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Questions about speaking in tongues?

Submitted: 2/7/2011
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Question: Do you agree that God chose the gift of tongues because the tongue is the hardest to tame? I recently heard someone preach/quote that. And would you clarify the verse, 'as the spirit gives utterance,' which I heard someone once preach that the gift of speaking in tongues is not an act of you (the individual) and correlated to that verse.

Answer: No, the gift of tongues is one of the nine gifts (charisma)of the Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:4-10). You are thinking of the sign of speaking in tongues, which indicates a person has received the gift (dorea) of the Holy Spirit. We would agree that one of the reasons for this particualr sign is that it shows a person quite dramatically that God is able to tame the one member of the body that no man can tame (see James 3:2-8). The thought is, if God can do this, then what can't He do?

The phrase 'as the Spirit gave them utterance' does not mean the individual does nothing. Acts 2:4 actually says, 'And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.' Notice that it says 'they...began to speak with other tongues.' The people were speaking, but the Spirit was providing the words. This is how they could speak in languages they had never learned. God knows all languages.