The speaking of Tongues began with the birth of the New Testament church in Acts 2:1-8 and became an experience subsequent to salvation throughout the book of the Acts of the Apostles. The Apostles ministered to any individual or group of people who received the gospel and got Born Again. The evidence was always with the speaking of other tongues. No single believer was denied.

 

In one of his teaching epistles to the church at Corinth the Apostle Paul touched on the subject of Tongues because there were misunderstanding, controversies and misuse of the gift. Paul underscored that there is a private and public use of Tongues.  The private use is between the individual and God. It is a means of personal edification and a channel of communication with God.

 

In 1 Corinth 14:2-4 Paul set forth the two usages of tongues. He distinguish between PRIVATE USE (which is between the individual and God) and PUBLIC USE which is ministry of edification to the church or congregation. The public use must always be accompanied by interpretation.

 

In verse 5-6 he considers the church to be greater than the individual and so prefers prophecy with interpretation for building up the church to private use of tongues because its ministry directed (horizontal) while’s private use is for personal edification (vertical). And if in the church one is able to prophesy with interpretation he is just as equal to the person who uses tongues for private purpose. He never waters down on the need for private use because you cannot edify the church when you are not edified yourself. You cannot strengthen your brother when you are weak. Personal edification comes by the private use of tongues.

 

He then set the order for public ministry of tongues in 1 Corinthians 14: 27. It must always be accompanied by interpretation or else zip your lips.

 

Paul concludes in 1 Corinthians 14:18 by claming to benefits from speaking in Tongues in his own personal life. He claimed he could speak in Tongues more than all of them and for that he was grateful to God. He was making reference to the private use of tongues. He finally encourages all believers not to be intimidated or shy away form the private use of tongues 1 Corinthians 14:39.

 

The Only time Paul suggested tongues will cease is when He that is perfect is come

1 Corinthians 13:8-10. Some have concluded that the written word (the Bible) is the perfect thing so once we have the Bible tongues have ceased. This interpretation is conflicting because the church is still waiting for the second coming of the perfect and the living word Jesus. In Hebrews 13:14 the bible makes it explicitly clear that we are still waiting for the second coming of He who is perfect (Jesus Christ) so until Jesus show up to rapture His church the speaking of other tongues will still be relevant and prevalent in the church.

 

There is a second school of thought that hold to the view that tongues ceased with the death of the apostles. Buts listen to what the apostle Peter had to say on the day of Pentecost with reference to the baptism of the Holy Spirit and the speaking of tongues. Peter himself had been a recipient of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit and had begun to speak in tongues. For the first time Peter spoke of the experience and gives the scope of those who could be beneficiaries of the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Peter echoed a prophesy in Joel 2:28-32 that the outpouring of the Holy spirit with the evidence of speaking of other tongues was not just for the apostles on the day of Pentecost but the promise was for all flesh and as many as the Lord our God shall call Acts 2:1-39. in the realm where the great commission, evangelism and soul winning are to be carried out the speaking of other tongues will be relevant and prevalent in the Church. Jesus had also said the speaking of tongues is one of the signs of them that believe in Him Mark 16:15-17.


Oh how relevant is Paul’s words to the believers of today “forbid not to speak in other tongues 1 Corinthians 14:39.”

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