I have been told the only proof a person has been filled with the Holy Spirit is the evidence of them speaking in “unknown” tongues. This is sometimes called the language of angels or a private prayer language, because it is just guttural sounds, babble or gibberish and not a human language.

Here’s one shocking fact I uncovered, all six verses in the King James Bible that say unknown tongues, the word “unknown” is in italics. That means the King James translators added it! (1 Cor. 14:2, 4, 13, 14, 19, 27) They may have been trying to convey the thought of languages “that have not been learned” by the speaker and not some un-interpretable babble Language of desire. Most Bibles since the KJV have discovered this addition and omitted the word “unknown”.

There are only three examples in all of Scripture when people actually spoke in other tongues. (Greek-glossa-languages)

The first occasion was: on the day of Pentecost the disciples spoke and everyone heard them in their own “language”. (Acts 2:7-11)

The second occasion was: the men at Cornelius’ house who received the Holy Spirit spoke in other languages and magnified God. (Acts 10:46)

The third occasion was: Paul laid his hands on them and they spoke in other languages and prophesied. (Acts 19:6) Did you notice each of these situations involved languages that were understood by the listeners? They heard them in their own languages, they magnified God and they prophesied. (Prophesy is inspired speaking from God.)

Did Paul speak in the language of angels? (1 Cor. 13:1-3) That is not what the verse says! Paul said “though” (if) I speak in the languages of men and angels. The use of “though” in this context is a supposition. He also said “if” I have the gift of prophecy, if I understand all mysteries and all knowledge, if I have all faith to move mountains, if I give my body to be burned and “I don’t have “love”, I gain nothing. This whole statement is hypothetical! He did not give his body to be burned, he was beheaded in Rome. I don’t recall reading about him ever moving a mountain either. Surely that would have been recorded in history!

If you speak in a language that is not understood by the listeners, it does nobody any good. (1 Cor. 14:9) If there is no person to interpret, you are to keep silence in the church, (1 Cor. 14:28) talk silently with God because this edifies no one but the speaker. (1 Cor. 14:4) It is to be done in order, one at a time, to edify believers and non-believers alike if there is an interpretation. It was still a real language spoken even if there was no interpretation and the person was to remain silent.

If random bursting forth with unknown sounds and noises means something Spirit filled, then all my children spoke in tongues between 6 months and 1 year of age! There just wasn’t an interpretation so they should have kept silent!

Paul would rather speak five words that could be understood than ten thousand in a language that could not be understood. (1 Cor. 14:19) One should desire rather to prophesy for edification of the surrounding believers and non-believers alike.

This has nothing to do with a private heavenly prayer language of gibberish and babble. If it even remotely meant babble, it says not to do it out loud in the congregation! How can anyone possibly interpret babble? The person babbling may know what they are feeling or thinking while they are babbling, so why can’t they share it in a language people nearby can understand and be exhorted? It is supposed to bring glory to the Lord and not cause confusion to believers and potential believers alike. There are many different languages but they all have meaning. (1 Cor. 14:10, 11)

We should desire higher Spiritual gifts. (1 Cor. 12:31) God gives gifts of different kinds to different people. Do all work miracles? Do all heal? Do all teach? Do all speak in languages? Do all interpret? (1 Cor. 12:27-31) Use your gift without misusing it.

I recall watching Jimmy Swaggart rip off the same phrase “in tongues” so often you can almost recite it, “Honda de la shabba de la booshay”. Was there an interpretation? Did anyone get edified beside the babbler? (1 Cor. 14:6) Did non-believers get drawn to the Saviour by hearing this message? By doing this, the person lets you know they “have” the gift of speaking in tongues. But, when you see this same person preaching in a foreign country, why do they need a translator on stage with them if they “have” the gift of speaking in tongues (languages)?

I heard of a current day example of speaking in tongues that totally fits the Scripture. An African visitor who spoke virtually no English was visiting a family in the U.S. At church in the middle of the sermon a lady, to her embarrassment, blurted out an unusual stream of words. The knowledgeable pastor stopped and asked if anyone had an interpretation, to which no response. They dismissed it as they should.

On the way home the African visitor commented how happy he was that someone would welcome him to the church in his own native language! The visitor was edified with a real language and at the next meeting the whole congregation was edified when they received the interpretation and the story. The lady, who spoke a real language she did not learn, was not embarrassed any longer (edified) for being used for the Lord’s purpose. This sounds decent, biblical and in proper order to me.

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