Are Tongues for today?


"Wherefore tongues are for a sign not to them that believe, but to them that believe not:..."

( 1 Corinthians 14:22)


Within the body of Christ, there has arisen a controversy - that of tongues.

Debate rages as to whether they are for today or whether they have ceased and are no longer needed.

Let's ask some questions, answer them from the King James Bible and "Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." (2Tim 2:15)


Who were 'tongues' meant for?

The nation of Israel. "For the Jews require a sign..." and "... tongues are for a sign..."      (1 Cor 1:22 and 1 Cor 14:22)


What was the purpose of tongues?

 Tongues were sent by God as a sign to the nation of Israel, of irreversible judgment, fulfilling OT prophecy (Isaiah 28:11). God was no longer speaking exclusively to the Jew in Hebrew, but in known languages (tongues).


What was this judgment?

Their promised land under Abraham would be taken away for about 2000 years. In AD 70-71, Rome destroyed Jerusalem.


Why did God speak to them like this? Because they were unbelieving and had rejected Jesus Christ as the Messiah. "Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not:..." (1Cor 14:22)


Has another use of 'tongues' become popular today?

Yes. Man now believes he can use tongues to speak to God.


What does the Bible call this?

They are called unknown tongues because they are not known languages.

What reasons do people use to justify using these unknown tongues?

There are nine main ones.


1st REASON: "When I pray in "tongues" I'm praying to God?"

The Bible says you do, but you pray with your own human spirit. "For if I pray in an unknown tongue, my spirit prayeth ..." (1 Cor 14:14). It is very clear this is our human spirit that is praying and not the Holy Ghost.


2nd REASON: "When I pray in an unknown tongue, I pray in the Spirit."

 The Bible says no - you are praying with your own spirit. "For if I pray in an unknown tongue, my spirit prayeth ... (1 Cor 14:14)


But doesn't the scripture say that we are to pray in the Spirit?

Yes. "Praying always ... in the Spirit ..."     (Eph 6:18).

What does it mean to pray in the Spirit?

If we are saved, you are in Christ and you now have access to God the Father. "For through him (Jesus) we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father." (Ephesians 2:18). Praying in the Spirit means you have access to God.

Never in the Bible does God say that praying in an unknown tongue is praying in the Spirit. God says the opposite - praying in an unknown tongue is praying in your own human spirit (1 Cor 14:14)


3rd REASON: "When I pray to God in an unknown tongue, I speak mysteries."

Question: Did the apostle Paul ever pray to God without knowing what he was praying about ie in mysteries to God?

No. He says that when he prays he does so with understanding. "...I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also...." (1Cor 14:15)


4th REASON: "When I pray in an unknown tongue, I'm praying with an angelic tongue"

The Bible says no. Paul says that he never spoke in an angel tongue. Why? "Though I speak.." means "Just supposing that I could speak with the tongues of angels ..."

(1Cor 13:1). In other words, he makes a hypothetical statement.


5th REASON: "But when I pray in an unknown tongue I am 'groaning in the Spirit' "

That's incorrect. We don't audibly groan as these things can't be uttered by us.

"... the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered." (Romans 8:26)


6th REASON: "But when I pray in an unknown tongue, I feel so good."

Did you know that you can get the same effect and feeling by closing your eyes and repeatedly speaking out loud any phrase. The phrase will soon lose all meaning as understanding of the mind begins to shut down.

How Transcendental Meditation works

In order to escape the pressure in the mind that comes from everyday living and worry, TM-er's practice a repetitive sound - form of meditation.

Now, the same happens when people 'pray' in an unknown tongue. The mind 'shuts down' as a result of sounds being uttered repeatedly. It results in being left with a sense 'spiritual' energy.


Unknown tongues are like drugs - addictive.

To get this 'spiritual' energy, an unknown tongue-user needs this 'TM fix'.


7th REASON: "Well, I believe that the Holy Ghost within me moves my spirit to pray in an unknown tongue."

Sounds good, but there is no scripture to back up your claim.


8th REASON: "God gives me spiritual discernment to know that I'm not speaking the wrong sort of `tongue' "

 The Holy Ghost never, disagrees with God's written word - the King James Bible. Quite simply, any unknown tongue is a deception. Real tongues are a sign for unbelieving Jews.


9th REASON: "I'm filled with the Spirit so I speak in "tongues'?"

No. The meaning of " filled with the Spirit" (Eph 5:18) is given as "Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord." (Eph 5:19). No mention of unknown tongues!


The last thing to give up

A few years ago, I was talking with a friend of mine who had seen, and had extracted himself from, the false healings, money rip-offs, false prophecies and sexual immorality of 'tongue' speaking churches. However, at that stage he hadn't seen the deceptive addiction of unknown tongues. With all the courage I could muster, I said to him "Tongues will be the last thing you'll give up." He got very angry and left. A couple of weeks later, he knocked on the door and said "You're right - it's a deception. I've been deceived!"


Dear reader, I also was hooked on unknown tongues. I remember walking around the block speaking in tongues for an hour at a time. Man, I felt pumped and wow, didn't I feel `spiritually' energized!

Little did I know I was just performing a version of TM.


Put it this way -

As a parent, should you want your son or daughter to speak to you, I'm sure you'd want them to say something intelligible that both you and they could understand? Why should we treat God any differently? "What purpose is served when I don't know what I'm praying, no-one else does and God doesn't either?" Speaking in unknown tongues is a work of the flesh - the Holy Ghost isn't involved.


 Harley Hitchcock







Australian Bible Ministries, PO Box 5058, Mt. Gravatt East 4122 Qld, Australia