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Three Views on the Gift of Tongues by Mercy Moige Mecha

 

So if the whole churchgoers together and everyone speaks in tongues, and some who do not understand or some who do not understand or some unbelievers come in, will they not say you are out of your mind? 1 cor 14: 23

Have you ever been in a congregation where everyone is praying in tongues? If you are like me you felt completely lost because you could not understand a thing and also thought they were out of their minds.

The gift of tongues is one of those gifts that has been misused in the church today as was in the church in Corinth. Infact, in some churches you are not considered born again unless your salvation is coupled with your speaking in tongues. Thus new believers who want to show that their salvation is genuine and also want acceptance have resorted to ” speaking in tongues”. Their tongues have either been made up as they go or have been copied from older Christians in their circles. 

The second view of the gift of tongues is where it has been totally neglected. Due to the misuse, some  churches do not even make a mention of it and if they do, they go to 1 Corinthians 14:1 ” follow the way of love and eagerly desire spiritual gifts, especially the gift of prophecy.” Here Paul is not advocating the neglect of this gift but to its proper use, because later he says he too speaks in tongues more than anyone else.It is a gift of the Holy Spirit and ought to be desired and when received it needs to be used for the edification of the body of Christ.

The third view of tongues is that of right usage. Just because the gift of tongues has been misused does not mean it cannot be desired or exercised in the body of Christ. The remedy to misuse is to right usage. More than anything this is the lesson that Paul wanted the Corinthians and churches today to know and practice. The gift of tongues when used in public had to have interpretation so that the hearers could understand what was being said and be edified.  If there was no interpretation, then the speaker needed to be silent. This gift could be used in private, but even there Paul exhorts the user to pray for the ability to interpret what they are saying in order to have a fruitful time.

Consequently, the gift of tongues as other gifts of the Holy Spirit should be desired. However those who are blessed with this gift need to use it in such a way that the local church is edified and built up by  praying that they be given the ability to interpret. We must not by any means scoff at this gift, for the Spirit who gives it is from the Father of lights who delights to give good things to his children.