Summary: A message that clearly bring out Paul’s position in tongues
I Wish that you all spoke in tongues.
1 Cor 14:5 reads:
5 I would like every one of you to speak in tongues,[a] but I would rather have you prophesy. He who prophesies is greater than one who speaks in tongues,[b] unless he interprets, so that the church may be edified.
The apostle Paul said he would like everyone of the Corinthians to speak in tongues.
I wonder if Paul know his words would spark such a running battle among 20 century churchmen as is being waged today?
In many circles the gift of tongues receives the most determined putdown of all the Holy Spirit’s manifestation.
1. “The gift of tongues is an inferior gift!” they
(2) “It is near the bottom of the list!”
(3)”Paul said tongues would cease!” they argue
(4)” Tongues is divisive!”
(5) “It is better to speak five words with the
understanding than 10,000 words in an unknown
These are standard objections from those who are against this practice. But someone who has never experienced the infilling of the Holy Spirit is like a man who has never eaten an orange trying to judge its flavor of oranges—whatever their qualifications
Let’s make a brief examination of these objections.
I. “THE GIFT OF TONGUES IS AN INFERIOR GIFT”
A. Who said so? The Bible certainly makes no such
I doubt that a thoughtful scholar would classify
any gift from God as inferior.
B. The Scofield Reference Bible notes, “ The important
gift is that of prophecy” One might just as
logically say that the husband is the important
member of the family. It overlooks that without a
wife there is no husband Nor would there be a
family without both.
C. So prophecy, together with tongues and
interpretation and six other gifts, are spiritual
enablements placed in the hurch for the formation
and development of member of Christ’s body.
D. Even Paul, who said, “Covet the best gifts” (1cor.
12:31), declined to name the best—Someone needing
guidance would not benefit from gifts of healing---
similarly, one desperately in need of healing would
find prophecy inadequate.
E. While Paul was opting for prophecy in the open
meetings, he acknowledged that tongues, when
accompanied by interpretation, served the same
purpose (I Cor 14:5 5I would like every one of you
to speak in tongues,[a] but I would rather
have you prophesy. He who prophesies is greater
than one who speaks in tongues,[b] unless he
interprets, so that the church may be edified.
2. THE GIFT OF TONGUES IS NEAR THE BOTTOM OF THE
A. This objection doesn’t deserve a rebuttal. It’s
like saying Admiral Zumwalt (the head of the Navy
some years ago) is the least important naval
officer because his name appears near the bottom of
B. There is no reason to believe that Paul positioned
the gifts in relation to their importance.
3. TONGUES ARE DIVISIVE!
A. Why pick out tongues? Everything God does is
divisive. There has never been a move of God that
didn’t set factions to warring.
The Problem is that people refuse to take God
1.Jews wrote many decisions and commentaries to
deaden the impact of the Law.
2. Churchmen have written volumes with the intent
of removing objectionable passages from the
3.Satan has set liberal churchmen against the gift
of tongues because if is the kiss of the great
Prince upon the cheek of his sleeping beauty—
breath of life to his bride---a thorn in the
flesh to those who would maintain dignity at any
4. BUT IT IS BETTER TO SPEAK 5 WORDS WITH THE
UNDERSTANDING THAN 10,000 WORDS IN AN UNKNOWN
(A) Paul was opting for prophecy in the open
(I Cor. 14:18-19) 18 I thank God that I speak
in tongues more than all of you. 19 But in the
church I would rather speak five
intelligible words to instruct others than ten
thousand words in a tongue.
(B) The sole purpose of speaking in church was to
instruct others. This could best be done with
inspired utterance (prophecy) in the local
(1) TONGES Per SE WERE NOT AT ISSUE. At issue were
Tongues or messages in tongues that were not
being interpreted, which tended to disrupt the
services and distract worshipers, while
(2)This is evident from (I Corin. 14:5, 13, 19) 5
I would like every one of you to speak in
tongues,[c] but I would rather have you
prophesy. He who prophesies is greater than one
who speaks in tongues,[d] unless he interprets,
so that the church may be edified.
(v-13) 13For this reason anyone who speaks in a tongue
should pray that he may interpret what he says.
(V-19) 19But in the church I would rather speak five