Speaking in Tongues: Paul’s Desire for Us
The ministry of tongues was Paul’s desire for every believer. If it was Paul’s desire, and he wrote these words under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit (2 Timothy 3:16), then we must acknowledge that it is God’s desire for the believer.
The Apostle Paul declares, “I would that ye all spake with tongues” (1 Corinthians 14:5). Many of those who have not enjoyed the ministry of the Holy Spirit have attempted to explain away these blessed “gifts.” But, when Paul is called to testify relative to speaking in tongues, he states, “I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than ye all” (1 Corinthians 14:18).
When Paul wrote to those at Corinth, he included a special message to them concerning the regulation of tongues in the Church and for private devotion. The careful reader will immediately detect that tongues is to be used to build up the Christian; to grant him liberty in praise and worship; to permit him to speak mysteries to God; and to speak to God directly by his spirit.
The ministry of tongues is also for the self edification, exhortation, and comfort of the Church, when it is accompanied by the gift of interpretation. In 1 Corinthians 14:28, after he carefully explains how tongues is to be used in the congregation, he concludes by saying, “But if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the church; and let him speak to himself, and to God” (1 Corinthians 14:28).
Paul gives instruction for the use of tongues in the Church, and if there is no interpretation, the Christian is to speak to himself and to God. When there are tongues accompanied with an interpretation, it is for the edification of the Church. If there is no interpretation, the ministry edifies only the individual and the whole Church should not be disturbed by it.
The Corinthian Church had free usage of the ministry of tongues. They needed correction, but Paul certainly never intended to destroy or nullify these gifts. After talking at length with the believers at Corinth, Paul was very quick to testify, “I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than ye all” (1 Corinthians 14:18).
The brethern at Ephesus enjoyed the ministry of tongues (Acts 19:1-6). Those of the household of Cornelius “received the Holy Ghost as well as we” (Acts 10:47). And certainly the Corinthian Church knew the power and the glory of this gift of the Holy Ghost. The Apostles had all spoken in tongues (Acts 2:1-4), and Paul, who was not one step behind in the graces of God, was also able to say that he enjoyed the ministry of tongues in his life of service, praise and worship.
We need very little more to cause us to seek God for all His fullness. Christian believer, I am hungry for the fullness of God’s power. The Holy Spirit wants the Church to enjoy all He has for it. We would see signs and wonders, and God would work among us in supernatural ways, if we would take Him at His Word and stand upon it until we experience what He has for us. I am convinced God is pouring out His Spirit in these days to prepare His people for the coming of Christ. God desires to do something in the Church that will cause her to be triumphant in her closing hours. I challenge you to pray until we see today what the Book of Acts records relative to the early Church.
Paul experienced and taught that there was (is) a ministry of tongues for the Church. This is still the Church age. This is still the dispensation of the Holy Spirit. Since Paul instructs us in the ministry of tongues, we have another reason for believing in the ministry of tongues for today. Since Paul said, “I would that ye all spake with tongues” (1 Corinthians 14:5).