Saturday, July 23, 2011
“I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than ye all: yet in the church I had rather speak five words with my understanding, that by my voice I might teach others also, than ten thousand words in an unknown tongue” (1 Corinthians 14:18,19 KJV).
Religion tells of being “filled with the Holy Ghost with the initial evidence of speaking in tongues.” Tongue talking is certainly Biblical, for the Bible says that certain Christians had the spiritual gift of tongues (1 Corinthians 12:10,28,30). But, is speaking in tongues something we Christians should practice today?
Today church members claim to speak in allegedly “angelic language,” some special prayer language that only God understands. Upon listening to these people “pray in the Spirit,” we conclude it is nothing intelligent: “Hastala shandala hobbla gobbla.” Others repeat, “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus.” This behavior is related to the Oriental religions’ “breath prayers” and uttering the Roman Catholic repetitious rosary. Vain worthless religious nonsense!
Corinth was the most spiritually immature Christian assembly Paul knew. These believers loved feel-good worship services, emotional highs, and being the center of attention (1 Corinthians 14:4,5ff.). Sound familiar? That is much of “the Church” today! Corinth abused spiritual gifts, so Paul devoted three chapters (1 Corinthians 12, 13, and 14) to address these problems. Chapter 14 deals entirely with tongue talking.
In today’s Scripture, and verses 2, 4, 13, 14, 19, and 27, Paul mentioned speaking in “unknown tongues.” That word “unknown”—absent from modern Bibles—indicates this was not God’s gift of tongues. This was some ecstatic, nonsensical utterance based on emotions: some believers in Corinth just loved to draw attention to themselves by abusing tongues (speaking in gibberish). God’s gift of tongues was always intelligent human languages, dialects (Acts 2:6-11).
Paul stated: “I had rather speak five words with my understanding, that by my voice I might teach others also, than ten thousand words in an unknown tongue.” Talking 10,000 words in gibberish will profit nothing! Speak with intelligence, not some “angelic tongue.”
By the way, the gift of tongues ceased when God’s Word was completed (1 Corinthians 13:8-13).