Q. In regard to the article “Did Tongues Cease”, I concur with your answer. I was raised to believe that they had ceased but did not see how my pastor/teachers arrived at their conclusion using the texts that are commonly used to support this belief.
However, I do believe that the Greek supports the idea that the gift given in apostolic times was a “known earthly language” being spoken for the furtherance of the gospel as well as a sign of it’s authority as being given from God. I don’t think the “gift of tongues” used today falls under that category.
Scripturally, how do you perceive the gift was used then in contrast to now? Is it still a known earthly language? If not, how does the gift edify the body today, especially if everyone present already speaks and understands the same earthly language?
A. The gift of tongues was given to enable believers to share the gospel or other Biblical information with someone who spoke a language unknown to them. It also allowed the Holy Spirit to speak to a group in a way that could be authenticated. When one person spoke the message and another interpreted it without either understanding the language, it verified that it was from the Holy Spirit.
The so-called prayer language uttered by many Pentecostals and Charismatics today is different and doesn’t conform to the instructions Paul gave in 1 Cor. 12&14 for use of the gift of tongues. No one understands it and no one can interpret it so it doesn’t edify the body at all, and is very confusing to someone who doesn’t know what’s going on. Most of what passes for tongues today is really this prayer language.