Scripture clearly fulfills itself today in that confusion still exists regarding speaking in tongues. Many people see and visit charismatic congregations in which at a given time, many or all the people speak in tongues. Most often there is no interpretation. Those which are involved in the congregation leave feeling spiritually satisfied while those visiting often leave confused. Many times you hear through various media outlets that the onlookers think that these people are absolutely crazy.
Unfortunately there are also groups which try to distinguish themselves as more spiritual than another group because they speak in tongues. They must remember that in the congregation, the apex of Christianity is love, or charity. We do all things to edify one-another and bring comfort, not confusion.
Purpose of Tongues: The purpose was to glorify God in languages that could
be understood by those nationals, as a sign.
1And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.
2And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.
3And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.
4And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
5And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven.
6Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language.
7And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galilaeans?
8And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born?
9Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia,
10Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes,
11Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God.
And again in
43To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.
44While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word.
45And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost.
46For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God.
1And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples,
2He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost.
3And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John’s baptism.
4Then 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.
5When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.
6And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied.
1 Corinthians 12
1Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant.
2Ye know that ye were Gentiles, carried away unto these dumb idols, even as ye were led.
3Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.
4Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.
5And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord.
6And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all.
7But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.
8For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit;
9To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit;
10To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits;
to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the
interpretation of tongues:
11But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.
12For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.
13For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.
14For the body is not one member, but many.
15If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?
16And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?
17If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling?
18But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him.
19And if they were all one member, where were the body?
20But now are they many members, yet but one body.
21And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you.
22Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary:
23And those members of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness.
24For our comely parts have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honour to that part which lacked.
25That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another.
26And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it.
27Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.
28And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities
29Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles?
30Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all
31But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way.
1 Corinthians 13
1Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.
2And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.
3And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.
4Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,
5Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;
6Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;
7Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
8Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.
9For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.
10But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.
11When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
12For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.
13And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.
1 Corinthians 14
1Follow after charity, and desire spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may prophesy.
2For 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.
3But he that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort.
4He that speaketh in an unknown tongue edifieth himself; but he that prophesieth edifieth the church.
5I 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.
6Now, 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?
7And 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?
8For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle?
9So 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 air.
10There are, it may be, so many kinds of voices in the world, and none of them is without signification.
11Therefore 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.
12Even so ye, forasmuch as ye are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek that ye may excel to the edifying of the church.
13Wherefore let him that speaketh in an unknown tongue pray that he may interpret.
14For if I pray in an unknown tongue, my spirit prayeth, but my understanding is unfruitful.
15What 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.
16Else 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?
17For thou verily givest thanks well, but the other is not edified.
18I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than ye all:
19Yet 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.
20Brethren, be not children in understanding: howbeit in malice be ye children, but in understanding be men.
21In 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.
22Wherefore 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 believe.
23If 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?
24But if all prophesy, and there come in one that believeth not, or one unlearned, he is convinced of all, he is judged of all:
25And 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 truth.
26How 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 edifying.
27If 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.
28But if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the church; and let him speak to himself, and to God.
29Let the prophets speak two or three, and let the other judge.
30If any thing be revealed to another that sitteth by, let the first hold his peace.
31For ye may all prophesy one by one, that all may learn, and all may be comforted.
32And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets.
33For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.
34Let 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.
35And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.
36What? came the word of God out from you? or came it unto you only?
37If 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 Lord.
38But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant.
39Wherefore, brethren, covet to prophesy, and forbid not to speak with
40Let all things be done decently and in order.
So in these three chapters of 1 Corinthians, we understand that:
1) Tongues are given as God’s Spirit wills.
2) As the person speaks in tongues, they are speaking to God by giving thanks and telling of his wonderful acts.
3) These tongues are understood by outsiders which, by nationality, speak these languages. The manifestation of the Spirit is a sign to them to get thier attention so that the gospel may be preached and they might believe.
4) Within the congregation, tongues are not to be used unless there is someone which will interpret. If one interprets, everyone has understanding of what was spoken and can thank God, if not there will be confusion. Paul encourages the person that would speak in a tongue to withhold unless there is someone which can interpret. He can pray and speak to himself and to God.