Do all speak in other tongues? What did Paul mean when he asked that rhetorical question? Find out in this Little Lessons series with David Servant!
Do all Speak in Other Tongues? (Part 1)
“Do all speak in tongues?” What did Paul mean when he asked that rhetorical question?
We’ve been spending a lot of time on a series of lessons about speaking in other tongues and the baptism in the Holy Spirit. And this is I think the 24th lesson. So we’ve spent quite a few hours studying this. If you’ve just happened to stumble upon this video, please, find the first video and start at the beginning, and that builds a foundation that will build your faith right up to where we are at today. But I mean, you could watch this one. We’re going to talk about that famous passage in Corinthians where Paul asked the rhetorical question, “Do all speak in tongues?” to which the answer was obviously no. And that is often used as an argument against folks like myself who are trying to persuade every Christian that you can be baptized in the Holy Spirit and the initial evidence will be speaking in tongues.
And someone would inevitably say, “But the Bible says so obviously, do all speak in tongues? And the answer is obviously no. And so it may not be God’s will for me to speak in tongues and so you’re teaching us the wrong thing.” Well, okay. You’ve found one verse. But what about those verses where God did baptize an entire group of people in the Holy Spirit, and they all spoke in tongues. On the Day of Pentecost, 120 were gathered in the upper room, and they all spoke in tongues. So did they all speak in tongues? Yes. They all spoke in tongues on that occasion. And in Acts chapter 10, when Peter was divinely led down to Cesarea to preach to Cornelius and his household, the Holy Spirit fell upon those who were listening to a sermon and they all began speaking in tongues, just like the Jews did on the Day of Pentecost.
In fact, that’s what they said. “How could we say no to baptizing these folks who’ve received the Holy Spirit just like we did?” That was years before. And then Acts chapter 19, 25 years after the Day of Pentecost at least, Paul’s traveling through Ephesus, he comes across some disciples. There’s a little confusion because he thinks they’re disciples of Jesus and really they’re disciples of John the Baptist and they are missing a lot of information about what’s happened since John the Baptist. Paul elucidates their understanding, and they then are baptized and then he lays hands upon them and they all spoke in tongues. See? We’re considering the whole Bible, not just one verse. All right, so let’s look a little context here and see if we can find an answer to this, because I’ve laid hands on and prayed for hundreds. And I’ll bet it’s well 1000 people and over the last few decades, Christian people, and heard them speak in other tongues when they were baptized in the Holy Spirit.
But here’s what I have found. They have to have faith. They have to believe. And if they’re not certain it’s God’s well, if they think, “Well, wait a second, the Bible says, ‘Not all speak in tongues,’ so how could I have faith for that?” Well, then, they can’t have faith for that. You can only receive the Holy Spirit by faith, so you have to be convinced it’s God’s will. That’s what I’ve been trying to do throughout all these lessons. So now we’re going to address this one and try to do a thorough job of it. So I want to read from First Corinthians, chapter 12. Now, in these Little Lessons, I don’t want to take the time to read all of chapter 12, all of chapter 13, all of chapter 14, although it would benefit you to do that, because those are the big chapters about speaking in tongues in the Epistles and the other gifts of the spirit and so forth. So let’s use our brains here and see if the Holy Spirit will help us to understand what is going on.
Paul says in First Corinthians 12, I’m starting in verse number four. No, there are varieties of gifts, and we’ll soon see he’s talking about gifts from the Holy Spirit, but the same spirit. There are varieties of ministries and the same Lord. There are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things and all people. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to know that, do you? If you’ve been around Christianity for a few years, you’ve noticed that there’s a lot of different kinds of ministries, a lot of different kinds of gifts, and the gifts we’re about to read about here, these are foreign to many Christians because they’re actually not even open to them because they think that these things have all ceased with the days of the Apostles. That’s to be regretted. Anyways, we read now starting in verse number seven. “But to each one is given the manifestation of the spirit for the common good.” And now he lists what we commonly refer to as the nine gifts of the Holy Spirit.
“For one is given the word of wisdom through the spirit. To another, the word of knowledge according to the same spirit. To another, faith by the same spirit. To another, gifts of healing by the one spirit. To another, the effecting of miracles. To another prophecy. To another, the distinguishing of spirits. To another, various kinds of tongues. And to another, the interpretation of tongues.” There’s nine altogether there. “But one in the same spirit works all these things distributing to each one just as he wills.” You got it? There’s the nine gifts of the spirit. The last two are of particular or interest for us as we’re talking in this series about speaking in tongues. And we saw the eighth gift of the spirit was various kinds of tongues, and we saw the ninth gift was the interpretation of tongues. And that was two gifts that were in manifestation in the church in Corinth.
Now, if you’ve read these few chapters, you know that among the many problems that the church in Corinth had one of the problems they had was that people were speaking in tongues and there was no interpretation. And Paul tells them to stop. And he basically just says, “Look, if there’s no interpretation, no one’s being edified and you’re just edifying yourself by speaking out in tongues. So just be quiet and speak to yourself and to God, or do it at home.” Now, that, of course, raises the question, if God was giving people in the Corinthian church this eighth gift of the Holy Spirit, various kinds of tongues, why wasn’t he giving them the ninth gift, giving somebody the ninth gift, the interpretation of tongues, if it’s not appropriate to speak out in tongues without there being an interpretation? See the question? And there’s only one possible answer, and it will be affirmed as we read through the facts that will be following this, is that, although speaking in tongues is just always speaking in a language that’s unknown to the speaker, there’s different uses of speaking in tongues.
There is a private devotional gift of speaking in tongues, which we could call praying in tongues. And Paul calls it prayer. We’ll read that. And it’s primarily for your private devotional life speaking to God. It’s what Pentecostals and Charismatics sometimes refer to as, “my prayer language”. And then there is another use of speaking in tongues that is spontaneous. You can’t do it as you will. It only happens as the spirit wills. Whereas praying in tongues, it’s very clear from what Paul said, and we’ll read this, that he could do it any time he wanted, and he encouraged the Corinthians to do it anytime they wanted as well. It’s not as the spirit wills. It’s as I will. I can speak in tongues anytime I want to. But Paul said, we just read it, “One and the same spirit works all of these things distributing each one, individually, just as he wills.”
This is a spontaneous sudden gift of the spirit, just like the other eight gifts of the spirit. Even those people that God uses in working of miracles or in the word of wisdom, word of knowledge, they can’t operate it as they will. That’s totally as the spirit wills. Not up to them. Up to God. So you see these two uses, and the bonafide gift of speaking in tongues that is spontaneously suddenly given to a believer in a church gathering, for example, that’s always accompanied by the interpretation of tongues because God’s not confused and he’s not giving people gifts that Paul is saying, “Don’t use that gift.” Because that’s what Paul’s saying. You read that here. He’s saying, “Don’t be speaking out in tongues, unless there’s an interpretation. If there’s no interpreter, don’t be speaking out in tongues. Be quiet. Speak to yourself and to God.” That was a problem in the Corinthian church. Now, we’re just about out of time. Let’s close by just reading this passage. We’re going to skip over all that stuff in First Corinthians 12 about many members in one body and so forth.
But look at verse 27. “Now you are Christ’s body and individually members of it. And God has appointed in the church first apostles.” This is something God did. The apostolic gift is the highest gift in the church. And people think, “Well, there was only 12 of them.” No, no. In the New Testament, there were over 20 people mentioned as apostles. They are sent to supernaturally plant churches, basically. That’s what an apostle does. Then there’s a second gift, a second ministry that’s second to the apostle. The apostolic gift is the highest gift. “Second,” Paul says, “prophets. Third, teachers.” So these are listed in order of importance within the body of Christ and these are all ministries. “Then, miracles. Then, gifts of healings, helps, administrations, various kinds of tongues.” So we can say one of two things are true. Either this is a list of ministries, that there are apostles, prophets, teachers, then there are people who can constantly God uses in miracles and gifts of healings.”
Many Bible students believe that that’s the gift of the evangelists, because of the example of the evangelist in the New Testament, Phillip. He had miracles and healings in his ministry. And then we have “helps, administrations, and various kinds of tongues” that also would be describing ministries where God anoints people to be consistently used in a certain way. Or we can say that these are ministries and gifts, a list of ministries and also some gifts, but these are all given as the spirit wills and not as anyone else wills, because we keep on reading here, and now Paul asks several rhetorical questions, All are not apostles, are they?” And that’s a rhetorical question. The obvious answer is no, not all are apostles. “All are not prophets, are there?” No. “All are not teachers, are they?” No. “All are not workers of miracles, are they?” No. “All do not have gifts of healings, do they?” Obviously, no.
And now here comes to that question, “All do not speak with tongues, do they?” Obviously, the answer is no. “And all do not interpret, do they?” Obviously, no. “But earnestly desire the greater gifts.” So he’s talking about the use of tongues in public manifestation. And as we keep on reading, we’ll see that it’s very similar to prophecy. Paul basically says, “Tongues plus interpretation is equivalent to prophecy.” So you see, these kinds of tongues are not a prayer to God, which we’ll later on read where Paul talks about praying in tongues. This is a message from God to the congregation that is then spoken in tongues and interpreted by someone so that the congregation, the gathering knows what God just said. And it’s like a prophecy. You see? And this is the only conclusion that can really come to, unless the Bible is nuts, unless Paul was an imbecile, which he wasn’t, and if this wasn’t inspired by the Holy Spirit, which it is.
This is the only conclusion you can come to, that there’s two different uses of speaking in tongues. I mean, it almost sounds like everybody in Corinth could speak in tongues, because Paul encourages them to do that, and we’ll read that later. But there were people speaking out in tongues, speaking out in their prayer language, like any Christian who’s baptized in the Holy Spirit can do any time he or she wants to. And that was inappropriate because it really wasn’t the gift of tongues, which would be similar to prophecy where the Holy Spirit moves upon someone, motivates them to speak out in tongues, and then it gives that same person or another person the gift of the interpretation of tongues so that everyone knows what God just said.
All right, so there’s more to come in this and we’ll take a look at it in our next Little Lesson. Thank you so much for joining me on this one.
Until next time, may the Lord bless you richly.
Do all Speak in Other Tongues? (Part 2)
“Do all speak in other tongues?” What did Paul mean when he asked that rhetorical question part two?
We’re continuing our, seems like never ending, series on Speaking in Tongues and The Baptism in the Holy Spirit, but I guarantee you it actually will end, actually before too long. But this is our 25th, I believe, lesson in this series. We’ve covered lots of ground. And, currently, we’re looking at a very familiar verse in scripture within its context. That place in 1 Corinthians, where Paul asks the rhetorical question, “Do all speak in tongues?” And the obvious answer to that rhetorical question is, no. And the next question he asks right after that is, “Do all interpret?” And the answer is, obviously, no as well.
And that one verse, I think, has been used more than any other verse in the Bible to rob sincere, well-meaning Christians of their faith that, otherwise, they would utilize to pray with faith and receive God’s greatest gift for His children. And that is the gift of the Holy Spirit. If you’ve watched all the other videos that we’ve done in this series you know, of course, that I believe because I think it’s clear the Bible teaches that everyone who’s born again has the Holy Spirit living inside them.
But we’ve also pointed out, from looking at other scriptures, that there is a second and subsequent experience with the Holy Spirit called the infilling of the Holy Spirit or the baptism of the Holy Spirit. And I don’t claim to have all the answers on all of this. God, of course, keeps us guessing in some areas. Understanding everything fully is beyond, at least, my peanut sized brain. But I don’t want to make the mistake that some have made. And that is basing my entire theology on this particular subject by looking at just one scripture without considering its context, its immediate context, and then its greater context within the New Testament and within the Bible.
All right so, we’ve been trying to do a thorough job that’s why we’ve gone on now for 25 Little Lessons on this subject. We’re not just glossing over the surface. We’re going fairly deep and not looking at just one or two isolated scriptures, but looking at every relevant scripture. And, at the same time, considering those scriptures within their context. And in our last Little Lesson, if you watched that one you know that the conclusion that were forced to come to regarding this rhetorical question that has been utilized to rob so many Christians of their faith, the problem is just not taking the context into consideration.
Because clearly Paul is not talking about that experience that all the Christians, who were present in the upper room on the day of Pentecost experienced that is they all spoke in tongues. He’s not talking about the experience that happened to Cornelius’ household in Caesarea when Peter was preaching the gospel to them, and they all, all spoke in tongues. He’s not talking about that experience that occurred in Ephesus when Paul found some disciples, and wound up laying his hands upon them and they received the Holy Spirit, and they all were speaking in tongues.
No, he’s talking about a ministry of speaking in tongues. Or another way of perhaps looking at is the gift. It’s one of the nine gifts that Paul lists in 1 Corinthians Chapter 12, which Paul explicitly says that all nine work as the Spirit wills, not as you or I will. But yet, contained within that same general passage, Paul makes it very plain that he can speak in tongues whenever he wills. So, you see, obviously, there’s two uses, at least two uses of speaking in tongues. And one is the ability to pray in tongues whenever one wills, once one is baptized in the Holy Spirit. I’ve experienced that. And then, the another uses is something similar to prophecy as Paul describes it. And we’ll look at it in this Little Lesson today where it’s not prayer, but it’s more like prophecy where it’s not us speaking to God, it’s God speaking to us. And it puts a genuine bonafide gift of tongues given to somebody to be utilized in that way. There’s always the accompanying gift of the interpretation of tongues.
So, last time we started off in 1 Corinthians 12, we read verses 4 through 11. Then, we went and read verses 27 through 31. And that affirmed all these things, what I’ve just been saying to you in this Little Lesson. But let’s now jump over to chapter 13, the great love chapter and make our way into chapter 14, where Paul begins to describe the problem in the Corinthian Church regarding speaking in tongues, and the remedy that he recommends. That he prescribes, I should say.
1 Corinthians 14:1, “Pursue love, yet desire earnestly spiritual gifts. But especially,” Paul says, “That you may prophesy. For one who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men, but to God. For no one understands, but in his spirit he speaks mysteries. But one who prophesies speaks to men for edification and exhortation, and consolation. One who speaks in a tongue edifies himself, but one who prophesies edifies the church. Now, I wish that you all spoke in tongues, but even more that you would prophesy. And greater is the one who prophesies than the one who speaks in tongues unless he interprets so that the church may receive edifying.”
So this affirms something that I was saying, and I guess I’ll have to add a little bit more information now. Paul’s encouraging the Corinthians to seek all the spiritual gifts, but especially prophecy. And, of course, prophecy would be inspired [inaudible 00:06:50] in a known language. We all know what prophecy is, it’s a message from God. And it’s for edification and exhortation and consolation, Paul said. But he contrasts that with speaking in tongues. He said, “For one who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men, but to God.” So, in this context, he’s talking about how it’s prayer to God. And so, that differentiates at least one form of speaking in tongues with prophecy.
Now remember, the last thing we read in that passage was, “I wish you all spoke in tongues,” he said, “But even more than you would prophesy.” Now, people say, “Well, see, they didn’t all speak in tongues. Paul was wishing they all spoke in tongues.” But not necessarily does that prove that because, clearly, this is within the context of spiritual gifts. And he’s saying, “I wish you’d all speak in tongues, but I also wish that you’d all prophesy.” Well, he just listed, two chapters earlier, both of those as being spiritual gifts that operate as the Spirit wills. And so, Paul very well could be saying not that only a small percentage of the Corinthians actually spoke in tongues, but that just like he wishes they would all be used by the Holy Spirit and the gift of prophecy, he also wishes that they all be used in the gift of various kinds of tongues.
And, of course again, within the context only if there’s the accompanying gift of the interpretation of tongues. And that’s kind of what Paul said here as we just read it. But, “I wish that you all spoke in tongues, but even more than you would prophesy.” Now listen to this, “And greater is one who prophesies than one who speaks in tongues.” Okay, that’s a pretty direct statement. If you prophecy you’re greater than if you speak in tongues, but there’s a caveat unless he interprets, so that the church may receive edifying. See, his whole point here is we want to edify the church. You guys just speaking in tongues, there’s no interpretation. That’s obviously not the gift of tongues that God is giving as one of the nine gifts of the Spirit that always is accompanied with the interpretation of tongues. And so, it’s what you should be doing in your own private devotional time not publicly in church.
So, then Paul goes on to just talk about the fact that speaking in tongues without the interpretation just doesn’t benefit anybody except the one doing the speaking. Again, he already said it, “The one who speaks has done edifies himself.” So, there’s a benefit right there. And I’ll close on this because we’re out of time for today in this Little Lesson, but we read it. Paul said, “One who speaks in a tongue edifies himself.” What does it mean to be edified? It means to be built up in some way. And just as he said, “The one who prophesies edifies the church.” So, it helps the church. It encourages the church. It builds the church up spiritually speaking when you prophesy. But when you speak in tongues it edifies yourself. So, it’s good for you.
And that’s why I pray in tongues every single day. I might miss some days. But every single day, if for no other reason than I know that it’s spiritually edifying to me. And it is. I even understand at least to some degree how it is. It makes me aware of the Holy Spirit in me, and causes me to think about God who understands what I’m saying. And think about the Holy Spirit who’s speaking through me in a language that I don’t understand. Perfect God given Holy Spirit given prayer. And I get the blessing of the edification that comes along with that.
All right, more to say on this. So, there’s going to be at least a part three in this little sub series of the big series on speaking in tongues.
Until next time, may the Lord bless you.
Do all Speak in Other Tongues? (Part 3)
Do all speak in tongues? What did Paul mean by that rhetorical question, part three.
We’re in the midst of a fairly long series on speaking in tongues and the baptism in the Holy Spirit. I think this is our 26th lesson if I’m getting it right. I could be wrong about that. We’ve kind of been involved in a kind of a sub-topic here, under the bigger heading of the baptism in the Holy spirit and speaking in tongues, and that is this whole question of what did Paul mean when he said, “Do all speak in tongues?” And it was a rhetorical question. The answer obviously was no. I’ve done my best already to address that in the last two Little Lessons, so I’m not going to punish the people that watch those by repeating everything, okay.
But I want to today continue in 1 Corinthians chapter 14, where Paul is admonishing the Corinthians to think about everybody else, don’t just be selfish when it comes to the spirits against think about being a blessing, rather than just being blessed yourself. And that’s a good word for us all, isn’t it? And the Corinthians were like that. They had a lot of indication of selfishness and carnality within their midst. And one of them was even when they were gathered together and the Holy spirit was in some degree of manifestation and people were speaking out in tongues and there was no interpretation. And Paul was saying, “Hey, no, one’s being edified by that, do that at home.” Okay. But we’ve looked at it in light of Paul’s rhetorical question, do all speak in tongues, and I’ve made my best argument.
And I’ve still got a little more to argue here that Paul was not talking about that ability to pray in tongues that accompanies the blessing of being baptized in Holy spirit, something that every Christian can and should experience. But he’s talking about one of the nine gifts of the spirit that is similar, but different in that sometimes the Spirit wills that someone would speak out in tongues. And if that is the Spirit, there’ll be an interpretation of what was said. And I have been in church services over the last four decades of my Christian life, where I’ve actually seen that in manifestation. And it is really neat. So Paul says in 1 Corinthians 14, verse number 14, I notice this time, he’s talking about praying in tongues. “For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my mind is unfruitful.” Now, what can that mean, other than the fact that the source of the utterance is not one’s mind when one prays in tongues, but one’s spirit, one’s inner person, the real you, that when your body dies, that’s the person that leaves, okay, the spirit.
The Bible teaches that we are tripartite in nature, spirit, soul, and body. And when the body becomes an unfit container for the spirit and the soul they evacuate. All right. So Paul says, “If I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays and my mind is unfruitful. I don’t know what I’m saying. What is the outcome then?” Here was Paul solution. “I will pray with the spirit and I will pray with the mind also. I will sing with the spirit and I will sing with the mind also.” So can you see very clearly, Paul is saying, it’s up to me. Just as I pray with my mind and my own personal will is involved in deciding when I want to pray and how long I want to pray with my mind, so the same is true when I pray with my spirit or pray in other tongues, I will pray with the spirit and I will pray with the mind also. I will sing with the spirit and I will sing with the mind also.
And you see, singing is something that we do by our own volition. If you wanted to sing right now, you could sing. And if I wanted to sing right now, I can sing. And so same thing is true with, once you’ve been baptized in the Holy Spirit, you can not only pray in tongues anytime you want to, you can add a melody and sing in tongues. And some of the most beautiful gatherings that I’ve been in among Christians were when everyone in the gathering is singing spontaneous, heartfelt praises to God, many of whom are … I’ve been groups when all of them were singing in other tongues. And of course it’s okay then, because everyone is being individually edified, because all are praying in tongues.
People try to take the letter of what Paul is saying, nor the spirit of it, it’s okay to pray in tongues in groups if everybody is praying in tongues, because then everybody’s being edified themselves. As Paul said, we read it yesterday, earlier up in 1 Corinthians, up in chapter 14, 1 Corinthians. All right. So then Paul says in verse number 16, “Otherwise, if you bless in the spirit only how will the one who fills the place of the ungifted say ‘amen’ at your giving of thanks, since he doesn’t know, not know what you are saying?” So the ungifted is the person who doesn’t have the gift of interpreting what you’ve, singing or praying in tongues. And Paul’s saying, “You’re blessing the Lord. You’re giving thanks. But nobody knows it because they don’t know what you’re saying, so they can’t say ‘amen.'”
And he goes on, “For you are,” he said, “giving thanks well enough, but the other person is not edified.” I told you, I think, early on, that there’ve been three times in my Christian life where I have prayed in tongues, in the presence of someone who understood what I was saying. Not was given the gift of interpretation, actually understood. And in all three cases, I was speaking in Japanese. And one of those cases I said in Japanese, “Thank you, very much.” Well, see, I was giving thanks to God in Japanese. I’ve never learned in any Japanese. And one time. I said in Japanese, on another occasion, and someone who understood some Japanese heard me say it. I said, “You are so good.” Well, I’m blessing God, praising God, you are so good. I say that in English. And I’ve said it in Japanese.
So our praying in tongues and our singing in tongues is, at least, apparently at times, worship and praise unto God. Well, it’s got to be good. It’s got to be biblical and scriptural, right, if it was coming from the Holy Spirit within our spirit. So then Paul goes on here and here’s an interesting verse in 1 Corinthians 14 and verse number 18. “I thank God I speak in tongues more than you all.” Now, he wasn’t saying, I thank God more than you all, that I speak in tongues as if I’m more thankful. He said, “I thank God I speak in tongues more than you all.” So obviously Paul valued that ability and exercised it rather frequently to be doing it more than the Corinthian bunch. Okay, so he was an avid tongue talker. And if you don’t like tongue talkers, not only do you not like me, you don’t like the apostle Paul.
All right, now, surely nobody doesn’t like me. So, but Paul goes on, the same sentence, “However, in the church, I desire to speak five words with my mind so that I may instruct others also rather than 10,000 words in a tongue.” So maybe he was speaking 10,000 words in a tongue in his private devotional times and praising God that way, but when he’s gathered together in church, he’s saying that’s not the appropriate time. Okay. So now can you see, I think it’s inescapable. I don’t know if there’s any … could be any other conclusion if there is, I haven’t thought of it. Maybe you can think of something, but I haven’t thought of it, but it seems very clear that it would be wrong to make the conclusion that Paul’s rhetorical question to all speak in tongues is just a carte blanche, a definitive statement that we should never be praying for anyone to be baptized in Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in other tongues.
Because contextually, that’s not what Paul’s saying. He’s not addressing well, the baptism of the Holy Spirit and the infilling of the Holy Spirit and the initial evidence of that which we see in the book of Acts with speaking in tongues, he’s talking about the operation of tongues and other things during a church gathering. Well, on the day of Pentecost, they were all in tongues. We’re they all out of order? No, because they were all speaking in tongues. What Paul said here in 1 Corinthians didn’t have application really then on the day of Pentecost because they were all speaking up. There was no one who was ungifted. There was nobody who wasn’t being edified individually, as they prayed in tongues. When Cornelius’s household in Acts 10, was all baptized in the Holy Spirit and they all began speaking in tongues, were they violating what Paul said here, that they should be quiet when they’re all gathered? No, because they were all speaking, everybody individually was being edified.
When these things are wrong, is when there are people who are ungifted people who don’t speak in tongues, who can’t edify themselves. And they’re just stuck, they’re listening to you speak in tongues and it doesn’t do them any good. So to love my neighbor as myself, I’m not going to treat him that way or her that way. And in Acts chapter 19, when Paul laid his hands upon those Ephesian disciples and they all began speaking in tongues, were they violating the spirit of what Paul said here? No, no. No, because they were all speaking in other tongues. So that’s why it’s okay for Spirit baptized believers, to all come together and all worship God in other tongues together.
And I told you, I’ve been involved in some of those gatherings over the years, and it’s just absolutely beautiful experience to, for everyone to be praising God in other tongues. And there are millions of Christians, tens of millions of Christians around the world. I’ve said this over and over again, who have experienced exactly what I’m talking about. Okay. All right. So I’ll do one more little lesson on this sub theme and probably that will close out this entire series as well. But I want to encourage you, then, to pray and ask God to baptize you in the Holy Spirit. If you’re a believer in Jesus, this is a promise for you. And then by faith, open your mouth and expecting that the Lord will give you the utterance and begin to speak in other tongues. Just don’t speak in any languages that you know, okay.
And you will see that as you step out by faith, that the Lord will help you. And if you’re a little bit embarrassed to do that around somebody else, then just go do it, pray quietly, secretly I should say, somewhere. And that way, when you begin to speak out in tongues, you don’t have to worry about who’s listening to you, okay. And then when it happens to you, please write me and tell me, okay. Some of you already have, and I so appreciate that. And even in the comments below, you can tell others and encourage them, okay.
Until next time, may the Lord bless you.
Do all Speak in Other Tongues? (Part 4)
Do all speak in tongues? What did Paul mean by that rhetorical question? Part four.
We’ve been on a rather lengthy series on speaking in tongues and the baptism of the Holy spirit. I can’t remember if this is the 26th or 27th lesson, but we’re going to actually close it out probably today. Maybe one more, but we’re very close to the end. And we’ve been working our way through these really relevant scriptures in 1 Corinthians 12 and chapter 14. We skipped over chapter 13. There’s relevant stuff in there, but if we speak in tongues when out of love, then you’re just a clanging cymbal. So love is more important. And when Christians fight and divide about speaking in tongues, oh my goodness. That’s a far cry from what God really wants.
So I’m not claiming to understand everything within these chapters. There’s a couple of things that I’ve been scratching my head over for years. One of them is found in 1 Corinthians chapter 14 in verse number 20, where it seems like what Paul says there contradicts what he says just right after that. Some commentators have suggested that throughout Paul’s letter to Corinthians, he just quotes what they wrote to him, because he is responding to their letter. There’s no doubt about that. And so they recognize it, but we don’t recognize it. And we think, “Wait, Paul, you’re contradicting yourself,” but it’s possible that Paul quoted them. And then he said, “No, here’s my answer.” He didn’t say, “Here’s my answer,” using those words, now let me respond to that. Here’s my answer. But they would have recognized their own words in their letter written to him.
So, just a confession that I don’t understand everything. So, I’m going to skip over what seems like it’s contradictory and just jump into something later on in 1 Corinthians chapter 14, where in verse number 23, Paul says, “Therefore, if the whole church assembles together and all speak in tongues,” well see now it sounds like everybody in Corinth could speak in tongues whenever they wanted. So again, that helps us contextually understand that when Paul said do all speak in tongues and obviously the answer was no, he wasn’t talking about the initial evidence of being baptized in the Holy Spirit, but talking about one of the nine gifts of the spirit that operate not as I will, but as the Holy Spirit will. Whereas this, this ability to speak in tongues operates as I will. Once you’ve been baptized in the Holy Spirit, you’ll understand that.
So, “Therefore if the whole church assembles together and all speak in tongues, and ungifted men,” that is those who don’t speak in tongues, “or unbelievers enter, will not say that you are mad?” See, so this fits into the flow of Paul’s argument that let’s not have a bunch of speaking in tongues in church, if there’s no interpretation. “But if all prophesy,” he says now in contrast, “and an unbeliever or an ungifted man enters, he is convicted by all. He is called to account by all. The secrets of his heart are disclosed. And so he will fall on his face and worship God declaring that God is certainly among you.” So Paul’s argument here is an unbeliever comes in and hears y’all speaking in tongues. They’re just going to say, “Well, this is a bunch of weirdness here.”
But if all prophesy, and apparently the prophecy can be directed at an unbeliever who enters, and disclosing the secrets of his heart. So that goes beyond the simple gift of prophecy into the word of knowledge and the word of wisdom where God spontaneously reveals some little bit of information that you couldn’t have known otherwise. If it’s past or present, that’s the word of knowledge. If it’s future, it’s the word of wisdom. And so, the secrets of his heart, that’s the word of knowledge and operation accompanying the gift of prophecy. All right. This is all so foreign to us, isn’t it? Church services, church gatherings, modern ones, there’s so few that are like this. And it’s really a shame.
Anyways, let’s look at the conclusion here. 1 Corinthians 14:26, Paul says, “What is the outcome then, brethren? When you assemble, each one has,” and he lists how, when they came together, everybody brought something with them, a gift from the Holy Spirit to edify everybody else. It wasn’t just people sitting in pews, listening to a sermon and hearing the choir sing. It was more participatory. “Each one has a song.” So that would be some somewhat prophetic. “Has a teaching. Has a revelation, has a tongue, has an interpretation.” See, these things were an operation in the Corinthian church. And apparently it was pretty regular. He said, “Let all things be done for edification.” That’s the overriding argument of the last couple of chapters. That’s why he said, “Don’t be speaking in tongues with no interpretation.” You want to edify people.
“If anyone speaks in a tongue, it should be by two or at the most three and each in turn, and one must interpret. But if there is no interpreter, he must keep silent in the church and let him speak to himself and to God.” So there’s the general rule, and that was the general problem there during their gatherings. And again, one more time, we have affirmed what I’ve been arguing for these past few Little Lessons, that the rhetorical question do all speak in tongues is not a reference to the initial evidence that accompanies the baptism of the Holy Spirit, but is a reference to one of the nine gifts of the spirit that operate as the spirit wills and is always accompanied by the gift of interpretation.
So here’s the test. Paul says people are speaking out in tongues and there’s no interpreter. Well, that means God’s not giving people the interpretation. So that means you’re out of order. You don’t have the gift of tongues given by the spirit to minister to the body. What you have there is the ability to pray in tongues, and you ought to be quiet and not be yelling out in your prayer language, as many Pentecostals and Charismatics refer to that ability. Then he says, “Let one interpret.” That doesn’t mean one person interprets all the messages in tongues possibly, but maybe he means we’re trying to discourage competitive interpretations, if more than one person was given the ability to interpret. Again, I can’t say I’m 100% certain about that.
But look at this. “Let two or three prophets speak.” Now, they had prophets in their church and Paul’s encouraging them to speak out. “Let two or three prophets speak and let the others pass judgment.” So we are to judge every prophecy. He said that in other places too. “But if a revelation is made to another who is seated, the first one must keep silent, for you can all prophesy one by one so that all may learn and be exhorted, and the spirits of prophets are subject to prophets.” So in other words, when God gives someone a prophecy, they don’t have to immediately belt it out. They can sit on it because if someone else is prophesying, and that apparently was a problem in the church. Here are people who are called to be prophets, and yet they’re interrupting one another because, oh, I got a revelation. Well he goes on to say, “For God is not a God of confusion, but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints.”
So, God’s doing supernatural things, but there’s a component of human control. Just like, for example, when you’re baptized in the Holy Spirit and you have the ability to speak in tongues, the utterance is supernatural, but the speaker has control over whether he or she is going to speak or not and how long and whether he or she is going to add a melody to it. See? So it’s divine and it’s also human, a combination. And people use that, or I should say people misunderstand that when it comes to speaking in tongues.
They pray to be baptized in the Holy Spirit and then they wait because they don’t want to, “Fake it or do it myself,” and that robs them of the gift, because they think God’s going to just take their mouth and begin to make their jaws flap and make sounds come out. No, no, it’s your mouth, your vocal chords, your lips, your tongue. God’s not going to force you to speak in tongues. You have to yield. He gives the utterance. So if you have spoken in tongues after you’ve been baptized in the Holy Spirit and the devil says to you, “Well, that’s just you,” you can say, “Well, you’re partly right, devil, and you’re partly wrong. It’s not just me. It is me though. It’s me with the Holy Spirit helping me to speak in tongues.”
On the day of Pentecost, we read in Acts chapter two, they were filled with the Holy Spirit. And the understood subject is they began to speak in tongues as the spirit gave them utterance. And so, they did the speaking, the spirit gave them utterance. And that’s been the experience of millions of Christians who have been baptized in the Holy Spirit.
I think I’ll just do one more Little Lesson just by way of encouraging those of you who have not yet been baptized in the Holy Spirit and spoken in tongues. I’ll give you my best advice and that will close the series. Thank you so much for joining me.
Until next time, may the Lord bless you.
A Review of the Basics about the Baptism in the Holy Spirit
A review of the basics about the baptism in the Holy Spirit.
This is going to be the final Little Lesson in our extended series on speaking and other tongues and the baptism in the Holy Spirit. And I’m so thankful for those of you that have stayed with me during this entire series. We’ve gone through, not everything in the Bible that could be relevant, but we’ve taken a look at the most relevant scriptures, at least in my understanding.
And I’m thankful also for those who have received the blessing of the baptism in the Holy Spirit and who have written to tell me about it. That’s been a super encouragement to me. And if you’re one of those ones who has received and spoken in other tongues, but you haven’t let me know yet, I’d appreciate if you would do that. And I can rejoice with you. I would encourage you then to use your wonderful gift that God has given you every single day in your personal prayer life. Praying not only in your known language, but praying in that unknown language that the Lord has now enabled you to pray in.
And although you don’t know what you’re saying, you can be certain that it’s perfect prayer. And as we read on our previous Little Lesson, Paul actually said, let him who speaks in unknown tongue, pray that he might interpret. So there’s no harm in asking the Lord to give you some understanding, at least whenever it would be His will for you to understand. I don’t think that we have a promise that we could claim that the Lord’s going to allow us to understand everything that we’re saying in tongues.
But there have been times when I certainly sense when I’ve been praying in tongues, particularly when I have a sense of a burden of prayer, where something seems pressing, and I feel like I need to pray and pray something through that there have been times when I’ve sensed that the Lord’s showing me the situation that I’m praying for, or the person. And who’s going to find fault with praying as best you can with the help of the Holy Spirit. So we know in part right now, Paul said, and we prophesy in apart. We see through a glass darkly or a mirror dimly, whatever translation you read. So we’re not going to know everything or understand everything, but thank God for what we do understand. And we understand that this is a wonderful, wonderful gift.
Now, if you have been with us through most of these lessons or all of these lessons, and you have not been baptized in the Holy Spirit yet with the initial evidence of speaking in tongues, let me encourage you not to give up. No reason to give up. I would encourage you to go back to the beginning of this series and watch them all again. And perhaps there could be stuff that you’ll catch the second time around that you didn’t catch the first time around. We know the Bible says that faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. And so if you want your faith to grow and become stronger, the way to do that is to focus on and feed upon the word of God.
And so if I was seeking to be baptized in the Holy spirit, I’d be reading all the scriptures that are relevant to that, that gives me confidence, that this is indeed God’s will for me. So I’d read through those five chapters in the book of Acts, Acts 2 and Acts 8, and 9, and 10, and 19, where we have definite instances of people being baptized in the Holy spirit. And in most cases, it mentions that they spoke in tongues.
I’d read what Jesus said in Mark 16, about one of the signs that will follow the believers is that they will speak in tongues. I would read Luke 11:13, where Jesus said, “If you being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your Heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him?” And I would read John 4 and John 7 where Jesus made mention, first of all, to the woman at the well of Samaria, that if she were to ask Him, He would give her living water. It would become within her a well of water springing up to eternal life.
And we pretty much identified that as a cryptic way of speaking about being born of the spirit, because so often water represents the spirit. And that is confirmed by John 7, which I’d also encourage you to study, then Jesus’s words when he stood up at the Feast of the Booths and said, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink,” and so forth. And he will have rivers of living water flowing from his innermost being. And John says “This he spoke of the spirit, that those who believe in Him were to receive.” And so that’s a promise right there.
You have to just come to Him and to drink. And one of the most basic things that you need to remember, and I’ve emphasized this several times during this series, is that like most things in the Christian life, it’s a combination of the natural and the supernatural. I mean, we all experience miracles every day of our lives. What I’m doing right now, talking to you, is a miracle when you think about it. I’m communicating ideas, words that form in my mind, and that I’m moving my mouth, and using my vocal chords, and my lips, and my tongue to communicate.
And that’s natural. Everybody does it. We do it all of our lives, oftentimes without consciously thinking about how amazing it is, and the fact that it is miraculous. We eat food every day and we take our fork and stick it in the carrots and put those things in our mouth and chew them up. Never thinking about how miraculous it is that we can actually see the carrot, and see the fork, and actually accurately stab it, and get it into our mouth, and then chew it up, and then swallow it. And then the body takes that and takes the nutrients and nourishes every cell of our body.
I mean, it’s phenomenally amazing. But there is a human part that is played in that miracle. We’re, as it were, cooperating with God. So don’t let the devil talk you out of this wonderful experience, because I’ve encouraged you to pray and then to act upon your faith. Peter walked on the water, but that was a miracle. God was holding him up as he walked across the waves there. But goodness gracious, he had to do the walking. He had to get out of the boat. So there’s the divine part, and there’s the human part. And that’s just, you can say that about so many things.
The miracles in the Bible, Jesus fed the 5,000, but the disciples distributed the food and so forth and the paralyzed guy got up and walked, but Jesus said, stand up. So the guy had to make some kind of an effort. He had to do something. Same is true here. If you have faith, and that’s the main ingredient here. You got to be born again, first of all. But then after that, it’s pretty simple. You just have to have faith. Have faith and have enough faith to open your mouth, and begin to speak, because it’s in the Bible, just like you do anything else that God said you could do, you’d act upon your faith.
If you were Peter in the boat and Jesus was out on the water and said, “Come,” would you just stand there and say, “Well, I don’t want to just do this myself. I want this all to be the Lord and him to get all the glory. I don’t want to just fake it here. And so I’ll just stand here and wait for myself to be supernaturally just lifted out and for God to grab my legs, and make them.” No, you have to do your part, and God will do his part. And once you’ve spoken in tongues one time, then this all makes perfect sense because you’re very much aware that when you speak in tongues, it’s because you decide to speak in tongues from then on.
I mean, I speak in tongues every single day in my prayer life, at least. But in other times, throughout the day as well. And every time I do it, it’s me, I started, I stop it, but the Holy spirit gives me the utterance. So don’t let the devil talk you out of it, because of that, that’s really, I would say that’s the primary stumbling block that I have observed over the years, more than anything else, is Christians are persuaded by the word of God, but they just fail to act upon their faith, with the kind of faith that acts. And if you’re praying and hoping that you’ll be baptized in the Holy spirit is being done. It’s not enough. You got to get beyond hope.
Faith is the assurance of things hoped for. Hope always leaves room for the possibility that what you want, you may not get. Faith is confident assurance. It doesn’t take no for an answer. It forges ahead and says, “God cannot lie, and so this is how it’s going to be. I’m going to pray, and I’m going to get up from my place of prayer. And I will have spoken in tongues, because I’m going to act on my faith, and begin to speak with the help of the Holy spirit give me the utterance.” All right.
So that should be enough. I’ve basically done the best job I can do in this series to help you be baptized in the Holy Spirit. So I just wanted to kind of review the fundamental basics in this final video in this series. Again, don’t forget to let us know. We want to hear the good news about your being clothed with power from high. And I should say, and I’d be remiss not to say this, and I almost didn’t say it, but the speaking in tongues part is great, but there’s much, much more to it than that. Much more to it than that.
The main purpose of being clothed with the power is to be a more effective witness for the Lord. But even that is just part of the overall package. So blessings, blessings, blessings, blessings. “If you, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children,” Jesus said, “how much more shall your Heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him?” I think that means that the greatest gift that God has for his children, now the greatest gift for the world is salvation, and eternal life, forgiveness of sins. But the greatest gift that God has for his children is the Holy Spirit.
And if you don’t agree with me now, I think eventually everyone will agree with that.
Until next time, may the Lord bless you.