The Gifts Part 87
Another important aspect concerning the gift of tongues is that it is neither understood by the one manifesting the gift, or by the ones hearing the tongues themselves unless one with the gift of interpretation of tongues is present. Absent one with the gift of interpretation of tongues the only one who understands the tongues in which an individual is speaking is God Himself.
First and foremost the gift of speaking in other tongues is intended for men to speak to God, though they might not understand what they are saying, because in the spirit one who speaks in tongues is speaking mysteries. Tongues is a gift whose primary purpose is the edification of the individual manifesting the gift of tongues, and only when one with the gift of interpreting tongues is present does it become something that edifies the church upon its interpretation.
From a biblical perspective, we come to understand that the gift of speaking in tongues is unique among the gifts of the Holy Spirit because it is the only gift that edifies the individual rather than the fellowship of the brethren.
1 Corinthians 14:4-5, “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.”
When we speak in tongues, we edify ourselves as individuals. When we prophesy however, we are edifying the entire body of believers, and this is why Pau concludes that he who prophesies is greater than he who speaks with tongues, unless he interprets.
So is it wrong to speak in tongues that we might edify ourselves? Certainly not, for all of us need to be edified as individuals, just as we need to be edified corporately when among other believers. If I am too weak to get out of bed, how could I ever be strong enough to help carry my brothers and sisters in Christ? If I can’t stand on my own two feet, how could I ever be stable enough for others to lean on?
When we do not edify ourselves, we are essentially dependent upon others for edification. When we are dependent upon others for our edification, we are always at the mercy of their circumstances, whether or not they have time for us, whether or not they are themselves edified so that they might edify us, as well as a score of other issues that can arise.
When we are able to edify ourselves however, we are not dependent on anyone, and all it takes is a quiet place where we can be alone with God, and speak to Him.
It is not selfish to edify oneself, for when we are adequately edified, we can in turn edify the church so that all might grow in God and the power of His grace.
If only we understood the true measure of that which God has given us through the gifts of the Holy Spirit, even one as dismissed and marginalized as the gift of speaking in tongues, we would understand that He never intended for His children to be weak, beaten down, or vanquished by the enemy, but rather He intended that they lead victorious lives, in Him and through Him, certain of the outcome of every battle even before the first blow is struck.
We walk in His strength, we walk in His might, we are equipped and overflowing with His power and authority, and as such we ought to know that though the enemy might land a blow from time to time, though we might feel the heat of battle and the exhaustion of extended combat, the certainty of our victory is beyond doubt. We are victorious through Christ, and in Christ, we are more than conquerors in the name of the One from whom the darkness flees, and He has thoroughly equipped His beloved that they might want for nothing when confronting the enemy.
Is there anything more pitiable than a soldier who left all his weapons in the armory because someone convinced him that the armory was all out, or that those who had come before him had already taken all the weapons that were to be had?
This is war, this is battle, and I would urge you to sneak a peek into the armory for yourself to see if what you’ve been told is the truth, or if weapons still remain in the armory of heaven.
As I’ve said time and again, don’t just take my word for it, go into the word of God and read it for yourself, absent the denominational filters that are all the rage these days, and see whether or not the things I write are in harmony with Scripture.
As we’ve already discussed in passing, the gift of tongues, by and large entails tongues understood by God alone. The lone exception within the whole of Scripture was the day the power of the Holy Spirit fell, the day of Pentecost, wherein the hundred and twenty spoke in tongues of men heretofore unknown to them.
If this were a theology class in some prestigious seminary, at this point we would get into the differences between glossolalia, and xenolalia discussing at length the intricate differences between these two Greek words, but thankfully we are not, so I can describe the differences between these two words in less than a minute.
The difference between glossolalia and xenolalia is that xenolalia refers to an existing human language unknown to the individual in question, while glossolalia refers to an angelic language, one unknown to anyone but God and the heavenly realm.
What occurred on the day of Pentecost, via the Holy Spirit, was xenolalia, since those who spoke in other tongues were speaking in human tongues yet tongues unknown to them, and what Paul begins to discuss in his first epistle to the Corinthian church is glossolalia, the utterance of heavenly tongues, known by God alone.
With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.