International & Interdenominational
Bible Study Worksheet – May 3, 2015
Theme: The Promised Holy Spirit
Topic: The “Tongues” Issue
Main Texts: 1 Corinthians 14:1-32
Key Verse: 1 Corinthians 14:2 – “For anyone who speaks in a tongue does not speak to people but to God. Indeed, no one understands them; they utter mysteries by the Spirit.”
Last Sunday, we learnt about the ministry of the Holy Spirit as The Teacher:· He is able to, and does teach us God’s ways even when, by reason of circumstance, we do not have access to more mature or more knowledgeable Christians – We saw this in Apostle Paul following his conversion
- He gives us new insights into what we read in the Bible, sometimes even more than our respected teachers
- He reminds us of the Scriptures at appropriate times – this means we need to have been studying the Bible, otherwise there would be nothing to remind us of!
- He gives us the right words to say at critical times, such as when our faith is on trial
If there is an issue that has divided the Church over the last few decades, it is that of speaking in tongues. While most Christians agree that there is such a thing as being filled or baptised in the Holy Spirit, the big divide is whether all Christians who are filled with the Holy Spirit can and should speak in tongues. What exactly does the Bible say about speaking in tongues in relation to the infilling of Christians by Holy Spirit?
Categorical testimonies of speaking in tongues:
- At Pentecost (Acts 2:4)
- Cornelius and his household (Acts 10:44-46)
- The Ephesian disciples (Acts 19:1-7)
Very probable cases of speaking in tongues:
- The Samaritan believers (Acts 8:14-18). (What did Simon see?)
- Saul, later Paul, when met by Ananias (Acts 9:17) (See 1 Corinthians 14:18)
It does seem like in the early Church, speaking in tongues was a very normal phenomenon each time someone got filled with the Holy Spirit. In fact, the case in Cornelius’s house was most striking. How did Peter and those who accompanied him know that the Holy Spirit had come upon Cornelius’ household? Acts 10:46 says “For they heard them speaking in tongues and praising God.” But if speaking in tongues was so normal in the early Church in the course of being filled with the Holy Spirit, why has it become so divisive in today’s Church?
The only Bible record of controversy over speaking in tongues was in the Corinthian Church, prompting Apostle Paul to write extensively on it 1 Corinthians 12 and 14. Paul, in our main text draws a clear line between tongues as a vehicle of personal worship, and as a vehicle for bringing messages to the Church. It was the failure of the Christians to separate these uses of tongues that led to the confusion. In fact, it got so bad that there were people in the Church who displayed tongues in a way to suggest that they could not control the utterance!
In keeping with our commitment earlier in these studies, we must uphold whatever the Bible says
and not seek to either dilute it, or suggest that it is not for our dispensation. Regardless of what our
experience has been, or has not been, the Bible upholds that speaking in tongues is an evidence
of being filled with the Holy Spirit.
- Read 1 Corinthians 14:14-15 again. What does Paul mean by “pray with my spirit” as different from praying “with understanding” and in what situation may this be beneficial?
- What are the similarities and differences between the Corinthian Church and your local Church as regards the issue of speaking in tongues?
Prayer: Father, I accept Your Word in its entirety, and I ask that you open my heart to receive all You have in store for me, especially as regards the fullness of the Holy Spirit. In Jesus’ name, Amen