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Defining the Gift of Tongues

In: Historical Events

Submitted By floweticmajor
Words 993
Pages 4
ToneJah Knight
THEO 201 D27
April 19, 2014

It is funny how you “run into” old friends on social websites. Sometimes, you try not to and succeed, while other times it’s just not in God’s hands. I had a friend recently inquire my opinion on the topic of speaking in tongues in church. Over the years, it has been brushed under the rug due to the spiritual gift becoming ceased in AD 70 (CC); however, the argument of whether it was truly ceased or not is in question. This in fact is where I was asked to step in. I first broke down the meaning of spiritual gifts, which are gifts of God enabling the Christian to perform his or her service such as the gift of prophets, evangelists and teaching (Elwell p.1135). Ephesians 4:12-13 and 15 state that spiritual gifts were given “for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect [complete, mature] man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ . . . speaking the truth in love, [that we] may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ.” After breaking down the meaning of spiritual gifts, my friend further asked, “Aren’t spiritual gifts the same as the Fruit of the Spirit?” I proceeded to explain that with 1 Corinthians 12:4-7 as a base, each service has a different gift all for the common good. The most significant difference between the two is that spiritual gifts were merely GIFTS that God gave to us so He can work through us. We did not earn them. Fruits of the spirit are what we earn from God by abiding in His word and obeying His every command. To better understand, one uses his or her gift to receive the fruits of the spirit. Another difference is that there are laws to spiritual gifts given by Paul in many verses such as Romans 12:6-8; 1 Corinthians 12:4-11, 28-30; and Ephesians 4:7-12 (Elwell p.1135). In Galatians 5:22-23, it states, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” To be all of these characteristics takes a strong foundation of trust and faith in God, making the Fruit of the Spirit a key note in showing one’s spiritual maturity. I was then hit with a controversial task: defining the gift of speaking in tongues. 1 Corinthians 14 breaks down the biblical definition as a sign, not for believers, but for unbelievers to reveal the living God within themselves (1 Cor. 14:22). In the same boat as the rest of the spiritual gifts, the gift of tongues’ purpose is to edify the believer and combat racial and prejudice slurs (Carm). The baptism of the Holy Spirit was illustrated in Matthew 3:13-17 when Jesus asked John to baptize Him. By Jesus telling John that His visit was to “fulfill all righteousness”(Matt. 3:15), He was explaining to John that the baptism was an aspect in the accomplishment of God’s will; hence God’s voice coming from the heavens saying, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased” (Matt. 3:17). In my opinion, the strength of baptism the Holy Spirit is exemplified in the story of Jesus being tested in the wilderness in Luke 4. The devil attempted to manipulate Jesus by making Him doubt his strength in God and Himself. The devil offered Jesus authority over all the kingdoms in the world if He worshipped him (Luke 4:6-7), but Jesus stood His ground and said, “It is written: ‘Worship the Lord you God and serve Him only’” (Luke 4:8). My friend started giving his opinion on the gift of speaking in tongues and how he believed that it is the necessary sign of the baptism in the Holy Spirit. I disagreed on the foundation of speaking in tongues being one of the 25 spiritual gifts that are given. Different gifts were distributed upon God’s people in the church, but not all were given tongues (1 Cor. 12:29-31). In fact, God says in 1 Corinthians 14:5, “I would like every one of you to speak in tongues, but I would rather you prophesy. The one who prophesies is GREATER than the one who speaks in tongues, unless there is an interpreter of tongues, so that the church may be edified.” The gift of tongues is not the sign, but a sign. If anything, it should be the Fruit of the Spirit that is considered the sign of baptism in the Holy Spirit (CC). Speaking in tongues are rare in some denominations today. I know I have recently witnessed certain people in my church, which is a Church of God and Christ, take part in this spiritual gift. A reason why it has been scarce over the years could be the fact that the gift was supposedly ceased in AD 70 after its primary purpose was accomplished with the judgment of Israel (1 Cor. 13: 8-10; Carm). Only paired with an interpreter is speaking in tongues considered to be valid today.

Bibliography * Does the Spiritual Gift of Speaking in Tongues still Exist Today? (n.d.). Retrieved April 17, 2014, from Campus Christians:

* Ministry, C. A. (2014). Is Speaking in Tongues a Necessary Sign of Salvation? Retrieved April 17, 2014, from Carm: Christian Apologetics & Research Ministry:

* Elwell, W. A. (2001). Evangelical dictionary of theology (2nd ed.). Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Academic ;.

[ 1 ]. Campus Christians.

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