Speaking in Tongues: 20 Points extracted from 1Corinthians 14

speaking in tongues

Following series of controversies over the spiritual gift of speaking in tongues, which has been  subject to many conversations across the world, here are 20 Points obtained from 1Corinthians 14 about Speaking in Tongues in Church:

Point #1 (Verse 1) Prophesying is preferable because it is charitable, unlike speaking in tongues, which no man in the church understands.

Point #2 (Verse 2) By speaking in an unknown tongue you do not to speak to men, but unto God: because no man understands what you are speaking, even though you’re speaking mysteries in the spirit.

Point #3 (Verses 3-4) Speaking in tongues in the church gathering is not useful to the church, because it only edifies the speaker; but the church cannot understand the words of the tongue or language. But prophesying edifies the church because through it we can speak unto men for their edification, exhortation, and comfort. The church gathering is not for speaking to God alone, but also for speaking to one another (Ephesians 5:19). Therefore, to speak to God alone and not to men in the gathering of saints shows lack of spiritual order. If when we come together in fellowship we turn our backs against ourselves to speak to God alone, we abuse the purpose of corporate worship. If we must speak alone to God, it should be in our private worship, as our Lord has taught us in Matthew 6:5 and 6.

Point #4 (Verse 5) Paul preferred that all the church would rather prophesy than to speak in unknown tongues, because speaking with tongues is less than prophesying, except it is accompanied by interpretation so that the church may receive edifying.

Point #5 (Verse 6) Speaking with tongues to men does not profit them, only speaking to them by revelation, knowledge, prophesying, or by doctrine that can edify them.

Point #6 (Verse 7) Even lifeless objects, such as pipe or harp, which produce sound are more useful or intelligible than speaking tongues that do not give a distinction in the sounds made to the ears of men.

Point #7 (Verse 8) A degree of certainty and distinctiveness of meaning is required in every sound given in the church to build up, equip and perfect the saints for their spiritual life’s battles.

Point #8 (Verse 9) You can utter by the tongue words easy to be understood; and except you do so you would be speaking into the air. Mark this term, “to speak into the air”. It refers to the same exercise that is termed “to speak not unto men but to God”, “to speak to yourself and to God”. This is not a commendable exercise in the church gathering, where we come together to speak to one another, as well as to ourselves and God.

Point #9 (Verse 10) All the many kinds of tongues in the world are with signification or meanings. This is a clear evidence that Paul was not treating the voices or tongues of angels, as some would wish he was doing in this chapter.

Point #10 (Verse 11) Speaking in tongues to men who do not understand the tongues makes you a barbarian to them and them a barbarian to you.

Point #11 (Verse 12-13) The zeal for spiritual gifts is insufficient for the church gathering, except it seeks to excel in edifying the church. Therefore the person that speaks in an unknown tongue should pray that he may interpret.

Point #12 (Verse 14-17) When you pray in an unknown tongue in the church meeting, your spirit prays, but your understanding bears no fruit to the church; thus they will not be able to say “Amen” to what they do not understand, even though you do give thanks well in the language you employ. To solve this problem you have to make sure that your understanding bears fruit to the church while your spirit is praying to God.

Point #13 (Verse 18-19) Paul spoke with tongues more than all the Corinthians; thus it is clear that he was not rebuking them because he was unable to speak in tongues. Speaking in tongues more than them could either be quantitatively or qualitatively; whichever it was, Paul was discrete enough to rather speak five words that could be understood in the church, so that he might teach others also with his speech, than to employ ten thousand words in an unknown tongue that they would not understand.

Point #14 (Verse 20-22) Many Brethren are children in the understanding of this matter of tongues because they fail to understand that tongues are for a sign, not to believers, but to unbelievers; whereas, prophesying is not for the unbelievers, but for the believers. This point should shame those who push for tongues as a prayer language for believers.

Point #15 (Verse 23-25) If all the speakers in the church speak with tongues, and there are any unlearned persons, or unbelievers there, they will say that the congregation is full of mad men. But if every speaker prophesies or preaches the gospel by the power of the Holy Spirit, the unbeliever will be convicted and judged by all of them, through their preaching; and the secrets of the heart of the unsaved are thus made manifest by the plainness of the anointed preaching; so that he falls down on his face and worships God, and reports that God is in the church of a truth!

Point #16 (Verse 26) Every spiritual activity in the meetings of the saints should be done unto edifying of all.

Point #17 (Verse 27-28) Speaking in an unknown tongue in the church should be by two, or at the most by three, and that by course; and let one interpret. But if there is no interpreter, let the person who intends to speak in tongues KEEP SILENCE in the church; and speak to himself, and to God. Speaking to himself and to God in the church should not be to the hearing of men otherwise he would be disobeying the instruction to keep silence. This is a clear prohibition of speaking unknown tongues in the church without interpretation.

Point #18 (Verse 29) The prophets are to speak by two or three, just like the speakers of unknown tongues, and the other is to judge the prophecy. This includes the interpretation of tongues, which is placed on equal rank with prophesying.

Point #19 (Verse 30-33, 40) Orderliness should be maintained in Christian meetings.

Point #20 (Verse 39-40) We should covet or desire strongly for the gift of prophesying, and not forbid to speak with tongues, provided it obeys the conditions already given in this chapter, in order to maintain orderliness and decency in the church gatherings.


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