Scripture Reading: 1 Corinthians 14:26-28
What then shall we say, brothers and sisters? When you come together, each of you has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. Everything must be done so that the church may be built up. 27 If anyone speaks in a tongue, two—or at the most three—should speak, one at a time, and someone must interpret. 28 If there is no interpreter, the speaker should keep quiet in the church and speak to himself and to God.
Verse for Meditation: Therefore, my brothers and sisters, be eager to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in tongues. 40 But everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way. – 1 Corinthians 14:39-40
Devotional: The verses above make several things very clear about the gift of tongues:
The person who speaks is in control of their speaking. Do you see that? It is not ecstatic speech that someone cannot control. They are instructed to speak in an orderly way or even to keep quiet if there is not an interpreter.
Tongues should not be used in church gatherings if there is not someone there who is able to interpret. There is a very basic principle for gifts: Just because you have a gift or a “word” does not mean you need to share it.
When tongues are spoken in a service with an interpretation it should be done in an orderly and controlled manner. It is not a free for all.
Speaking in tongues should not be forbidden.
We need to note that tongues, like any other spiritual gift, can be abused. In fact the abuse of this gift is a primary reason we have 1 Corinthians 12-14! God is able to take our errors and our mess and ultimately use it for his glory.
My prayer is that no one coming out of this week of devotionals will be discouraged because they don’t have the gift of tongues. If that’s the case I would encourage you to do three things: 1) Give thanks to God for everything that you DO have, and particularly for gifts and abilities that he has given you. 2) If you desire this gift, pray for it and get around mature people who have this gift. 3) Remember that the gift of tongues does not necessarily set you apart as a more godly or spiritual person than someone who does not have this gift.
If you do have the gift you should feel free to exercise it often in the ways that the Bible prescribes. Always do this with humility and thanks to God knowing that all glory and all praise belong to him alone.
Question to Consider: What is one action step you can take as a result of reading through the devotional this week?