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In the gift of tongues, one simply continues to speak the words and sounds coming into their mind, trusting God is prompting them, and He understands what they say, and that in the Spirit what we say is perfectly appropriate for the moment. Is it possible that one could speak in tongues, and without knowing, say the most horrible blasphemies? No, it is not possible. Paul began this whole section on spiritual gifts with the principle: Therefore I make known to you that no one speaking by the Spirit of God calls Jesus accursed 1 Corinthians Also, Jesus reminded us: For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.

If a son asks for bread from any father among you, will he give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent instead of a fish? Or if he asks for an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!


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We can also remember another general principle relating to the gifts of the Holy Spirit: And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets 1 Corinthians The Holy Spirit does not make us do strange, bizarre things. He will never make someone shout in tongues, or speak in tongues in a strange manner, though they may do it on their own initiative. But they should never credit or blame the Holy Spirit for what they have added. What is the conclusion then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will also pray with the understanding. I will sing with the spirit, and I will also sing with the understanding.

For you indeed give thanks well, but the other is not edified. I thank my God I speak with tongues more than you all; yet in the church I would rather speak five words with my understanding, that I may teach others also, than ten thousand words in a tongue.

35 Kenneth Hagin How to be led by the Spirit 1

I will sing with the spirit, I will also sing with the understanding : Paul will use the gift of tongues, both in prayer and in song, and he will use it often. Yet in the church I would rather speak five words with my understanding… than ten thousand words in a tongue.

Paul here makes reference to how we can sing in the spirit. God can give us the freedom to exercise the gift of tongues in a melodic way, so it flows in with worship. However, based on the principles in this chapter, if this is done, it should never be done in a way that would draw attention to itself or distract others. This practice, soberly and piously conducted, might still be of great use in the Church of Christ.

You indeed give thanks well, but the other is not edified : Paul is completely consistent in his emphasis on tongues being directed to God. Just in this passage, he points out what we do with the gift of tongues: we pray , we sing , we bless , and we give thanks. All of these we do unto the Lord, not unto man, with the gift of tongues. I thank my God I speak with tongues more than you all : In this we see that Paul saw great value in the gift of tongues for his own devotional life before the Lord: Yet, when he gathered with other Christians, his concern was to be a blessing, not with getting a blessing.

Brethren, do not be children in understanding; however, in malice be babes, but in understanding be mature. In the law it is written:. Therefore tongues are for a sign, not to those who believe but to unbelievers; but prophesying is not for unbelievers but for those who believe. Therefore if the whole church comes together in one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in those who are uninformed or unbelievers, will they not say that you are out of your mind?

But if all prophesy, and an unbeliever or an uninformed person comes in, he is convicted by all. And thus the secrets of his heart are revealed; and so, falling down on his face, he will worship God and report that God is truly among you.

Speaking in tongues for edification

Do not be children in understanding : In their selfish desire to edify themselves at the expense of others in the meeting, the Corinthians showed themselves to be children , and selfishly immature. Paul points them to a higher call. In the law it is written : Paul here quotes from Isaiah In Isaiah 28, the prophet Isaiah announces judgment to the people of Israel. They did not receive the word of the prophets who spoke to them in Hebrew, so now they will hear the voice of men with other tongues and other lips.

The Assyrian invaders spoke a language the Israelites could not understand, and it was an example of judgment to the Israelites. Therefore tongues are for a sign : In the Isaiah 28 passage, tongues were a sign of judgment upon the Israelites. Foreigners who spoke in unknown tongues invaded their country. Paul is saying that today also, tongues are for a sign.

Public Speaking Depending On The Holy Spirit (1)

In Isaiah 28, the strange tongues were not a blessing, but a curse. Not to those who believe but to unbelievers; but prophesying is not for unbelievers but for those who believe : Here, the straight reading of the text presents one of the most difficult passages in the New Testament. In the straight reading of the text, Paul is plainly saying tongues is a sign to unbelievers , and prophecy is a sign for those who believe. The problem comes when we see what Paul says in 1 Corinthians First, that if unbelievers hear tongues in a meeting, they will not be blessed, but will say that you are out of your mind.

Second, if unbelievers hear prophecy and are convicted in their hearts, their reaction may be to worship God and report that God is truly among you.

So, in 1 Corinthians , Paul seems to indicate that tongues are not beneficial in ministering to unbelievers, while prophecy is beneficial to unbelievers. So, how then can tongues be a sign to unbelievers , and prophecy be a sign better suited for those who believe? There seems to be a contradiction between 1 Corinthians and 1 Corinthians Perhaps Paul is saying that tongues are indeed a sign to unbelievers, but not a positive sign. In this way, tongues indeed are a sign to unbelievers , but it is a sign that condemns them as they regard tongues speakers as being out of their minds.


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Others have thought that the real problem here is an error made by someone who copied the verse very early in the history of the Bible. For example, respected translator J. It is important to note that Phillips does not believe the Holy Spirit made an error, but he believes that a copier of what the Holy Spirit inspired made the error.

The Voice in Speech and Song

A good principle of understanding the Bible is always to interpret what is hard to understand in light of what is easier to understand. It is also easy to see that prophecy could convict the heart of an unbeliever, causing them to repent, and to worship God and report that God is truly among you. Tongues do nothing to bring the unbeliever closer to God; they may instead turn him off. We also can understand that this is not the primary reason for the gift of tongues. They are not mainly intended by God to be a sign to unbelievers.

But how much better if you were to emphasize prophecy instead of tongues, then everyone could be blessed, believer and unbeliever together! Many come to a unique conviction from the Holy Spirit in this manner. How is it then, brethren? Whenever you come together, each of you has a psalm, has a teaching, has a tongue, has a revelation, has an interpretation.

Let all things be done for edification.

Questions about the Baptism in the Holy Spirit

Whenever you come together : Paul is writing here, as in the previous portion of the chapter, of the conduct of the Corinthian Christians when they come together for fellowship and the Word. Each of you has a psalm, has a teaching, has a tongue, has a revelation, has an interpretation : Paul sees the gathering of the church as a time when people come to participate and to give to one another, not merely to passively receive. We can easily picture how this dynamic would work among the Corinthian Christians.

They would, out of necessity, meet in small groups in different homes. As they would meet in these small groups, there would be a freedom and a responsibility to not only receive but to give.


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  7. So, one might give by reading or singing a psalm. Another might offer a word of teaching. Someone might pray in a tongue , along with an interpretation. In a small, home-fellowship type setting, this is how the church should work together. Among ten people, ten can share something with all the other ten. It can be there among ten people, but how much more among a hundred people!