What does 1 Corinthians teach about tongues?
That’s a question I’ve been wrestling with all year as we’ve preached through 1 Corinthians. In pursuit of understanding these chapters myself, I’ve written a number of blogposts. And here is a culminating post offering 15 propositions to crystallize what Paul says and does not say about tongues in 1 Corinthians 14.
More must be said about this subject, especially as it relates to redemptive-history and the book of Acts. Moreover, more could be said comparing and contrasting Acts and the rest of the New Testament. But what follows focuses on 1 Corinthians 12–14.
Here are the 15 propositions. You can find biblical expositions below.
- Tongues, as a spiritual gift, fit into the larger categories of what Scripture says about tongues.
- Tongues reverses the strife caused by the “gift” of tongues at Genesis 11.
- Tongues is a judgment against Israel.
- Tongues is a spiritual gift.
- Tongues was the least of the gifts.
- Tongues were not given to everyone.
- Tongues is not discussed in any other letter, not even 2 Corinthians.
- Tongues does not address men, but God—maybe.
- Tongues as private prayer language is not from the Spirit.
- Tongues are nothing compared to prophesy.
- Tongues are lexical languages.
- Tongues must be interpreted.
- Tongues in the plural may be different than tongue in the singular.
- Tongues are not absolutely forbidden by Paul, but they die the death of ‘one thousand qualifications’.
- Tongues are not a normative practice today.