Unknown Tongues, 1 Cor 14

Unknown Tongues 1 Cor. 14 CLICK TITLE FOR AUDIO

This broadcast is on the unknown tongues of 1 Cor 14.  You are going to learn that the modern movement of speaking in unknown tongues is not Biblical.

People who have experienced speaking in unknown tongues, either by speaking in tongues themselves or by hearing others speak in tongues, generally rely upon their experience rather than on the Bible for an explanation of tongues.  We are not going to deny that their experiences have been real, but we are going to show you that tongues in the Bible were not what people are experiencing today.

You find people speaking in tongues only three times in the Bible.  These all occur in Acts.  You will find them in Acts 2:4-11, 10:46, and 19:6.  In every case, the people who spoke in tongues spoke a language or languages that others in the audience could understand.  In none of these references, therefore, was there an interpreter of the tongues.  Those who were listening could understand those who were speaking because they were speaking in their own languages.  In every case, the audience was Jewish.  Remember that Jews require a sign [1 Cor 14:22] and that tongues are for a sign [1 Cor 1:22].

So, when you get to 1 Cor 14, it is interesting, to say the least, that people suddenly want to make the unknown tongue of 1 Cor 14:2 some sort of strange unknown language reserved only to those very spiritual people who are gifted to speak something that no one on earth can understand but someone who says he can interpret that stuff.  If the person in 1 Cor 14:2 has the gift of tongues, then his audience will be able to understand what he is saying, as in the Acts of the Apostles.  But in 1 Cor 14:2, Paul tells you that no man understandeth him.  So, he is not gifted the way that men in Acts were gifted, otherwise they could understand him.  As a matter of fact, Paul says that what the man says in his spirit [not the Holy Spirit; see 1 Cor 14:14, 32] is a mystery because his audience can’t understand him.  The only one who can understand him is God.

Frankly, if I were to ask you “Parlez-Vous Français,” you could not answer me if you did not understand and speak French, because I would be speaking to you in an UNKNOWN tongue.  You would not be able to understand me without an interpreter [1 Cor 14:27, as an interpreted message preached on a foreign field], without me translating what I had asked you [1 Cor 14:5, 13, as in a bi-lingual church service], or without LEARNING the language yourself [1 Cor 14:16, 23, and 24, which Paul implies you could do].  And if I kept speaking French to you and you couldn’t understand me, you and I would be barbarians [foreigners] to each other, according to Paul [1 Cor 14:11].  My understanding would be unfruitful because, though I could understand what I am saying, you couldn’t [1 Cor 14:14, 19] because my tongue is unknown to you.

Furthermore, if God were to give me the gift of speaking French without learning or knowing the language, I would be able to speak to Frenchmen though I had not learned the language.  That’s what the gift of tongues provides.  But what would be the use of me speaking French to a congregation of people who couldn’t understand French?  The only benefit would be that I could show them that I have a gift.  I would just be a show off.  There was a problem with that in Corinth.  And there is a problem with this in churches today.  That’s why Paul told them it is greater to prophesy and edify the congregation with a revelation, knowledge, or doctrine [1 Cor 14:5-6].

Now if God had given me the French tongue and there were Frenchmen in the congregation that day, then I could edify them in French.  And so that the rest of the congregation would be edified, one person would have to interpret [1 Cor 14:27] for the benefit of everyone else who doesn’t speak French.  This is what we do whenever we take groups on missions trips.  Look at it another way, if a Frenchman happens to be in the congregation one day and he has something to say, as long as there is someone there who can interpret  for him [1 Cor 14:27] then he can speak.  And if there is not someone there who can interpret for him, then he must just sit there quietly [1 Cor 14:28].

Corinth was a sea port, so there were people from all over the Mediterranean Sea that sailed there.  In the church, there may have been people speaking 20 different languages at any one service.  Imagine the chaos if they all wanted to say something at the same time.  Paul said it would have been a mad-house, literally [1 Cor 14:23].  Reminds you of a modern day Charismatic church service.  Absolutely!

Paul never gives you any indication that the unknown tongues of 1 Cor 14 are some sort of private unknown prayer language.  They are languages that are the native “tongues” of the speakers, which they can understand, but which others cannot understand without an interpreter.  Or else, they are languages that were given as a gift for the spread of the gospel [1 Cor 14:22] that were to be spoken to those who could understand them without an interpreter.  Never are unknown tongues spoken to a congregation who cannot understand them.  Never.  No one in the congregation is going to start suddenly listening to God just because some man or woman starts speaking in tongues [1 Cor 14:21].

To bring decency and order to Corinth [1 Cor 14:40], Paul laid down rules for speaking in unknown tongues in 1 Cor 14:27-34.  They are as follows: one, “by two, at the most by three” [no more than three men in one service can speak in an unknown tongue]; two, “by course” [each man speaks one at a time]; three, “let one interpret” [since the tongue is unknown to everyone but the speaker (notice that he can speak to himself and God in v. 28), there must be an interpreter]; four, “if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the church;” and five, “let your women keep silence in the churches” [women are not to speak in an unknown tongue or interpret in the church; men only].

Truly, these rules are violated by modern day tongue talkers and tongue talking churches all the time.  Women speak in tongues in these modern churches and more than one person speaks at the same time and more than three people speak in tongues.  All these churches violate these rules given by the Lord.  Think about it, the Holy Spirit is not going to violate scripture [Jn 16:13].  So, those who teach that gibberish is a gift of the Holy Ghost and that disobedience of the scripture is allowed in their cases are wrong.

Why not just speak English to an English speaking congregation or Spanish to a Spanish speaking congregation, rather than speak something that requires an interpreter?  That’s what Paul said in 1 Cor 14:19. You know why they don’t just talk in plain English?  You can’t show off and make it look like you have the Holy Spirit if you behave.

We’re going with Paul, not with scripture violating show offs who are not concerned about edifying the body of Christ [1 Cor 14:12].  If you want to stick to the modern day tongue movement, that is your prerogative.  Like Paul said, “If any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant,” [1 Cor 14:38]. Amen!!