ARE ‘TONGUES’ A GIBBERISH,
OR AN UNKNOWN LANGUAGE?
When the spiritual gift of tongues is given and used, it sometimes is meant to be interpreted with the gift of interpretation. Therefore it is not 'gibberish' but is a language not understood, but interpreted with the gift of interpretation.
When what a 'natural' person calls 'gibberish', but is a prayer language, it is the Holy Spirit praying in an unknown tongue, for things our spirit may not even know we need, and 'the natural' person does not understand it, for they are not meant to. We do not understand it, for we are not meant to. Yet, God understands, and the Spirit praying with our tongue, is bypassing the mind, and we do not need to understand it. There needs to be no interpreter then, for the Spirit prays for things we need, God hears and understands, and our spirit feels blessed, and is built in faith.
1 Corinthians 2:14 (KJV)
14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
So, to this 'non HOLY SPIRIT filled person the prayer language is 'gibberish'. It is normal for them to think so, for they cannot understand. That person is a 'natural' person, not able to understand 'spiritual things.
THE GIFT OF TONGUES is often called 'gibberish' for to the natural person that is all they hear. They do not understand that we, who are HOLY Spirit filled, are not concerned that we do not understand it. When we need to, the Holy Spirit gives us the interpretation.
We can with it speak to God or hear from God in this unknown language.
It needs an interpreter to be understood. Sometimes God gives me the interpretation, and having both those gifts, I can speak to God without a crowd about. Yet, normally, it is done in a 'bigger' church setting than just me and God. The purpose is to edify the church.
This gift is different from the use of the prayer language that is received when one is filled with the Spirit initially. The prayer language is given for self-edification. It is given to be used for private prayer to God. The gift of tongues may be the same language, yet it is different gift to be used to edify a body of believers.
Since this is one of the most questioned of the gifts, it is the one we are most often compelled to discuss. It is a gift that is received by many people, and thus also is often discussed in Christian circles. It was the first gift questioned on the day of Pentecost - "WHAT MEANETH THIS ?" (Acts 2:12) This 'natural person who has visited a board where all are supposed to be 'SPIRIT FILLED' is mocking this gift, due to their inability to understand it. They will never understand it until they are no longer 'natural', and become 'spiritual'. So, to debate with them is a fruitless job.
The languages of this gift are said to be the languages of men, or angels. The speaker does not understand the language, but the Holy Spirit uses the vocal cords, tongue, and lips of a Spirit-filled saint and speaks through that one a message from God or Christ. It does not come into the mind first, but flows though the mouth and the speaker listens to it as the others present do. It has nothing to do with linguistic ability, or with the mind, or with the intellect.
There are specific uses for the prayer language that all Spirit-filled believers receive.
1.The tongues, or prayer language, is one of the initial physical evidences of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. As on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:4), and at Caesarea eight years later when the Gentiles received (Acts 10:46), and at Ephesus, 23 years later, (Acts 19:6), the reception of the Holy Spirit was climaxed with the unknown tongues.
2. The prayer language is given to allow Spirit-filled people to speak supernaturally to God. (I Cor. 14:2) On the Day of Pentecost, the people heard the 120 magnifying God in these tongues. We also will glorify God with this prayer language.
3.A third reason for the prayer language is that we may be edified by the worship. Our own spirits pray and request things that our conscience minds are unaware we need.
I Cor. 14:4, 14
"HE THAT SPEAKS IN A TONGUE EDIFIES HIMSELF...I WILL PRAY WITH THE SPIRIT, AND I WILL PRAY WITH THE UNDERSTANDING ALSO."
So Paul prayed in his own language and in what this person calls 'gibberish' but Paul and we understand that it is a prayer language, real and understood by God when we pray with it.
"...THE SPIRIT ALSO HELPETH OUR INFIRMITIES; FOR WE KNOW NOT WHAT WE SHOULD PRAY FOR AS WE OUGHT; BUT THE SPIRIT HIMSELF MAKETH INTERCESSION FOR THE SAINTS ACCORDING TO THE WILL OF GOD..."
We may not be told for what we are praying when we pray in this 'unknown tongue', but our prayers can be made, provision from a hearing God can be granted, and we do not even know for what we prayed. If we were told, we may be distracted from our calling. If one is praying for the trial tomorrow, the death of a loved one about to occur, the loss of a job about to happen, etc, we may be totally distracted. But if we can pray about those things, ask for help and strength, and not even know we are praying about that, we can be made strong, etc, have the answer God wants for us in that time, and we at the time of praying in what this person calls gibberish, have great blessing by having this prayer language.
The 'natural' world mocks us, so let them. They CANNOT understand it.
The gift of tongues has a separate purpose. And it is given for that reason to specific ones who are Spirit-filled. A message from God or Jesus is conveyed by the Holy Spirit to a body of believers in an unknown tongue through some saint with this gift. Then a person with the gift of interpretation is given the meaning of the message in the language of the hearers and tells the people what the Spirit is conveying to them. (I Cor. 14:12-13,5,26) This method of God speaking to believers is meant to be a sign to unbelievers that are present.
Can speaking in tongues be counterfeited? All the gifts of the Spirit can be counterfeited. There are certainly strange utterances and sounds that are made by those who worship other gods. They are counterfeits of the true gift of the spirit. Anything that God does, the devil will try to counterfeit. God has promised that he will not allow a counterfeit to take a Christian. (Lk. 11:11-13) Those 'counterfeits' are gibberish, for they are not authored by the Holy Spirit, but by demonic spirits. The 'gibberish' that they are is truly 'gibberish' and yet, we who are Spirit filled know the real, and we need to 'test all things' so we are not fooled by 'gibberish'.
Even though there are counterfeits out there, we are told to desire this gift. We are also commanded to not forbid the speaking in tongues. Many churches are guilty of breaking this command.
I Cor. 14:39
"COVET TO PROPHESY, FORBID NOT TO SPEAK WITH TONGUES."
The test for the use of the gift of tongues is EDIFICATION. Is the gift used at a time that edifies the service? Does the message edify the meeting of believers? Is it done decently and in order?
I Cor. 14:26,40
"LET ALL THINGS BE DONE TO EDIFYING... LET ALL THINGS BE DONE DECENTLY AND IN ORDER."