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Speaking in Tongues

“If any man speak in an unknown tongue, let it be by two, or at the most by three, and that by course; and let one interpret. But if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the church; and let him speak to himself, and to God.” 1 Corinthians 14:27-28

Speaking in tongues has specific rules that are laid out in 1st Corinthians chapter 14. While I have never spoken in tongues and never plan to, others have. This is still part of scripture, but the rules should make spontaneously speaking in tongues a very rare thing. According to Strong’s concordance the word “man” in this passage means anyone that is human. The word "tongue" means language. So, what are the rules, both literal and implied by scripture?

  1. A person or no more than 3 people may speak in a foreign language during any given service or meeting.

  2. They must speak one at a time.

  3. It must be an actual language, not gibberish or a made-up angelic language.

  4. Another person must be present that knows the language and can interpret what was said.

  5. The person that speaks in tongues cannot interpret for themselves.

  6. Everything said must reconcile with scripture, because if it doesn’t reconcile with scripture it is not from God.

  7. If no one is present that can interpret, the person that wants to speak in another language must stay silent during the service and pray to God about what they want to say.

For example:

If a group of Spanish speakers attend your church and one of them wants to share something in their own language, another Spanish speaker must be present and willing to interpret. If you have only one Spanish speaker in your church, they must not share anything during the service in Spanish. If they are multilingual they can share in English, so that everyone can understand.

This is only one example and I’m sure you could come up with additional scenarios. The point is that everything said in a service or meeting of the church should be understood by all. If that means that an interpreter is necessary, that’s fine. If it means a person needs to keep silent during the service, that’s fine. Whatever is said must reconcile with scripture and it must be understood by everyone, (taking into consideration the person’s age of course).

Speaking in tongues is okay as long as the rules are followed and your salvation is not brought into question if you don’t speak in tongues. Speaking in tongues has never been a requisite for salvation. Thank God, in Jesus name! Amen!

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