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Is It Compulsory For Born Agains To Speak In Tongue?

Is it compulsory for a born again christian to speak in tongues? If yes, what can i do to speak in tongue, i've been praying for it but to no avail.

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@Bobbyaf,

You have only repeated the sdame thing so far without a valid opoint.

how do you reconcile that in one place Paul teaches that tongues are meant as a sign to unbelievers and in another case he says that tongues are for personal edification?

"everyone hath a tongue when we come together as a congregation," and that the purpose of tongues and interpretation and other manifestation of the Spirit is for everyone to be edified. The same Paul teaches that one to three people can speak in tongues in order while someone else interpretes. If tongues were that unimportant why is God grateful to God that he speaks in tongues more than anybody else?

13 Therefore let him who speaks in a tongue pray that he may interpret. 14 For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my understanding is unfruitful. 15 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. Considering the statement in bold, I just wonder if you are reading what you are writing.

15 What is it then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also: I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also.

27 If any man speak in an unknown tongue, let it be by two, or at the most by three, and that by course; and let one interpret. 28 But if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the church; and let him speak to himself, and to God. It is all about order like I indicated before.

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@ Tayod

I agree what the scriptures teach on the matter. However, if we look at the context then we can understand the central motif for such a gift. The infant church was commissioned to spread the gospel in certain places whose languages were different from that in Jerusalem. The jewish diaspora as you recall marvelled how Peter and the other disciples all spoke in their native language.

I have done that quite a few times. I want you to notice how the expression "spoke in tongues" is used freely, and would still be understood as meaning "diverse kinds of tongues"

So Cornelius and other gentiles who became christians were subject to the same promise of recieving the gift of the Holy Spirit. They were also entitled to recieving the gift of tongues to facilitate their missionary efforts as well.

The real issue as we see it today is whether the tongues claimed by christians is what they say it is. Looking back at the early church's experience and comparing it with what occurs today smacks of something totally different.

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Understood by people who speak the language? Are you certain about that? Acts 2 says something totally different. In Acts 2 the diasporic jews who came from about 16 different nations, each having their unique tongue, marvelled when they heard the apostles speaking in their language. That was the initial purpose of the gift in breaking the language barrier so that the kingdom message could reach many with greater urgency.

The gift being a miracle itself facilitated that process.

Agreed! As was the case at Jerusalem.

I am not sure there is a thing called prayer tongue. The only scripture that alludes to it is that found in 1 Cor. 14, and this is how Paul puts it. Besides, if anything Paul is de-emphasising it.

13 Therefore let him who speaks in a tongue pray that he may interpret. 14 For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my understanding is unfruitful. 15 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. 16 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? 17 For you indeed give thanks well, but the other is not edified.

Once again that concept isn't altogether true. One doesn't have to speak in tongues in order to communicate with God. Personal edification as used here by Paul is more negative than positive. The edifying here is seen as a selfish use of the gift in the light of it not being necessary in a congregational context. Paul prefers to see a corporate edification anytime over a personal one.

It doesn't make sense at all. Why would I speak in tongues in a congregation that doesn't understand me, and expect to now come and have to interpret what was said on my part, whether by me or someone else, when I could have said all of that in the common language from day one? What is it that cannot be said in the common use of language as against what is deemed to be some special tongue? Paul made it clear that he would rather speak in easily-understood words than in an un-known tongue. Almost all of those congregations I have visited that believe in the free use of tongues have left me more baffled than blessed. I just can't seem to understand why is it that everyone desires to contravene what Paul clearly teaches. And you know whats funny, is that half of what is interpreted could have been expressed under easier circumstances.

That text in no way supports the use of tongues for private communication with God. In fact the word unknown as used in the text is not even found in the original greek. In fact the text is saying what Paul has been saying throughtout the whole chapter 14. Note also that the word spirit is not describing the Holy Spirit, but rather the mental faculty of the listener who is not even able to understand what is being said, except the one who speaks. Paul wouldn't have to express a problem if everyone stayed by themselves in the first place praying to God. But the fact that Paul addressed it meant it was something being done in the congregation.

And this is the crux of the matter. Self-aggrandisment was the order of the day as against building the body with more practical gifts as teaching, prophesying, knowledge, etc. The Corinthian congregation was a problem one in more ways than one.

Let me ask you a question. Was there ever a time when angels spoke to any human other than in their own language? Was there ever a time when a human spoke to an angel using their language other than human? Not that I can recall. One thing I will say is that for everyone who has ever heard an angel there can be no doubt it was one. So convincing are angels that Paul simply used that expression to bring home a crucial point, and that is "if I come with a convincing or persuasive speech like that of an angel, and have not love, then my speech is pure noise and means nothing"

I have to assume using your line of argument that all those people who have this special gift of being able to dialogue with God, must at least have love as the core of their spiritual gifts. Which begs the question. Is it possible for a person to have a gift without having love? Its possible based on Paul's letters. It could be that after awhile those who were once blessed to have recieved such gifts, started self-aggrandising with the same in order to build themselves up, rather than the entire body.

So if you read 1 Corinthians 13 in several languages you leave with the impression that Paul simply gave an analogy rather than reality. He created conditions for wanting to use such gifts.

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@Bobbyaf,

Please go through the book of Acts and you will realise that the evidence to the infilling of the Holy Spirit is that people begin to speak in tongues. From Cornelius' household to the Ephesian disciples, they all spoke in tongues. Infact, I challenge you to find any case of anyone filled with the Holy spirit in the Book of Acts who didn't speak in tongues. Acts 10:45 And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost. 46 For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter Did you notice the only way they could tell that they received the infilling was that they spoke in other tongues? 1 Corinthians 19:6 And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied. Agian, they spake in tongues as soon as they received the gift.

Getting born again through baptism into the Holy Spirit is a different thing entirely from being filled with the Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues. We can talk more about this if you so wish, but for now I'll just keep it at that so we do not get pulled in differnet directions as we discuss this issue.

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@Bobbyaf,

Divers Kind of Tongues: The best example we find here is in Acts 2 during Pentecost. The main characteristic of divers kind of tongues is the fact that it is spoken in an ethnic language that can be understood by people who speak the language. That is why we find people of all nations understanding the disciples praise to God on Pentecost because it was done in their native language. This gift is meant to be a sign mainly to unbelievers as Paul indicated in1 Corinthians 14:22 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. Can you imagine me praising God in Chines fluently in the presence of an unbelieving Chinese? He will either acknowledge that indeed, something supernatural just took place or get on a quest to confirm that I only pretended beforehand that I did not understood that language. Either way, I will get his attention. That is what divers kind of tongues are for.

Regular Prayer Tongues: Now this is meant for personal edification and is usually not understood by people around you. The purpose once again is for communication between a person and God, and also for personal spiritual development and edification. No one can understand this except such have the gift of interpretation or the person who spoke "keys" in and understand what he has said and provide the interpretation. This is why Paul siad this kind of tongues is not meant for congrgational worship because it is useless to others without interpretation.  So your statement: "From this its clear what the purpose of tongues was. It was a horizontal communication method of expression." is clearly negated by several scriptures such as: 1 Cor. 14:2  For he that speaketh in an unknown tongue s[b]peaketh not unto men, but unto God:[/b] for no man understandeth him; howbeit in the spirit he speaketh mysteries  28 - But if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the church; and let him speak to himself, and to God. ; So you see, tongues are for personal use and a vertical communication to God.

People are confused by this because they refuse to identify and separate the two different kinds of tongues indicated above. Now tell me, if tongues are mainly for horizontal communication alone, why would there be need to speak in the tongues of angels as Paul hinted?

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Bobbyaf, excellent post! you make couple points that many don't pay attention to. Tongues is all too often a "personalized" thing, people want it for some sort of self gratification or glorification forgetting Paul stressed so much that it should be for the edification of the body. You also talked about interpretation which these days rarely follows speaking in tongues

1 Cor 14:26

What then shall we say, brothers? When you come together, everyone has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. All of these must be done for the strengthening of the church.

If anyone speaks in a tongue, two—or at the most three—should speak, one at a time, and someone must interpret.

If there is no interpreter, the speaker should keep quiet in the church and speak to himself and God.

on the contrary you walk into some churches and its a speaking in tongues galore with no interpretation going on and that is unscriptural.

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@Bobbyaf,

You have missed Paul's gist to the Corinthians altogether. He was by no means de-emphasising the use of tongues in the local assembly, else why would he say in 1 Corinthians 14:26 How is it then, brethren? when ye come together, every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying. 27 If any man speak in an unknown tongue, let it be by two, or at the most by three, and that by course; and let one interpret. If anything he is encouraging its use. That is why he mentioned that he wishes everyone could speak in tongues. The gist of 1 Corinthians 14 is order and not self-aggrandisement as you have said. 1 Cor. 14:33 For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints Don't take the liberty to add to what is not expressed or even implied in the passage.

1 Cor.14: 2 For he that speaketh in an unknown tongue speaketh not unto men, but unto God: for no man understandeth him; Men understood the Disciples on Pentecost and they required no interpretation of the tongue. These are two different things altogether.

He that speaketh in an unknown tongue edifieth himself! So who do we believe, you or Paul?

Further more, how do you reconcile that in one place Paul teaches that tongues are meant as a sign to unbelievers and in another case he says that tongues are for personal edification? Please explain that to us in clear terms. The answer is actually very simple. He was talking about two different kinds of tongues as I mentioned before.

1 Cor. 14:5  would that ye all spake with tongues, but rather that ye prophesied: for greater is he that prophesieth than he that speaketh with tongues, except he interpret, that the church may receive edifying.

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@ A K O

You're adding to the scriptures on this matter AKO. The gift that Peter spoke of was the Holy Spirit Himself and not tongues. If I say to you I will give you the gift of the house, isn't the house the same gift? The word gift in the sentence qualifies the object. Its not a possessive noun. Is not used to suggest that the Spirit has a gift in that context, but rather it is saying that the Spirit Himself is given to everyone who believes and is baptised.

The matter of accepting your version of understanding would then become contradictory if that were the case. It would mean, contrary to what Paul teaches, that everyone would naturally possess the gift of tongues, by merely believing and repenting, and being baptised.

Let me ask you a question. Did Jesus speak in tongues after He was baptised? Was He baptised by the same Holy Spirit? Why are you associating speaking in tongues with the recieving of the Holy Spirit? You have been taught that by your pastor, but that doesn't make it biblical.

In John 3 Jesus in His discourse with Nicademas never once introduced the topic of tongue speaking in association with the baptism of the Spirit. Why didn't He? Of all the persons with the authority to have done so didn't.

Your understanding completely contradicts Paul's letters to the Corinthian church as seen in 1 Cor. 12, 13, and 14.

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@ Jesoul

I agree with you on this. The gift of tongues like any other gift cannot be for everyone in the church. To speak of the gift of tongues as if it is special is going against what Paul says in 1 Corinthians 12 and 14.

Each gift must be contextualised and understood for what purpose they serve. That is well done in Paul's letter to the Corinthian church as follows:

1 Pursue love, and desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy. 2 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. 3 But he who prophesies speaks edification and exhortation and comfort to men. 4 He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself, but he who prophesies edifies the church. 5 I wish you all spoke with tongues, but even more that you prophesied; for[a] he who prophesies is greater than he who speaks with tongues, unless indeed he interprets, that the church may receive edification.

Like chapter 12 Paul prioritises the gifts though to a lesser extent. Obviously the most important gifts are those of love and prophesying.

Another point of note is the way Paul understood the gift to be back then as compared to how some christians seem to understand it today. Listen as he himself writes about it:

verse 6

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?

From this its clear what the purpose of tongues was. It was a horizontal communication method of expression. In other words my speaking in tongues (unless it was done to others), served no purpose. Worse yet it had to be understood by others, and if it couldn't then forget it. Think about it for awhile. If all of us use English to communicate what purpose would speaking with tongues serve?

If speaking in tongues was all about the individual and God then why would Paul be so concerned about it becoming a problem in the congregation? Why would he be putting some structure or organization to it, unless of course there was a reason for so doing? Listen as he puts things in perspective.

7 Even things without life, whether flute or harp, when they make a sound, unless they make a distinction in the sounds, how will it be known what is piped or played? 8 For if the trumpet makes an uncertain sound, who will prepare for battle? 9 So likewise you, unless you utter by the tongue words easy to understand, how will it be known what is spoken? For you will be speaking into the air. 10 There are, it may be, so many kinds of languages in the world, and none of them is without significance. 11 Therefore, if I do not know the meaning of the language, I shall be a foreigner to him who speaks, and he who speaks will be a foreigner to me. 12 Even so you, since you are zealous for spiritual gifts, let it be for the edification of the church that you seek to excel.

Paul continues with an example that most have made into a rule,

13 Therefore let him who speaks in a tongue pray that he may interpret. 14 For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my understanding is unfruitful. 15 What is the conclusion then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will also pray with the understanding.

Paul says if you speak in a tongue within a congregation that don't understand pray that you can interpret. He uses praying in tongue as an example. The one praying will easily understand, but others won't. Same goes for those who sing in tongues.

Paul concludes,

18 I thank my God I speak with tongues more than you all; 19 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.

What did he mean by that? The fact that he kept using the phrase "in a tongue" or spoke with tongues" suggest something. It suggests that there was no special kind of tongue that somehow was designed to facilitate some mystical and rapturous bond between the individual and the Holy Spirit as some are making it out to be.

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I hate to turn this into a hot debate so I'll say this and leave it at that,

   BUT you are trying to equate having the Holy Spirit to speaking in tongues. The bible does not do that. The bible verses you quoted ALL speak on receving the Holy Spirit, and that tongues are frequently the manifestation of it.

BUT BUT BUT

  Speaking in tongues is not THE sign of salvation, but A sign. Speaking in tonues is a gift, we all agree on that.

Once you become saved you can or as you say "become eligible" to speak in tongues

BUT BUT BUT

  God gives this gift as He sees fit.

Again 1 Cor12:7-11, "But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues. But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will."

1 Cor12:29-30, "Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles? Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret?"

  How can anyone possible read these verses and still arrive at the conclusion all believers must speak in tongues?

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Kai, some of these our arguments sha,

Tayo-D, I agree with you 100%. You must understand that people have been schooled in different teachings of the same doctrine. Just like some would say that women must cover their heads when they pray, whereas the this is not so.

Please I want to make it clear that this is a reply to the poster's post, and not an invitation to a theological debate with kobojunkie and his likes.

About speaking in tongues, first and foremost, the Baptism of the Holy Spirit is a gift, a FREE gift. Jesus emphasized the importance of being baptized in the Holy Spirit.

"And being assembled together with them, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, "which, He said, "you have heard from Me; for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now" (Acts 1:4,5).

You will notice that the saints did not have to merit this gift by their works. It was given to them as long as they were in the upper room. Also, look at this scripture:

Then Peter said to them, "Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 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 2:38,39).

You see that? You are eligible to receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit/speak in tongues after you get born again, I want to assume you know what that entails. If you read Acts 18:12-21, you'll see that the born-again and baptism experiences are two distinct and 'free-for-all-who-believe' things.

In 1 Corinthians 14:18 Paul says "I thank God that I speak in tongues more than you all." Do you think he was being proud or boastful? NO!!! He was telling them so as to provoke them to copy him, because he wanted the benefits he was experiencing to be thiers also. What are these benefits, you may ask? I'll try and break them down later BUT you must first beleive three basic things:

1. The Baptism of the Holy Spirit/speaking in tongues is a free gift.

2. You can receive it by virtue of the fact that you are born again.

3. All that you say after you receive it makes ABSOLUTELY NO SENSE to your ears but MEANS EVERYTHING in the realm of the spirit.

To receive it I'll suggest that you look for a good pastor or any beleiver who believes and knows more than I do to pray for and with you. I'll be awaiting YOUR feedback. Cheers bro.

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  I have to disagree with you here Tayo. By saying in the preceding verses that not all are prophets, not all have the gift of healing, and logically following, not all have the gift of speaking in tongues, whether "diverse tongues" (as KJV translates) or not.

"If" the whole church comes together and speaks in tongues. Not saying that the whole church should be speaking in tongues - two very different things.

  Oh and I have no problem with the church speaking in tongues, I just don't translate or understand any applicable scripture to mean all christians should be speaking in tongues.

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Why do you ask people for answers that only God can provide you?? You know that even your own father and mother do not agree on basic things so why do you expect to get answers for your life from mere human beings?? Go Read your Bible and ask your God to tell you the answer and try to understand where and from whom the gift comes from to you.

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@Jesoul,

The scripture you refer to in 1 Corinthians 12 refers to divers kind of tongues. It is in a special class like the offices of a Prophet and Apsostles as the list indicates. Do you ask to become an Apostle? No it is a calling, same with the ability to speak in divers kind of tongues.

As to the gift of the holy Spirit with divers kind of tongues it is meant for every believer. the whole church is meant to speak in tongues. 1 Corinthians 14:23 So if the whole church comes together and everyone speaks in tongues,

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Re: Is It Compulsory For Born Agains To Speak In Tongue?

NO.

1Cor12:27 Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. And in the church God has appointed first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then workers of miracles, also those having gifts of healing, those able to help others, those with gifts of administration, and those speaking in different kinds of tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? Do all have gifts of healing[b]? Do all speak in tongues[/b]? Do all interpret?

  Speaking in tongues is a gift from God and not every christian has been given that gift.

If you desire to have it, pray to God for it and He will or will not give it to you, there's nothing you can do beyond that. Most definately do not try to force it or "claim it by faith" and start babbling like a lot of people do. If God has given it to you, it will be there.

  But you must also watch why you're asking for it, for the glorification of God and the edification of the body of Christ or just for show?

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@napa,

Luke 11:13 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him? What do you do when someone offers you a gift? you reach out and receive it. There is no need to be praying and praying and praying when the gift is already yours. Just as you never had to be praying, and praying and praying to get you salvation, same thing applies here.

Thank God for the gift, receive it by faith, then proceed to speak and you will be amazed how the Spirit of God will take over from there.

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