B. Childress
Jun 15 2007 08:00AM

Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant...Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same
Spirit.  And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord, And there are diversities of operations, but it is
the same God which worketh all in all.
1Corinthians 12:1-6

But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. For to one is given by the Spirit the word of
wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts
of healing by the same Spirit; To another the working of miracles; To another prophecy; to another discerning of
TO ANOTHER DIVERS KINDS OF TONGUES; to another the interpretations of tongues: But all these worketh
that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.
 1Corinthians 12:7-11

The gifts of the Holy  Spirit (or manifestations as identified by Paul) are manifested through individual believers as the
Spirit of God wills.  Spiritual gifts are not given to the individual for personal benefit, but to 'profit' a whole assembly or
body of believers.  When the gifts of the Spirit are in manifestation, They will always exalt the Lordship of Jesus Christ.
TRY THE SPIRITS:  "Hereby know ye the Spirit of God:  Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the
flesh is of God: And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that
spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that should come... "
1John 4:2-3

First Corinthians 12:3 states,
"Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth
Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost."
(When the Holy Spirit is in

The Devotional Gift of Tongues

  • The utterance gift of tongues is an important gift in that tongues is the door into the supernatural.  It is your
    spirit, by the Holy Spirit within you, talking to God.(1Corinthians 14:14).
  • In the ministry of Jesus, we see all gifts of the Spirit in operation except tongues and interpretation of tongues.
  • Tongues is the biblical evidence of being filled with (baptized with) the Holy Spirit.  When someone has been
    (spiritually) born again, he receives a measure of the Holy Spirit.  But God desires that every believer be filled
    with the Holy Ghost - the enduement of power from on High (Luke 24:49). We should follow the pattern of the
    Early Church, the pattern for us living under the same covenant today:

    Acts 2:1-4       The 120 on the Day of Pentecost

    Acts 8:5-17      The Samaritans saved under Philips ministry

    Acts 9:3-18       When Ananias laid hands on Saul (later called Paul)

    Acts 10:44-46   Cornelius and his household, the first gentiles saved, filled with the Holy Spirit, and spoke with
    other tongues

    Acts 19:1-7       Paul laid hands on the Ephesian disciples which had been saved.  A year later when Paul laid
    hands on them, they were filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke in other tongues.

  • Hence, we see that over many years of the Early Church there are three (3) recorded incidents of believers
    receiving the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking with tongues; twice it is inferred that the evidence for
    believers receiving the Holy Spirit was speaking in tongues.  We should expect to have the same witness of the
    baptism of the Holy Spirit in evidence today.
  • A means of speaking mysteries supernaturally to God - Paul gives another reason for speaking with tongues in
    1Corinthians 14:2, "For he that speaketh in an unknown tongue speaketh not unto me, but unto God: for no
    man understandeth him; howbeit in the spirit he speaketh mysteries (translation, divine secrets)."  God is a Spirit
    and He has provided a supernatural means whereby the human spirit (distinct from our minds or our own
    understanding) can be in direct contact with the Father of spirits (Hebrews 12:9).  Paul said," For if I pray in an
    unknown tongue,my spirit prayeth, but my understanding is unfruitful." 1Corinthians 14:14
  • A means of praying in the Holy Ghost.  Paul writing to the Church of Ephesus said, "Praying always with all
    prayer and supplication in the spirit..." Ephesians 6:18
  • Tongues is a source of intercessory prayer. Roman 8:26 says, "The Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we
    know not what we should pray for as we ought:  but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings
    which cannot be uttered."
  • A means of magnifying God - "And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished...because that on
    the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost.  For they heard them speak with tongues and
    magnify God..." Acts 10:46,47
  • A means of edifying ourselves - in 1Corinthians 14:4 Paul states that, "He that speaketh in an unknown tongue
    edifieth himself..." To edify means to build oneself up.  Jude links praying in tongues with spiritual edification,
    "But ye beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost." Jude 1:20
  • A means of maintaining a continuous experience of being filled up to overflowing with the Holy Spirit.  Paul
    writing another letter to the Church at Ephesus said, "And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled
    with the spirit;"  Ephesians 5:18 It is one thing to be filled with the Holy Ghost initially - it is another to stay
    continually filled with the Holy Ghost.
  • Paul lists the characteristics of a Spirit-filled life: " Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual
    songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; Giving thanks always for all things unto God and
    the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God."
    Ephesians 4:19-21. Psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs are given by the inspiration of the Spirit of God - they
    come through the spirit of prophecy, Revelations 19:10, which may also include tongues and interpretation of
  • The Lord wants us to maintain a continual experience of being filled with the Holy Spirit.
  • As a means of spiritual refreshing. Isaiah prophesied not only about the coming Messiah and the plan of
    redemption which Jesus would consummate, but also about the Holy Ghost and speaking in tongues,  "For with
    stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to his people.  To whom he said, this is the rest wherewith ye
    may cause the weary to rest; this is the refreshing:"  Isaiah 28:11,12
  • As a devotional gift.  Tongues is primarily a devotional gift to be used in one's prayer life for praising and
    worshipping God, for speaking mysteries to God, and for building oneself up on his most holy faith.
  • A gift that should not be neglected even though it can be.  It can lie dormant within us.  The Apostle Paul wrote
    to young Timothy, "Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of
    the hands of the presbytery." 1Timothy 4:14  We should speak in tongues often and not let it "dry" up..

The Gift of Divers Kinds of Tongues - a Public Ministry

"Wherefore tongues are a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not..."1Corinthians 14:22

The word "divers" in 1 Corinthians 12:10 is italicized, which means that it was added by the translator.  This verse
actually reads" another, kinds of tongues.. "  In 1Corinthians 12:28, Paul says,
"And God set in the church...helps,
diversities of tongues."  We translate this to mean simply different kind of tongues:

  • The Gift of Divers Kinds of Tongues is a sign gift from God to the church.  Tongues is a part of the great
    commission to the church - the Lord Jesus Christ's last words on earth before he ascended to heaven, "Go ye
    into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.  He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but
    he that believeth not shall be damned.  And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they
    cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues.."  Mark 16:15-17
  • Tongues is a gift for the Body.  1 Corinthians 14:23 refers to tongues operating when the whole Church has
    come together into one place.  Verse 26 says, "...when ye come together, every one of you hath a psalm, hath a
    doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation." The gift of tongues is a "come-together" gift.
  • Of the three vocal gifts or utterance/inspirational gifts - the gift of prophecy, divers kinds of tongues, and the
    interpretation of tongues - the gift of tongues is the most prominent.
  • Tongues and interpretation of tongues are distinctive to the church age: unique to this dispensation.  Therefore
    they are more in operation.  All the other gifts of the Spirit were in operation in the Old Testament; The word of
    wisdom, the word of knowledge, special faith, gifts of healings, working of miracles, prophecy, and discerning of
    spirits - all but tongues and interpretation of tongues.
  • Besides praying in tongues in one's individual prayer life, there is a public side to speaking in tongues.  Paul
    said that not everyone would be used in what we call the public ministry of tongues " all speak with
    tongues?" 1Corinthians 12:30.  The obvious answer is no because Paul is talking about the public ministry of
    diversities of tongues - a ministry gift denoting more the prophetic office, not the devotional gift of tongues.  
    Some misconstrue Paul's statement to mean that speaking in tongues is not for everybody, but Paul is
    addressing the ministry gift of tongues.  Ministry gifts or offices are 'set' in the church by God; they are people
    called to the fivefold ministry.
  • Paul, speaking about the public ministry of tongues states, "If any speak 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." 1Corinthians 14:27.28. This means that not
    more than two or three people should speak in a service.  This administration was given to prevent competitive
    utterances in the local body.  The Bible gives us these instructions regarding the public ministry of the utterance
    gifts in order that, "...all things be done decently and in order."  1Corinthians 14:40
  • Praying in tongues can be done publicly as well as privately, but there is an appropriate time to speak with
    tongues in public.  We do not want to have prolonged prayer in tongues in public services because unless there
    is an interpretation, folks won't know what is being said and they won't be edified.  However, you can pray in
    tongues quietly at the altar as long as you desire because you go there to get edified.  In addition, if everyone in
    a service is worshipping God and praying in tongues, it is all right for you to join in - praying in tongues
    worshipping God.  But when the congregation ceases praying, then all need to cease praying (in tongues) since
    the congregation would not be edified if you went on and on praying aloud in tongues.

The Gift of Divers Kinds of Tongues is not...

  • For everybody. Only Spirit-filled, or Spirit baptized believers are candidates for this gift.  The infilling of the Holy
    Spirit is the door to the operation of spiritual gifts.  Before a person can operate this Church gift, he must first
    experience Act 2:4; he must speak with tongues.  (LS p. 119)
  • A gift you can operate without the unction of the Holy Spirit.  As with every gift of the Spirit, the gift of tongues
    operates only as the Spirit wills.  No one should try to operate this gift in the public assembly without the unction
    of the Holy Spirit. This is the mistake the Corinthians were making, and this is where many believers today often
    make a mistake.
  • A gift you may or may not be able to interpret in a public setting.  Every believer can pray to interpret his
    tongues in his own private devotions, "Wherefore let him that speaketh in an unknown tongue pray that he may
    interpret." 1Corinthians 14:12  However, God will not use every believer in public utterance in tongues, for that is
    a gift and is not given to everyone, "But all these (spiritual gifts) worketh that one and selfsame Spirit, dividing to
    every man severally as he will." 1Corinthians 12:11  
  • The prayer language of tongues that comes with the infilling of the Holy Spirit - the gift of divers kinds of tongues
    is considered to be a  "sign gift."
  • The learning of languages.  Tongues has positively no relationship to the thinking abilities of man.  Tongues is
    speech to God - a vocal miracle.  This means there is an element of faith and an element of courage related to
    this gift. (LS p. 118)  It is the functioning of the Holy Spirit through the mind.  Even the interpreter does not
    understand the language or the tongue that he is interpreting.  His mental faculties are not a part of the
  • A teaching or preaching gift.  To speak in tongues in an assembly without interpretation would not edify the
    congregation - it would edify the believer, but not the hearers.
  • Limited to your prayer language.  Divers Tongues means exactly that - you might speak a language from a
    foreign country that you had never learned.  This experience happens in public ministry as it did in Acts 2:7,8,
    "And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to another, Behold are not all these which speak
    Galilaeans?  And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born?"

Lester Sumrall recalls this experience in his book:

A tremendous illustration of the fruit of this gift took place when I preached in Washington, D.C.  After my sermon, one
brother gave a message and another interpreted.  When they had finished, a young man walked to the front and
spoke in a foreign language to the one who had given the message.  The brother answered, I'm sorry sir, but I don't
understand any other language."  The man replied, "But you spoke my language beautifully. I am Persian.  You spoke
my language and told me that I must get right with God, that I must find God right now."  The brother answered, "No, it
was the Spirit Who spoke to you.  It was God talking to you, not me."  He stood there, trembling, then knelt down and
gave his heart to the Lord Jesus Christ.  (LS p. 127)

"We must not forget that speaking in other tongues is not only an initial evidence or
sign of the Holy Spirit's indwelling, but it is also an experience for the rest of one's life
to assist in the worship of God.  It is a flowing stream that should never dry up, but
will enrich your life spiritually."   Howard Carter (p. 120)


The Holy Spirit and His Gifts, Kenneth E. Hagin, Copyright 1991, RHEMA Bible Church.

The Gifts and Ministries of the Holy Spirit, Lester Sumrall, Copyright 1982, Lester Sumrall Evangelical
Association (LeSEA).


Questions and Answers on Spiritual Gifts, Howard Carter, Copyright 1976, Harrison House Inc.