our pursuit.

All throughout scripture, we see the Holy Spirit testifying of Jesus Christ. We find shadows in the Old Testament of Holy Spirit being portrayed as the Un-named Servant. It was an unnamed servant who sought out the Gentile Bride for Isaac. In Boaz and Ruth, we find Boaz is introduced to Ruth by a servant whose name is hidden. When we enter the New

Testament, the Holy Spirit testifies to truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, reveals the nature and person of Jesus Christ, and comes at the command of Jesus Christ. Everything the Holy Spirit does magnify Jesus and so should all the gifts He gives.


1 Corinthians 14 Those that speak in tongues speak not to man but to God.
Paul spoke earlier of prophecy and tongues only in the context of other gifts. With the gift of tongues, the speaker is addressing God, not men. Disregard of this verse leads to one of the most significant misunderstandings regarding the gift of tongues, believing tongues is a supernatural way to communicate man to man instead of man to God.

However, if we miss the fact that Those that speak in tongues speak not to man but to God. our views of scripture are distorted and can lead to damaging conclusions.

1. If we misunderstand this, we misunderstand Acts 2 and think the disciples were preaching to the crowd in tongues on the day of Pentecost. Instead, they were speaking to God when the multi-national crowd overheard their praises to God. Acts 2:11 says, we hear them speaking in our own tongues the wonderful works of God. Later, Acts 10:46 describes the hearing of the gift of tongues: they heard them speak with tongues and magnify God. 2. If we misunderstand this, we misunderstand what is really happening when someone attempts to interpret a tongue and addresses his or her message to men. A true interpretation of the gift of tongues will be addressed to God, not men. It will be a prayer, praise, or some other communication to God. 3. If we misunderstand this, we can be led to believe the gift of tongues is just the ability to speak another language, and all Paul is speaking about here is interpreting the preachers sermon in someones native tongue. But no one needs to interpret the preachers sermon to God! 4. If we misunderstand this, we can misuse the gift of tongues, using it in a way that draws unnecessary attention to ourselves. God does not primarily give anyone the gift of tongues for the direct sake of others (though indirectly others are edified), but for that believer and God alone. For he who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God, for no one understands him; however, in the spirit he speaks mysteries. But he who prophesies speaks edification and exhortation and comfort to men.1 Cor. 14:2-3 NOTE: Do not let this contrast go unnoticed. A tongue is men speaking TO God. Prophecy is God speaking TO men.


Paul recognized that normally, when someone spoke in tongues, no one else could understand him. The reason is simple: with the gift of tongues, the intention is to speak to God and not man. Therefore, it is fine if no one understands him.

The exception is when the tongue is publicly interpreted in a corporate setting. Even then, it is not the tongue itself that is understood, but the interpretation of the tongue.

In the spirit he speaks mysteries: When the tongues speaker can not be understood, it does not mean it isnt really language, or that they are merely speaking gibberish. It means they are speaking in the spirit and that they speak mysteries. Does in the spirit refer to the

speakers spirit, or to the Holy Spirit? It could be either one, because both are true.

In contrast to the gift of tongues, the gift of prophecy is directed to men. It is God speaking supernaturally (often naturally supernaturally) through people to people.

As we pointed out earlier, not only is the gift of prophecy directed towards men, it is also largely positive in its character. Often, when a negative word is spoken, it is not truly a word from God at all, or it is a word meant only for the individual, not for someone else.

Prophecy Edifies: Edification is building up. It is a construction term, and speaks our being built up in the Lord. A word of prophecy will build someone up, not tear him or her down. Prophecy Exhorts: Exhortation is encouragement. It is like the speech from the coach in the locker room, rallying the team to go out and perform as they have been trained to perform. A word of prophecy will encourage someone, not discourage him or her. Prophecy Comforts Men: Comfort has the idea of not only consoling, but also strengthening. It doesnt just cry with someone hurting, it puts its arms around them and strengthens them to carry the load. A word of prophecy will strengthen, not weaken someone.


One of the most drastic differences in Prophecy and tongues is contrasted in whom they edify. He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself, but he who prophesies edifies the church. I wish you all spoke with tongues, but even more that you prophesied; for he who prophesies is greater than he who speaks with tongues, unless indeed he interprets, that the church may receive edification. NOTE: Note the contrast: The gift of tongues has the edification of the saint as its primary goal. Prophecy has the edification of the church as its primary goal.

Paul is simply stating the nature of the gift of tongues. Since he who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God, it follows that it is a gift whose initial activity is for selfedification, not church edification. However, when tongues is exercised in a public setting, the interpretation should be man to God and the praise, song, or declaration of the wonderful works of God will be such that the entire congregation is edified.

He who prophesies edifies the church: Because prophecy can be understood by all, a true word of prophecy builds up everyone. There is no gift of Prophetic interpretation because there is no need for interpretation. It is God speaking to man through man.

Paul was positive about the gift of tongues! Because of the tone of this chapter, it is easy to think he was down on the gift of tongues. Not at all; Paul valued the gift of tongues in his own life (I thank my God I speak with tongues more than you all, 1 Corinthians 14:18), and wanted other Christians to speak with tongues.

Why did Paul wish they all spoke with tongues? He knew the value of it in his own life. Paul was able, when in the spirit he speaks mysteries, to lay his soul before God in a way going beyond human language and intellect. He could pray, praise, and intercede beyond his ability to understand and articulate. Paul wanted every Christian to know this same blessing! But at the same time, understood that all would not have that gift, BUT would work in other gifts that were just as needed.


But even more that you prophesied: As good as the gift of tongues is, Paul sees the gift of prophecy as better for the church as a whole because He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself, but he who prophesies edifies the church. And the focus here is clearly, that the church may receive edification. Pauls context in 1 Corinthians 14 is more focused on what the Corinthian Christians do when they come together as a church, than on what they do in their own devotional life.

There are things that are fine for a Christian to do in their own devotional life, which may be disruptive, annoying, or self-exalting for a Christian to do in a church meeting. The gift of tongues is one of those things. So, since Paul is focusing on when the Corinthian Christian comes together as a church, it is clear why he regards the gift of prophecy as greater.

I truly believe that if someone were to ask Paul, Which is greater for ones devotional life: the gift of tongues or the gift of prophecy? He would no doubt say the gift of tongues, because who do you prophecy to when you are alone with the Lord in your prayer closet?

But, just because Paul wishes they all spoke in tongues doesnt mean all can as we have clearly solidified by Scripture. Paul also wished that he could be sent to hell if it would save his brethren.


There is no such thing as a message FROM God TO a congregation via an Unknown Tongue.
In verse 6, Paul spoke for the profit of all. It would do them no good for Paul to come

speaking in tongues. INSTEAD he came speaking via revelation, knowledge, prophecy, and teaching. Paul is describing methods of communication that can be edifying to the entire body corporately. But now, brethren, if I come to you speaking with tongues, what shall I profit you unless I speak to you either by revelation, by knowledge, by prophesying, or by teaching? 1Cor. 14:6 Even though Paul has stated all this, he says this to the Corinthians. Even so you, since you are zealous for spiritual gifts, let it be for the edification of the church that you seek to excel. Therefore let him who speaks in a tongue pray that he may interpret. For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my understanding is unfruitful.1 Cor.14:12-14. He says let the gifts be for the edification of the body in a corporate setting. The speaker in tongues should pray that he interpret as well so that the entire body can be lifted up as he himself is edified. Again Paul is emphasizing that the gift of tongues is prayer to God from

man. It should also be noted that they were zealous for the gifts. God will not give anyone anything they do not earnestly desire for the right reason.


Paul then gives us a clear understanding of when to and when not use the gift of tongues: What is the conclusion then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will also pray with the understanding. I will sing with the spirit, and I will also sing with the understanding. Otherwise, if you bless with the spirit, how will he who occupies the place of the uninformed say Amen at your giving of thanks, since he does not understand what you say? For you indeed give thanks well, but the other is not edified. I thank my God I speak with tongues more than you all; yet in the church I would rather speak five words with my understanding, that I may teach others also, than ten thousand words in a tongue. I Cor. 14:15-19. #1: #2: #3: #4: Tongues is for praying, singing, blessing God from the heart. Tongues gives thanks TO God. The primary purpose of tongues is NOT the edification of others. IN THE CHURCH a. What could be the five words: CHRIST DIED AND ROSE AGAIN. #5: Tongues does NOT teach therefore it is not: revelation, knowledge, prophecy, or teaching. It is a prayer, a song, or a blessing given BY MAN TO GOD. But now, brethren, if I come to you speaking with tongues, what shall I profit you unless I speak to you either by revelation, by knowledge, by prophesying, or by teaching? 1Cor. 14:6

Paul gladly proclaims: I will pray with the spirit, and I will also pray with the understanding. Paul would not pray with understanding if he didnt think it was just as effective as praying in tongues. Always remember- God knows the heart whether we speak in tongues or a known language.

I will sing with the spirit, I will also sing with the understanding. Paul will use the gift of tongues, both in prayer and in song, and he will use it often though not exclusively. Yet in the church he, and I, would rather speak five words with my understanding . . . than ten thousand words in a tongue. Therefore, Pauls use of tongues was pretty much focused in his devotional life with the Lord and not in a congregational setting.


This also points to the fact that the private devotional tongue is the same as that used in a congregational setting. The gift of tongues in Acts was used to declare and praise TO God just as this is. There is ONE gift of tongues not two.

Paul here makes reference to how we can sing in the spirit. God can give us the freedom to exercise the gift of tongues in a melodic way, so it flows in with worship. However, based on the principles in this chapter, if this is done, it should never be done in a way that would draw attention to itself or distract others. Church is not a bless me club. We come to church to lift up Christ and serve.

If no one understands my blessing of the Lord, if no one understands my thanks to God, they cant say Amen with me. When I am gathered together with other believers, I cant just do my own thing and say, Well, it blesses me. I must have a concern for others also. Paul is completely consistent in his emphasis on tongues being directed to God.

Just in these verses, he points out what we do with the gift of tongues: we pray, we sing, we bless, and we give thanks. All of these we do unto the Lord, not unto man with the gift of tongues. This is consistent with every single time tongues are mentioned in scripture.

So, Paul saw great value in the gift of tongues for his own devotional life before the Lord: I thank my God I speak with tongues more than you all. Yet, when he gathered with other Christians, his concern was to be a blessing, not with getting a blessing.


Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not: but prophesying [serveth] not for them that believe not, but for them which believe. If therefore the whole church be come together into one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in [those that are] unlearned, or unbelievers, will they not say that ye are mad?1 Cor. 14:22-23 Next, a sign does not necessarily have to be a good thing. Paul draws from a passage in Isaiah concerning Israels refusal to hear the words of the prophets (Isa. 28:9-12). There can be signs of coming destruction and desolation; there are signs of the times that indicate that our time is short. In the passage below, I feel that tongues are being portrayed as a sign in a negative sense of the word to those Jews that refused to believe Peters message at Pentecost.

This would be a sign of condemnation to hardened Jewish believer that comes into the church and hears the same thing that they rejected at Pentecost. Acts 2? Isnt this what happened in

The gift was being exercised in a place where the public could overhear and the

crowd was confused and thought they were all drinking. Peter had to get up and set things to their proper perspective in the common language of Koine Greek, yet there were those that denied the preaching and continued to believe the disciples were nuts.

Prophecy is a sign to the believer which edifies, exhorts, and comforts the body.

As the

unbeliever enters a room in which the body is being edified, comforted, and exhorted, they will be moved to want what they have and believe even if they are idits. This is the Greek word used here for unlearned. This would indicate someone without any skills or learning at all. The Scythians would be an example of these who would occupy the realm of the unlearned.

But if all prophesy, and there come in one that believeth not, or [one] unlearned, he is convinced of all, he is judged of all: And thus are the secrets of his heart made manifest; and so falling down on [his] face he will worship God, and report that God is in you of a truth. 1 Cor. 14: 24-25 When a church is engaged in edification of the body, exhortation of the body, and comfort of the body IN A KNOWN LANGUAGE, then those that come into the church comes under conviction of sin as the church is exhorting each other to repent and turn from sin. The heart


of the unlearned is condemned by the very Gospel the body of Christ is building one another up by. As conviction and faith comes to the unbeliever, confession is made with the mouth; repentance is made in the heart and the unlearned falls on his face and worships the God who saved him.

IN SUMMARY I want to say that this in no way should be construed as blasting any denomination or any body. This was an attempt to restate my views concisely as possible and in a more organized fashion. I want nothing less than all our members to operate in the gifts that God gives in proper fashion. I wish that none would try to operate in a gift that God has not given them. To do this is detrimental to the person and the body as a whole. It is a source of division and pride. Clear teaching of scripture and sound doctrine leads to a healthy body that can withstand the trials and face any opportunity with Holy Spirit endowed power. It leads to God pleasing praise and worship. That is what I want for the body here at THE ROCK.

I will say this again, and I mean it with all my heart. I will gladly review my position if someone can take the scriptures that I given and show me where I was wrong in its interpretation. Until then, I can do nothing but teach what I feel is the clear extrapolation of the whole council of God. If my views are correct, then we should not be afraid what men will think, or even if we were wrong in past thinking. My pride is nothing compared to the truth of scripture. This Word has consumed me and I am glad of it.

In Love,

Bobby Long Examples:


Tongues In Private

Tongues In Corporate Setting


Pray to God Sing to God Bless God Give thanks to God


Pray to God Sing to God Bless God Give thanks to God

Interpretation Understandable Pray to God Sing to God Bless God Give thanks to God

Prayer is Edified

Interpretation to Congregation In English

Congregation is Edified

Prayer in tongues No need to interpret. No one else around Comm. To God


Pray to God Sing to God Bless God Give thanks to God

Interpretation to Congregation In English



From God To Man

From God To Man


Edify Comforts Exhorts Edify Comforts Exhorts

Sharing of Prophecy In English Edify Comforts Exhorts Discernment Is if for Congregation or Not?

Edify Comforts Exhorts

In Private

In Congregational Setting



No Biblical Foundation
There is no Biblical foundation for this. In this example, the tongue was given, but what went to the congregation was message from God to man which is not the interpretation of the tongue. Otherwise it would be the declaration of praise, song, thanksgiving, or prayer TO God. Obedience not only occurs when someone is given the tongue in a corporate setting, but there must be obedience on the part of the one that is to interpret the tongue as well. If this is said to be a response to a question asked of God, then how are those around to Judge if they do not know the question?..


Pray to God Sing to God Bless God Give thanks To God


No Interpretation


Pray to God Sing to God Bless God Give thanks To God

What is given as the interpretation is a Message or Word From God To Man


Biblically Solid

To ng ue s

W or

inte rpr eta tion


Pray to God Sing to God Bless God Give thanks To God

ph Edification ec Comfort y Exhortation

Pr o


Pray to God Sing to God Bless God Give thanks To God

Interpretation To congregation

Prophecy To congregation

Edification Comfort Exhortation

Words of: Knowledge Wisdom Revelation Teaching Song Ect..

Body is Edified

To congregation