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nChrist
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« on: April 01, 2008, 07:34:45 AM »

THE POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
SHOULD I SPEAK IN TONGUES

FROM:
THE POWER OF THE
HOLY SPIRIT
VOL 1
DON DeWELT


Since there is considerable difference of opinion on this particular gift, more discussion will be given on this one than any of the others.

Paul is the only writer of the twenty-one Epistles of the New Testament that mentions the gift of tongues. He wrote not a word on the subject to the churches at Rome, Ephesus, Colossae, Thessalonica, Philippi, or Galatia. It is not mentioned in Timothy, Titus, Philemon or other of Paul’s epistles. James does not mention it, neither does Peter in his two books, or John in his four books. This omission of reference to tongues seems strange indeed if the gift of tongues were an essential part of the Christian experience or was to be perpetuated in the church.

There is a Greek word used for tongues in the New Testament. This word is used in three senses, each of which might be a starting point to determine the meaning of the Charism, or “gift.”

1. Primarily and literally the word is used in reference to the bodily organ. From this meaning some see in the gift an inarticulate utterance, the cry as of a brute creature in which the tongue moves while the lips refuse their office in making the sounds definite and distinct. This interpretation does not answer any of the facts of its usage in the New Testament.

2. The term may stand for the use of foreign words imparted. and half naturalized in Greek. This would be in accordance with the Greek meaning of “glossary”. According to this usage then, the gift of tongues is speaking in highly poetic language. The speakers were in a great state of excitement and expressed themselves in mystic, figurative terms. To say that this sense forms the basis for the New Testament usage of the term, one would fail to recognize that the sense of the word in the New Testament was more likely to be determined by that which it bore in the Septuagint rather than by its meaning in the Greek historians or rhetoricians. This sense also fails to meet the phenomena of the second chapter of Acts.

3. The third use of the word comes from the Hellenistic Greek which corresponds to the Hebrew word lashoue which stands for speech and language, Genesis 10:5; Daniel 1:4. This sense most likely serves as a basis for the New Testament usage. This would make the gift of tongues the ability to speak in earthly languages.’

The New Testament provides the following references to the gift of tongues:

1. Acts 2:4, 6, 11, The gift here occurred on the day of Pentecost at the establishment of the church. The gift here seems to be one of the fulfillments of the prophecy of Joel (Joel 2:20; Acts 2:16).

2. Mark 16:17, The speaking in new tongues is one of the signs promised to follow those who believe. Too much emphasis, however, must not be put on the word “new” because some ancient authorities omit it.

3. Acts 10:46, The gift of tongues here was manifested at the inauguration of the Gospel to the Gentiles at the Household of Cornelius. On the day of Pentecost, the gift of speaking with tongues was used by the Jews in the presence of Jews and proselytes only, but here it is used by Gentiles in the presence of Jewish Christians. The purpose for the gift of tongues here seems to have been to show that God approved the giving of the Gospel to the Gentiles. It is known that the manifestation of tongues here was the same as on Pentecost from Peter’s rehearsal of this incident to the Jewish brethren at Jerusalem in Acts 11, especially 11:15, “And as I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell on them, even as on us at the beginning.” Both came as a result of the baptism of the Holy Spirit.

4. Acts 19:6, The gift of tongues was given here to the twelve at Ephesus through the laying on of the hands of the apostle Paul. This gift seems to have been proof of their acceptance of God and also emphasized that John’s baptism at that date was invalid.

5. I Corinthians 12:1-10, 30, The gift here was manifested in the public assembly of the church at Corinth. The gift here always needed an interpreter to make the meaning clear to others.

6. I Corinthians 13:8, Here Paul simply states that the gifts of tongues shall cease. In this same chapter in verse one, he states that the gift of tongues is inferior to love. 1ldea taken from McClintock and Strong, op. cit. vl. 10, p. 479

7. I Corinthians 14:2; 26-32, This reference shows that the gift was liable to abuse and misuse. A description of the proper use of this gift is given. Also it is shown here that tongues are of secondary importance to prophecy, and that they are for a sign not to them that believe, but to the unbelieving. Two important differences should be noted in the Corinthian Glossolalia (the transliteration of the Greek for the gift of tongues) and the Pentecostal Glossolalia. The tongues on Pentecost did not require an interpreter whereas the Corinthian tongues did. The Pentecostal tongues were intelligible languages spoken to man, whereas the Corinthian tongues were spoken to God. (I Corinthians 14:2, “For he that speaketh in a tongue speaketh not unto men, but unto God; for no man understandeth, but in the spirit he speaketh mysteries.”)
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« Reply #1 on: April 01, 2008, 07:36:48 AM »

THE POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
SHOULD I SPEAK IN TONGUES

There are two major opinions held respecting the gift of tongues. One, that it was what it seemed by its nature designed to be, a means of propagating the Gospel. The tongues were different earthly languages. The other opinion is that it was never used for the purpose of propagating the Gospel, but was used as a means for expressing devotion. It was an ecstatic utterance in an unintelligible jargon which was not for instruction and edification, but for adoration, wonder, and worship.

We quote noted commentators for both of these opinions. Arguments for the opinion that the gift of tongues was an ecstatic utterance are noted first:

“To speak with tongues is the gift of men who, rapt in ecstasy and no longer quite masters of their own reason and consciousness, pour forth their glowing spiritual emotions in strange utterances, rugged, dark, disconnected, quite unfitted to instruct or to influence the minds of others. The origin of the expression is apparently to be found in the fact that in Hebrew the tongue is spoken of as the leading instrument by which the praises of God are proclaimed. Psalms 34; 65:17; 125:2. The plural seems to refer to the various motions of the tongue.”1

“Speaking in tongues is an utterance proceeding from a state of unconscious ecstasy in the speaker and unintelligible to the hearer unless interpreted. It is an involuntary psalm like a prayer or song uttered from a spiritual trance; and in a peculiar language inspired by the Holy Spirit. This gift has nothing to do with the spread of the gospel among foreign peoples and in foreign languages, but purely an act of worship for the edification of the speaker himself, and indirectly through interpretation for the hearers. It appeared in the house of Cornelius and in the Corinthian church as a means of edification for believers.”2

“The gift of tongues is the supreme spirit of the ecstatic utterer encompassed and penetrated by the Holy Spirit in adorning raptures of super-natural prayer soaring beyond the range of the rational apprehension, which fails to find its natural expression in speech (rational speech) or in logos begotten of spirit; accordingly it indeed is speech engendered of the mind, but in a tongue created of the spirit. One thing seems certain, that this extemporised creation and irrepressible utterance of unknown tongues was quite distinct from the speaking in foreign languages.”3

“Speaking in tongues had nothing to do with spread of the Gospel. It was an act of self devotion, an act of thanksgiving, praying, and singing within the Christian congregation by individuals who were wholly absorbed in communion with God and gave utterances to raptured feelings in broken, abrupt, rhapsodic, unintelligible words. It was emotional, not intellectual. It was the language of excited imagination, not of cool reflection. It was the language of the spirit of ecstasy as distinct from the language of understanding. The speaker was in a state of spiritual intoxication. ‘His tongue was a lyre on which the divine spirit played celestial chimes.’ He was unconscious, or only half conscious, and scarcely knew whether he was in body or out of body. To the unbeliever it sounded like a barbarous tongue, an uncertain sound of a trumpet, like a raving of a maniac.”’

“The Pentecostal glossolalia cannot have been essentially different from the Corinthian. It was an act of worship, of thanksgiving and praise. The glossolalia began before the spectators arrived, before there was necessity of using foreign tongues.
‘Thayer, J. H., Greek English Lexicon of New Testament; pg. 118
2Schaff, Philip, op. cit. p. 438
3lbid, p. 438
...........
‘Cook, F. C., O~. cit. vl. 3, p. 333

There was no need for foreign tongues since conquest of Alexander the Great. The Greek language was generally understood throughout the Roman empire, and the apostles scarcely ever needed any other. Greek was used by all the writers of the New Testament, even by James of Jerusalem, and in a way which shows that they had learnt it like other people, by early training and practice. There is no trace of miraculous knowledge of language after Pentecost.”2

“At Corinth no one understood the tongue, not even the speaker himself, for it seems to have been a rhapsody, an uncontrolled ecstatic outburst, and in case there was no one to interpret or explain it, the speaker was to hold his peace . .
2Schaff, Philip, op. cit. vi. 3, p. 333
3lbid, p. 237
..........
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« Reply #2 on: April 01, 2008, 07:39:15 AM »

THE POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
SHOULD I SPEAK IN TONGUES

Answer These Questions

1. What does the fact that Paul is the only writer of the twenty-one Epistles to mention the gift of tongues indicate?

2. How does the second definition of the term “tongues” fail to meet the phenomena of the second chapter of Acts?

3. What is the third use of the word “tongues”?

4. There are seven references to the use of “tongues” in the New Testament. Please discuss in your own words three of the references.

5. What are the two opinions held respecting the gift of tongues?
..........
“The tongues of this account cannot have signified the power to speak strange languages in missionary preaching, as many have inferred from the terms used in the account of the manifestation of the day of Pentecost. The Greek word implies that this ecstatic phenomenon was far from uniform; the new tongues of Mark 16:17 together with indications of Chapter 13:1 and 14 of this epistle, point to the breaking out of an exalted and mystical utterance varied at different times and places in its mode and attendant conditions, and in the impression it produced on the hearers.”1
1Nicoll, W. R., The Expositors Greek New Testament, I Corinthians, II p. 889
..........
“The word tongue does- not do full justice to the Greek original. The Greek word indicates the speaking tongue, the tongue in action. Paul speaks of Christians who received an extraordinary gift of the Holy Spirit, a charisma, to speak or to understand a language which did not have the ordinary human characteristics, a special language formed by the Spirit, unintelligible for ordinary people. The speaking in tongues, therefore, is the speaking of a miraculous spiritual language that had its own sounds. It cannot be determined whether ‘kinds’ refers to the contents or to the sounds. More than one says this miraculous language was the language spoken in paradise.”2

“It so happened that here on this occasion at Pentecost there were Jews from all parts of the world, so that someone would understand one tongue and some another without an interpreter such as was needed at Corinth. These tongues are identical in all four cases. They are not for edification or instruction, but for adoration and worship.”3
2lnternational Coin mentary, I Corinthians, p. 288
3Robertson, A. T., Word Pictures in New Testament; Acts vi. 3
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« Reply #3 on: April 01, 2008, 07:41:29 AM »

THE POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
SHOULD I SPEAK IN TONGUES

Next will be considered arguments for the other opinion, that tongues were different earthly languages. The following quotations from prominent commentators seem to sustain this position: “Some say that new tongues mean ‘unheard of’ heavenly language, not earthly tongues. This adjective, ‘new’ never means new in the sense of ‘unheard of.’ This is the sense of the Greek word, an adjective never applied to the gift of tongues. This Greek word is always ‘new’ compared with what is ‘old’ or differing from the old. The Corinthians have their own language, which is old to them; and when they hear some of their own members speak in new languages, these are new to them because they are foreign languages, other than the one to which they are accustomed.”1
‘Lenski, R. C., op. cit. p. 564 if.
..........
“The experience of Pentecost must have served as the origin of the new and special meaning of the word ‘tongue’ in the New Testament. Paul would likely use the same word in the same sense. In absence of a distinct notice to the contrary, it is probable that the gift would manifest itself in the same form at Corinth as at Jerusalem. It is easier to conceive ‘divers kinds of tongues’ as pointing to differences of language than as belonging to utterances all equally wild and inarticulate. Corinth was a seaport, and was almost as much a polyglot community as Jerusalem.”2

“Why did God give this gift to the Corinthian Church? Simply because of all places in Greece, Corinth was the one most suited for its exercise; for, on account of its position, having two ports opening to two seas, and its commercial importance, it was thronged with persons of the most varied personalities. This gift was given to certain members of the Corinthian churches solely for the purposes of instruction, that they might speak to the crowds of foreigners which thronged its streets and places of public resort, in their own tongues, the wonderful works of God. Now with this agrees the fact that all the four places in which this gift was bestowed were the resort of men of all nations by whom the reality of the gift could be at once tested. The four places are: Jerusalem, Caesarea (pronounced to be far more a Gentile than a Jewish city, having cohorts of legions from all parts of the empire in garrison there), Ephesus, the resort of pilgrims and traders from all the Asiatic provinces, and Corinth. If Christians received this gift in such places as Philippi or Thessalonica, it would, humanly speaking, be thrown away. The miracle could be of use to no one, for the speaker would speak a language which no one in the place could understand; whereas if a Christian of Corinth or Ephesus received this gift, he would find persons in every street on whose behalf he could exercise it.
2McClintock and Strong, op. cit. vi. 1.0, p. 479 if.
..........
I Corinthians 14:22, “Tongues are a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not.” If an unbeliever (a foreigner) heard another speak to him with great apparent earnestness in a language not intelligible unto him, he would put it down to madness, verse 23. But if the same foreigner was assured that the speaker knew but a short time before not one word of his (the foreigner’s) native language, and yet heard himself addressed fluently by him in that language, it would be to the hearer as it was to multitudes on the day of Pentecost, the most overwhelming sign of the truth of the Message.”1
1Sadler, M. F. Sadler, op. cit. p. 511 if. (Acts)
..........
It is interesting to note quotations from two prominent church fathers as evidence that the gift of tongues was used for the dissemination of the Gospel:

Irenaeus, Luke relates that the spirit descended on the disciples after the ascension of the Lord on the day of Pentecost in order that all nations might be enabled to enter into life; wherefore they united in all languages in praising God, the Holy Spirit bringing distant tribes into unity and offering the first fruits of all nations to God.”’

Origen, “I suppose that he was made a debtor to different nations because, through the grace of the Holy Spirit, he had received the gift of speaking in the languages of all nations, as he himself also said, ‘I speak in tongues more than ye all.”2

Irenaeus lived within 100 years of the day of Pentecost. Origen lived 50 or 60 years later. These lived 1700 years nearer to the times of the New Testament than those who assert that the gift of tongues was never used for the spreading of the Gospel and was never earthly languages. References can be found in the works of church fathers who lived a century or so later that the gift of tongues was used in spreading the Gospel.3
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« Reply #4 on: April 01, 2008, 07:42:57 AM »

THE POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
SHOULD I SPEAK IN TONGUES

More quotations are given to further sustain this position:

“Each one began to speak that which he had not acquired, and yet it was a real language, and understood by those from various lands familiar with them. It was not jargon, but intelligible language. Jesus had said that the Gospel would go to all nations and here various tongues of earth were spoken.”4

“The other tongues therefore are, according to the text, to be considered as absolutely nothing else than languages, which were different from the native language of the speakers.”5
1ibid. p. 511, quoted from Eusebius 5, chapter 7
2ibid. quoted from Wordsworth
3ibid.
4Robertson, A. I., op. cit. vi. on Acts p. 21
5Meyer, H. W., Handbook on Acts of Apostles; p. 45
..........

Answer These Questions

1. Why do some people feel speaking in tongues has nothing to do with the spread of the Gospel?

2. The Pentecostal “glossolalia” was indeed different from the Corinthian — show how.

3. How is the Greek word “new” used in the New Testament?

4. Why was Corinth most suited for the exercise of the gift of tongues?

5. Show how I Corinthians 14:22 indicates the gift of tongues was a language.

6. What is the conclusion of the church fathers?
..........

“The speaker with tongues, exercising his spiritual gift, might indeed speak the divine truths or mysteries of God; but speaking them in a foreign language [emphasis mine, R.H.] he would be understood only by God and himself, and so would only edify, etc., himself.”1

“The speaker with a gift of tongues was able to speak in various languages. The gift of tongues was designed among other things to aid Christians in proclaiming the Gospel to the barbarous peoples in their own language. When used for this purpose it was a blessing, but to employ it for the sake of vain display in addressing those who could not understand the language employed, was to make it a curse.”2

“The idea is that the church would usually speak the same language with the people among whom they dwelt; and if they made use of foreign languages which were unintelligible to their visitors, it would leave the impression that the church was a bedlam.”3

“Tongues are foreign human languages. Any speaker with a tongue may easily know in advance whether someone is present in the assembly who understands the particular language which the Spirit communicates to him. Previous tests and experiences place this beyond question. This applies to each of the two or three speakers who are allowed by Paul at any one service. Each may speak a different foreign language. Each will know the name of the particular language which the Spirit grants him to speak. A glance tells him whether an interpreter is present or not. If none is at hand, he remains silent. Such interpreters will have interpreted before and will thus be known for their ability by all.”4
‘McGarvey, J. W., The Standard Bible Commentary Thess. Cor. Gal. Rom. p. 134
2Boles, H. Leo, Commentary on I Corinthians, p. 211
3Barnes, Albert, op. cit. I Corinthians, p. 609-610
4Lenski, R. C. H., op. cit. I Corinthians, p. 269
..........
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« Reply #5 on: April 01, 2008, 07:45:31 AM »

THE POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
SHOULD I SPEAK IN TONGUES

“My understanding of the ‘tongues’ described in the New Testament is that they always were in a language understood by the people. That was certainly true at Pentecost. I see no reason for believing that some sort of ‘ecstatic’ tongue, understood by no one present, but necessitating a miraculous interpreter is referred to in Corinthians. I cannot think of God using a circuitous route to enlighten people, when a direct path could be employed — as on Pentecost. That subterfuge explanation that the ‘gifts of tongues’ was a heavenly jargon indicating some special favor granted the speaker originated with some hypocrites like the founder of Mormonism.”1

In view of all the foregoing facts and comments presented, it is the opinion of the author of this thesis that the following conclusion can be made: All manifestations of the gift of tongues are essentially the same. Tongues were spoken in intelligible human languages and were used for the propagation and the dissemination of the Gospel.

The use of the term “unknown” tongue in I Corinthians 14:4 in the King James translation is one of the many reasons why some have concluded that the gift of tongues is an ecstatic, incomprehensible sort of utterance. This conclusion becomes untenable when the fact is pointed out that the word “unknown” is not in the original Greek text, but is merely an addition of the King James translators.
1Walker, W. R., Christian Standard; quoted by G. R. Phillips in Thesis, p. 11(1
..........
According to Patristic writings (the early church Fathers), by the time of Chrysostom this gift ceased. Since that time, however, counterfeits of this gift have appeared from time to time in periods of special religious excitement:

1. Among the Camisards and prophets of the Cevennes in France during the seventeenth century.

2. Among the early Quakers and Methodists.

3. The Mormons in the early part of their movement.

4. Among the Readers in Sweden — 1841-1843.

6. Among the Irvingites or the Catholic Apostolic Church — 1831.

7. Among various Pentecostal and Holiness sects of today.

..........
A man by the name of Bennet wrote a work on The Churchms Broken Unity in which he devoted one section to the exposure of the pretended gifts of the Irvingites. His exposure aptly describes, and is applicable not only to the Irvingites but to all who have claimed this gift since Apostolic times:

“The gift of tongues claimed by modern Irvingites has been said to be illustrative of the gift of tongues of the Apostolic age. Now first, out of the eight persons who were averred so to have spoken, one, Mr. Baxter, admitted that he was deceived. Another admitted that it was no gift at all, but that she was gradually led on to imposture. Again a Mr. Pilkington, who was for some time among them, set down various sounds which he declares he heard. Of one he says, that it burst forth with an astonishing and terrible crash. He says that it gives some idea of the sound with which the tongue was delivered by him, if ‘cras-cran-cran-crash’ were uttered with a sudden and rapid vociferation. Mr. Pilkington explains some of these words as broken English, ‘Holimoth Holif Awthaw” being “Holy Most Holy Father.”

When one of the speakers of the preceding jabbering was asked if she had spoken English, she did not deny it, but whispered to her neighbor, I didn’t speak in English, did I?’

Mary Campbell, one of the original claimants of the gift, not only uttered such sounds but wrote down what she intended to be written characters representing them. These fragments of writings were submitted to many. These characters were those which one sees on the large Chinese tea chests, some memory of which was probably floating in Mary Campbell’s mind. She did not profess to understand the characters which she traced. No one else could understand them either. Such things we are told illustrate the Pentecostal action of the Spirit of God.”1
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« Reply #6 on: April 01, 2008, 07:47:28 AM »

THE POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
SHOULD I SPEAK IN TONGUES

Following are descriptions of alleged occurrences of speaking in tongues among the Camisards of France and the Cevenal Prophets:

“The Camisards of France in the 18th Century were a group of persecuted Protestants. They seemed to be able after repeated fasts of three days each, to receive a ‘gift,’ sink to the ground as in death, and after a time rise up, speaking in good French (a language supposedly completely unknown to them) for as long as two hours, and then to come out of their ‘trance’ remembering nothing of what they had done. All kinds of miracles attended them. Lights in the sky guided them to places of safety, voices sang encouragement to them, shots and wounds were often harmless; they shed tears of blood, and they subsisted without food or speech for nine days.”2
1Sadler, M. F., op. cit. p. 517 (Acts)
2Encyciopedia Brittanica, 1951, vi. 4, p. 666, quoted from G. R. Phillips in Thesis, p. 24
..........
“The Cevenal Prophets, who were in France in the latter part of the 17th Century, claimed spiritual gifts. The persons affected were men and women, the old and the young. Very many were children of nine or ten years of age. They were sprung from the people, their enemy’s said, from the dregs of the people, ignorant and uncultured for the most part; and unable to read or write. Such persons would suddenly fall backwards, and, while extended at full length on the ground, undergo strange and apparently involuntary contortions: their chests would seem to heave, their stomachs to inflate. On coming gradually out of this condition, they appeared instantly to regain the power of speech. Beginning often in a voice interrupted by sobs, they soon poured forth a torrent of words — cries for mercy, calls to repentance, exhortations, denunciations, and prophecies of coming judgment. From the mouths of those that were little more than babes came texts of Scriptures and discourses in good and intelligible French, such as they never used in their conscious hours. When the trance ceased, they declared that they remembered nothing of what had occurred, or of what they said. In rare cases they retained a general and vague impression, but nothing more.”1

The following description of the Cane Ridge Meeting in Kentucky during the beginning of the Restoration Movement in America shows that some claimed to have talked in tongues there:

“There were 25,000 people gathered and the noise was like that of Niagara Falls. Seven ministers were preaching from different places. At no time was the ground less than half covered with the victims of the religious experience. Some could not move or speak and rescue teams, called ‘bearers of the slain,’ were carrying them away. Some talked but could not move. Some beat the earth with their heels. Some, shrieking in agony, bounded about like live fish out of water. Many lay down and rolled over for hours at a time; others rushed wildly about over stumps and benches, and then plunged, shouting, ‘lost, lost’ in the forest. Many talked in Tongues [emphasis mine, R.H), some had the ‘holy laughs’ others the ‘barks.’

These fell on all fours rolling about and gathering at the foot of a tree yelping, barking, and snapping like dogs. This exercise was called treeing the devil.”2

These alleged occurrences simply do not answer the same tests, were not done for the same purposes, and were not induced the same way as the New Testament miracles and especially the gift of tongues.
1Dalton, R. C., Tongues Like as of Fire; p. 17, quoted from ibid.
2Tbe Ligttorian, p. 156, quoted from G. R. Phillips, op. cit. p. 24 if.
..........
Answer These Questions

1. What did A. T. Robertson say about the meaning of the word “tongues.”

2. What did H. W. Meyer say?

3. What did J. W. McGarvey say?

4. What did R. C. H. Lenski say?

5. What shall we say of post-apostolic occurrences of speaking in tongues?
..........
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« Reply #7 on: April 01, 2008, 07:49:47 AM »

THE POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
SHOULD I SPEAK IN TONGUES

INTERPRETATION OF TONGUES

This gift consisted in the ability to make known to others, especially to those in a congregational meeting, the meaning of that which is spoken by one possessing the gift of talking in tongues. Lenski has the following to say concerning this gift:

“One who possessed this gift was one who naturally knew a foreign language that was used by those who spoke with tongues, and who then used his natural knowledge in giving the interpretation to the congregation. Interpretation is the last and thus the lowest of all the gifts. It utilizes a natural ability by sanctifying it and employing it for spiritual ends.”

This gift is mentioned only in connection with the church at Corinth. No doubt this gift was manifested at other places, but no mention is made of it.”
(Ronnie Hanna)
..........

AN EXEGESIS OF I CORINTHIANS CHAPTERS TWELVE,
THIRTEEN AND FOURTEEN

Outline of Chapters Twelve, Thirteen and Fourteen

SPIRITUAL GIFTS 1 CORINTHIANS 12:1 — 14:40

Occasion for this section was misunderstanding and abuse of spiritual gifts. Those claiming most important gifts displayed them to humiliation of those with lesser gifts.

1. Heathen oracles compared with Christian revelation, 1 Corinthians 12:1-3. The oracles pretended revelation through idols, but “dumb” idols revealed nothing: only inspired men could say “Jesus is Lord.”

2. Unity and purpose of spiritual gifts, 1 Corinthians 12:4-11.

a. Relation of the gifts to the Godhead, 4-6. To the Spirit —  gifts, manifestation, to Christ —  ministrations, or means of working; to God — workings, or evidence of divine activity in the church. This unity of gifts was against divisive use of them.

b. The gifts and their accomplishments, 7-11. They were nine in number, classified as follows:

(1) Those revealing the Gospel; “Words of wisdom” —  this gift used by apostles and prophets; “word of knowledge’ ‘ — to teach revealed truths by inspired teachers; “prophecy”  —  to predict, see Acts 11:28; 21:8-il; “Interpretation of tongues’ ‘ — an essential in revealing truth “discerning of spirits” — ability to distinguish false teachers from true, I John 4:1.

(2) Those confirming the Gospel: “faith” — conviction they could work miracles, see Matt. 17:19- 21; I Corinthians 13:2; “healings’ ‘ — power to restore the sick, Acts 5:15, 16; James 5:14,15; “miracles” — examples in Acts 5:1- 11; 13:8-11; “tongues” — ability to present the Gospel in foreign languages, as on Pentecost, Acts 2:5-11.

3. Unity in using these gifts, 1 Corinthians 12:12-27.

a. Organic unity, 12, 13. As the human body “is one,” so is the church; for by “one Spirit,” directing through His word, we were all immersed into the one body.

b. Co-operative unity, 14-27. This, too, illustrated by the human body. Thus the sinful misuse of the gifts was exposed; they were given for the common good.

4. Gradation of gifts according to importance, 28-30. By ranking the spiritually gifted men in this order, precedence of each is settled.

A more excellent way than pride and strife about spiritual gifts is the manifestation of love.
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« Reply #8 on: April 01, 2008, 07:53:14 AM »

THE POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
SHOULD I SPEAK IN TONGUES

5. Superiority of love in comparison with all spiritual gifts, 1 Corinthians 13:1-13.

a. The essential of love, 1:3: in speech — gift of tongues; in knowledge — to teach and predict; in faith — to work miracles; in giving — of goods and person.

b. The conduct of love, 4-7. It is personified in order to set forth its beauty and excellence in human relations.

c. The final values of love, 8-13. The following facts stand out:

(1) Prophecies, tongues, knowledge — and all the rest of the gifts — shall pass away when the “perfect” is come, namely, the Gospel fully revealed and the church fully instructed, 8-10. The gifts came into the church through the apostles and went out with them.

(2) Progressive revelation to and instruction of the church during the apostolic age illustrated by development of childhood into manhood and by reflection of a mirror, 11, 12.

(3) Instead of spiritual gifts now we have faith, hope, love-the results from these gifts, 13. “Faith” is based on testimony of the Spirit, Romans 10:17. “Hope” of the resurrection will be accomplished by the Spirit, Romans 8:11. “Love” of God is imparted by the Spirit, Romans 5:5, is the character of God, I John 4:16, hence eternal.

6. This chapter corrects the selfish, vain-glorious display of foreign tongues in the church at Corinth.

a. comparison of prophesying and speaking in tongues, 1-5. Along with love, spiritual gifts were desirable, but prophecy was superior to foreign tongues, because it edified (built up) the church in a known language.

b. The unprofitableness of speaking in a language not understood, 6-19. This is illustrated by sound without sense. Therefore, inspired speaking, praying, singing in a foreign tongue must be interpreted, or the uninstructed could not say “Amen.

c. The significance of tongues and prophesying, 20-2 5. Misuse of gift of tongues was childish — a severe reproof to wise-acres in Corinth. Tongues had a twofold purpose: (a) ability to preach in foreign languages without learning them, and (b) to prove the Gospel of divine source. As the Assyrian tongue was a sign to unbelieving Israel that their captivity was from God, so tongues in the church was a sign “to the unbelieving” “that God is among you,” believers. However, tongues must be interpreted, or unbelievers will say “ye are mad.” But intelligent prophetic preaching will convince.

7. Proper decorum in public worship, 14:26-40.

a. Number and order of speakers, 26-33. Edification of the church the one objective, hence there must be intelligent speech and division of time in use of the spiritual gifts, or confusion would result — a thing not attributive to God.

b. Women to keep silent in the assembly, 33-36. This for two reasons: (1) The law demands subjection, Genesis 3:16; Numbers 30:3-12. That is still in force, I Corinthians 11:3. (2) Local custom, “shameful for a woman.” Not so in the West. Even in early church were exceptions, Acts 21:9; I Corinthians 11:5.

8. Final word on spiritual gifts, 37-40. His teaching is by authority of Christ, received by those willing to learn. Moreover, there is to be decent and orderly exercise of those gifts. (from The New Testament Epistles, by Victor F. Hoven)

Text 1 Corinthians 12:1-3

Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant. Ye know that when ye were Gentiles ye were led away unto those dumb idols, howsoever ye might be led. Wherefore I make known unto you, that no man speaking in the Spirit of God saith, Jesus is anathema; and no man can say, Jesus is Lord, but in the Holy Spirit.
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« Reply #9 on: April 01, 2008, 07:55:38 AM »

THE POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
SHOULD I SPEAK IN TONGUES

Thought Questions 12:1-3
Please attempt an answer to these questions before you read our comment.

1. The word “gifts” is supplied by the translators. What synonym could you supply?

2. Why did Paul feel a need for writing on this subject? i.e., what were the conditions in the church at Corinth which prompted such a discussion?

3. Aren’t the Christians at Corinth still Gentiles? Why the use of the word “Gentiles” as in v. 2?

4. Who led them away to the idols?

5. Why call the idols “dumb”? Does this mean “stupid”?

6. Why were they so easily led?

7. How did idols relate to the subject of spiritual gifts?

8. Please notice that v. 3 is a conclusion of v. 2 — what is the premise of this conclusion?

9. Who was saying “Jesus is accursed” or “anathema”?

10. What is meant by saying “speaking in the Spirit of God”?

11. Evidently someone was claiming to speak by the Spirit of God, and was not — who was it?

12. In what sense are we to understand vs. 3b? i.e., is this a reference to supernaturally saying “Jesus is Lord,” or is it a reference to the ordinary confession of His Lordship? What is the point of the statement?
..........

Paraphrase 1 Corinthians 12:1-3
(BY JAMES MACKNIGHT)


1. Now, concerning spiritual men, and concerning the nature, the excellency, and the use of their gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant.

2. Ye all know, that formerly ye were blind heathens, led away to worship idols that are dumb, just as ye happened to be led, by education, or custom, or the artifices of your priests.

3. Wherefore, that ye may distinguish the inspirations of God from those of evil spirits, I inform you, that no one, speaking by the Spirit of God, pronounceth Jesus a deceiver who was justly put to death; and that no one, speaking by a supernatural impulse, can declare Jesus Lord, except he be really inspired by the Holy Ghost.

Comment 1 Corinthians 12:1-3

The use and purpose of spiritual gifts is very well expressed by J. W. McGarvey and Philip Y. Pendleton in their commentary:

“In the early church the Spirit of God, fulfilling the predictions of prophecy (Joel 2:28 ff, Acts 2:17- 21), and the promise of the Lord (Mark 16:17-18; Acts 1:8 ), beginning on the day of Pentecost, endowed certain members with miraculous gifts. These were needful in that day:

1. They aided the evangelists and missionaries to propagate the faith in new fields with greater speed.

2. They assured weak converts that God was indeed in that church for which they had abandoned their former religions.

3. They edified the church, and gave it that body of perfect revealed truth which has been preserved and made permanent in the New Testament.” (pp. 119, 120)
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« Reply #10 on: April 01, 2008, 07:58:02 AM »

THE POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
SHOULD I SPEAK IN TONGUES

Perhaps it would be better to use the word “matters” in place of ~gifts” in v. 1, so the translation would read, “Now concerning spiritual matters, brethren, I would not have you ignorant.” It is so translated by a number of commentators as well as translators. Paul wants to instruct them on all matters spiritual whether relating to the use of supernatural powers or not. His particular concern is in the proper use of the gift of tongues, but he wishes to lay a broad foundation upon which to build his instruction. The first principle to be learned and applied relates to the confession of Jesus as Lord.

Settle it in your mind — idols have no supernatural power or approval. This can be certain because their priests and followers deny the deity and Lordship of Jesus. When you were Gentiles (ye are now children of Abraham by faith — Cf. Galatians 3:26,27), you were easily influenced by these false teachers —  remember, the idols before whom you stood were as dumb as the substance out of which they were made. If they seemed to speak, it was by the trickery of the priests who manipulated them. These priests can not possibly have the power or approval of God for they reject and blaspheme our Saviour.

It is also true that if anyone confesses that Jesus is Lord he is doing it either by the direct influence of the Holy Spirit — i.e., the Spirit speaking through him, or by the full approval of the Holy Spirit.

Whatever confusion may reign in your mind because of the misuse and abuse of these supernatural powers, please do not associate such powers with your former idolatrous worship.

Text 1 Corinthians 12:4-11

Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are diversities of ministrations, and the same Lord. And there are diversities of workings, but the same God, who worketh all things in all. But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit to profit withal. For to one is given through the Spirit the word of wisdom; and to another the word of knowledge, according to the same Spirit: to another faith, in the same Spirit; and to another workings of miracles; and to another prophecy; and to another discerning of Spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; and to another the interpretation of tongues; but all these worketh the one and the same Spirit, dividing to each one severally even as he will.
..........

Thought Questions 1 Corinthians 12:4-11

13. Please notice and define the three important words: gifts —  ministrations — workings.

14. Notice the person who controls “gifts’ ‘ — the person who controls “ministrations’ ‘ — the person who controls “workings’ ‘ — explain the reason for attributing them to different divine persons.

15. Define the word “manifestation” as here used.

16. Who is to profit by the use of Spiritual gifts?

17. We have defined these nine spiritual gifts — could you now define in your own words these gifts?

18. Who gives Spiritual gifts? For what purpose?

19. Was there some special need or advantage in granting such gifts to the church at Corinth?
..........
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« Reply #11 on: April 01, 2008, 08:00:53 AM »

THE POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
SHOULD I SPEAK IN TONGUES

Paraphrase 1 Corinthians 12:4-11

4. Now, there are diversities of gifts, but they all proceed from the same Spirit: so that in respect of their origin, the spiritual gifts are all equally divine.

5. And there are diversities of ministries, for which the different gifts are bestowed; but the same Lord is served by these ministries: so that in respect of the Lord whom they serve, the spiritual men are all equally honorable.

6. And there are diversities of inworkings on the minds of the spiritual men, but it is the same God who worketh inwardly all supernatural impressions in all: so that in respect of the authority by which they act, the spiritual men are all equal.

7. And to each is given the gift by which the presence of the Spirit with him is manifested, not for advancing his honor, but for promoting the advantage of all: so that in respect to the end for which they exercise their spiritual gifts, the spiritual men are all equal.

8. Now to one indeed, through the indwelling of the Spirit, is given the word of wisdom; the whole doctrine of the gospel: and to another the word of knowledge; the complete knowledge of the formed revelations recorded in the writings of Moses and the prophets, according to the indwelling of the same Spirit.

9. And to another, such a firm faith in the divine original of the gospel, by the same Spirit as enableth him boldly to preach and confirm it by miracles; and to another the gifts of healing diseases by the same Spirit.

10. And to another the inworking of miracles: and to another prophecy: and to another the gift of discerning spirits: and to another the faculty of speaking divers kinds of foreign languages: and to another the faculty of interpreting what is spoken in foreign languages by inspiration, for the edification and exhortation, and comfort of the church.

11. Now all these gifts and powers, the one and the same Spirit of God inworketh in the spiritual men, distributing to each his proper gifts, as he himself pleaseth, for the general advantage.
..........

Comment 1 Corinthians 12:4-11

This section needs special care in understanding — there are three persons and three responsibilities to be considered. The three persons are: (1) The Holy Spirit; (2) The Lord Jesus Christ; (3) God the Father. Each of these persons has a responsibility in the operation of the supernatural gifts:

(1) The gifts have their origin in the Holy Spirit. He it is who prompts and provides for their operation.

(2) The gifts have their distribution in and from the Lord Jesus (Cf. Romans 12:6,7; Ephesians 4:11,12; I Peter 4:10,11). Under the controlling hand of Jesus certain persons are granted appropriate supernatural powers even as decided by our Lord.

(3) The gifts have their power in God. God our Father is the source of power for the operation of these gifts.
..........

Please read very carefully verses six through eight with the above comments in mind.
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« Reply #12 on: April 01, 2008, 08:02:53 AM »

THE POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
SHOULD I SPEAK IN TONGUES

The manifestations or expressions of the Holy Spirit through certain persons are next to be discussed. These manifestations, (supernatural abilities granted to the Holy Spirit within men) are nine in number:

1. Wisdom (“word” or “discourse” of wisdom): Some prefer to define this as the ability to reveal divine truth; others believe it relates to the ability to understand and apply truth after it has been revealed.

2. Knowledge (“word” or “discourse” of knowledge): Is knowledge the body of truth and wisdom the ability to interpret it? We believe it is. The “discourse of knowledge,” then, would be the supernaturally imparted information. It makes little difference which emphasis is here used — the facts stand that through the Holy Spirit wisdom and knowledge were given to certain men.

3. Faith: This has reference to the exercise of faith. (Cf. Matt. 17:19,20; 13:2). Such persons could believe God for certain supernatural action that would not even occur to the ordinary believer.

4. Healing: This had special reference to the restoration of the sick. (Cf. Acts 5:15,16; Jas. 5:14,15.) Those who had this gift evidently were limited to this one miracle.

5. Miracles: The general gift “. . . it included acts of judgment as well as mercy.” The cases of Paul and Elymas (Acts 5:1-11) and Peter with Ananias and Sapphira are cited as examples of the exercise of this gift.

6. Prophecy: This would seem to overlap the gift of wisdom and knowledge — the distinction must be in the power of foretelling future events. An example would be the prophet Agabus. (Cf. Acts 11:28; 21 :9-11.)

7. Discerning of Spirits: The supernatural ability to tell when a man was speaking or writing by divine inspiration.

8. Divers kinds of tongues: There is disagreement over this expression as to whether it refers to different languages or not. By reading an earlier portion of this lesson, the student will know our reasons for believing the divers tongues here do indeed refer to various languages.

9. Interpretation of tongues: What Mr. Hanna said earlier we say here — ”This gift consisted in the ability to make known to others, especially to those in a congregational meeting the meaning of that which is spoken by one possessing the gift of talking in tongues.”
..........

The Holy Spirit is the origin of each of these gifts — He empowered each gifted person even as it seemed best to Him. No glory could be claimed by one gifted person above another inasmuch as the power is of the Spirit and not of man.
..........

Text 1 Corinthians 12:12-31

For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of the body, being many, are one body; so also is Christ. For in one Spirit were we all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether bond or free, and were all made to drink of one Spirit. For the body is not one member, but many. If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body, it is not therefore not of the body.

(I Corinthians 12:17-31): If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling? But now hath God set the members each one of them in the body, even as it pleased him. And if they were all one member, where were the body? But now they are many members, but one body. And the eye cannot say to the hand, I have no need of thee: or again the head to the feet, I have no need of you. Nay, much rather, those members of the body which seem to be more feeble are necessary: and those parts of the body, which we think to be less honorable, upon these we bestow more abundant honor; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness; whereas our comely parts have no need: but God tempered the body together, giving more abundant honor to that part which lacked; that there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another. And whether one member suffereth, all the members suffer with it; or one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it. Now ye are the body of Christ, and severally members thereof. And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondly prophets, thirdly teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, divers kinds of tongues. Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles? have all gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret? But desire earnestly the greater gifts. And moreover a most excellent way show I unto you.
..........
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« Reply #13 on: April 01, 2008, 08:05:25 AM »

THE POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
SHOULD I SPEAK IN TONGUES

Thought Questions 1 Corinthians 12:12-31

20. Please explain the use of the name “Christ” in 12:12.

21. Why the need for the emphasis upon unity as indicated in 12:12?

22. Does 12:13 teach Holy Spirit baptism for every believer or Christian? If not, what does it teach? Please remember our discussion of this point in an earlier lesson — please do some work on this point.

23. What two bodies are under consideration in this whole section?

24. What members of the Lord’s body in Corinth were giving special trouble?

25. Notice v. 15 — why would the foot become dissatisfied with being a foot? What is the point of the verse?

26. Is Paul attempting to show the importance of each member, or of each supernatural gift?

27. Paul shows the interdependence of each member — point out where and how.

28. Specify some of the members of the human body which seem to be more feeble.”

29. In the completion of the analogy who would be “the more feeble” members of the Corinthian church? Please do not forget that the use and abuse of Spiritual gifts is the subject of the chapter.

30. What are “the comely parts” of the body which have no need of honor?

31. What body is under consideration in 12:25b? Which “body” in 12:24b?

32. What “honor” is in view in v. 12:26?

33. If the church is the body of Christ, how can it be divided into warring denominational groups?

34. In what sense are we to understand the word “set” in 12:28?

35. Why would apostles be “first” in the body?

36. Who are the “teachers”? Cf. Ephesians 4:11,12.

37. Are we to understand that 12:28-30 is an abbreviation of what was discussed in detail in 12:1-11?

38. In the order of importance where does Paul place the gift of tongues? Where is it placed today in the churches that claim present-day exercise of these gifts? Why?

39. What are “helps” and “governments”?

40. If all do not possess these gifts, who does? Why?

41. What are the greater “gifts” (please notice this word is plural).
..........
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« Reply #14 on: April 01, 2008, 08:07:03 AM »

THE POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
SHOULD I SPEAK IN TONGUES

Paraphrase 1 Corinthians 12:12-31

12. For as the human body is one body, although it consist of many members, and all the members of that one body, though many, are still one body, by the offices which each member performs for the preservation of the whole, so also is the body of Christ, the church: it is one body consisting of many members.

13. For indeed with the gifts of one Spirit, we all have been baptized into one body or church, whether Jews or Gentiles, whether slaves or freemen, and are all equally entitled to the privileges of that one body, and derive equal honor from them; and all have been made to drink in the Lord’s supper of one spirit of faith and love, by which the one body is animated.

14. Since therefore the human body consists not of one member, but of many members, whose powers are different and offices various,

15. If the foot, which treads the ground, and is often covered with dirt, envying the hand, shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not a member of the body; is it for this not a member of the body, and freed from performing its proper function?

16. And if the ear, because it is inferior to the eye, the noblest member of the body, shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not a member of the body; is it for this not a member of the body, and freed from its proper function?

17. The absurdity of all the members desiring to be the chief members is evident, since thus the body being deprived of the inferior members would quickly perish. If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling?

18. But now, in opposition to this folly, God bath placed the members, every one of them in the body so as to form one whole, and bath assigned to each member its own office, as he hath pleased.

19. Besides, if all were one member, where were the body? That exquisite piece of mechanism, which is capable of supporting itself by the functions of its several parts.

20. But now, indeed, there are many members, which being aptly joined together make but one body, whose happiness results from the existence of all its members.

21. Therefore the eye cannot say to the hand, the chief instrument of action, I have no need of thee; nor in like manner can the head, in which the eyes and ears are placed, say to the feet which support the whole body, I have no need of you.

22. Nay, those members of the body which seem to be more feeble, because unable to endure external injury, such as the brain, the lungs, and the intestines, are much more necessary to its subsistence than the stronger members.

23. And those which we think are less graceful members of the body, on account of their place and use, around them we throw more abundant honour, by clothing them with splendid apparel. And thus our uncomely members have more abundant comeliness, by our care in adorning and defending them.

24. But our more strong and comely members have no need of defense and ornament. However, God hath united all the members of the body together, by giving to the members which are naturally weak and without beauty, more abundant honour, through their greater efficacy in the nourishment and preservation of the body.

25. This he hath done, that there may be no mutiny in the body, but that the members may have the same anxious care one for another; and particularly that the belly and other inactive members, by performing their functions, may strengthen the hands and feet, the active members.

26. And so, the whole being united, if one member is diseased or disabled, all the members jointly suffer, by losing the assistance of the disabled member; or if one member be properly clothed and gratified, all the rest derive advantage from its welfare, and jointly partake of its joy.

27. Now, ye being his church, are the body of Christ, and each of you members in part; and should apply to yourselves what I have written concerning the natural body and its members.
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