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How do you speak in tongues? If you do not speak in tongues, does that mean you have not received the Holy Spirit? Perhaps there are many theories or instructions with regards to this subject. In order to understand which is the correct way, let us examine the Bible carefully.

1. When did the word “tongues” first appear?

Acts 2:1-9  When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place  All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard their own language being spoken. Utterly amazed, they asked: “Aren’t all these who are speaking Galileans?Then how is it that each of us hears them in our native language? Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs—we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!”

Footnotes:
Acts 2:4  Or languages; also in verse 11

The first record of speaking in tongues can be found in Acts 2. Jesus Christ gave a promise to His disciples and followers that He will bestow the blessings of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost. When we continue to read the subsequent verses of the chapter, we can find out that speaking in tongues actually meant speaking in other languages. At that time, Jesus’ disciples and followers who were Galileans, were speaking in other languages such that even people from other nations like Parthians, Medes and Elamites could understand. Speaking in tongues does not refer to babbling or gibberish, but speaking in other languages.

2. What was God’s will for His disciples and followers to speak in tongues (other languages)?

Jesus gave the commandment to preach the gospel and make disciples of all nations.

Matthew 28:18-20  Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

How could His disciples preach to all people and nations? For example, if I can only speak English and Mandarin, how can I preach to other nations who do not speak these languages? Therefore in order to complete the mission of preaching to all nations, God gave them the Holy Spirit so that they could preach to people of other nationalities.

3. Apostle Paul’s message on speaking in tongues

1 Corinthians 14:6-10, 13-15, 18-19  Now, brothers and sisters, if I come to you and speak in tongues, what good will I be to you, unless I bring you some revelation or knowledge or prophecy or word of instruction? Even in the case of lifeless things that make sounds, such as the pipe or harp, how will anyone know what tune is being played unless there is a distinction in the notes? Again, if the trumpet does not sound a clear call, who will get ready for battle? So it is with you. Unless you speak intelligible words with your tongue, how will anyone know what you are saying? You will just be speaking into the air. Undoubtedly there are all sorts of languages in the world, yet none of them is without meaning… For this reason the one who speaks in a tongue should pray that they may interpret what they say. For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my mind is unfruitful. So what shall I do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will also pray with my understanding; I will sing with my spirit, but I will also sing with my understanding… I thank God that I speak in tongues more than all of you. But in the church I would rather speak five intelligible words to instruct others than ten thousand words in a tongue.

Footnotes:
1 Corinthians 14:2  Or in another language; also in verses 4, 13, 14, 19, 26 and 27
1 Corinthians 14:5  Or in other languages; also in verses 6, 18, 22, 23 and 39

Apostle Paul emphasised that we should speak intelligible words, and he clarified the subject on languages. Therefore, speaking in tongues refers to speaking in a language which other people can understand.

Matthew 6:5-7  And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words.

In conclusion, with regards to speaking in tongues, the Bible has never instructed us to babble or speak gibberish. The Bible has clearly shown us that when we receive the Holy Spirit from God, we should pray and proclaim the good news through intelligible words, so that people from other nations may also receive the message of salvation.

Speaking in tongues is one of the many common misunderstandings of Christians nowadays. Instead of blindly following the theories of other people or simply rejecting all teachings, we should always fall back on the Bible to find out the truth.

圣经中多处提到“说方言”这个概念。那么,什么是说方言?如果不说方言,是不是代表没有受到圣灵呢?关于这个问题,或许有很多理论和指导。为了正确理解“说方言”的意思,让我们仔细查考圣经。

1. “说方言”第一次出现在哪里?

使徒行传 2:1-11  五旬节到了,门徒都聚集在一处。忽然,从天上有响声下来,好像一阵大风吹过,充满了他们所坐的屋子;又有舌头如火焰显现出来,分开落在他们各人头上。他们就都被圣灵充满,按着圣灵所赐的口才说起别国的话来那时,有虔诚的犹太人从天下各国来,住在耶路撒冷这声音一响,众人都来聚集,各人听见门徒用众人的乡谈说话,就甚纳闷,都惊讶稀奇说:“看哪,这说话的不都是加利利吗?我们各人怎么听见他们说我们生来所用的乡谈呢?我们帕提亚人、玛代人、以拦人和住在美索不达米亚犹太加帕多家本都亚细亚弗吕家旁非利亚埃及的人,并靠近古利奈利比亚一带地方的人,从罗马来的客旅中或是犹太人、或是进犹太教的人,克里特阿拉伯人,都听见他们用我们的乡谈,讲说上帝的大作为!”

脚注:
使徒行传 2:4  或“语言”; 同见 11节

“说方言”的有关记载在使徒行传2章中第一次出现。耶稣基督向他的门徒和追随者应许将在五旬节的日子给予圣灵的祝福。继续阅读本章,就能发现,“说方言”实际上就是指用其他语言说语。那时,耶稣的门徒和追随者是加利利人。然而他们却能用其他的语言说话,以致来自其他国家的人,如帕提亚人、玛代人、以拦都可以理解。用方言说话不是胡言乱语,而是用其他语言说话。

2. 上帝让他的门徒们用方言(其它的语言)说话的旨意是什么呢?

耶稣吩咐门徒去宣讲福音,从而使万国的人民都做他的门徒。

马太福音 28:18-20  耶稣进前来,对他们说:“天上地下所有的权柄都赐给我了。所以你们要去,使万民做我的门徒,奉父、子、圣灵的名给他们施洗,凡我所吩咐你们的,都教训他们遵守。我就常与你们同在,直到世界的末了。”

耶稣的门徒怎样才能向众民传道?例如,如果我只能说英语和普通话,怎么把圣经中的道传给那些不会英语和普通话的人呢?因此,为了向别国人传道,完成向各国传道的使命,上帝给了门徒们圣灵。

3. 使徒保罗对于“说方言”的记载

哥伦多前书 14:6-10, 13-15, 18-19  弟兄们,我到你们那里去,若只说方言,不用启示或知识或预言或教训给你们讲解,我于你们有什么益处呢?就是那有声无气的物,或箫或琴,若发出来的声音没有分别,怎能知道所吹所弹的是什么呢?若吹无定的号声,谁能预备打仗呢?你们也是如此,舌头若不说容易明白的话,怎能知道所说的是什么呢?这就是向空说话了。世上的声音或者甚多,却没有一样是无意思的……所以那说方言的,就当求着能翻出来。我若用方言祷告,是我的灵祷告,但我的悟性没有果效。这却怎么样呢?我要用灵祷告,也要用悟性祷告;我要用灵歌唱,也要用悟性歌唱……我感谢上帝,我说方言比你们众人还多,但在教会中,宁可用悟性说五句教导人的话,强如说万句方言

脚注:
哥林多前书 14:2  或 “用其他的语言; 同见 4, 13, 14, 19, 26, 27节
哥林多前书 14:5 或 “用其他的语言; 同见 6, 18, 22, 23, 39节

使徒保罗强调,我们应该说出清晰的话,并且澄清了“方言”这个话题。所以“用方言说话”是指用其他人可以理解的语言。

马太福音 6:5-7  你们祷告的时候,不可像那假冒为善的人,爱站在会堂里和十字路口上祷告,故意叫人看见。我实在告诉你们:他们已经得了他们的赏赐。你祷告的时候,要进你的内屋,关上门,祷告你在暗中的父,你父在暗中察看,必然报答你。你们祷告,不可像外邦人用许多重复话,他们以为话多了必蒙垂听。

总而言之,圣经从来没有指示我们胡言乱语。圣经清楚地表明,我们从得到上帝的圣灵后,应该通过清晰的话来祈祷和宣告好消息,让别国的人民也领受救恩的消息。

“说方言”是当今基督教徒常见的误解之一。我们不应盲目追随别人的理论,也不要简单地拒绝所有的教义,而总要以圣经为基准来了解真相。

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