Monday, November 20, 2017

Why Speaking in Tongues?

All scripture references, unless otherwise noted, are from the King James Version of the Holy Bible. The Hebrew and Greek meaning of the words mentioned are from Strong's Hebrew Greek Dictionary.
The Bible says in Acts 2:1-4, "And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance." This is counted by most, not just those known as Pentecostals, as the birthday of the church. This was the fulfillment of the Lord Jesus' prophesy and command to the early church disciples found in Acts 1:4-5, to "wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me. For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence." The question has been in my mind over the years, why speaking in tongues or other languages was necessary.

This isn't the only Bible reference. There are numerous Bible verses that mention "tongues," but one of the main ones in prophesy is found in Isaiah 28:11-12 which says, "For with stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to this people. To whom he said, This is the rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest; and this is the refreshing: yet they would not hear." This term in Acts 2:4 is also where the modern term glossolalia is from. In Strong's Greek dictionary the term "glōssa (pronounced) gloce'-sah Of uncertain affinity; the tongue; by implication a language (specifically one naturally unacquired): - tongue." It still doesn't adequately answer the question for me at least, why speaking in tongues is necessary.

However I am glad that God chose tongues as the sign of the infilling of the Holy Ghost. In Acts 10:44-46 the Bible says that, "While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word. And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, 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..." One of the main reasons that God chose tongues as the initial evidence of receiving the Holy Ghost is found in the last part of the passage, they magnified God.

Have you ever felt that your praise to the Lord Jesus was inadequate? I have! Oftentimes when I would open my mouth to offer the Lord my praise for the great things He has done for me I would feel frustrated because I just didn't have the vocabulary to praise Him enough. How could one ever praise the Lord Jesus enough? The Bible says in Psalms 34:3, "O magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together." I love that old chorus we used to sing in church, it goes something like this:

"Oh magnify the LORD with me, blessed Lamb of Calvary. 
For His grace so rich and free, magnify the Lord with me. 
Oh magnify the LORD with me, blessed Lamb of Calvary,
Jesus gives us liberty so magnify the Lord with me."

But how, as I asked the church in Tigard, Oregon, does one magnify the God that spoke the Universe into existence. Another song asks, "How big is God? how big and wide His vast domain..." Neither you nor I could add to Him to make Him bigger. But the reason we speak in tongues is to magnify God Almighty. Do you have the vocabulary to adequately give glory to the Lord Jesus? If you have the baptism of the Holy Ghost you do. You just need to exercise it.

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