|I use tongues more than
"They received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures
daily to find out whether these things were so". Acts 17:11.
1. Using tongues is presented to people or God?
2. When people started to use tongues for the first time?
3. Did using tongues contain the idea of judgment?
4. What means baptizing by fire?
5. Can we use tongues without an interpreter?
6. Using tongues and celibacy is necessary or recommended?
7. Was using tongues a language of angels?
8. Is there two ways of using tongues?
9. Was using tongues a sign for believers?
10. Why people didn't understand using tongues?
11. For whom using tongues was a sign?
12. What was the purpose of using tongues?
13. What about we should think if people tell us truth by tongues?
14. How should we think of falsifications as regards this?
15. Did tongues fall and when?
16. What it means "when that which is perfect has come"?
17. Does using tongues edify the speaker?
18. Where using tongues should be practiced?
19. Why Paul said: "do not forbid to speak with tongues"?
20. Is today's using tongues a proof that it is true?
21. Did other gifts stop?
22. Do we have to use tongues at home?
23. Is it possible to check today's using tongues?
24. What is the importance of experience?
25. Did Jesus Christ use tongues?
26. Are the tongues understandable for the speaker?
27. I will "pray with the understanding" - for my understanding?
28. Is the display of the Spirit under prophet's control or not?
29. Are "groanings which cannot be uttered" connected with sayings by
30. Are languages equal to prophecy? Why?
31. How many people can use tongues in gathering aloud?
32. Can sisters use tongues?
Check your answers after reading this book.
"TO SAY IN THE WAY THAT PEOPLE COULD UNDERSTAND ME"
14:14 For if I pray in an unknown tongue, my spirit prayeth, but my understanding
is unfruitful. For example, if a man in gathering is praying in an unknown tongue,
his spirit is praying, it means feeling find expressions which are not used in
common language. However, his understanding is unfruitful in the meaning that
doesn't bring any good. Gathered people don't know what he is taking about. When
we will examine verse 14:19, we would meet a saying "speak with my understanding",
but in a more exact translation it sounds as: "To say in the way that people
could understand me."
14:15 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.
And what conclusion should we make? The conclusion is easy: Paul is praying not
only with his spirit, but he prays so that apostles could be understood. That's
exactly what means saying "…I will pray with the understanding also…"
It doesn't mean that we can pray as we understand ourselves, - rather it means
that we must pray to help the others to understand. The same way Paul says that
he will sing with the spirit in the way that everything would be clear to other
14:19 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 tongue.
Despite the fact that Paul knew languages better than Corinthians, he says that
for him it is better to say several words with his understanding, it means words,
understandable for everyone, than to say ten thousand words in an unknown for
other people tongue. He is not going to use his gift only to show it to people.
The main purpose is to help God's people. That's why he decided always to speak
in the way that other people could understand him. Expression "with my understanding"
in original text has the form of objective genitive case. It means that Paul speaks
not about his own understanding but about how other people understand his words
(Greek word, which translates as "mind", means "understanding";
we can translate it as follows: "…speak five words in the way that people
could understand me…"). In the commentary to 1Cor.Charles Hodge agrees with
the interpretation presented by us: the matter concerns not what Paul understands
himself, but how other people understand him. "It is impossible to believe
that Paul did thanks to God for that he was excessively gifted with tongues, if
this gift consisted of ability to use tongues not understandable for him, which
couldn't give any good neither him nor other people. In this verse we see that
using tongues and speaking in unconscious condition is not the same things. Overall
teaching about the essence of this gift truly opens in this fragment. Paul insists
that, although he can surpass Corinthians in speaking unknown languages, it is
better for him to say five words with his understanding, it means in an understandable
language, than ten thousand in an unknown. In church, it means in gathering, I
can teach other people to share the Word (Gal. 6:6). It opens what is meant in
words "with my understanding". It means: "To speak in the way that
in my words sounded admonition".
Expression "to pray with understanding" doesn't bear relation to my
understanding, but to understanding of the people around. I'm praying with the
spirit, but I will pray with the understanding also not to understand something
myself, but to bring a fruit to other people by this. Paul wants to say in church
with the understanding to edify others, it means he wants others to understand,
not himself! That's why before these texts Paul suggests: 13 "Wherefore let
him that speaketh in an unknown tongue pray that he may interpret." It is
the first decision, if it is impossible - pray with your understanding to edify
others, as you are edifying yourself because you understand everything.
GROANING WHICH CANNOT BE UTTERED.
(Prayer without belief)
Let's examine the next fragment of Scripture: "Likewise the Spirit also
helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought:
but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be
uttered." (Rom. 8:26). That is one of the most favorite verses of those who
use tongues. Because they think that this is the proof that someone can be under
Spirit's control completely and not even know what you are praying for, because
the Holy Spirit is praying instead of you. But this is the proof of the opposite:
the Holy Spirit speaks to out spirit by GROANINGS WHICH CANNOT BE UTTERED, but
we have to utter. And one more, this verse is not only about those who pray in
tongues, but about everyone who lives by laws of the Spirit! It means that to
utter unuttered groanings at first we have to understand them! (There is no ground
to connect Rom. 8 with 1Cor.14).
Also, it is appropriate to remind everyone who prays of a fact that a prayer without
belief is no pleasing God. Everything that decides on the Earth is decided by
the faith of God's children who speak to Him in prayers. A question appears: why
the Lord Jesus once told the following words to blind man: What wilt thou that
I should do unto thee? (Mark 10:51). Didn't Christ know what this blind man is
waiting from Him? He knew, but He needed his words moved by his belief. A man
is praying, telling God understandable words, receives the definite answer and
knows for what to thank God. Those who use tongues are praying to God, but by
whose words and whose belief? How can he thank God after such a prayer? If I don't
know what I said to God then what would I wait from Him? Why for God it was not
enough that Bartimaeus just said: "the Lord, have mercy on me?". He
needed concreteness but not verbosity (Mat. 6:7). In Rom. 8:26 we have a great
example that the Holy Spirit doesn't want to have heathens in front of Him who
speak many words and think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. It
is also clear how He teaches us to pray. He, unutterly working with our spirit,
suggests us what should we pray about, and we transmute it into words of belief
which we address to God. We don't know what to pray about, that's why the Spirit
suggests us. If it was written that we cannot pray, then it would have been a
hint that the Spirit completely helps me (it means that I have no possibility
to pray and the Spirit prays instead of me). But here we read that the praying
one DOESN'T KNOW what to pray about. If someone comes to you and say that he doesn't
know where the definite place is, you would tell him how he can get there (give
him a sign). If someone tells you that he cannot get to the definite place, you
would help him (maybe with transport…). (One more paradoxical thought: God, wishing
that I pray Him, prays to Him Himself? My role is only to wire for sound not understandable
words?). The Lord always wanted to speak to a man and with a man. But in the end
of XX century appears an idea which brings an understandable conversation for
two interlocutors, based on an easy idea that one of them talks to himself, using
the other only as a loud-speaker. Why people allow this? Maybe the only reason
is that as if there is a proof of it in the Bible: my spirit prays instead of
me, because I don't know what to pray about, but my understanding is unfruitful.
I SPEAK AND DO NOT UNDERSTAND MYSELF?
One of the main purposes of conversations with someone who use tongues: the
tongue must be understandable for the speaker. It is proved by Paul in 14th chapter
of the first message to Corinthians. If a man does not understand the tongue,
this gift is not from God!
1. ("For 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 mysteries."
1Cor.14:2). In other tongues a man tells mysteries by his spirit. A question appears:
for whom these mysteries are mysteries? When the speaker does not understand a
tongue, everything what he says is a mystery at first for himself. Devil understands
all languages (it is known that not angels built Babylon tower and God has mixed
not their languages; it means that there is no language division in spiritual
world, but human languages are easily understandable for devil). That's why everything
what is told in another tongue is not a mystery for him. So, the Holy Spirit conceals
something from us, from our neighbors and doesn't conceal from devil?! It doesn't
look like the actions of the Holy Spirit. That who use tongues must understand
what he says, but it is a mystery for listeners.
1.1 Also examining the word "mystery" by the Holy Scripture we understand
that is mostly means something that is mystery for logical explanation. Because
when Paul talks about the mystery of godliness (1Tim. 3:16) everyone understands
that it cannot be explained logically. But we can hear about it by our ears and
understand that it exists. When on Pentecost they spoke about God's great actions
(that can mean "about God's great mysteries") someone heard these mysteries.
The listeners could not understand it with their logic, but they heard an understandable
2. ("He that speaketh in an unknown tongue edifies himself; but he that prophesies
edifies the church." 1Cor 14:4). At present days when people use tongues
and cannot understand what they say a question appears: how the speaker edifies
himself? Prophesying opposes tongues in this verse. A prophesying one edifies
the church, because the church understands what he is talking about. Then how
someone who speaks tongues and doesn't understand them edifies himself? We can
ask one more question: why the same spirit which edifies me cannot edify neighbors?
The answer is evident - because he does not understand the tongue. The conclusion
is that edifying is possible only with understanding of the tongue!
3. Let's examine one more verse: 1Cor.14:5 "I would that ye all speak with
tongues, but rather that ye prophesied: for greater is he that prophesies than
he that speaketh with tongues, except he interprets, that the church may receive
edifying." The gift of tongues is equal to prophesying only if the speaker
will explain what he said (that the church may receive edifying). Thanks God that
when someone speaks tongues he understands everything and can tell others about
what he spoke with God!
4. "There 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." 1Cor.14:10-11. In these verses it is said about my attitude
to the one who speaks other tongues, be it spirit or human. If he doesn't understand
me or I don't understand him, we are barbarians to each other. If a spirit talks
through me whose speech I cannot understand, then who is he for me, compatriot
or barbarian? And if I think that I'm the citizen of God's Kingdom, than which
kingdom's citizen is this spirit?
5. ("For if I pray in an unknown tongue, my spirit prayeth, but my understanding
is unfruitful." 1Cor 14:14).
5.1 In what meaning my understanding is unfruitful? And in common, what is the
fruit of understanding? Understanding brings fruit when it produces ideas, but
if it only listens to some information it stays without personal fruit, taking
it from another source. Some people say that, when I pray in tongue, my spirit
prays but my understanding doesn't take part in it. This scheme would be ok in
case of not understanding the tongue. Let's look from the other side. When I pray
in tongue, words come from the Holy Spirit and through my spirit are expressed
by my mouth, and my understanding edifies itself, understanding the tongue, but
it stays without fruit because the fruit of understanding are thoughts, born by
this understanding. And the other tongue is, as we know, thoughts, born not by
my understanding but by the Holy Spirit.
5.2 Verse 1Cor.14:14 is the favorite argument of those who use tongues, by which
they prove not understandability of the tongue. But as we say above, words "understanding
stays unfruitful" are connected not with my understanding but with understanding
of "he that occupies the room of the unlearned" (1Cor.14:16). It means
that everything is clear for me when I pray with the spirit. But by praying with
my understanding I give "him that occupies the room of the unlearned"
the possibility to say "Amen" on my prayer. And if I can make the unlearned
to understand my prayer, then of course it is understandable for me.
5.3 Let's imagine that "understanding is unfruitful" means that there
is no fruit in my understanding (the word "fruit" in the Scripture carries
the idea to bring it for another, not for you). Let's imagine that it proves that
the tongue can be not understandable for the speaker. But it is possible only
for several seconds because the next verse refutes such an admission. Paul asks:
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.
It is the exit from situation "understanding without fruit". That's
why even if Pentecostals and charismatics are basing a not understandable for
themselves tongue by the previous verse, then Paul himself offers them the exit:
pray with your understanding and the fruit will appear, and everyone who stands
near will understand you.
5.4 Praying "with the understanding" means to praying, understandable
for the unlearned. That means that praying is not in tongues because the unlearned
has no gift of interpretation the same as the praying one. It means that whether
you keep silence if there is no interpreter, or you pray the way the others could
(So, any meaning that you have about words "Understanding stays unfruitful",
it doesn't justify the lack of understanding of the speaker).
6. ("For if you give a blessing with the spirit, how will the man who has
no knowledge say, So be it, after your prayer, seeing that he has not taken in
what you are saying?" 1Cor.14:16). In this verse we see that we cannot say
"Amen" after something was said if we don't understand the tongue of
the speaker. However, it also related to the speaker. It means that if a man is
praying in another tongue and does not understand what he is saying, he has no
right to say "Amen" ever after his own words.
GIFT OF INTERPRETATION.
Those who use tongues does not agree with the arguments above because as if
someone has this gift he is supposed pray for the gift of interpretation (1Cor.14:13),
it means that he does not understand anything. If his own using tongues was understandable
for himself, that he wouldn't need any gift of interpretation? It is a good counterargument,
but at the same moment it is an argument against them. Let's start with the following,
it is offered the speaker to pray for the gift of interpretation, but for whom?
For himself? It would be interesting to see how it looks like in practice. Someone
speaks tongues and interprets at once. If it was told to the speaker to pray to
gain this gift of interpretation right after the gift of using tongues, then Paul
wouldn't tell the speaker to keep silence in the church (if there is no interpreter),
but he would repeat that it's time to have the gift of interpretation. Paul says:
"to another different sorts of tongues; and to another the power of making
clear the sense of the tongues". (So, we need to accept that God gives an
imperfect gift which needs to be completed and perfected? James says: "Every
good and true thing is given to us from heaven, coming from the Father of lights,
with whom there is no change or any shade made by turning.") And even if
we agree that the gift or interpretation is needed for the speaker, we would see
an interesting argument that once in life of a speaker comes the moment when he
starts to understand his tongue. Also, the following fact is interesting - God
replies to their prayers and they get baptizing with sign in tongues (when it
is for unbelievers) but doesn't reply to Paul's offer (praying for the gift of
interpretation). There is no place where we could read that we should pray for
the gaining of the gift of using tongues, but everyone prays about it and have
it. But the clear command - pray for the gift of interpretation - passes unnoticed
for the spiritual life of those who have the gift of using tongues. (Of course,
this command is given to pray for the gift of interpretation for someone else,
because simultaneous using tongues and interpretation is impossible. There is
another possibility for this which is called explanation. It means that after
someone speaks tongues, he can explain the words he told in another tongue in
his own words to edify church.): "He who makes use of tongues may do good
to himself; but he who gives the prophet's word does good to the church. Now though
it is my desire for you all to have the power of tongues, it would give me more
pleasure to be hearing the prophet's word from you; for this is a greater thing
than using tongues, if the sense is not given at the same time, for the good of
the church" (1Cor.14:4-5). The prophesying one edify the church, the speaking
one cannot do this because he cannot be understood. But after he gains edifying
himself, he can edify others by explaining of his words. It is written before
the offering of a prayer for the gift of interpretation. So, it is confirmed once
again that the gift of interpretation is needed for the others, who don't understand
the speaking one. Let's imagine for a moment as if the offering for the speaking
one to pray for the gift of interpretation is addressed to himself, not to someone
from the church. It would be a great egoism, because this gift is edifying the
speaker already, but as if he must gain one more gift to understand himself. Also,
this sign is not for believers and it appears that a believer who got the sign,
not assigned for him (but which he uses for himself) must gain something more
and again for himself!! The gift of interpretation is needed for someone from
the church for the church to get edifying while the speaking one speaks.
TWO KINDS OF TONGUES?
Are there really two kinds of using tongues? Is using tongues different to
speaking on the Pentecost? For this we should scrutinize and understand the Scripture
in relation with words: sign and tongues.
The gift is given to believers, the sign affects several times and is related
with unbelievers (also it can be related with believers in connection with some
sides of his life), repeating of a sign is connected with perseverance of some
unbelief. Also we understand that any sign is made by God directly or through
His children. For example, Gideon and Jonah. They got signs from God in their
lives. One of them even asked twice. Another one explained the sign, assigned
to him (the flower), that God will destroy Nineveh. But God talked to him by this
sign, saying that He loves Nineveh, because there are the same people as he is
(But Jonah didn't want to permit that God of Israel also loves heathens). Of course,
repeating of the sign would say that people are stubborn in their unbelief.
A sign was shown to Peter three times to strongly record this lesson in his mind.
Ii would be inconceivable, if the sign continued repeating constantly in his life
and activities. In the same way using tongues becomes apparent in Acts three times
(2, 10, 19) for the church of the first apostles, the same as for all other churches.
Until this truth was learnt and not more. If using tongues was so actual today,
as many people think, then also visions shouldn't be less actual. Who from the
church made of all nations, tribes and languages need a sign that Christ's body
is made of all nations, tribes and languages? Briefly: Through seeing vile animals,
Peter taught Israelites the same things that using tongues taught. Israelites
didn't want to believe that the way of salvation, entrance to God of Israel is
opened for heathens also, whose tongue was miraculously expressed by the Holy
Let's follow several arguments of the Scriptures which prove that there is the
only one kind of using tongues:
1. "In the law it is said, By men of other tongues and by strange lips will
my words come to this people; and not even so will they give ear to me, says the
Lord. For this reason tongues are for a sign, not to those who have faith, but
to those who have not: but the prophet's word is for those who have faith, and
not for the rest who have not." 1Cor.14:21-22. The argument is given by Paul
himself - he says that tongues are signs (because there is no separate gift of
tongues and sign of tongues)! So, tongues are sign which carries a revelation
for people relating to their unbelief. That's exactly what we said above. The
sign is related to someone's unbelief. It is given to believers as a gift which
is the sign but not two separate things.
2. Paul quotes the Old Testament: "In the law it is said, By men of other
tongues and by strange lips will my words come to this people; and not even so
will they give ear to me, says the Lord." 1Cor.14:21. Where did it take place?
On Pentecost! And where Paul says about it? In his message to Corinthians, not
in Acts. The explanation of events from Acts goes to Corinthians. That's why the
tongues of Acts and messages are the same. Enumeration of the gift of tongues
along with other signs doesn't double it. Charismatics refer to Mark 16 where
is written: "And these signs will be with those who have faith: in my name
they will send out evil spirits; and they will make use of new languages; They
will take up snakes, and if there is poison in their drink, it will do them no
evil; they will put their hands on those who are ill, and they will get well."
Enumeration of the gift of tongues along with signs mentioned above is the conclusion
that there is the gift of tongues, mentioned in Cor.12 and the sign, got by a
believer in the moment of baptizing by the Spirit, mentioned by Mark. There are
also tongues of Pentecost which were understandable for many people and tongues
of Corinth, not understandable for anyone (even for the speaking one). If we make
such conclusions only because somewhere enumeration of tongues goes separately
only with signs, then we may uphold Jehovah's Witnesses. With the same argument
they refute the Personality of the Holy Spirit. Because the Holy Spirit is enumerated
along with lifeless things. Somewhere it is said that you'll be baptized by the
Holy Spirit, somewhere by the Holy Spirit and fire. Such an enumeration doesn't
double the Holy Spirit and He stays the same. Mentioned on a level with Father
and Son He doesn't become another when mentioned together with fire!
3. (Testimony of the book's author) With help of symphony I put down all verses,
related to using tongues and didn't miss any. I've found about 30 of them. Then
I took Greek text. In all these verses is used the same expression. It is completely
clear that if using tongues from messages was different to using on Pentecost,
they would have different designations. But they didn't. Luke, the author of the
book of Acts in the second chapter use the same words as Paul in 12th, 13th and
14th chapter of message to Corinthians. I think that if these two kinds of using
tongues were different, Luke would designate them with two different words. In
fact, Acts were written after the message to Corinthians. This message of Paul
circulated among churches and was familiar to Luke. Also, Luke was Paul's fellow
traveler in many of his journeys. So, if using tongues about which speaks Luke
was different to using tongues about which speaks Paul, Luke would definitely
marked it out to avoid any mess. But it is not so. The same as Paul, he uses one
and the same word, speaking about the same. In both cases this word is "glassa".
"IF I DON'T SEE, I WILL NOT BELIEVE" - "IF YOU DON'T
BELIEVE, YOU WILL NOT SEE".
In Charismatic an Pentecostal circles there is an opinion that baptizing by
the Holy Spirit must be accompanied by the sign of using tongues or other outer
display like fallings (because how can we know that someone is baptized by the
Holy Spirit?). Somewhere people approach this question fundamentally, somewhere
not. The main proof is that in several places of the Holy Scriptures is written
that everyone used tongues, what proved that they received the Spirit. Today relating
to baptizing by the Spirit new indications were added - fallings. Concerning tongues,
when we scrutinize this question we can make a conclusion that they were given
to "this people" (Jewish) relating to their unbelief that salvation
have all the tongues. Of course, this is a controversial point for some people,
but the fact that even in apostles' times as if indication of baptizing by the
Spirit started to cease to be the indication is clear from Paul questions: is
everyone a prophet? No. Does everybody use tongues? No. One is a prophet, another
one use tongues, the third one explains tongues. All these outer displays say
that something supernatural happens to a man. Can we today consider fallings or
the sign of tongues a God's indication? We can make a conclusion after examining
of God's acts.
The problem is that some of those who like to quote that in later times God will
give more grace and more shedding of the Spirit and forget to quote one more verse:
(antichrist and his servants) will give such signs that even the chosen will be
charmed. The problem of as if baptized is that other denominations of Christianity
which are not definitely with Christ (Catholics, Orthodox) take away from them
strong proof , but they also use tongues and FALL!
Paul says: "FOR WE ARE WALKING BY FAITH, NOT BY SEEING…" 2Cor.5:7. Let's
recall Thomas who said: If I don't see I will not believe. You stand in front
of a man and say: "Prove that you're baptized by the Spirit". And of
course, you want him to start using tongues. You cannot do as Thomas did? He saw
and believed. We have the truth in the Bible and God who speaks to His children
and opens secrets. If you have doubts whether a brother by the Spirit stands near
you of a liar, you have the way of belief: MY SHEEP GIVE EAR TO MY VOICE, they
won't listen to other voices. You say that you have the Spirit, but if the Spirit
is in you, what for do you need a sign that He is in someone else? Or we are the
same unbelieving Israelites who cannot permit that other people who don't have
something that I have or not "falling" cannot get salvation?
Tongues are not a sign for believers! Especially fallings. When Jesus healed possessed
ones, people understood that those came to themselves. But here people from the
world can understand the opposite, someone becomes beside himself.
"AND THE SPIRITS OF THE PROPHETS ARE CONTOLLED BY THE PROPHETS"
A very important principle is expressed here. If we read between lines we
can suppose that Corinthians had incorrect idea that the more a man is controlled
by the Holy Spirit, the more he cannot control himself. Under influence of the
Spirit they entered condition of heightened delight and thought, as God marks,
that the more spiritual they have, the less they give account of their activities
and words. They thought that a man under the influence of the Spirit is in condition
of a certain drift, that's why he cannot control contents and duration of his
speech, his activities. In this verse we see a well-founded disproof if this idea.
The spirit of the prophet is controlled by the prophet. It means that the prophet
never loses his consciousness and doesn't go against his will. He cannot deviate
from admonitions stated in this chapter on a simple base that he just can do nothing
with himself. He is in condition to determine when he can speak and how long.