TO SPEAK OR NOT TO SPEAK
Study By Dennis A. Corle
â€œThere are, it may be, so many kinds of voices in the world,
and none of them is without signification.
Therefore if I know not the meaning of the voice,
I shall be unto him that speaketh a barbarian,
and he that speaketh shall be a barbarian unto me.â€
(1 Corinthians 14:10-11).
In chapter fourteen of 1 Corinthians, the term â€œtonguesâ€ appears fifteen times. We have been programmed and conditioned to assume that this term refers to ecstatic utterances such as those associated with the Charismatic confusion of today. This is a passage of Scripture that is so misunderstood and misused by todayâ€™s Charismatic movement. Tongues in the New Testament were never ecstatic utterances, nor were they always miraculous, as was true on the day of Pentecost. In most instances the term â€œtonguesâ€ is used in the same way that we use the term â€œlanguagesâ€. This was a very relevant subject in New Testament times, and especially at this particular church to whom the letter was written.
Corinth was a major trade center which meant there was a constant flow of believers from other countries passing through. Many of these visitors did not speak or understand the native dialect of Corinth, yet they would be invited to speak or pray, even without an interpreter, without regard to the fact that no one was able to understand. This caused great confusion in the church services.
By the same token, some of the believers at Corinth were bilingual or multi-lingual, especially those who were well educated. â€œThe gift of tonguesâ€, or the ability to speak and understand multiple languages was considered (and is) a special gift. Those who had this ability were set up on a pedestal and admired as great spiritual leaders. Many people in our churches today are considered spiritual super-heroes because they are gifted in music or some other area, even though they may be very carnal and unspiritual people. These carnal church members took advantage of every opportunity to â€œdemonstrate their giftâ€ and speak in tongues even though it was sometimes unnecessary and chaotic to the services. The entire epistle of 1 Corinthians was a rebuke for carnality and sin, and this chapter dealt with their abuse of tongues and disorderly conduct in the church.
There are several other key words in this chapter that are important in understanding it. â€œProphesyingâ€ is mentioned ten times. â€œEdifyâ€ is mentioned no less than seven times. This word indicates â€œto build up or strengthen.â€ â€œUnderstandingâ€ is mentioned nine times. â€œOrderâ€ is mentioned once. It was these things that were lacking in the Corinthian church. I wonder why the Charismatics ignore all these other key words and emphasize only the word â€œtongues.â€
Our text verses occur right in the midst of one of the most misinterpreted passages in the Bible that the Charismatics twist to justify their unscriptural practices. It clearly refers to people speaking in different languages who are unable to communicate and understand one another otherwise. â€œThere are, it may be, so many kinds of voices in the world, and none of them is without signification. Therefore if I know not the meaning of the voice, I shall be unto him that speaketh a barbarian, and he that speaketh shall be a barbarian unto me.â€ (v. 10-11). There are many different languages, and none of them without significant, understandable meaning. Paul said that if he did not know the meaning of what was said it did nothing to help him, even though it may be a very helpful and needed message.
1 Corinthians 14 breaks down into four basic sections:
Tongues and Public Preaching
Tongues and Public Prayer
Tongues and Prophecy
Tongues and Public Worship
*Note: This chapter has nothing to do with a private prayer language. Everything in the chapter deals with a public gathering.
TONGUES AND PUBLIC PREACHING
(1 Corinthians 14:1-13)
â€œFollow after charity, and desire spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may prophesyâ€ (v. 1). There are different kinds of spiritual gifts that the Lord may bestow upon people to be used to serve and glorify Him, and all of them are good, important, and desirable. But God has put a premium on preaching, and He sets it up from the others in importance. â€œâ€¦it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believeâ€ (1 Corinthians 1:21).
It is not by â€œtongues-speakingâ€ that God has chosen to get the Gospel message to the world, but by the preaching of His word. Paulâ€™s exhortation to Timothy was to â€œpreach the wordâ€, not to speak in tongues. Time after time we see in the scriptures that God has placed a premium on preaching. â€œFor he that speaketh in an unknown tongue speaketh not unto men, but unto God: for no man understandeth him; howbeit in the spirit he speaketh mysteriesâ€ (v. 2). If a Chinese man praises God in the midst of English-speaking people who are not bilingual, the only one who understands him is God.
Verses 3-6 talk about the purpose of preaching. â€œBut he that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort. He that speaketh in an unknown tongue edifieth himself; but he that prophesieth edifieth the church. I 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. Now, brethren, if I come unto you speaking with tongues, what shall I profit you, except I shall speak to you either by revelation, or by knowledge, or by prophesying, or by doctrine?â€
Paul told them it would be good if they spoke with tongues, and it would be better if they â€œprophesiedâ€ or preached. The purpose in preaching is to â€œedifyâ€, to build up or strengthen the church. If people do not understand what is said, it matters not how great or needed the truth may be, they leave in the same condition in which they came. The three main purposes of preaching are:
1) edification â€“ to build up or strengthen,
2) exhortation â€“ to instruct or train, and
3) comfort â€“ to encourage or uplift.
None of these purposes can be accomplished if the message is given in a foreign language without an interpreter.
Not only is it important to speak in a language that is understood by the people, it is also vital to use simple, down-to-earth terms. â€œAnd even things without life giving sound, whether pipe or harp, except they give a distinction in the sounds, how shall it be known what is piped or harped? For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle? So likewise ye, except ye utter by the tongue words easy to be understood, how shall it be known what is spoken? for ye shall speak into the airâ€ (v. 7-9).
â€œThere are, it may be, so many kinds of voices in the world, and none of them is without significationâ€ (v. 10). Every language in the world is a distinct, significant language: German, French, Chinese, English, Latin, Greek, etc. Tongues in the Bible never referred to ecstatic utterances. Even on the day of Pentecost, when speaking in tongues was a miraculous event, people from all over the world heard the message of the Gospel in their own native tongue. This is speaking ONLY of literal, known languages. â€œTherefore if I know not the meaning of the voice, I shall be unto him that speaketh a barbarian, and he that speaketh shall be a barbarian unto meâ€ (v. 11). If I am unable to understand the language spoken, there is no communication. When God confounded the languages at the tower of Babel, the result was confusion. (Genesis 11) The result of unlearned or unknown tongues being spoken in the church was confusion, as well.
The overall rule of church procedure is â€œDo All To Edifyâ€. If what you are going to say or do is not going to build up and strengthen Godâ€™s people in the faith, then sit down and be quiet. â€œEven so ye, forasmuch as ye are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek that ye may excel to the edifying of the churchâ€ (v. 12). We are exhorted to EXCEL in everything that we do for the Lord, to be the very best that we can be, to give our all. â€œWherefore let him that speaketh in an unknown tongue pray that he may interpretâ€ (v. 13). Let that person of another dialect pray that God will help him to communicate a Bible message to the people in their own language.
This is what took place at Pentecost. As the result of a ten day prayer meeting, the Spirit-filled Galileans spoke to people of 16 different languages, and God caused them to hear and understand in their native tongue. There were no ecstatic babblers there, and I might add, no interpreters, just Spirit-empowered soulwinners sharing the Gospel with those from foreign lands. Throughout this passage, no one is encouraged to speak in tongues, but rather the emphasis is on preaching the Gospel in a known language.
It is a shame that the passages of scripture the Charismatics refer to the most are the ones that they understand the least. The tongues in the Bible had nothing to do with what is going on in these assemblies today.
The carnal Corinthians sought to be recognized and exalted, so they â€œshowed offâ€ if they had special ability in the area of languages. There were people in the services who understood very little of the preaching and praying because of the disorderly, carnal confusion that reigned. After Paul dealt with Tongues and Public Preaching in verses 1-13, he proceeded to address the Corinthian church concerning Tongues and Public Praying.
TONGUES AND PUBLIC PRAYER
(1 Corinthians 14:14-20)
â€œFor if I pray in an unknown tongue, my spirit prayeth, but my understanding is unfruitful. 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 alsoâ€ (v. 14-15). Paul knew several languages because of his extensive education and travels, but he said â€œWhy should I pray in another language? My own spirit speaks to God, but the understanding of my prayer is unfruitful to those around me. They are unable to agree with me in prayer, or to be edified by my communication with the Lord. Therefore, I will pray in the language understood by the people so that my spirit can pray and their understanding can be fruitful as well.â€ In a preaching service, prayer ought to be understandable to the people, and in the Corinthian church foreign visitors were often asked to pray publicly in spite of that fact.
I had a dear friend from Ghana, Africa who roomed with me in college, and because of his difficulty with English he often prayed in his own language. Jonathan knew what he was praying, and the Lord knew what he was praying, but I was left out in the dark!
In verse 15 Paul said he would pray with the spirit AND with understanding. He would communicate with God in a language that was understandable to himself and those around him, too. The Charismatics would have us to believe that ecstatic babbling is a sign of the Holy Spirit, and if you havenâ€™t received the gift youâ€™re not saved. This passage is clear that it is not the lack of salvation or the lack of the Holy Spirit that is the hindrance from speaking with other tongues, but the lack of training. These are literal languages that are learned.
â€œElse when thou shalt bless with the spirit, how shall he that occupieth the room of the unlearned say Amen at thy giving of thanks, seeing he understandeth not what thou sayest? For thou verily givest thanks well, but the other is not edifiedâ€ (v. 16-17). Again the explanation is given as a lack of training. â€œHe that occupieth the room of the unlearnedâ€ is someone whose limited education has not given him the opportunity to learn to communicate well in more than one language. Prayer should be understandable because Spirit-empowered prayer will edify those who hear.
A close friend of mine, Joe Hampton, is now in Heaven, but he used to have a prayer meeting at his house every Saturday morning. I have never prayed with Joe about anything that it didnâ€™t strengthen me and draw me closer to the Lord. He loved the Lord with all of his heart, and when he prayed that spiritual fervor was communicated to those around him as well as to the Lord.
â€œAgain I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heavenâ€ (Matthew 18:19). It is impossible to agree or â€œsymphonizeâ€ in prayer when one is praying in a language that the others do not understand. Hence, a very important aspect of group prayer is cancelled when one prays in a foreign or â€œunknownâ€ tongue.
“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 tongueâ€ (v. 18-19). Paul was an intellectual person and knew many languages but he used only what was necessary to communicate the Gospel. This is well illustrated in Acts 21 and 22. In chapter 21 the soldier said, â€œCanst thou speak Greek?â€ In chapter 22 it says, â€œWhen they saw that he spake in the Hebrew tongueâ€¦â€ He said that he would rather speak five words in a known tongue than 10,000 words in an unknown tongue. Perhaps these were the five words he had in mind: â€œYe must be born again!â€
It would be useless and vain for even the most oratorical preacher in America to get up and preach his greatest message in English to a church full of Spanish-speaking people. It would be equally foolish for a preacher to speak in English but to use words that his crowd does not understand. God does not give any kind of â€œgiftâ€ for people to glory in their flesh. Every gift from Him is to be used to minister to others and to bring glory to God.
â€œBrethren, be not children in understanding: howbeit in malice be ye children, but in understanding be menâ€ (v. 20). Spiritual understanding is something that we are to seek, rather than abilities or gifts to be demonstrated before the multitudes. Godâ€™s power is not a plaything for the immature, carnal church member, but a resource to be used for the glory of God and in communicating the Gospel to a lost world.
TONGUES AND PROPHECY
(1 Corinthians 14:21-22)
â€œIn the law it is written, With men of other tongues and other lips will I speak unto this people; and yet for all that will they not hear me, saith the Lord. 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 believeâ€ (v. 21-22). God said that tongues were a sign to unbelieving Jews. Men from other nations who spoke other languages would prophesy or preach to the Jews about the Messiah the Jews awaited and the grace of God, but God told us in advance that the nation as a whole would still reject the message.
Isaiah 28:11-12 also prophesies of this. â€œFor with stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to this people. To whom he said, This is the rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest; and this is the refreshing: yet they would not hear.â€ This text is not speaking of miraculous tongues or ecstatic languages but Gentiles giving testimony of salvation in their native tongue.
Two instances are recorded in Acts which signify the fulfillment of this prophecy. When Peter went to the house of Cornelius, the centurion of the Italian band, they believed on Christ and magnified God in their native language. These were Gentiles, and to the Jews this was a shocking new phenomenon â€“ that God would save a Gentile. â€œWhile Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the wordsâ€¦ For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify Godâ€ (Acts 10:44, 46). The key here is not the word â€œtonguesâ€ which means â€œlanguagesâ€ but it is the magnifying of God for salvation by the Gentiles.
In Acts 19:1-7 Paul met some men who had repented under the preaching of John the Baptist, but knew nothing of the Holy Spirit or doctrines of the New Testament church. â€œThen said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus. When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesiedâ€ (Acts 19:4-6). Again, these men were located in Ephesus, which was Gentile citizenry and they spoke a different tongue than the Jewish missionary team with Paul. The Jewish nation as a whole disregarded this prophecy and fulfillment just as God said they would.
After reasoning with them about Tongues and Public Preaching, and Tongues and Public Prayer, Paul moved on to teach the church at Corinth about Tongues and Public Worship.
TONGUES AND PUBLIC WORSHIP
(1 Corinthians 14:23-40)
Paul had already instructed the Corinthian church that they were not to use multiple languages in the church unless there was an interpreter present to repeat the message in a tongue that was understandable to everyone present. He is giving an explanation for this instruction in verse 23. â€œIf therefore the whole church be come together into one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in those that are unlearned, or unbelievers, will they not say that ye are mad?â€
There is a tongue-speaking church on the corner of the street where I grew up. When I was a kid I would ride my bike down there and sit out on the sidewalk in the summer when they left the windows and doors open. I thought they were all crazy, and whenever one of them would invite me to come inside I would take off as fast as I could pedal my bike. They scared me to death!
How does the Charis-mania Confusion affect lost people in their attitude toward the Gospel? A good friend of mine, Evangelist Stewart Payne, was exposed to the Tongues Movement shortly before he was saved. Here is his reaction:
â€œI knew I was going to hell, but I didnâ€™t know what to do about it. I was searching and I felt the answer would be in the Bible, but I wouldnâ€™t read it. I was raised in the Lutheran church and in the United Church of Canada, so the Bible was virtually a closed book to me. In my search, never one time did someone witness to me or hand me a gospel tract.
During this time a lady whom I had dated found out that I was thinking of spiritual things, and she suddenly became very religious. She invited me to a Kenneth Copeland meeting. Nothing that was said or done in that service did anything to bring conviction to me or make plain the way of salvation. It was all flesh and emotion and foolishness.
Later she invited me to a Full Gospel Business Menâ€™s Association meeting where Demas Shakarian was speaking. Before the meeting even started, I heard a voice off to one side of the crowd saying something over and over, as well as louder and louder, but I was unable to distinguish any understandable words. I thought it must be someone who had escaped the mental hospital or who needed to go to one. I was wondering if I ought to go help the man out of the service when silence came and the man on the platform issued a short prayer. I learned later that this had been my first encounter with the devilâ€™s â€œtongues movementâ€ and so-called interpretation.
I donâ€™t recall any Bible being quoted or used during the service. Shakarian said he went to the hospital to visit someone and God was in it, because the patient was so happy to see him and then he wept for 10 minutes. (When I was a lost man in the hospital with a broken leg ANYBODY could have come to see me day or night, and I would have been glad to see them!)
Then he reminisced about a time when he was in need of money. He opened his mail and there was a check for $10, and then he wept for a while longer. I wasnâ€™t a church goer, and I knew that I sometimes received money in the mail. When I did attend a dead church service I could make more sense out of what was being said than all this emotional hype.
The next thing I knew, all the men were getting out of their seats and going to the front. There was no clear invitation or Bible message, no Holy Spirit conviction. Iâ€™d had enough of this foolishness, so I just remained in my seat. But when I looked around I was surrounded with women, and it was very evident that I was out of place. So I rose to my feet and followed the men to the front. While I was up there in that line, I experienced the scariest time I had faced in my entire life. I already knew I was on my way to hell, and I didnâ€™t know what to do about it. In this huge line of men they were talking, chanting, pulling, even frothing at the mouths. I couldnâ€™t think; it seemed to be coming at me from every direction. The closest thing I had ever known to this was the heathen discos where the strobe lights are flashing and the music is loud and it seems to be just a mass of bodies and noise and flashing lights.
While I was in this line, I began to feel angry at God for getting me into this mess, and when I realized what I was thinking a great fear swept over me. I wondered if, perhaps, this kind of carrying on really could be of God. I broke into a sweat and silently prayed, â€œGod, if Youâ€™ll get me through this night, tomorrow Iâ€™ll go to my friend at work and see if this is really from You.â€ I knew that he would show me the Bible, and I was sure I could trust the Bible. After Iâ€™d settled this in my heart, a peace came over me and I was able to watch and listen until the whole mess of confusion was over. The next day I did ask him, and he showed me enough from the Bible to satisfy me that this kind of thing was unscriptural. But still he never showed me how to get saved.
This same lady whom I had met at the dance, who drank and partied, got me to go to one more meeting with her. It was a regular service in a Charismatic church. The service had hardly begun, and they started their wild music. I was accustomed to the beat, since the disco had been a big part of my life. They were chanting and running down the aisles. Again, no Bible, no message, just confusion and madness. I determined that this was my last time to have any connection with churches of this sort. I had been to 3 different services. I had been scared to death. I had been disgusted with the emotional outbursts, the wild mass of confusion and noise, and the senseless gibberish. And the one thing I had come for I never received. No one ever gave me a clear message of how to be saved.â€
As before stated, this passage in 1 Corinthians is not speaking of ecstatic utterances as Charismatics today insist. They were known languages spoken by travelers and well-educated believers in this busy seaport. The result, however, would be the same among the uneducated if they were to come into a church service where people were standing up preaching or praying in many languages with which they were unfamiliar. They would feel out of place, leave without any spiritual help whatsoever, and probably think that everybody in the place had gone crazy. Paul explained this as support for his teaching that the services of the church should be conducted in the tongue of the common people – only.
â€œBut if all prophesy, and there come in one that believeth not, or one unlearned, he is convinced of all, he is judged of all: And thus are the secrets of his heart made manifest; and so falling down on his face he will worship God, and report that God is in you of a truthâ€ (verses 24-25). On the contrary, if the same person were to come in and hear the truth of the scripture in a language he could understand, it would bring conviction upon his heart and help him. For all to prophesy does not necessarily mean that each person gets up to speak publicly. They may prophesy by saying â€œAMENâ€ to the preaching. This will bring conviction to the unbeliever as he realizes that the preacher is not the only one who believes what he is preaching. The more â€œamensâ€ he hears, the more conviction it brings, and the more credible the message is to him.
â€œHow 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 edifyingâ€ (verse 26). If everyone insists on being before the people in every service, all having something to do publicly, it results in chaos. It also points out the fact that some people must be â€œdoing their thingâ€ for show and self-exaltation rather than for the edification of others.
â€œIf 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. But if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the church; and let him speak to himself, and to Godâ€ (verses 27-28). Paul left instruction for the exception when it might be necessary for someone to speak in the service who is unskilled in the language of the people. He said there should not be more than two, and at the very most three in a service. They must speak one at a time, with an interpreter to relay the message to the congregation. If there is no one present who is capable of interpreting in that language, the messenger must remain silent, no matter how needed he may consider his message to be.
For example, if a person who speaks only Portuguese comes to a service, he can understand himself and God can understand him, but no one else can. So he is instructed to â€œspeak to himself and to Godâ€. He is not to speak publicly unless an interpreter can make the message understandable to the assembly.
Paul also gave guidelines for the number of preachers to deliver a message in a service. â€œLet the prophets speak two or three, and let the other judgeâ€ (v. 29). Let the preachers do the speaking, not the whole congregation. Even the preachers should limit themselves to two or three speaking per service. The statement â€œlet the others judgeâ€, does not indicate they are to critique, but to come to a conclusion or verdict as would a judge in a courtroom from the evidence and testimony presented to him.
â€œIf any thing be revealed to another that sitteth by, let the first hold his peace. For ye may all prophesy one by one, that all may learn, and all may be comfortedâ€ (verses 30-31). All the preachers may preach one by one, (but only two or three per service) and the result of their preaching will be that all learn and are comforted.
â€œAnd the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets. For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saintsâ€ (verses 32-33). This does away with the popular excuse for misconduct in the church â€“ â€œI just couldnâ€™t help myself. The Spirit took control.â€ The Bible says clearly that the spirits of the preachers are under the control of the preachers, so they canâ€™t blame their unscriptural practices on the Lord.
The Holy Spirit is not a seducing Spirit. He does not seize control, but accepts what we yield. When the Holy Spirit is in control of my life, He will bear His fruit in my life; one of which is â€œtemperanceâ€, or self-control. (Galatians 5:22-23) If a spirit does â€œtake overâ€ then it is not the Holy Spirit. That does away with â€œgetting slain in the spiritâ€, and about 99% of the testimonies of ecstatic tongues. â€œThis warm feeling came over me and I had no control.â€ If the Holy Spirit had nothing to do with it, I wonder what kind of a spirit is in control? This is not of God.
“Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law. And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the churchâ€ (verses 34-35). Paul rebuked the Corinthian church for all sorts of unscriptural practices in the church, and one was female dominance in church services and church government.
God NEVER calls a woman to pastor a church or to assume authority over the men in any way. As only Joe Boyd could say it, â€œGod never called a rooster to lay an egg, and He never called a hen to crow.â€ â€œLet the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silenceâ€ (1 Timothy 2:11-12). For a movement that claims to have a special handle on this passage of scripture, the Charismatics have certainly missed the high points of 1 Corinthians 14! The Charismatic movement has scores of women preachers who donâ€™t seem to notice that they are in direct opposition to the Word of God.
Women are commanded not to teach the congregation when men are present, and since 1 Corinthians 14 is dealing specifically with the Tongues issue, it is plain that where scriptural tongues are needed (the use of other languages with the help of a qualified interpreter), â€œit is not permitted unto them to speakâ€. Even if they were not so terribly mistaken about what Tongues are in the Bible, they would still be guilty of error because a very high percentage of tongue-speaking episodes are experienced by the women rather than the men. This is not Biblical, and therefore the Holy Spirit could not possibly have anything to do with it.
â€œWhat? came the word of God out from you? or came it unto you only?â€ (verse 36). Paul asked the Corinthians, â€œDo you people think that you have a corner on the Word of God?â€ I have met hundreds of Charismatics at the door while soulwinning, and they all seem to be sure that if you arenâ€™t what they are, you arenâ€™t anything. They are convinced that they understand the Bible and no one else does. â€œDoes your church have the Holy Ghost?â€ they always ask. Yesâ€¦ we are seeking to follow the leadership of the real One!
â€œIf any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lordâ€ (verse 37). Paul is reminding and reaffirming that he has, as an apostle, the God-ordained authority to rebuke the church and set matters straight as he does throughout this entire epistle. He rests his case as having settled the tongues issue scripturally.
â€œWherefore, brethren, covet to prophesy, and forbid not to speak with tongues. Let all things be done decently and in orderâ€ (verses 39-40). Paulâ€™s final exhortation is to â€œcovet to prophesyâ€, since God has placed His premium on preaching. He said not to forbid speaking in foreign languages, provided that it is needed and practiced in accordance with the rules laid out in verses 18, 19, 27, and 28.
The key to the entire chapter is the closing verse, â€œLet all things be done decently and in order.â€ The word â€œdecentlyâ€ means â€œgracefully, becomingly, in a seemly mannerâ€. The word â€œorderâ€ means â€œan arrangement, to draw up an order, due order which is in direct contrast to confusionâ€.
A missionary from another land was in the United States on deputation, and visited a church whose members had been swept up in the modern tongues craze. While the people thought that they were glorifying God by their practices, he clearly understood at least one of them cursing God profusely in a language that he had learned on the mission field.
To surrender oneâ€™s self to a seducing spirit that masquerades as the very Spirit of God and yet is clearly in defiance to the truth of scripture is at best unwise and most likely much more dangerous than we could begin to understand.
Tongues â€“ To Speak Or Not To Speak? For anyone that is honest and allows the Bible to decide for him, the answer is clear. Todayâ€™s ecstatic tongues-speaking movement has nothing in common with the scripturally directed use of foreign languages in the church. May Godâ€™s Word be made plain to expose the falsehood being propagated in the name of Christ in our day.
Used With Permission
From the book:
How To Explain The Modern Day Tongues Phenomena
By Dennis A. Corle.
Copyright 1992. Used with author’s permission.
Dennis Corle Evangelistic Association
This book can be ordered from:
RD #1, Box 940
Claysburg, PA 16625
Cost for this book is $4.00(Am.) plus postage and handling.