It is always amazing to me that Apostle Paul in writing to the church at Corinth stated that he did not want them to be ignorant about the manifestations of the Spirit (see 1 Corinthians 12-14 in context). Yet, the very thing he said that he did not want the church to be ignorant of seems to be the very thing a large percentage of the church is ignorant of.
I remember Rev. Kenneth E. (Dad) Hagin used to say in his teachings that there are two reasons why folks are ignorant about subjects in the Word of God:
1. No Teaching
2. Poor Teaching
Unfortunately, the church has been victim of both a lack of teaching and poor teaching about the Manifestations of the Spirit, and Tongues in particular.
At the root of most of the issues and confusion over Tongues in the church, even among those who believe that Tongues are still for today, (cessationists of course do not believe that they are) is that most do not understand that the New Testament speaks of two different manifestations of Tongues:
1. Private Tongues – (or Personal Tongues) Your Prayer Language for your own Worship & Prayer Life.
2. Public Tongues – This is the Public Gift that works in conjunction with the Gift of Interpretation of Tongues in a Public Setting, with the two together equaling the Gift of Prophecy. Prophecy does it in one step, Tongues & Interpretation does it in two.
Today I was mediating on 1 Corinthians 12-14 from multiple translations and came across this:
“I’m grateful to God for the gift of praying in tongues that he gives us for praising him, which leads to wonderful intimacies we enjoy with him. I enter into this as much or more than any of you.” 1 Corinthians 14:18 The Message (emphasis mine)
From this verse in the Message it is quite clear that Apostle Paul is speaking here about the first manifestation of Tongues that we have defined…Private Tongues. I want you to pay close attention to the wording that The Message brings out:
· Paul is grateful for the Gift of Praying in Tongues. (note this is not a Public Message that needs to be interpreted).
· Paul said that God gave us this ability (Praying in Tongues) for Praising Him! We can Worship in Tongues (our Prayer Language) and we should.
· When we exercise Praying in Tongues both for Prayer and Praise it leads to Wonderful Intimacies with Him.
· Paul admitted that he entered into this practice (exercising his prayer language for both prayer and praise) as much as or more than any of the rest of the Corinthian church.
Obviously if this was a bad practice, Paul would not have engaged in it as much as he did; nor would he have encouraged them to operate in it. Wasn’t it Paul who said: “Follow me as I follow the Lord”? We should be following his example in this.
Now if you treat this Manifestation of Tongues the same as the Public Gift of Tongues, you are going to be greatly confused. That is like trying to play Baseball with Football rules. There is much more to Tongues than many of us have thought, believed and in far too many cases practiced.
Sometimes it is just fine to either pray or praise in the Spirit (other Tongues) without there being an Interpretation, especially in a BELIEVERS MEETING. Maybe not in a crusade…but amongst Believers…it should be an accepted and expected practice. After all, didn’t Paul also say:
“For one who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God; for no one understands, but in his spirit he speaks mysteries.” 1 Corinthians 14:2 NASB (emphasis mine) (some translations use the word secrets instead of mysteries)
We need the manifestation of both Private Tongues and Public Tongues. They need to be clearly defined as to their intended purposes as well as how they should function in our midst; decently and in order. You see when it comes to Tongues…there is more than many think.