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Tongues, a Sign to the Unbeliever

Discussion in 'Spirit-Filled / Charismatic' started by CharismaticLady, Sep 17, 2019.

  1. CharismaticLady

    CharismaticLady Well-Known Member Supporter

    United States
    1 Corinthians 14:22 "Therefore tongues are for a sign, not to those who believe but to unbelievers"

    What do you believe this means?

    I didn't know what this verse meant for 30 years. I just put it on the shelf in hopes that someday it would make sense to me. Now I know. (If you've read my book, please don't respond with what I wrote as I just want to know what other Charismatics believe.)
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2019
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  2. topher694

    topher694 Go Turtle!

    United States
    A misunderstood verse in a misunderstood chapter.

    Sign here means: that by which a person or thing is distinguished from others and is known

    So, tongues don't distinguish believer's from one another. It doesn't make one believer special or different than another. (so in the context of 1 cor 14... stop making it a competition). But it does distinguish believers from unbelievers.
  3. Oscarr

    Oscarr Senior Veteran Supporter

    New Zealand
    The sign of tongues for the unbeliever was clearly shown at the Day of Pentecost when the crowd of unbelievers heard the 120 praising God in tongues, and then the miracle of them hearing the great works of God being proclaimed in their regional languages.

    Paul links it with the judgment of Israel when it was invaded by the Assyrians who spoke a foreign language. The presence of the foreign language spelled judgment for the Israelites because of their idolatry and faithlessness to God.

    When an unbeliever witnesses a believer receiving the baptism with the Spirit and speaking in tongues, it is a sign of impending judgment on those unbelievers. It is a sign that because of the foreign language spoken, the judgment is just around the corner. This needs to be followed up with the preaching of the gospel which first shows that because of their failure to keep to God's moral law, they are sinners and condemned to an eternity in hell. This brings conviction of sin, which either causes a person to oppose and persecute the Christians, or to cry out "Men and brethren, what shall we do?" Then the good news of the death and resurrection of Christ can be given to them.

    The personal and private speaking in tongues is not a sign for the unbeliever, because it is done is private before God alone. But the tongues message plus interpretation is, when unbelievers are present, because they hear the foreign language, which is the sign of God's judgment on them, and then the interpretation which can come as a prophecy.

    When a prophecy is given in the power of the Holy Spirit, the unbeliever's heart is exposed and he will fall down, worship God and receive Christ, because he will know that God is among that gathering of believers.

    The devil hates tongues and does all he can to demean it, because he knows the power of it to convict sinners of their sin, their need for righteousness and the judgment to come. When it happens along with interpretation, prophecy, and the preaching of the gospel, the devil's grip on unbelievers is weakened, and they are often lost to his influence.
  4. tturt

    tturt Senior Veteran Supporter

    Sorry Not familiar with your book

    Studying it, found that tongues are a sign - To unbelievers - By believers
    (I Cor 14:22 and Mark 16:17) Agree with Topher694.

    That's the reason that prayer language is available to all believers. There wouldnt be any purpose if every believer had the message for interpretation I Cor 12:30

    Also agree with Oscarr in that the enemy hates it
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2019
  5. CharismaticLady

    CharismaticLady Well-Known Member Supporter

    United States
    It is interesting that about 365 people viewed this post, but only three answered. I believe the reason is the same reason I had to put this verse, 1 Corinthians 14:22, on the shelf for 30 years. We have a preconceived idea that signs are only positive, so why such a negative reaction in verse 23? That is what I couldn't understand.

    And the sign of tongues is not the gift of tongues in 1 Corinthians 12 which is immediately interpreted. That would not cause visitors to think they are crazy, as the next verse indicates. No Paul is reprimanding the Corinthians for using their personal prayer language in the public gathering, and all speaking at once with no interpretation. It would be a cacophony of unintelligible sound, that unbelieving mockers would call gibberish, as they do today. So, yes, it becomes a negative judgment, as mockers today will face.

    1 Corinthians 14:22-23 (the context)
    22 Therefore tongues are for a sign, not to those who believe but to unbelievers; but prophesying is not for unbelievers but for those who believe. 23 Therefore if the whole church comes together in one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in those who are uninformed or unbelievers, will they not say that you are out of your mind?

    The sign of tongues is actually for all who believe as Mark 16:16-18 indicates. These "signs" will follow those who believe...

    Many who associate the Day of Pentecost to the sign of tongues to unbelievers, put it in a positive sense, when in reality the negative judgment would only apply to the mockers that day who thought they were drunk, and not the 3000 devout Jews who were saved that day. To them it was positive, and they did not mock.

    This sign is actually a dual edged sign, both positive and negative. Negative to the unbeliever, but positive to believers. It is the same type of sign as the sign of Jesus in Luke 2:34. A sign "which will be spoken against." Interestingly, the next verse is similar to verse 25 of 1 Corinthians 14, validating that tongues and Jesus are, indeed, the same type of sign, signs that will be spoken against.

    Luke 2:34 "Then Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary His mother, “Behold, this Child is destined for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign which will be spoken against"

    Luke 2:35 "that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”

    1 Corinthians 14:25 "And thus the secrets of his heart are revealed.
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2019
  6. SpiritPsalmist

    SpiritPsalmist Heavy lean toward Messianic Supporter

    United States
    I had a pastor friend who after awaking from surgery was approached by one of the nurses asking him about his Hebrew language. He told her he did not speak Hebrew. She told him that while under anesthetic he spoke Hebrew quite fluently and the doctor, a non believing Jew, had understood every word...my friend had witnessed to the doctor the whole time and spoke of the wonders and glories of God. :clap: