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Gift of tongues

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The divine enabling of a believer to use a language, unknown to the speaker. The gift of tongues may be used to praise God or to utter a message from God that, supplemented by the gift of interpretation of tongues, edifies other believers. Note that “tongues” can simply mean “other languages” at times.

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Tongues is a gift of the Holy Spirit

It is given to individual believers

Acts 2:4 NKJV
And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
See also ; it is not universal among Christians

It was foretold in the OT


It is a divine gift in response to faith

Mark 16:17 NKJV
And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues;

It may be given through the laying on of hands

Acts 19:6 NKJV
And when Paul had laid hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke with tongues and prophesied.

It is a sign of the presence of the Holy Spirit

Acts 10:44–46 NKJV
While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the word. And those of the circumcision who believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also. For they heard them speak with tongues and magnify God. Then Peter answered,

Tongues in relation to other gifts

The need for love

1 Corinthians 13:1 NKJV
Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal.

The need for prophecy

1 Corinthians 14:4–6 NKJV
He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself, but he who prophesies edifies the church. I wish you all spoke with tongues, but even more that you prophesied; for he who prophesies is greater than he who speaks with tongues, unless indeed he interprets, that the church may receive edification. But now, brethren, if I come to you speaking with tongues, what shall I profit you unless I speak to you either by revelation, by knowledge, by prophesying, or by teaching?

The need for intelligibility

See also ; ; ;

The need for interpretation


The transience of tongues

1 Corinthians 13:8 NKJV
Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away.

The use of tongues within the church

In prayer and praise

See also ; ; ; ; ;

For the benefit of believers

1 Corinthians 12:7–10 NKJV
But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues.
See also ; ;

In public it needs to be augmented by the gift of interpretation

1 Corinthians 14:26–28 NKJV
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. If anyone speaks in a tongue, let there be two or at the most three, each in turn, and let one interpret. But if there is no interpreter, let him keep silent in church, and let him speak to himself and to God.
See also ; ;
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