1. The gift is listed at 1 Cor. 12:10: kinds of languages

A. genos: neuter plural noun which means class or kind = "kinds"
B. of glossa: feminine plural noun which means language = "languages"

2. It is Divine ability to speak in a foreign language that you do not know or understand. Acts 2:4; 1 Cor. 14:13-14

3. It is a sign gift but different from the miracle type signs.

A. The miracle signs draw attention to the teaching of the Word. This has always been the purpose of miracles; Both Old and New Testaments.

B. The gift of tongues is a sign to the unbelievers of the nation of Israel as God's evangelistic agency from The Exodus to the cross. 1 Cor. 14:21-22; Mt. 21:43

4. Background to Israel's replacement:

A. Israel was appointed by God to be the evangelistic agent from the Exodus to the cross. Phase 1 fulfillment to Abraham.
Rom. 9.4-5; Is. 41.8-9; 43.7, 10; 49.3; Ex. 19.5-6; Deut. 5.1-3; 7.6; Ps. 118.1-4

See Topic: DISPENSATIONS: Summary

B. Included in this appointment was discipline for failure. Lev. 25:55-26.46
And temporary replacement if they do not recover.
Deut. 32:21; Mt. 21:42-46; Rom. 10:19

C. The nation's ultimate failure occurred in the generation of the Messiah (4 BC - 70 AD)

1. The church became the replacement evangelistic agent. 1 Pet. 2:4-10

2. And Israel was turned over to hardness of heart until the church age is completed. Rom. 11:25

5. The gift of tongues was a sign of this replacement act by God.
Is. 28:9-17; 1 Cor. 14:20-22

A. The baptism of the Holy Spirit is the mechanics of forming the new evangelistic body since it is not a physical nation but a spiritual entity made up of physical people. 1 Cor. 12:13; Eph. 2:13-22

B. Because of this, it was necessary to have a formal manifestation of the Spirit for the 4 groups of people involved.
Jewish, Samaritan, Gentiles and NEW Testament "Jewish age" believers.

C. So at the beginning of the church age in 30 AD, the formal arrival of the Holy Spirit and the gift of tongues occurred together in order to correlate the end of the old priestly body (evangelistic agent) and the formation of the new.

D. After the four "formal" arrivals of the Spirit, the issue of the

change is clear and there is no need for further "arrivals."

E. As the revelation of the new priestly house (body) progressed, the general pattern for receiving the Holy Spirit was established. Acts 19:2; cf. 1 Cor. 12:13; Rom. 8:9

F. The transition period between the old and the new agents extends from 30 AD to 70 AD, the fall of Jerusalem. Accordingly, the gift of tongues continues during this time as a personal message to each unbelieving Jew of his 2 choices. 1 Cor. 14:22

1. Blessing through identification with the new priestly house (church).

2. Cursing through identification with the old house (Jewish nation).

G. The issue of this choice is removed when the 5th cycle of discipline hits Israel (See Topic: Discipline, 5 cycles).
Therefore, the gift of tongues ceased shortly before 70 AD. 1 Cor. 13:8
(The gift of tongues is not mentioned in scripture after 60 AD)

6. However, as in the case of all the sign and miracle gifts, there is the hazard of believers using tongues as the object of religious and emotional rationale. Therefore, misuse and abuse.

A. Over emphasis to the neglect of other gifts. 1 Cor. 14:28
B. Attempt to require it for all believers as a sign of spirituality. 1 Cor. 12:30
(all this does is cause a jibberish Imitation)

C. Emotional involvement to the exclusion of edification. 1 Cor. 14:4, 12-19

D. Over emphasis that rejects its true purpose. 1 Cor. 14:20-22

E. Over emphasis that causes chaos and disorder. 1 Cor. 14:26-33, 40

F. Emotional involvement that counterfeits the gift in women.
1 Cor. 14:34-35 (also causes a jibberish Imitation).

G. All of these things were done when the gift existed.
Today, you have the same perversions taking place with the difference that the true gift is not even available.

1. No need for it (its purpose was fulfilled prior to 70 AD).

2. Women never had it.
3. It was never disorderly
4. When it did exist, it was given by the Holy Spirit.
5. It was never to be worked for, waited for or sought after.

7. The Interpretation of Tongues: this is a separate gift from tongues although it is directly connected to the gift of tongues in the local assembly.

A. The gift is listed as a separate gift at 1 Cor. 12:10, 30.

B. 1 Cor. 14:5, Now I wish that you all spoke in tongues, but {even} more that you would prophesy; and greater is one who prophesies than one who speaks in tongues, UNLESS HE INTERPRETS, so that the church may receive edifying.

The idea of "he" interprets is explained in the context as being the activity of a separate person.

C. Unless there is content to the message; content that can be understood by the hearers because it is communicated in a REAL language in the four categories of instruction, there is no benefit.

D. 1 Cor. 14:9, So also you, unless you utter by the tongue speech that is clear, how will it be known what is spoken? For you will be speaking into the air.

E. 1 Cor. 12:13, "Therefore let one who speaks in a tongue pray that he may interpret."

However, the person who does the speaking is not the one who does the interpretation. 1 Cor. 14:27-28

If anyone speaks in a tongue, {it should be} by two or at the most three, and {each} in turn, and let one interpret; BUT IF THERE IS NO INTERPRETER, let him keep silent in the church; and let him speak to himself and to God.

F. In the same way that the gift of tongues was not a gift that women possessed, so also, the interpretation would not be given by a woman.

8. The Corinthian Problem

A. Background: The Mystery cults:

1. Concerning the expression of tongues:
The Theological Dictionary of the New Testament. Vol. 1, page 722

"Parallels may be found for this phenomenon in various forms and at various periods and places in religious history."

2. "In Greek religion there is a series of comparable phenomena from the enthusiastic cult of the Thracian Dionysus to the divinatory manticism of the Delphic Phrygia."

3. Page 723, "The unintelligible lists of magical names and letters in the magic papyrus which are used in the invoking and conjuring of gods and spirits may also be analogous to this obscure and meaningless speaking with tongues. With these mystical Divine names, etc, in which there are echos of all the various oriental languages, we may certainly couple the view that they derive from supraterrestrial tongues used by the gods and spirits in heaven, each class having its peculiar voice or dialect."

4. Summary: The practice in these cults was to farce oneself into an emotional or physical frenzy through drinking or dancing or chanting and singing. This produced a semi-conscious, self-hypnotic condition in which an unintelligible ecstatic gibberish would be uttered. They considered this speaking the language of the gods and angels and therefore was the ultimate in earthly spiritual communion.


B. Analysis of the Problem:

1. The Corinthian church had all the gifts functional: 1 Cor. 1.7

2. Proper doctrinal foundation: v. 1.5-6; 2.1-5

3. but they moved into emotional slavery.
v. 1.12; 3.3; 6.5-8; 2 Cor. 6.11-12

4. They observed the similarity of tongues to their past practices in the mystery cults, which practices had the highest value in the cults.

5. So it was very natural to transfer that value to the spiritual gift of tongues.

a. emotional attraction
b. caters to individual pride

6. But there were problems.

a. In the mystery cults, everyone performed the activity of tongues.
b. But the spiritual gift of tongues is limited.

1. Not all have it
2. women did not have it
3. It was very infrequently used. its rank: a lesser gift.
Its purpose: to unbelieving Jews.

7. So because of this pseudo-value placed on tongues everyone wanted to do it just as in the mystery cults.

8. But since they could not a false activity developed to give the appearance of the gift.

a. emotional self-hypnosis produced a verbal gibberish that imitated the true gift.

b. The mental desire to do it, plus emotional and peer pressure enabled everyone to create their own language.

9. The result was verbal chaos in the services and a de-emphasis on doctrinal instruction. Therefore, no edification.

8. The activity in Rom. 8:26-27 in not the gift of tongues or any kind of private prayer language. It is the personal and silent communication of the Holy Spirit with The Father on their own spiritual plane of infinite perfection and equality.

9. See detailed analysis of 1 Corinthians 13 and 1 Corinthians 14.

10. See BOOK: The biblical View of the Gift of Languages


Return to Spiritual Gifts Index




İRon Wallace, http://www.biblefragrances.com. Anyone is free to reproduce this material and distribute it,
but it may not be sold under any circumstances whatsoever without the author's consent.


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