Heaven's Point of View

Understanding The Gift Of Tongues

Three Angels Broadcasting Network

Program transcript

Participants: Hal Steenson (Host)


Series Code: HPOV

Program Code: HPOV000006

00:01 Hello, I'm Hal Steenson and I would like to welcome
00:03 you to our program. On today's Heaven's Point of View
00:06 we are going to explore some of the major issues
00:08 surrounding tongues. Some of the foremost questions
00:11 I receive about tongues at 3ABN are from charismatic Christians
00:15 and usually deal with two main issues such as:
00:18 "Didn't Paul say he spoke with the tongues of angels?"
00:21 And "Are you not aware that there is a difference in the
00:23 gift of tongues and praying in the spirit?"
00:26 So is there really a private prayer language that is
00:29 heavenly and out of this world?
00:32 Well, I encourage you to get your Bible, call a friend,
00:35 and watch today's program. We are going to answer
00:37 these questions, and we'll be right back.
01:02 You know, the question is why do so many Christians
01:05 believe that they can speak in an out-of-this-world tongue
01:07 without scriptural basis? There are several possible
01:10 reasons for this to be accepted as truth
01:12 but it's actually error. One reason is
01:15 the misinterpretation of scripture.
01:17 Another reason could be the failure to look at the history
01:20 and the culture of the era when Paul wrote his first letter
01:23 to the church at Corinth. Then there is always
01:26 the possibility of pride and ego being a contributing factor
01:30 to keep people from admitting they've been doing something
01:33 unscriptural. This is why Jesus said in Matthew 11:15
01:38 "He that hath ears to hear, let him hear. "
01:40 He was not talking about natural ears, He was talking about
01:44 spiritual ears. One of the key reasons some Christians embrace
01:48 the error of tongues is because they incorrectly interpret
01:51 Paul's first letter to Corinth. Many think it is a perfect
01:54 pattern of how to conduct their worship service - when in fact
01:58 Paul's letter was telling the Corinthian church
02:01 the way that they were conducting their services
02:04 was wrong. The Amplified Bible clarifies why the
02:07 church services at Corinth were so out of order.
02:12 says: "However, brethren, I could not talk to you
02:16 as to spiritual men but as to non-spiritual men of the
02:21 flesh in whom the carnal nature predominates.
02:25 As to mere infants in the new life in Christ, unable to
02:29 talk yet. I fed you with milk not solid food for you were
02:33 not yet strong enough to be ready for it. But even
02:37 yet you are not strong enough to be ready for it.
02:40 For you are still unspiritual, having the nature of the flesh
02:46 under the control of ordinary impulses, for as long as there
02:50 are envies and jealousy, and wranglings and factions
02:54 among you, are you not unspiritual and of the flesh,
02:58 behaving yourselves after a human standard
03:01 and like mere unchanged men?"
03:05 The Corinthian church was divided, carnal, in strife,
03:09 and demonstrating worldly attitudes
03:11 and ungodly manifestations. For some reason, people operating
03:16 in the error of tongues are either blinded to the carnality
03:19 of the church at Corinth or refuse to accept the truth.
03:22 This is where our present-day church must demonstrate
03:25 the loving spirit of the apostle Paul and seek to help as many
03:30 as we can to come out of this deception.
03:32 Paul never accused the members of the church at Corinth
03:36 of worshiping the devil or at any time ever told them
03:39 that their services were Satanic because they were not.
03:45 He offered no external reasons or excuses for this error
03:49 but placed the blame on them by saying they were unspiritual,
03:54 motivated by the flesh, and unchanged men.
03:56 Paul centered in on their internal problems and their own
04:02 requirements to correct this in-house error.
04:05 What Paul did was to instruct them about how to correct
04:08 the problem and then continued to love them out of their error
04:12 and into the truth. Remember, Jesus said in John 8:32:
04:17 "And you shall know the truth, and the truth
04:19 shall make you free. " Paul demonstrated his love
04:23 for them and his desire to bring them out of error
04:26 and into the truth in
04:31 He says: "What will ye? Shall I come unto you with a rod
04:35 or in love and in the spirit of meekness?"
04:38 We find one such loving correction in:
05:02 Paul was not saying that this was the correct procedure
05:06 for their church services, he was asking why they were
05:09 conducting their services in that manner.
05:12 It's almost at the end of his letter before Paul
05:16 lovingly asks them to answer that question.
05:18 He asks the question to help them correct their mistakes
05:23 not to condemn them for making mistakes.
05:26 Their mentor was instructing them as a father would teach
05:30 his children; Paul was explaining that what they were
05:34 doing was wrong and how they could correct the problem.
05:39 It was only after giving godly instruction that Paul asks them
05:45 How come you are doing it out of order? He could have asked
05:51 or said, You bunch of carnal-minded hypocrites,
05:54 every one of you is so full of pride that you have to do or say
05:58 something in every service, and that's why your services
06:01 last so long and that people fall asleep.
06:04 No, he just said: Hey, here's what you're doing wrong guys.
06:08 Now correct it. Do it decently in order. And you know what?
06:13 They did! The real purpose of tongues was to be a sign
06:18 to the unbeliever, not for the believers to show people how
06:21 spiritual they were. There is no indication that
06:24 tongues were unintelligible anywhere - except at Corinth
06:30 where they were being used the wrong way
06:33 and for the wrong reasons. It is commonplace in some
06:36 churches for "prayer tongues" to be used for deliverance,
06:40 healing, and everything else but preaching the Gospel.
06:45 There is no scriptural basis for the gift of tongues
06:50 being used as prayers or to minister to an individual
06:55 yet this is commonplace. When these ministers pray for
06:59 people in their public services, they often pray in what they
07:02 consider to be their personal prayer language.
07:06 Now most scholars believe that Paul was able to correct the
07:09 problems noted in his first letter to the Corinthian church
07:13 because there is no mention of it - any misuse of the gift - in
07:17 his second letter. The difference between then and now
07:20 is the Corinthians had ears to hear what the Spirit of God
07:24 was saying in Paul's letter. We have the same letter.
07:27 It's here with us today, but those who practice the
07:31 false gift of tongues are mis- interpreting Paul's correction
07:36 of the misuse of the spiritual gifts and do not have spiritual
07:41 ears to hear. Well, Pastor Hal, what about
07:45 tongues being used as personal prayer language?
07:48 In addressing the subject of tongues being used as a personal
07:51 prayer language, those who believe and practice this are
07:54 quick to tell you "Well you just don't understand the difference
07:58 between the gift of tongues and prayer languages. "
08:01 How do I know? Because I said it so much
08:03 and so many times myself. You know what now?
08:06 I agree with them. I don't understand this prayer language
08:10 any longer because I now, I am looking at it from heaven's
08:14 point of view, and from heaven's point of view, the Word of God,
08:18 a scriptural prayer language cannot, CANNOT, cannot, CANNOT
08:25 be found in God's Word. Please recall that
08:28 someone's personal experience with tongues or any other gift
08:32 does not have precedence over the Word of God.
08:34 Two basic scriptures are used for justifying these phenomenon.
08:39 The most commonly-used one is Paul's statement in:
08:45 "For he that speaketh in an unknown tongue speaketh not
08:48 unto men but unto God for no man understand him
08:52 howbeit in the spirit he speaks mysteries. "
08:56 Now let me just toss something out here for you.
08:58 Paul in the 14th chapter of Corinthians, it was written
09:02 all in capital case Greek Koine. It had no punctuation.
09:06 If Paul could have, when he wrote this, punctuated this,
09:09 you would see that the majority of what is spoken in the
09:13 14th chapter of Corinthians is Paul asking the Corinthians
09:18 questions. How come you are doing it this way?
09:20 Why are you doing it this way? Do I have to do this in order
09:23 to do that? Now, once again, we reiterate the purpose of the
09:27 12th, 13th, 14th chapters of I Corinthians was to correct
09:31 an open and apparent error in the church.
09:35 When you consider this scripture in it's entirety, the true
09:39 meaning becomes known. The Contemporary English
09:42 version of the Holy Bible gives a perfect explanation
09:46 of what Paul is actually saying in this chapter.
09:48 I Corinthians 14:2-9 says:
09:53 "If you speak in languages that others don't know,
09:56 God will understand what you are saying though no one else
10:01 will know what you mean. You will be talking about
10:04 mysteries that only the Spirit of God could understand.
10:08 But when you prophesy you will be understood and others
10:12 will be helped. They will be encouraged and made to feel
10:15 better. By speaking languages that others don't know
10:19 you help only yourself. But by prophesying you help everyone
10:24 in the church. I am glad for you to speak
10:27 in unknown languages although I had rather for you to prophesy.
10:31 In fact, prophesying does much more than speaking in
10:35 unknown tongues. " Remember, unknown is in italics.
10:39 Unless someone can help the church by explaining
10:42 what you mean. My friends, what good would
10:46 it do if I came and spoke unknown languages to you
10:51 and didn't explain what I meant? How would I help you unless I
10:54 told you what God had shown me or gave you some knowledge,
10:59 prophecy, or teaching? If all musical instruments
11:03 sounded alike, how would you know the difference between a
11:06 flute and a harp? If a bugle call isn't clear,
11:10 how will you know to get ready for the battle?
11:13 That's how it is when you speak unknown languages.
11:17 If no one can understand what you are talking about,
11:20 you will only be talking to the wind.
11:24 When we look at this letter to the Corinthians,
11:26 we need to be aware of to whom it was written
11:30 and why it was written to them. This letter was not,
11:35 WAS NOT, written to an individual.
11:38 It was written to an entire congregation.
11:41 When Paul uses the word you, he is not speaking to or about
11:45 any specific person or individual in the Corinthian
11:49 congregation. He is referring to the you as being everyone
11:54 in - that - local - church. The you is not referring
11:59 to a particular individual but is addressing a pleural body
12:02 of believers. You see, Paul is not instructing someone
12:06 who could only speak a language unfamiliar to others
12:10 to stop talking in that language and then begin prophesying
12:14 in a language that he didn't speak or know how to speak.
12:18 Paul is saying: if you speak in a tongue - remember this is
12:21 not an unknown tongue - but if you speak in a tongue
12:24 that is not familiar to the congregation,
12:26 it's only you and God who could possibly understand it.
12:30 Why are you wasting your time talking to the wind?
12:33 He is telling them to just be quiet and let someone else
12:37 preach in a language the majority, if not all,
12:40 the congregation could understand.
12:42 He is emphasizing what they were doing was wrong
12:45 and he wanted to know why they wouldn't stop.
12:49 Didn't Paul say that he prayed in the spirit
12:54 and the understanding? The second scripture that is
12:58 commonly used to try to validate unknown tongues
13:00 as a prayer language, and I used it for years,
13:02 I Corinthians 14:14: "For if I pray in an unknown tongue
13:06 my spirit prayeth and my understanding is unfruitful
13:08 what is it then? I will pray with the spirit and I will pray
13:12 also with the understanding. I will sing psalms in the spirit
13:16 and I will sing psalms also with the understanding
13:19 since if Thou mayest bless with the spirit, he who is filling
13:22 the place of the unlearned, how shall he say amen
13:25 at Thy giving of thanks since what Thou doth say
13:29 he hath not known?" The use of unknown tongues
13:34 as a prayer language is often referred to as praying
13:36 in the spirit, and the source is taken from the above verse
13:41 of scripture. It is believed that the apostle Paul
13:44 plainly states that he prays in the spirit and therefore
13:48 it is scriptural. That's NOT what Paul said!
13:54 Paul said if, IF, if...
13:59 you are hearing me, right?
14:02 If I pray in the spirit, he did not say I pray in the spirit.
14:06 This would be like me saying If I could fly,
14:09 I wouldn't have to walk and then having someone tell everybody
14:13 that Hal Steenson said he could fly - when, in fact, that was
14:17 not what I said. Paul said if I pray, he didn't say I pray
14:21 or that he had ever prayed this way.
14:24 Paul did not say he prayed in a spiritual prayer language.
14:28 There is no scriptural foundation for anyone to believe
14:31 this error. There is no basis for this false prayer language
14:36 because of Paul's next question - get ready for this -
14:39 his next question to the church. Paul is bringing correction
14:43 to the church, so we must examine what the apostle
14:46 is saying. He is saying when you speak in a language
14:49 that the rest do not understand, it is of no use to anyone.
14:54 Paul is asking why he should have to pray two different ways
15:00 to try to understand what he had prayed the first time.
15:03 In the phrase, hold on to this, stay with me,
15:08 in the phrase "What is it then" Paul is NOT saying
15:13 that this is how it should be done.
15:15 He is asking them the question "Why are you doing it this way?"
15:20 Paul is saying if someone prays aloud in church
15:23 he should either pray so others can understand what he is saying
15:27 or else... be quiet. Paul writes in Romans 8:26:
15:32 Oh, and this is a scripture that so many times has been used
15:37 by the charismatic Pentecostals...
15:52 The Holy Spirit is the one that makes these groanings for us.
15:55 We are not doing the groaning!
15:58 Humans, according to this scripture, are incapable of
16:01 praying in this manner. How can they utter something
16:04 the Bible says plainly cannot be uttered?
16:07 The Amplified Bible states it perfectly:
16:39 Wow! This scripture plainly says it's the Holy Spirit that
16:45 does the pleading, not us.
16:49 Well, what about unknown tongues at Cornelius's house?
16:53 The question is asked "Didn't Cornelius's household
16:56 speak in unknown tongues?" Once again the answer is very
16:59 emphatically NO. Reason number one
17:02 is because there is no such thing as unknown tongues.
17:04 Reason number two is the Bible plainly tell us what actually
17:08 happened there. Acts 10:43-47 states:
17:12 "To give all the prophets witness that through His name
17:15 whosoever believeth in Him shall receive remission of sins.
17:18 While Peter yet spake these words" - he was preaching the
17:22 gospel - "the Holy Ghost fell on all of them
17:24 which heard the word and they of the circumcision which believed
17:29 were astonished. As many as came with Peter
17:33 because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift
17:37 of the Holy Ghost for they heard them speak with tongues
17:40 and magnify God. Then answered Peter, can any man forbid water
17:45 that these should not be baptized which have received
17:48 the Holy Ghost as well as we?" Now that's a key right there.
17:51 "As well as we?" The Message Bible clarifies the term
17:54 "as well as we" by translating it as "they received
17:59 the Holy Spirit exactly as we did. "
18:04 Peter proclaimed Cornelius's household received
18:07 the Holy Spirit the same way the disciples received Him.
18:10 We have established that the disciples did not speak in an
18:13 out-of-this-world language on the Day of Pentecost.
18:16 and all who spoke at Cornelius's household received the identical
18:21 gift the disciples did. Cornelius and his household
18:24 received the same gift, and they received it the same way.
18:28 This shows they could not have spoken in an out-of-this-world
18:33 incoherent, babbling language.
18:36 Peter and the others heard these Gentiles speak with the
18:40 gift of tongues, and they understood what they said.
18:45 They did not need an interpreter to translate for them
18:49 because they were all speaking in Peter's and the accompanying
18:53 brothers' native language. The native language of that band
18:59 of Italians would have been completely different
19:01 from Peter's. There is no reason to believe that the
19:04 Italians could have previously spoken Peter's language.
19:07 What the disciples heard was Cornelius and his household
19:11 declaring the wonderful works of God
19:15 in the disciples' own language.
19:20 You know, it's hard for us to comprehend because in America
19:23 people can go from sea to shining sea
19:25 and still speak one prominent language; however,
19:28 in Peter's setting, they couldn't expect to hear the
19:31 same language from town to town even if the towns were only
19:34 a few miles apart. There is also the possibility
19:37 that Peter did not previously speak Cornelius's language.
19:39 God may have given him the gift of tongues to preach
19:43 the Gospel to Cornelius's household.
19:45 Peter may have preached to them in their language
19:48 by the gift of tongues, and when the Holy Spirit
19:50 fell on them, Cornelius's household began to declare
19:53 the wonderful works of God in Peter's language by
19:56 using the gift of tongues also.
19:58 There was no need for an interpreter because they clearly
20:03 understood what each other was saying.
20:06 Paul instructs the disciples of John at Ephesus:
20:11 "When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of
20:15 the Lord Jesus and when Paul had laid his hands upon them,
20:18 the Holy Ghost came on them and they spake with tongues
20:21 and prophesied. And all the men were about twelve. "
20:25 These disciples spoke with tongues and prophesied
20:29 just like the apostles and the first Gentile converts did
20:33 at Cornelius's household. Those converts simply prophesied
20:38 in new languages. The disciples at Ephesus received
20:42 the Holy Spirit exactly as the apostles did on the
20:44 Day of Pentecost. On the Day of Pentecost, they first
20:48 spoke in tongues then they took their tongues into the
20:50 streets of Jerusalem and used them to prophesy or preach
20:54 the Gospel to the Jews. The disciples at Ephesus
20:59 did the exact same thing. They spoke in tongues
21:02 and then used their tongues and prophesied.
21:04 This word means to preach, to proclaim, or to share
21:10 God's message of the Gospel.
21:14 Now, this is how it happened on Pentecost.
21:16 This is what took place at Cornelius's household.
21:19 And this is exactly how it happened at Ephesus.
21:22 The only way the gift of tongues is to be used is to preach
21:26 and prophesy and Gospel. There is no other example
21:29 of the use of the gift of tongues in the Bible
21:31 besides being used to present the Gospel.
21:36 Now, let's begin to summarize some of what we've heard
21:40 here today. The error of the gift of tongues
21:45 or angelic language is simply this: the apostle Paul did not
21:50 say he spoke in an angelic language.
21:52 He said even if I could, he didn't say I do.
21:55 This is a hyperbole, simile, an exaggeration.
22:00 The disciples did not speak in an unknown tongue,
22:03 they spoke in the present-day, native, cultural language
22:07 of the Jews assembled at Jerusalem.
22:09 The Jews present on the Day of Pentecost
22:12 heard all the disciples speaking in their own individual
22:16 cultural language. The gift was not in the hearing because
22:20 the Jews knew this common language. It was their language.
22:23 The gift was in the speaking because the disciples had never
22:27 spoken it before. The Jews had heard the language before.
22:30 One reason so many people believe this error
22:35 is that they are blinded to the truth of the 12th, 13th,
22:38 and 14th chapters of I Corinthians.
22:40 Those chapters were written to lovingly rebuke and correct
22:44 the error in the Corinthians' worship services.
22:47 However, many believe Paul gave these scriptures to them
22:50 to use as a proper order for Spirit-led worship.
22:56 We are going to be back right after this break
22:59 and we are going to finish our summary here
23:02 and just share some practical applications with you.
23:05 Don't go away. We'll be right back in just a moment.
23:09 If you've been confused about what the Bible says about the
23:12 Holy Spirit's amazing gifts for the church,
23:14 you'll want to order your very own copy of this 13-part series.
23:18 It's available on DVD or video cassette from 3ABN
23:22 at a very special price. This 13-part series
23:25 with Pastor Hal Steenson makes a wonderful gift
23:28 for a friend or a family member. Just call us at:
23:36 You may also order it online at:
23:55 You know, there is no scriptural evidence of the need for an
23:58 interpretation when the gift of tongues is given.
24:00 However, when the false gift of tongues is brought forth
24:03 in many services in this day and age, there is always a
24:06 false interpretation. This is unscriptural.
24:09 In correcting the church at Corinth about tongues and
24:12 interpretation, Paul is not addressing the gift of tongues
24:15 because the gift of tongues never needed interpretation.
24:18 Paul would not have been referring false tongues because
24:23 he would never instruct the church to interpret an
24:25 unscriptural tongue. The only tongue left for him to correct
24:30 was the natural, cultural tongue.
24:34 On the Day of Pentecost, the Jews heard the disciples
24:36 declare the wondrous works of God by using the gift of tongues
24:39 but in modern-day settings, the interpretation is always
24:42 directed to the congregation in order to boost self-esteem
24:45 or self-importance. The Bible plainly tells us
24:48 that it is prophesying, not tongues,
24:51 that will boost, edify, and encourage us.
24:53 I Corinthians 14:3 says: "But he that prophesieth
24:57 speaketh unto men edification, exhortation, and comfort. "
25:00 That's prophecy. There is no scriptural basis for a personal
25:03 angelic prayer language. Every time angels appeared to
25:07 patriarchs of old, they always spoke in that person's common
25:10 language. We do not have one single example of an unknown
25:14 angelic language in the Bible.
25:16 The apostle Paul did not say that he prayed in the spirit.
25:19 He said "if I pray in the spirit. " This is like me saying
25:22 once again, "If I could fly, I wouldn't have to walk. "
25:25 Cornelius and his household did not speak in an unknown
25:27 tongue according to Peter. They spoke just as the disciples
25:31 did on the Day of Pentecost, and it was in the hearer's language.
25:34 They spoke with the gift of tongues and it was in Peter's
25:37 own language. Cornelius was Italian, and we do not have any
25:41 evidence that he knew Peter's language before this meeting.
25:43 The truth about the gift of tongues is that it is a real
25:47 gift, given by God through the Holy Spirit,
25:49 and is still valid in this present age.
25:52 The error concerning the gift of tongues is that the
25:55 modern-day tongue phenomenon is so far off base
25:59 from scripture it cannot even be considered a counterfeit.
26:03 Did you hear that? Can't even be considered a
26:05 counterfeit. The present-day false gift of tongues
26:07 is not even close to what the Bible teaches as truth.
26:12 Now hear this. If I went to Wal-Mart and tried to pay
26:17 for something with Monopoly money, I doubt anyone would call
26:21 the police and tell them I was passing out counterfeit money.
26:24 They'd probably just give me a pathetic look and advise me
26:28 to seek professional help. Again, it's doubtful anyone
26:32 would ever consider a $100 bill in Monopoly money
26:36 to be a counterfeit bill
26:38 of $100 U.S. currency.
26:42 They aren't even close to being the same thing.
26:45 They aren't alike in size, color, or texture.
26:48 The true gift of tongues from heaven's point of view
26:51 compared to what I have experienced in my charismatic
26:55 church and others, has no similarity.
26:58 The true gift of tongues and what I have often heard
27:01 is so different that I don't even consider them comparable.
27:07 They have nothing in common.
27:12 For those 18 years that I served God as a charismatic pastor,
27:16 I believed and taught what I now recognize as error.
27:19 I never worshiped Satan or even considered that I was doing
27:22 anything that may be wrong. In fact, I often prayed for God
27:24 to show me any error in my life and lead me into His truth.
27:28 Likewise, there many wonderful men and women of God
27:32 in all churches who would never knowingly give place
27:35 to the enemy. They love God just as I do and they want
27:38 more of God just as I do. My heart's desire is to
27:42 encourage each and every one of you to pray and ask God
27:44 to show you if there is any error that you may be
27:47 unintentionally operating in your life.
27:51 Psalm 119:130 says: "The entrance of Thy Word
27:54 brings light and gives understanding to the simple. "
27:58 Only His Word can dispel the dark areas we may be
28:02 embracing unwittingly. Turn to God.
28:06 Ask Him to show you, reveal to you, His truth.
28:31 On our next Heaven's Point of View, we'll take a look at
28:33 what we've learned so far and then summarize
28:35 the gift to speak, start on the gift to know,
28:37 which are the word of wisdom, the word of knowledge,
28:39 and the discerning of spirits. So check your 3ABN World
28:42 for the dates and times, and we'll see you there.


Revised 2014-12-17