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Speaking In Tongues - 1 Corinthians 14


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#1 Fortigurn

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Posted 06 May 2005 - 11:06 PM

It is often argued by pentecostals and charismatics that in 1 Corinthians 14 that Paul addresses both the use of tongues in the congregation, and the use of tongues in private.

In 1 Corinthians 14, Paul is addressing what happens in the ecclesial gathering.

He does not address what happens in private.

He makes the point that activities which do not edify the entire body of believers are not to be practiced in the congregation. Modern day claimants to the Holy Spirit and/or gifts have a tendency to ignore this completely.

It is often argued that the reference to the individual who speaks in tongues and edifies only himself is not said pejoratively. The reference to the speaker in tongues edifying himself most certainly is said pejoratively - as a rebuke, in fact.

Someone is deliberately acting in a manner which is unedifying to the congregation, and you think that Paul is going to ignore it?

This would argue that Paul is saying:

'Oh, well it's very lovely, of course, and great fun, but, um, please let's just do it in private, and not in front of other people, ok?'

Not once does Paul say:

'Speaking in tongues should not be used in the congregation - it should be reserved for private prayer to God.'

He doesn't say:

'Prayer of this nature is appropriate in private but not in the gathered body.'

He doesn't mention personal private prayer anywhere. Not once. As we have seen, the reference to 'speaking to God', is because 'no one understands' - if the individual is using a foreign language which is unknown to the congregation, then of course only God is going to understand.

Nowhere does Paul say that the purpose (or even one of the functions), of speaking in tongues is prayer to God.
Miserere mei Deus,
Secundum magnam misericordiam tuam.
Et secundum multitudinem miserationum tuarum
dele iniquitatem meam.

______________________________________________________________________
target="_blank">I am a Christadelphian. Click here to see my confession of faith.
______________________________________________________________________
‘John Wesley once received a note which said, “The Lord has told me to tell you that He doesn’t need your book-learning, your Greek, and your Hebrew.”

Wesley answered “Thank you, sir. Your letter was superfluous, however, as I already knew the Lord has no need for my ‘book-learning,’ as you put it. However—although the Lord has not directed me to say so—on my own responsibility I would like to say to you that the Lord does not need your ignorance, either.”

Osborne & Woodward, ‘Handbook for Bible study’, pp. 13-14 (1979)

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#2 Fortigurn

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Posted 06 May 2005 - 11:07 PM

Paul is simply saying that if someone speaks in a foreign language (as opposed to complete gibberish), in the congregation without interpretation, then the only one receiving any benefit is the individual themselves. In fact, Paul says it's almost like showing off (which is true):

1 Corinthians 14:
(The Living Bible)
2But if your gift is that of being able to "speak in tongues,” that is, to speak in languages you haven’t learned, you will be talking to God but not to others, since they won’t be able to understand you. You will be speaking by the power of the Spirit, but it will all be a secret.


Note that. Paul defines speaking in tongues as speaking in languages you haven't learned, not speaking gibberish which no one can understand. This is why he says that what you say will be a secret to anyone but God, because he's speaking of someone other than you speaking in a language which you haven't learned.

3But one who prophesies, preaching the messages of God, is helping others grow in the Lord, encouraging and comforting them.
4So a person “speaking in tongues” helps himself grow spiritually, but one who prophesies, preaching messages from God, helps the entire church grow in holiness and happiness.


So the person who does such a thing is being selfish.

The New Century Version puts it this way:

4 The ones who speak in different languages are helping only themselves, but those who prophesy are helping the whole church.


There's no point to it.

That's what Paul is saying. Paul tells us that people are much better of expounding the Scriptures (which is what 'prophecy' here means), in a language which people can understand than speaking about the Word in a foreign lanaguage which the congregation can't understand.
Miserere mei Deus,
Secundum magnam misericordiam tuam.
Et secundum multitudinem miserationum tuarum
dele iniquitatem meam.

______________________________________________________________________
target="_blank">I am a Christadelphian. Click here to see my confession of faith.
______________________________________________________________________
‘John Wesley once received a note which said, “The Lord has told me to tell you that He doesn’t need your book-learning, your Greek, and your Hebrew.”

Wesley answered “Thank you, sir. Your letter was superfluous, however, as I already knew the Lord has no need for my ‘book-learning,’ as you put it. However—although the Lord has not directed me to say so—on my own responsibility I would like to say to you that the Lord does not need your ignorance, either.”

Osborne & Woodward, ‘Handbook for Bible study’, pp. 13-14 (1979)

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target="_blank">Apologetics

#3 Fortigurn

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Posted 06 May 2005 - 11:07 PM

It doesn't say that speaking or praying to God is the purpose of the tongues at all. Nowhere. It just says that if you're speaking in a foreign language which no one in the congregation knows, then God is the only person who's going to understand you - which is a bit uselesss, isn't it?

That's Paul's point here:

(The Living Bible)
2But if your gift is that of being able to “speak in tongues,” that is, to speak in languages you haven’t learned, you will be talking to God but not to others, since they won’t be able to understand you.
You will be speaking by the power of the Spirit, but it will all be a secret.

(The New Living Translation)
2 For if your gift is the ability to speak in tongues, you will be talking to God but not to people, since they won’t be able to understand you.  You will be speaking by the power of the Spirit, but it will all be mysterious.

(The Contemporary English Version)
2 If you speak languages that others don’t know, God will understand what you are saying, though no one else will know what you mean.  You will be talking about mysteries that only the Spirit understands.


Miserere mei Deus,
Secundum magnam misericordiam tuam.
Et secundum multitudinem miserationum tuarum
dele iniquitatem meam.

______________________________________________________________________
target="_blank">I am a Christadelphian. Click here to see my confession of faith.
______________________________________________________________________
‘John Wesley once received a note which said, “The Lord has told me to tell you that He doesn’t need your book-learning, your Greek, and your Hebrew.”

Wesley answered “Thank you, sir. Your letter was superfluous, however, as I already knew the Lord has no need for my ‘book-learning,’ as you put it. However—although the Lord has not directed me to say so—on my own responsibility I would like to say to you that the Lord does not need your ignorance, either.”

Osborne & Woodward, ‘Handbook for Bible study’, pp. 13-14 (1979)

______________________________________________________________________
target="_blank">Apologetics

#4 Fortigurn

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Posted 06 May 2005 - 11:07 PM

Some claim that the words in verse 22 are not Paul's words, but the words of a letter from Corinth which Paul is quoting. This completely ignores the context of the preceding verse.

Paul presents a prophecy from the Law in verse 21:

1 Corinthians:
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.


He then interprets this in the next verse:

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.


These are Paul's words, as much as those in verse 21 were. It is clearly an argument based on the prophecy of the Law in verse 22, which is why Paul emphatically says 'Wherefore' in verse 22.

Paul's argument states:

1) In the Law it is written that God said He would speak unto this people (Israel, Jews, believers in God), with men of other tongues and lips, but they would still not listen to Him.

2) Therefore the gift of speaking in tongues is not a sign for believing Jews (or believers generally, as a matter of fact - they already believe, remember!), but for them which believe not - the Gentiles, whose languages were certainly other than Hebrew.

The argument is:

1) The Jews did not obey.

2) Wherefore God would go to the Gentiles.

This is identical to another occasion on which Paul makes the same point, quoting this time from the prophets:

Romans 10:
16But they {Israel} have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report?
19But I say, Did not Israel know? First Moses saith, I will provoke you to jealousy by them that are no people, {the Gentiles} and by a foolish nation {the Gentiles} I will anger you.


1) The Jews did not obey.

2) Wherefore God would go to the Gentiles.

Romans 10:
20But Esaias is very bold, and saith, I was found of them that sought Me not; {the Gentiles} I was made manifest unto them that asked not after Me. {the Gentiles}
21But to Israel He saith, All day long I have stretched forth my hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people.


1) The Jews did not obey.

2) Wherefore God would go to the Gentiles.

The division which some choose to make between verses 22 and 23 of 1 Corinthians 14 is patently derived. It is done by excising it from its context - which is obviously the preceding verse.

The word 'wherefore' here is 'hoste', which means 'wherefore', or 'so then', and is a resumptive particle used to connect the premise of an argument to its conclusion.
Miserere mei Deus,
Secundum magnam misericordiam tuam.
Et secundum multitudinem miserationum tuarum
dele iniquitatem meam.

______________________________________________________________________
target="_blank">I am a Christadelphian. Click here to see my confession of faith.
______________________________________________________________________
‘John Wesley once received a note which said, “The Lord has told me to tell you that He doesn’t need your book-learning, your Greek, and your Hebrew.”

Wesley answered “Thank you, sir. Your letter was superfluous, however, as I already knew the Lord has no need for my ‘book-learning,’ as you put it. However—although the Lord has not directed me to say so—on my own responsibility I would like to say to you that the Lord does not need your ignorance, either.”

Osborne & Woodward, ‘Handbook for Bible study’, pp. 13-14 (1979)

______________________________________________________________________
target="_blank">Apologetics

#5 Fortigurn

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Posted 06 May 2005 - 11:08 PM

The question is occasionally asked:

'Why did not Paul say that the purpose of tongues was to preach the gospel in foreign languages?'

He didn't say this, because it was already known. Acts 2 proves this. The issue in any case was not the non-use of the gift when unbelievers were around, but the gratuitous use of the gift when believers who did not understand the language being spoken were present.

This is saying that Paul should have addressed an issue which was not an issue. He isn't trying to make them use the gift more often, but less often.

Paul tells us that the use of the gift of tongues without an interpretation being given is unedifying to the congregation. Pentecostal churches continue to promote their use regardless of this apostolic injunction.

Which is blatant disobedience to the Word of God.
Miserere mei Deus,
Secundum magnam misericordiam tuam.
Et secundum multitudinem miserationum tuarum
dele iniquitatem meam.

______________________________________________________________________
target="_blank">I am a Christadelphian. Click here to see my confession of faith.
______________________________________________________________________
‘John Wesley once received a note which said, “The Lord has told me to tell you that He doesn’t need your book-learning, your Greek, and your Hebrew.”

Wesley answered “Thank you, sir. Your letter was superfluous, however, as I already knew the Lord has no need for my ‘book-learning,’ as you put it. However—although the Lord has not directed me to say so—on my own responsibility I would like to say to you that the Lord does not need your ignorance, either.”

Osborne & Woodward, ‘Handbook for Bible study’, pp. 13-14 (1979)

______________________________________________________________________
target="_blank">Apologetics

#6 Fortigurn

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Posted 06 May 2005 - 11:08 PM

The question is also asked:

'What is the difference between the gift of tongues, and the gift of interpretation of tongues?'

Quite simple - when you had a mixed congregation of different nationalities and languages.

Never been on mission work?

Here's one illustration:

1) Native-language members of the audience - we shall say Russian
2) Non--native-language members of the audience - we shall say English
3) A non-native-language speaker - English
4) A native-language speaking interpreter - Russian.

The English speaking members have no problem understanding the English speaker

To the Russian speaking members of the audience, however, he is speaking in a foreign language - an unknown tongue.

The function of the Russian interpreter (the 'interpreter of tongues', if you like), is to interpret the words of the English speaker into Russian, since the English speaker does not have the gift of speaking in tongues. Here, the Russian interpreter is the equivalent of the apostolic 'interpreter of tongues'. He is not the speaker - that is not his 'gift'.

Here's another illustration:

1) Native-language members of the audience - we shall say Chinese
2) Non--native-language members of the audience - we shall say English
3) A native-language speaker - Chinese
4) A non-native English speaker, who also speaks Chinese

The Chinese speaking members of the audience have no problem understanding the Chinese speaker.

To the English speaking members of the audience, however, he is speaking in a foreign language - an unknown tonuge.

Here the speaker operates as one with the 'gift of speaking in tongues', by speaking to the majority of the congregation in the language which they understand.

The Chinese speaking English native acts as the one with the 'gift of interpreting tongues', by repeating the speaker's words to the English members of the audience after they have been spoken.

This means that all of the members of the congregation are being spoken to in their own language.

We can see how complicated it would become, however, if more than 2 or 3 languages were required to be spoken or interpreted. Small wonder Paul advises order in speaking in the congregation.

And why would this be done? Because some of the audience spoke one language, and some spoke another. The use of different languages and dialects in different provinces and countries within the Roman empire is abundantly evident from the NT. Why, even the Aramaic words spoken by Christ are specifically translated into the more widely known koine Greek by certain of the Gospel writers! The reason? Christ spoke in Aramaic, to Jews, not in Greek to Jews, or Aramaic to Greeks.

Perfectly simple - and we can see just how useful this gift would have been to the first century ecclesias, composed of Jews, Romans, Scythians, Medes, Persians, Arabians, Egyptians, Greeks, etc.
Miserere mei Deus,
Secundum magnam misericordiam tuam.
Et secundum multitudinem miserationum tuarum
dele iniquitatem meam.

______________________________________________________________________
target="_blank">I am a Christadelphian. Click here to see my confession of faith.
______________________________________________________________________
‘John Wesley once received a note which said, “The Lord has told me to tell you that He doesn’t need your book-learning, your Greek, and your Hebrew.”

Wesley answered “Thank you, sir. Your letter was superfluous, however, as I already knew the Lord has no need for my ‘book-learning,’ as you put it. However—although the Lord has not directed me to say so—on my own responsibility I would like to say to you that the Lord does not need your ignorance, either.”

Osborne & Woodward, ‘Handbook for Bible study’, pp. 13-14 (1979)

______________________________________________________________________
target="_blank">Apologetics

#7 Fortigurn

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Posted 06 May 2005 - 11:08 PM

In 1 Corinthians 14, Paul is addressing two situations:

1) When none of the congregation understand what is being said - when a foreign language is being used with no foreigners present.

2) When some of the congregation understand what is being said, but some do not - when a foreign language is being used for the benefit of the foreigners present, but the speech is not being interpreted into the native tongue of the remainder of the congregation.

Not once does Paul depart from his argument. To say, as some do, that Paul wrote of languages not only unknown but unspoken by men for the first 9 verses of this chapter, then decided to throw in two verses completely out of context about speaking in foreign langues, then returned to his argument without comment, is stretching credulity beyond breaking point.
Miserere mei Deus,
Secundum magnam misericordiam tuam.
Et secundum multitudinem miserationum tuarum
dele iniquitatem meam.

______________________________________________________________________
target="_blank">I am a Christadelphian. Click here to see my confession of faith.
______________________________________________________________________
‘John Wesley once received a note which said, “The Lord has told me to tell you that He doesn’t need your book-learning, your Greek, and your Hebrew.”

Wesley answered “Thank you, sir. Your letter was superfluous, however, as I already knew the Lord has no need for my ‘book-learning,’ as you put it. However—although the Lord has not directed me to say so—on my own responsibility I would like to say to you that the Lord does not need your ignorance, either.”

Osborne & Woodward, ‘Handbook for Bible study’, pp. 13-14 (1979)

______________________________________________________________________
target="_blank">Apologetics

#8 Fortigurn

Fortigurn

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Posted 06 May 2005 - 11:09 PM

Let's take a grammatical approach to Paul's finely crafted argument:

Verse 7: Premise 1 - Musical instruments have to be played in such a way that the tune is recognised

Verse 8: Premise 2 - A bugle player has to sound the battle cry distinctly so that the signal is recognised (so the infantry knows whether to advance or retreat)

Verse 9: Conclusion of argument based on previous two premises - So likewise ye except ye utter by the tongue

words easy to be understood, {compare the instrument or the bugle}

how shall it be known what is spoken? {compare the audience of the instrument, or the infantry in battle}

for ye shall speak into the air. {speaking in tongues without saying anything which anyone can understand is useless.}

Which means that the modern day practice of 'speaking in tongues' in the congregation without interpretation is a flagrant abuse of the gift, supposing they actually have it.

Paul is addressing two situations:

1) When none of the congregation understand what is being said - when a foreign language is being used with no foreigners present.

2) When some of the congregation understand what is being said, but some do not - when a foreign language is being used for the benefit of the foreigners present, but the speech is not being interpreted into the native tongue of the remainder of the congregation.
Miserere mei Deus,
Secundum magnam misericordiam tuam.
Et secundum multitudinem miserationum tuarum
dele iniquitatem meam.

______________________________________________________________________
target="_blank">I am a Christadelphian. Click here to see my confession of faith.
______________________________________________________________________
‘John Wesley once received a note which said, “The Lord has told me to tell you that He doesn’t need your book-learning, your Greek, and your Hebrew.”

Wesley answered “Thank you, sir. Your letter was superfluous, however, as I already knew the Lord has no need for my ‘book-learning,’ as you put it. However—although the Lord has not directed me to say so—on my own responsibility I would like to say to you that the Lord does not need your ignorance, either.”

Osborne & Woodward, ‘Handbook for Bible study’, pp. 13-14 (1979)

______________________________________________________________________
target="_blank">Apologetics




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