“I Thank God I Speak In Tongues”

1 Corinthians 14:18

 

PART TWO

 

~ Getting Advice from Our Advocate thru Tongues ~

 

By Craig Bluemel

 

1 Corinthians 14:18 
 “I thank God, I speak in tongues more than you all; however, in the church I desire to speak five words with my mind so that I may instruct others also, rather than ten thousand words in a tongue.”
(New American Standard Bible - Updated Edition)

 

 

~ Getting Advice From Our Advocate Thru Tongues ~

 

I suggest for those unfamiliar with the New Testament passages concerning the Parákletos, that you have your Bible handy while reading thru this study.  The key verses to start with are found in John 14:16-19; 14:23; 14:25-26; 15:26-27; 16:7-16; 1 John 1:1-31; John 2:1-11.  Also, if you have not previously read my two series What is speaking in tongues and Jesus is the gift of the Holy Spirit, I strongly advise you to take the time to read and study them because each study is foundational.  Both series redefine and challenge the Christian church’s conventional views concerning the Holy Spirit and confront the Pentecostal and charismatic church doctrines concerning the baptism in the Holy Spirit and speaking in tongues.

 

Here in Part 2 of this series our focus will be aimed at pragmatic applications of Jesus’ role as the Parakletos to individual believers.  We will examine ways that glossalalia, when used in conjunction with God’s word in scripture, can be used as a catalyst to get beyond the typically “childish thinking” of charismania.  Frequent, daily speaking and singing in other tongues connects our spirit to God’s spirit via Jesus, who is THE advice-giver (or parákletos).  Thru obedience to what Jesus teaches us individually, we will learn how to mature (i.e. ‘be ye perfect’) in our spiritual understanding.

 

When we think of someone giving us trustworthy advice the discerning Christian weighs any/all counsel against the truth of scripture.  The first century churches did not have the same benefit of ready access to a canon (collection of books) of scripture that included both Old and New Testament.  The first converts to the gospel message of Christ did not have Bible dictionaries, encyclopedias, concordances, Greek & Hebrew lexicons, etc.  In fact, after the resurrection, ascension, and outpouring of the promise of the Father at Pentecost, it would be the responsibility of the twelve apostles and other close disciples of the Lord Jesus to provide instructions related to the function, protocol, and inter-personal relationships of believers in the various churches.

 

Jesus lived and died for one purpose, that we might have fellowship with God thru his atoning sacrifice and that our fellowship also include him.

 

˙       1 John 1:1-3 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we for ourselves gazed upon, and our hands did handle, concerning the Word of Life.  2 And, the Life, was made manifest, and we have seen, and are bearing witness, and announcing unto you, the Age-abiding Life, which, indeed, was with the Father, and was made manifest unto us; 3 that which we have seen and heard, are we announcing, even unto you, in order that, you too, may have fellowship with us, and, our own fellowship also, may be with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.  Rotherham’s Emphasized Bible  

 

It almost sounds absurd to the logical mind to say we can get fellowship and advice from Jesus as our Advocate thru speaking in tongues; nevertheless, this is exactly what the scripture in the New Testament teaches.  It was their daily prayer in other tongues that enabled the apostles and disciples of Christ to be anointed in writing their epistles, which are now our New Testament Bible. 

 

When speaking of the Parákletos as the Holy Spirit in John 14:16, John 14:26, John 15:26, & John 16:7 the Lord Jesus uses the Greek word állos for ‘another’ Comforter.  This particular Greek word állos means, “another of the same sort,” and it stands in contrast to another Greek term not used ‘héteros’ meaning, “different.”  Basically, he is saying, “I am coming back as the Parákletos (i.e. Helper, Comforter, Counselor) and it will be me, but in ‘another’ form that is of the ‘same sort’ as me.”

 

Parákletos is a Greek noun with a wide range of applications and it is translated in various Bible versions as one or more of the following descriptive titles: Comforter, Helper, Counselor, or Advocate.  Parákletos is primarily a verbal adjective meaning literally, “called to one's side,” (i. e. to one's aid) and the term suggests the capability or adaptability for giving aid.  Its most familiar use in the ancient Roman justice system was as a legal title in a court of justice denoting a legal assistant, a counsel for the defense, or an advocate.  Generally, parákletos was one who pleads another's cause, such as an intercessor, or as an advocate, as in 1 John 2:1, of the Lord Jesus. 

 

˙       1 John 2:1 My little children, I write you these things so that you may not violate God's law and sin.  But if anyone should sin, we have an Advocate (Parákletos - One Who will intercede for us) with the Father — it is Jesus Christ the righteous… Amplified Bible

 

It is important to understand that Jesus IS the Parákletos because he also identifies the ‘Holy Spirit’ as the same thing as the Parákletos.  In spirit form Jesus IS the Holy Spirit and as such, he is our Helper-Advocate.  In fact, the Greek noun Parákletos is used ONLY of Jesus Christ in the New Testament.  In the widest sense, Parákletos signifies a succorer or comforter.  A succorer is he that affords relief; a helper; a deliverer; he is one that runs to support when called; hence, Jesus is the one who helps and relieves us when we are in trouble or suffering. 

 

Christ was a comforter and counselor to his disciples, but after the ascension, he also became a helper to all who call upon God for help thru his name.  The titles ‘Comforter’ or ‘Consoler’ were also terms that correspond to the name ‘Menahem,’ a special title given by the Hebrews to the Messiah.  Proof of this is seen in the use of a Greek word cognate of Parákletos, which is paráklesis.  Paráklesis is used of the ‘consolation’ of Israel in Luke 2:25.

 

˙       Luke 2:25 And behold, there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon, and this man was just and devout, waiting for the Consolation (paráklesis) of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him.  New King James Version 

 

The first century churches understood that the Holy Spirit was Jesus in spirit form, and this can be illustrated throughout the New Testament in the Greek text, which uses various word forms related to parákletos. Below I have included four Bible versions of the same passage, to demonstrate how wide and varied paráklesis, the word from which parákletos originates is used.

 

˙       Acts 9:31 Then the church throughout Judea, Galilee and Samaria enjoyed a time of peace. It was strengthened and encouraged (paráklesis) by the Holy Spirit, it grew in numbers, living in the fear of the Lord. New International Version

 

˙       Acts 9:31 So the church throughout the whole of Judea and Galilee and Samaria had peace and was edified [growing in wisdom, virtue, and piety] and walking in the respect and reverential fear of the Lord and in the consolation and exhortation (paráklesis) of the Holy Spirit, continued to increase and was multiplied.  Amplified Bible

 

˙       Acts 9:31 So the church throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria enjoyed peace, being built up; and, going on in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort (paráklesis) of the Holy Spirit, it continued to increase.  New American Standard Bible 

 

˙       Acts 9:31 The whole Church throughout Judea, Galilee and Samaria now enjoyed a period of peace. It became established and as it went forward in reverence for the Lord and in the strengthening presence (paráklesis) of the Holy Spirit, continued to grow in numbers.  Phillip’s New Testament

 

Perhaps more important to the subject of speaking in tongues was HOW the Lord Jesus provided comfort and encouragement to the church thru speaking in tongues.  What stands out from the four verses above is how the church throughout the whole of Judea and Galilee and Samaria had peace and was edified; the following phrases taken from each verse above give us a clue:

 

˙       strengthened and encouraged (paráklesis) by the Holy Spirit

˙       in the consolation and exhortation (paráklesis) of the Holy Spirit

˙       in the comfort (paráklesis) of the Holy Spirit

˙       in the strengthening presence (paráklesis) of the Holy Spirit

 

The way Acts 9:31 is worded, it seems to be suggesting that the comfort of the Holy Spirit came to the churches by means of inspirational ‘exhortations’ and ‘consolations.’  This is more than speculation because in the apostle Paul’s first epistle to the Corinthians, he also uses the Greek word paráklesis and makes the connection between speaking in tongues, prophecy, and tongues that are ‘interpreted.’

 

˙       1 Corinthians 14:2-5 Pursue love, and desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy.  2 For he who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God, for no one understands him; however, in the spirit he speaks mysteries.  3 But he who prophesies speaks edification, exhortation, and comfort (paráklesis) to men.  4 He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself, but he who prophesies edifies the church.  5 I wish you all spoke with tongues, but even more that you prophesied; for he who prophesies is greater than he who speaks with tongues, unless indeed he interprets, that the church may receive edification. And now, brethren, if I may come unto you speaking tongues, what shall I profit you, except I shall speak to you either in revelation, or in knowledge, or in prophesying, or in teaching?  New King James Version

 

There’s no doubt whatsoever that Paul’s desire in the text above is that all believers when assembling be inspired to prophesy.  Wrong teaching about the true nature, meaning, and applications of the Greek word propheteuo has led to it being mistranslated throughout 1 Corinthians chapter 14 as prophesy, prophesies, prophesying, and prophet.  This mistranslation in turn has put the lid on any in-depth correct understanding about the close affiliation of glossalalia and propheteuo. 

 

In Greek writings, propheteuo meant an interpreter of oracles or of other hidden things.  Greek poets such as Epimenides were believed to sing under divine inspiration, and this may account for why the apostle writes in this manner when instructing believers in Corinth, a city Hellenized to a greater extent than most.

 

˙       1 Corinthians 14:13-15 And that means if one of your number speaks with a tongue he should pray that he may be able to interpret what he says.  14 If I pray in a tongue my spirit is praying but my mind is inactive.  15 I am therefore determined to pray with my spirit and my mind, and if I sing I will sing with both spirit and mind.  Phillip’s New Testament

 

In Paul’s writings, propheteuo is used of male or female in Christian assemblies that were moved by the Holy Spirit to speak, having power to instruct, comfort, encourage, rebuke, convict, and stimulate, their hearers.  As the text implies, speaking in unknown tongues only brings spiritual edification to one’s self. However, Paul emphasizes that if the person speaking in tongues INTERPRETS its meaning, then he or she is able to transmit that meaning by means of revelation (something unveiled), or in knowledge (something known), or in prophesying (inspired speech), or in teaching (didactic instruction). 

 

The main point here is that when a believer uses his or her own unknown prayer in tongues to edify others, then it is serving the purpose for which God intended it in the church.  Privately, prayer in the spirit (i.e. prayer in tongues) cannot be understood by anyone except God, unless the person praying in tongues interprets the sense of what Jesus as the Parakletos is communicating to his or her spirit.  In this case, the interpretation speaks edification, exhortation, and comfort to men.  A common synonym for something interpreted as a believer is praying in the spirit (tongues) is called, ‘the mind of Christ’ or ‘the mind of the spirit.’

 

To become familiar with its operation, a person must frequently speak in tongues while seeking Jesus for the understanding in his or her own heart.  This explanation is powerful proof that when a person speaks in tongues, and has his or her mind trained to seek the Lord’s will, he or she is being given advice by Jesus as the Parakletos.  Paul echoes this thought later in the chapter, by making mention of Isaiah’s prophecy about ‘stammering lips.’

 

˙       1 Corinthians 14:20-21 Brethren, become not children in the understanding, but in the evil be ye babes, and in the understanding become ye perfect; 21 in the law it hath been written, that, 'With other tongues and with other lips I will speak to this people, and not even so will they hear Me, saith the Lord;'  Young's Literal Translation Bible

 

The Greek word translated ‘other tongues’ in 1 Corinthians 14:21 is heterogloóssois, meaning another tongue or tongues of a different sort.  The apostle Paul uses a passage taken from Isaiah 28:11 to describe how God speaks to the Christian church thru speaking in other tongues.  In the Hebrew

 

˙       Isaiah 28:9-12Whom will he teach knowledge?  And whom will he make to understand the message?  Those just weaned from milk?  Those just drawn from the breasts?  10 For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept, Line upon line, line upon line, Here a little, there a little.  11 For with stammering lips and another tongue He will speak to this people, 12 to whom He said, This is the rest with which You may cause the weary to rest,” And, “This is the refreshing,” Yet they would not hear.  New King James Version

 

The meaning of the Hebrew words used for “stammering lips” mean literally, “to speak unintelligibly.”  It has two potential applications and both imply a language that is undecipherable.  One application describes the sounds of a foreign language as stammering and unintelligible, such as that of the Assyrians or Babylonians.  The other plausible application refers to the ‘lisping sounds’ that a mother would make while speaking to her unweaned infant child, a sort of cooing and baby talk if you will.  I researched numerous commentaries, and they are divided about 50-50 over the issue, but all agree that stammering lips and another tongue refer to speech that cannot be understood.

 

The point that the apostle Paul is making in his letter to the Corinthian church concerning their misuse of glossalalia is that they need to grow up and start using mature thinking in how they apply speaking in tongues.  Isaiah’s words to Judah are actually a sort of mockery by him, particularly of the priests who had become so intoxicated with wine, they were no more capable than an infant just weaned from the breast of being taught Yahweh’s knowledge or understanding his message.  Hebrew women were known to breast feed their children to the age of three, so this is the level of immaturity to which they had digressed.  Three predominant truths can be derived from Paul’s comparison to Isaiah:

 

1.      It is not only Jesus that teaches those willing to learn thru speaking in unknown tongues, but Yahweh himself; the Father sends His wisdom and knowledge thru His appointed mediator and our advocate Jesus. 

 

2.      The method Yahweh uses for teaching His knowledge and understanding His message is something undecipherable and unintelligible to the natural mind.  In other words, Yahweh has chosen the ‘foolish things’ (i.e. tongues) to confound those who are wise in their own eyes.

 

3.      Lastly, but most important of all, speaking in tongues provides the Christian with the promised “rest” that Israel never realized because of unbelief.  In the same context of John chapters 14, 15, & 16, Jesus promised his disciples that when the Parakletos or Holy Spirit comes, they will have ‘peace, MY peace, not as the world gives’ (See John 14:26-27 with 1 Corinthians 14:33).  The ‘rest’ that Isaiah speaks about corresponds to the ‘Sabbath’ rest that again was never realized by Israel, but is now unveiled to all who worship the Father ‘in spirit and in truth’ (See John 4:23-25).

 

God has chosen the things that appear to be foolish in man’s eyes, and He uses His foolishness to upset the wisdom of man.  Nowhere is such divine foolishness expressed as it is when God reveals His precious treasures of truth through speaking in unknown tongues! The apostle Paul reveals this in the opening verses of his first letter to the Corinthians, just a few chapters before his instructions about speaking in tongues (See 1 Corinthians 1:19-31).

 

˙       1 Corinthians 1:25-29 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, and the base things of the world and the despised, God has chosen, the things that are not, that He might nullify the things that are, that no man should boast before God. New American Standard Bible

 

It seems foolish to our mind how speaking in tongues results in the counsel of God the Father.  Nevertheless, if you pray and sing in unknown tongues frequently, Jesus will empower you spiritually and provide you with access to the comfort of the Father.  Daily use of glossalalia willhelp you in the midst of adversity in a way nothing else can.  I can study the topic of glossalalia and structure teaching in a readable format for others to learn.  But I still do not understand how exactly God is able to use something like speaking in tongues to lift me above the chronic pain I face every minute of every day, as I have for the past 13 ˝ years.  All I know is God said it, I believe, and I do it because it works.

 

 

 

To be continued in Part Three

 

 


Links to the Entire “I Thank God I Speak In Tongues” 1 Corinthians 14:18  Series:

 

Part 1

Part 2

 


 

Return to BAS Homepage   ·   Craig's Bible Studies   ·   E-mail Craig   ·   Write Us   ·   Writings & Links to BAS Friends   ·   Q & A   ·   Return to Top of This Page