I believe in speaking in tongues. The biblical version. Not the modern day version of speaking in tongues.
Why do I have a problem with the modern concept of speaking in tongues? Let me explain. First I will define what I mean by the modern concept of speaking in tongues and then I will use the bible to further explain why I feel they have been mislead on this subject.
Modern day speaking in tongues is nonsense and certainly not biblical. It’s inconsistent with the teachings of God and His kingdom. It is chaotic. It is prideful. It leads to division in the church.
Biblical Speaking in Tongues:
- Given of the Holy Spirit.
- Not taught.
- An actual language.
- Sign for unbelievers.
- Not by a trance, or otherwise mentally disengaged.
ACTS 2:4 [NASB] And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with different tongues, as the Spirit was giving them the ability to speak out. ACTS 2:7-8 [NLT] They were completely amazed. “How can this be?” they exclaimed. “These people are all from Galilee, and yet we hear them speaking in our own native languages!
Modern Speaking in Tongues:
- Not a language.
- Not translatable.
- For the believer, not for the unbeliever.
What is the modern concept of speaking in tongues?
The modern version of speaking in tongues is when you speak a bunch of gibberish. It’s not really “different” tongues, it’s just one, and that one is pure gibberish. It’s gobbledygook. They call it their “prayer” language, even though they have NO idea what they are saying.
The cornerstone of their beliefs
Speaking in tongues is very important to the ones that believe in this modern version of speaking in tongues. Many are infatuated with the idea of speaking in tongues. Their belief system is based on it. It is more than just important. It is the foundation of their faith. It is more important than love. It is more important than prophecy. It is more important than the bible. They judge whether one is saved based on whether or not they speak in tongues. Without it their entire worldview falls apart. it is something they hold on to because they see it as something that benefits them.
If they are not speaking in tongues they are not real Christians; certainly not “spirit filled” Christians. When someone is speaking in tongues as they understand it, they are more filled of the Holy Spirit than those that don’t say anything. They are “anointed”. How can this possibly square with the idea that the gift of tongues is a sign FOR THE UNBELIEVERS? 1 Corinthians 14:22
It is so important that they try to teach others how to do it.
They sat me down in a room and tried to teach me how to do it. This was in Casey Treat’s church. They told me to empty my head. They told me to stop thinking and just do it. Apparently I was stopping myself from speaking in tongues subconsciously.
They have made children’s books teaching kids how to speak in tongues.
One has to wonder what the point of it is then. Why do they cling to it? What makes it the holy grail?
“Prayer language”? How do they know when they can’t even understand what they are saying?
I begin to lose faith in it, and it’s purpose, beginning from the point of why it is so important to a believer, when said believer doesn’t know what they are even saying, to the fact that they call it a prayer language when again they have no idea what they are saying. Did God give us the Spirit of confusion? Well, I would say speaking gobbledygook is very confusing, so why is it so important. Something just doesn’t add up.
The Word of God is how I determine truth from deception.
If the bible says it’s true, then it is true. If it says it is false, then it is false. So let’s go to the Word and investigate.
The bible says some things about speaking in tongues that don’t agree with what many are teaching about the gift of tongues. Or at best, how they are using them.
- It is a language.
- Speaking in tongues is not that important.
- You don’t need to be taught how to do it.
- All spiritual gifts are for the edification of the church, not for individual empowerment.
- No more than two or three should speak in tongues.
- They should speak in tongues one at a time.
- Women should be silent and not speak at all.
- It needs to be translated. Every time.
- It was given as a sign for unbelievers. Not for believers.
- Not everyone was given the gift of tongues in the first place.
It is a language.
My first contention with modern tongues is that the biblical version is a language, the modern one is not. The argument from the other side often sounds something like this: Just because you can’t identify it doesn’t mean that it isn’t an actual language. It’s an angelic language.
“You don’t know that it isn’t.” I hear that a lot. The bible states what it is, a language.
Why would they assume something they don’t understand, is angelic? Good question. Because Paul said in 1 Corinthians 14:1-4
“Let love be your highest goal! But you should also desire the special abilities the Spirit gives—especially the ability to prophesy. For if you have the ability to speak in tongues, you will be talking only to God, since people won’t be able to understand you. You will be speaking by the power of the Spirit, but it will all be mysterious. But one who prophesies strengthens others, encourages them, and comforts them. A person who speaks in tongues is strengthened personally, but one who speaks a word of prophecy strengthens the entire church.”1 Corinthians 14:1-4 [NLT]
This little bit of correction from Paul is often twisted to support speaking nonsense and calling it angelic. Read it in context. Paul explains that those who are using the gift of tongues need to do it one at a time and it needs to be translated every time. IF you don’t, no one will understand, or benefit from this gift, and you will only be understood by God. In other words, if you started speaking Korean suddenly, and no one was able to translate, then you would only be speaking with God since He is the only one that would understand you. The entire chapter is Paul explaining how to avoid being deceived when it comes to the gifts. He says they are to be used a specific way, what they are for, and where to put them in order of importance.
For example, the gifts were for the church, not for personal use. They were not intended for personal empowerment. Paul goes on to say that if you start speaking in, say, Korean, and no one is around to translate, then you are only doing this for yourself. The body of Christ is not getting anything from it. This is contrary to what the gifts were supposed to be for.
The concept of the church is not individualism. That is the opposite of what the church is. The gifts were for the church. Which is why Paul goes on to say that EVEN IF he were to speak in angelic languages, without love it would be meaningless. Love is the most important. Without love it is just noise.
It is not a gift for the believer. It is not meant to empower the believer. It is a sign for the unbeliever. And trust me, speaking gibberish isn’t showing the unbeliever anything. If it were the true biblical version it would be VERY impressive for the unbeliever. Imagine hearing Russian from your pastor when you know he doesn’t speak Russian at all! Amazing! And it would be very convincing.
“And everyone present was filled with the Holy Spirit and began speaking in other languages, as the Holy Spirit gave them this ability.” – ACTS 2:4
The Holy Spirit is the one that gives this ability, not man. If it is not given, it is not going to happen.
The modern day version of speaking in tongues is said to be gibberish because of Romans 8. Apparently God can only speak gibberish now, or something.
“… But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words.”ROMANS 8:26
The problem with this is that this is not speaking in tongues at all. It is referring to something that is not spoken. It cannot be expressed in words. Period.
Paul chastised the Corinthians for misusing the gift.
“Now, dear brothers and sisters, regarding your question about the special abilities the Spirit gives us. I don’t want you to misunderstand this. You know that when you were still pagans, you were led astray and swept along in worshiping speechless idols. So I want you to know that no one speaking by the Spirit of God will curse Jesus, and no one can say Jesus is Lord, except by the Holy Spirit.”
The Corinthians apparently had questions regarding the spiritual gifts. Paul had to explain to them that no one using spiritual gifts would curse Jesus. Pretty obvious, right? But why then do these churches that push speaking in tongues on people also promote the gain of worldly items such as wealth? If wanting worldly things is an abomination to God, then using spiritual gifts to gain worldly things is also an abomination. Actually, it would be more than an abomination. It wouldn’t even be possible.
Now, if you are one of those people that believe in modern day speaking in tongues, ask yourself why it is so important to you. What is the big deal?
“I thank God that I speak in tongues more than any of you. But in a church meeting I would rather speak five understandable words to help others than ten thousand words in an unknown language.1 Corinthians 14:18-19
Paul said love is more important. Prophesy is more important. Speaking in tongues is a sign for unbelievers, but now that we have the bible, why do you need additional signs? What are you hanging on to so tightly when it comes to speaking gibberish? Why is nonsense so important to you? Leave your comments in the comment section.