In today’s thought, let’s look into the fifth gift, The Gift of Divers Kinds of Tongues within, Classification #2: The Gifts of Inspiration.
Definition: Simply put, the gift of tongues is supernatural utterance by the Holy Spirit through a believer in a language, which the believer has never learned. That is to say, tongues (unknown languages) to the speaker, but known somewhere in the universe. For there are many hundreds of languages and dialects in the world, and many do not sound like a real language.
This gift is one of the three main ones (the vocal gifts) to be used in the meetings of believers. (Acts 2:1-21; 10:44-48; 19:1-7; 1 Cor. 14). This gift has nothing to do with the mind or intellect as far as the understanding is concerned. For it is simply the Spirit employing the vocal organs and other facilities of speech. Yes, man’s will and spirit are active and in perfect accord with God, who is the one directly speaking through the man by the Spirit; the miracle of utterance in unknown languages speaking spiritual mysteries unknown to the individual, which we cannot understand. (Rom. 8:26-27; 1 Cor.14:2-5).
Man’s spirit is weak, because of the dominion of satanic power for so many centuries, but God made provision for man to communicate and edify man’s spirit and strengthen the inner man through “tongues” or an unknown language. Yes, this impartation to man, from God, His Spirit, to man’s spirit, brings supernatural power and strength.
This one Bible doctrine has been the ridicule, slander and object of blasphemy on the part of man, yet it is God’s very way to communicate to and through man. Can we afford to reject this blessed gift given to man, the very blessings of the Spirit just because we are ignorant of its purpose or benefits?
In Hosea 4:6 God says, my people are destroyed for lack of knowledge, because you have rejected knowledge, I also will reject you from being priest for Me; Because you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children (NKJV). Just because man cannot understand God’s ways does not make it right. Do we lower the human plane before we can believe that He has a better way, a good purpose in them? Speaking in tongues was foretold in the Old Testament along with the prophecies of the end-time events. When discussing the various gifts of the Spirit in 1 Corinthians, Paul referred to prophecy and pointed out that it foretold the coming of the gift of tongues, for personal edification and that of diver kinds of tongues given for the New Testament Church. He also made mentioned that the prophecy in Isaiah gave one of the great purposes of the gift to be a sign for the non-believers. Isaiah 28:11, Very well then, with foreign lips and strange tongues God will speak to this people, to whom he said, this is the resting place, let the weary rest; and, this is the place of repose (trust or rest)— but they would not listen (NIV).
It is important to notice that the gift of tongues differs from divers’ kinds of tongues. It is God’s desire that speaking in tongues be practiced by all, for the building up of their own spirit with the Lord. Many do not speak in an unknown tongue because of the lack of understanding, faith, consecration, and yielding to the Spirit. As taught in the Bible, tongues given in a group setting must be followed by an interpretation of the tongues. It can be said that divers’ kinds of tongues and interpretation of tongues are similar to that of prophesy. We must control this gift like all the other gifts. There must be an order in the worship service when it comes to the manifestation of the gifts of the spirit. Apostle Paul states in 1 Corinthians 14:32, Remember that people who prophesy are in control of their spirit and can wait their turn. We are not to forbid the use of tongues but should always flow in an orderly manner as well as all other gifts during service. 1 Corinthians 14:39, So, dear brothers and sisters, be eager to prophesy and don’t forbid speaking in tongues (NLT).
What is the difference between the gift of tongues and the gift of diver kinds of tongues? You might say, that (the gift) of speaking in tongues is the infilling of the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in an unknown language for personal edification and it should be used for strengthening your own personal spirit in the Lord. This one gift is for all believers to receive after they have become believers. Yes, the infilling of the Holy Spirit with evidence of speaking in tongues brings boldness to be a witness of Jesus Christ and the Gospel through the power of the Holy Spirit. Communication between you and your Heavenly Father becomes clearer with the infilling of the Holy Spirit.
The gift of diver kinds of tongues (languages) is the gift of tongues to be used in a group setting such as the public or church in conjunction with an interpretation of the tongues so that all may understand what the spirit is saying. 1 Corinthians 14:2-5, For if your gift is the ability to speak in tongues, you will be talking to God but not to people since they 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 is helping others grow in the Lord, encouraging and comforting them. A person who speaks in tongues is strengthened personally in the Lord, but one who speaks a word of prophecy strengthens the entire church. I wish you all had the gift of speaking in tongues, but even more, I wish you were all able to prophesy. Prophecy is a greater and more useful gift than speaking in tongues unless someone interprets what you are saying so that the whole church can get some good out of it (NLT).