Speaking in Tongues

There are three different purposes for the gift of speaking in tongues.  The gift can be a sign to unbelievers,  used for the edification of a group of believers, or for individual edification.  Edification basically means to strengthen our faith.

The sign to unbelievers is when an individual is given a message in a human language that the speaker does not known, but the listener, does know.  This is a powerful sign of God’s working.  It does not happen often, but there are still stories of it occurring from time to time.  (Acts 2:5-11)

The edification of a group of believers is when the gift of tongues is manifested in a group setting.  One person gives a message in tongues, then the same person, or someone else, gives a message in the common language, that is the interpretation of the tongues.  This is effectively two separate gifts, the gift of tongues, and the interpretation of tongues.  This gift is far more common than the first gift, but its frequency varies from group to group. (I Corinthians 14:26-28)

The edification of the individual is the most common form of this gift.  Although not all Christians do speak in tongues, I believe that it is a gift that is available to all who desire to receive it.  It is basically used as a prayer language, where we have the opportunity to pray with, or in, the Holy Spirit.   (I Corinthians 14:4)

Speaking in tongues is a wonderful gift of God that is still experienced by believers today even as it was in New Testament times.


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