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I Cor. 14



I want to make it crystal clear that our purpose tonite is not in any way to impune, insult, or attack any brother or sister in Christ.  Any friend of Jesus is a friend of mine!


And so, w/ no malice, no anger, and no hatred in my heart toward anyone, we approach a sticky topic in a mature way.  We can approach this subject doctrinally, Biblically, w/out attacking anyone’s character or integrity.  This is not personal…this is Bible.  And it helps us to understand why we believe what we believe.


Probably everyone in this room knows someone, or even deeply loves someone, as I do, who is a believer in the tongues movement, or at least attends a church that would be a part of that belief.  I have some family, and some dear friends who would disagree w/ everything I will say tonite…and yet, my first allegiance has got to be to the Word of God.


Some Churches speak in tongues but are much like us in doctrine.  Then some teach tongues to be not just a gift/added blessing, but an added requirement for salvation, along w/ water baptism.  Some of these groups deny the doctrine of the trinity, and promote a works system of salvation…and that they’re the only ones that will be in heaven…that always has been, and always will be the mark of a cult!


Joke—[Some Baptists believe in what is called the Baptist bride theory]

St. Peter shows a new arrival in heaven around/old-time Presbyterian…distinguished and dignified / Charismatics whooping and hollering / shhhhh!, these are the Baptists, they think they’re the only ones here!


We don’t question anyone’s sincerity tonite.  Certainly you can see the sincerity on their faces…they are truly sincere.  Their love and devotion for Jesus is very real…but sincerity is not the test of doctrine…it’s possible to be sincere and be sincerely wrong.


I would not question that many of their experiences are real, and that not all charismatic experiences you hear about are psycho-somatic in nature…but experience is not the test of doctrine.  We must always line our experiences up beside the Word to see if there’s a match.


Experience/feeling (it could be the pizza you had last night at 11:30!)


Sign gifts – specific enablements given to certain believers for the purpose of authenticating or confirming the gospel message as it was proclaimed before the Bible was written in total – they are: revelations/miracles/healings/tongues/interpretation of tongues.

The sign gifts had a unique purpose as they gave the apostles credentials…to let people know that these men were speaking the truth of God…to confirm the new Scriptural revelations God was giving to His people in the first century.


Acts 2

43And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles.


I Cor. 13:8-10

Whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. 9For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. 10But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.


The only perfect thing on earth today is the inerrant, infallible Word of God.  Once the canon was closed (scripture completed by 100 AD) then that which was in part…sign gifts, ceased.  Even toward the end of the Apostle Paul’s earthly ministry, we see his miracles and sign gifts and powers begin to wane, and eventually, cease altogether.  For example:


I Tim. 5

23Drink no longer water, but use a little wine for thy stomach’s sake and thine often infirmities.

Paul says, I know you’ve been having trouble w/ your stomach, son, and it’s ok to use something for medicinal purposes to help.  (Why not just heal him?) Does God still heal?  Of course!  Just not through a human like He did for a time, for a sign. 


II Tim. 4

20Erastus abode at Corinth: but Trophimus have I left at Miletum sick.


Even in church history, beginning in the 2nd century and on, the church fathers, including the greatest of all historians like Augustine, never mention the sign gifts except to say that they had indeed ceased as predicted.


It’s important to remember that the sign gifts were always intended for the Jews.


I Cor. 14

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. 22Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not: (this is a direct quote from Is. 28)


Since the time of Moses, the Jews have always demanded that God’s power be authenticated thru signs and miracles.  Jesus worked miracles and signs of His credentials in the presence and for the benefit of the Jews, those He came to save.


John 10

37If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not. 38But if I do, though ye believe not me, believe the works: that ye may know, and believe, that the Father is in me, and I in him.

When the church unfolded, and God began to put it together in the 1st C., God again appealed to the Jews w/ signs and miracles…and in every instance in the book of Acts where tongues is mentioned, it happened in the presence of the Jews, and for their benefit.


After the rapture, the Bible teaches that once the Gentile church is removed from the earth, God will again begin to deal w/ the nation of Israel.  And in preparing them for Christ’s 2nd coming, and the establishment of His earthly kingdom, again, signs and miracles will again appear.  But it’s all part of God’s dealings w/ the Jews.


Let’s investigate tonite one of the sign gifts, the gift of tongues…and as Joe Friday would say, Just the facts, ma’am!  Not my opinion, or even my interpretation, just what the Bible says. 


The Bible gives us an explanation of the gift of tongues, and then teaching on the administration of the gift of tongues.


  1. Explanation


Here’s some questions people ask:

Are tongues an ecstatic heavenly language understood only by God?

Are tongues to be used in prayer for personal edification?

In public church services?


Definition of tongues


Not my definition, or Baptist def., but Bible definition:


Tongue in NT is translated from 2 Greek Words which are used interchangeably.  (glossa=language / dialectos=dialect)


In both cases, these are intelligible, identifiable languages.


Rev. 5:9

9And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation;

Rev. 7:9

9After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb

Rev. 10:11

11And he said unto me, Thou must prophesy again before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings.


In each and every case that little word glossa is translated tongues, and is in clear reference to an identifiable language.


Acts 2

4And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

5And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven. 6Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language.


Are the tongues mentioned in I Cor. Different than these we’ve looked at in Rev. and Acts?  No.  It’s the same Greek word, glossa.  But in I Cor. 14 a little word is inserted, “unknown” tongue.


If someone were to stand up tonite and begin to speak Swahili, how many would understand?  Raise your hands.  So, to you it would be an unknown tongue.


Notice also, that the word is in italics, added by KJV translators for clarity.  The word is not found in the original Greek documents…and so, do we build an entire doctrinal belief upon 1 word that even the translators admit is not there?


Look at the context, I Cor. 14:21

This is another quote from Is. 28, a reference to the Assyrian tongue, or language.  God was predicting that Israel would be taken captive and that they will hear men speak w/ another language and understand it…but it’s a reference, of course, to an intelligible, identifiable, discernable existing language.



That’s tongues defined.  Now, Tongues demonstrated:


Acts 2

6Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language. 7And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galilaeans? 8And how hear we every man in our own tongue (dialectos), wherein we were born?


What an incredible miracle.  Every man heard not only in their own language, but their own dialect, even!


From the north like my wife:  you guys need to get saved!

Georgia:  y’all need born’d again!

Missouri:  yuins…..

New Mexico:  vamos al Jesus! Undele!


Next instance of tongues is in Acts 10 to the Gentiles.  Is it any different now?


Please understand this:  Peter in Acts 10 had just preached to Cornelius, the first Gentile ever to hear the Word and respond by being saved.  That was a big question in those days, “can gentiles get saved?”  God had to give the Jews a sign to prove to the Jews that they indeed can be saved.


Acts 10

44 While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word. 45 And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost. 46 For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God.


Are the tongues mentioned here the same tongues in Acts 2?  Are they identifiable, intelligible, discernable languages spoken by people on earth… or was it incoherent babbling/jibberish? (I don’t mean to be disrespectful). 


Let’s let Peter answer that…


Acts 11

15 And as I began to speak, the Holy Ghost fell on them, as on us at the beginning17 Forasmuch then as God gave them the like gift as he did unto us, who believed on the Lord Jesus Christ; what was I, that I could withstand God?

(5-10 years between each of 4 instances in Acts…not common!)


In Acts, tongues were a supernatural ability to speak in a foreign language.  It’s the same word as tongues in Rev.  The same as in I Cor. 14.


If that gift of tongues from back then was the tongues being practiced today, we would rejoice and accept it gladly!  Think of the time and money we would save if our missionaries didn’t have to go to language school! 


Look at what Paul said in I Cor. 14:18


        They say that in Corinth, a trade city, there would be perhaps 50 language groups at any given time…and Paul could preach to all of them, miraculously!



That was all explanation of the gift of tongues…now the administration of the gift of tongues:


v. 39        “forbid not…”
This is often quoted, out of context.  Clearly, there was a gift of tongues…I’m thankful for it!  The problem was, it was being grossly mismanaged.  Remember now that the church at Corinth was the most carnal, worldly church of that time, the 1st century.  The entire letter of I Cor. was written by Paul to the church as a blistering rebuke of their problems.  And it’s full of irony and sarcasm!  I get a kick out of churches who want to pattern after Corinth.  If there’s any church we don’t want to pattern after, it’s Corinth!


Ch. 5:  immorality

6:     taking each other to court

7:     disregarding sanctity of marriage

11:   getting drunk...at church…during Lord’s supper!

14:   still rebuking and correcting them…this time for their mis-management of the gift of tongues…so, Paul lays down some strict management rules for the gift.  (Under inspiration!)  And these rules are grossly disregarded by the modern tongues movement.


  1. Not for self-edification

v. 2  This is one of their proof verses as a prayer language…when actually, this verse is saying, with much sarcasm, how futile it is to speak in tongues w/out an interpreter.

I Pet. 4:10

10 As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another,

I Cor. 12:7 (turn)


If a spiritual gift is not used to profit the whole body, it is not of God.  You’re just talking to yourself (self-edification), or to God…who doesn’t need edifying!


This completely shoots in the foot the idea of a prayer language…something never mentioned in the scriptures (like Purgatory).  It’s not there!


What about Rom. 8:26

Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.

Groanings= “sigh” (not words)

“cannot be uttered”


I have prayed like that…you?…when you hurt so bad you can’t even verbalize it?


It’s possible to have meaning w/out words!…but is it right to have words w/out meaning?


Or, I Cor. 13:1 “language of angels”


You’d never get prayer language out of that unless you were specifically looking for it!

        Paul is exaggerating to make his point clear.  Look at 2 and 3! (read)

By the way, anytime an angel did speak in the Bible, it was intelligible, discernable, identifiable language!


So, they are not for self-edification…but to profit the body.


  1. Preaching has priority over tongues

v. 3-5       In most charismatic churches…not all…but most…when the tongues begin, the preaching stops!…or, never even starts!

v. 19                5 words of preaching better than 10,000 in tongues


  1. No more than 3, and only 1 at a time

v. 27        “by course”=1 at a time

More than 3?  Not of God.  God doesn’t lead people to contradict His Word!

All at once?  Not of God.


4.     Must not cause confusion

  1. Look at on your own.

v. 23        Mad

v. 40        Decently and in order


  1. Always an interpreter, for benefit of those who do not speak that language

v. 27


  1. No women

v. 34
What is the entirety of ch. 14 about?  Tongues.  Some make this their proof verse that women should never speak in church, and that is out of context!


The majority of today’s tongues speakers are women (more emotional)…and if that one rule were to be applied today, the modern day tongues movement would probably die overnight.


Are these 6 things suggestions or commands?


v. 36-37  

If you didn’t write the Bible, don’t argue w/ it!  If you want to disregard the rules, go ahead…but don’t call yourself, “full gospel”


Millions of people from all different belief systems are leaving their churches and uniting in Charismatic churches.  And what is the unifying factor that brings many different belief systems together into Charismatic churches?  Is it deity of Christ?/blood atonement?/salvation by grace thru faith/no!  It’s an experience!  "We’ve all had this experience!"


Unity is to be based upon doctrine, not experience.


Local churches are to be filled w/ unity and love.


God is the one who multiplies and adds/Satan divides and subtracts.


Their proven track record in churches like ours, is splitting churches…get a strong foot hold, then take over…and people like you and me finally leave…building and all…or, they leave w/ enough people to start their own place.


You check out the history of any charismatic church you like…you’ll likely track it back to a church like this one (originally)


Remember, this is not a message of hate.  Any friend of Jesus is a friend of mine. 

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