O LORD, You have searched me and known me.
You know my sitting down and my rising up;
You understand my thought afar off.
You comprehend my path and my lying down,
And are acquainted with all my ways.
For there is not a word on my tongue,
But behold, O LORD, You know it altogether.
You have hedged me behind and before,
And laid Your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
It is high, I cannot attain it.
God knows everything about us, even to the number of hairs on our heads (Matthew 10:30), and still he accepts and loves us. God is with us through every situation, in every trial - protecting, loving, guiding. He knows and loves us completely.
Where can I go from Your Spirit?
Or where can I flee from Your presence?
If I ascend into heaven, You are there;
If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there.
If I take the wings of the morning,
And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
Even there Your hand shall lead me,
And Your right hand shall hold me.
God is omnipresent - he is present everywhere. Because of this, you can never be lost to his Spirit. No matter what we do or where we go, we can never be far from God’s comforting presence (see Romans 8:35-39).
If I say, “Surely the darkness shall fall on me,”
Even the night shall be light about me;
Indeed, the darkness shall not hide from You,
But the night shines as the day;
The darkness and the light are both alike to You.
For You formed my inward parts;
You covered me in my mother’s womb.
I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Marvelous are Your works,
And that my soul knows very well.
My frame was not hidden from You,
When I was made in secret,
And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.
Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed.
And in Your book they all were written,
The days fashioned for me,
When as yet there were none of them.
God’s character goes into the creation of every person. When you feel worthless or even begin to despise yourself, remember that God’s spirit is ready and willing to work within you. We should have as much respect for ourselves as our Maker has for us.
How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God!
How great is the sum of them!
If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand;
When I awake, I am still with You.
Oh, that You would slay the wicked, O God!
Depart from me, therefore, you bloodthirsty men.
For they speak against You wickedly;
Your enemies take Your name in vain.
Do I not hate them, O LORD, who hate You?
And do I not loathe those who rise up against You?
I hate them with perfect hatred;
I count them my enemies.
David’s hatred for his enemies came from his zeal for God. David regarded his enemies as God’s enemies, so his hatred was a desire for God’s righteous justice and not for personal vengeance. Is it okay to be angry at people who hate God? Yes, but we must remember that it is God who will deal with them, not us. If we truly love God, then we will be deeply hurt if someone hates him.
David asked God to search his heart and mind and point out any wrong motives that may have been behind his strong words. But while we seek justice against evil, we must also pray that God’s enemies will turn to him before he judges them (see Matthew 5:44).
Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Try me, and know my anxieties;
And see if there is any wicked way in me,
And lead me in the way everlasting.
David asked God to search for sin and point it out, even to the level of testing his thoughts. We should all ask the Lord to search our heart and our thoughts and reveal our sin to us, so that we may repent and be forgiven…
Tags: psalms, christianity, bible
Psalm 139 in the NKJV (New King James Version). Notes are from the Life Application Study Bible by Zondervan.
One of the most beautiful illustrations of who Jesus is can be found in the gospel of John, at the very beginning. In this passage we read about the various manifestations of God. Now some people believe in what is commonly called “The Trinity”, while others have a “oneness of the godhead” belief. Regardless of which of thoseÂ doctrines that believersÂ adapt, when asked “Is Jesus God?” they will both reply with an emphatic ‘Yes!’
Let’s look at the gospel of John, chapter 1 verses 1-18 (NIV):
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.
Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.
There came a man who was sent from God; his name was John. He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all men might believe. He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light. The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world.
He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God - children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
John testifies concerning him. He cries out, saying, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’”
From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father’s side, has made him known.
In this passage of Scripture, we learn that the ‘Word was God’.Â Then the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. In the very last verse, “the One and Only” (which it says “came from the Father”) is referred to as “God the One and Only”.
There is only one God, but throughout the bible we are made aware of the different manifestations of God - in the Word, in the Flesh, and in the Spirit. Each of these manifestations seems to have their own persona, yet they are all one with God in mission and purpose.
There is another passage in the book of John which you may find of interest as well:
Â And in Matthew, regarding the birth of Jesus:
But some of the more eye-opening Scriptures that tell us Jesus is God can be found in the book of Revelation.Â While many believe that Revelation is simply full of ‘revelations’, specifically about the end times,Â one of the mainÂ purposes of this book is to reveal the true identity of Christ.
In Revelations 1:8 we read: “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.”
In my bible these words are in red, which means that this is Jesus Christ speaking. When I first looked at this I was unsure if this was God speaking, or Jesus speaking… until I read further in Revelations…
Revelation 21:6 (and this is coming from the loud voice from the one seated on theÂ throne) - “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life.”
This was God speaking.
But in Revelation 22:12-16, the words are again in red - and this time we can be sure that this passage is spoken by Jesus Christ:
Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.
Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city. Outside are the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.
I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star.”
And John concludes the book of Revelation by saying, “Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.”
The one question that many people ask is this: How can Jesus be God, or how can they all be “one” when they were clearly all three present when John the Baptist baptized Jesus? The answer to that question is this: God isÂ Omnipotent and he is Omnipresent (which means being present everywhere at the same time).
If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there.
Also see these recent bible studies:
Tags: Jesus, God, trinity, revelation, christianity, bible study]]>
In different settings, Jesus gave himself names that pointed to special roles he was ready to fulfill for people. Some of these refer back to the Old Testament promises of the Messiah. Others were ways to help people understand him.
Jesus’ favorite reference to himself. It emphasized his humanity - but the way he used it, it was a claim to divinity.
Refers to his life-giving role. That he is the only source of eternal life.
Light is a symbol of spiritual truth. Jesus is the universal answer for man’s need of spiritual truth.
Jesus is the only way into God’s kingdom.
Jesus appropriated the prophetic images of the Messiah pictured in the Old Testament. This is a claim to divinity, focusing on Jesus’ love and guidance.
Not only is Jesus the source of life, he is the power over death.
Jesus is the method, the message, and the meaning for all people. With this title he summarized his purpose in coming to earth.
This title has an important second part, “you are the branches.” As in so many of his other names, Jesus reminds us that just as branches gain life from the vine and cannot live apart from it, so we are completely dependent on Christ for spiritual life.
Tags: jesus, names of jesus, jesus name, christianity, new testament, bible study]]>
Personally I didnt give it a lot of thought, or I should say it didnt initially concern me. Baptism is baptism, right? But as I was studying the Word, I noticed some interesting things… and decided to go back and take a second look at water baptism.
I had just completed a study on the great commission, and also on water baptism. What is commonly referred to as “the great commission” is found in three of the four gospels, and it is the version found in the book of Matthew (28:18-20) that is most popular. This is where we find the instructions for baptizing “in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”.
Â â€œAll authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded of you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.â€ (NIV)
This is the Scripture that is always pointed out in defense when someone declares that all baptism should be done “in Jesus’ name”. But let me give you something interesting to consider…
In the passage quoted above, Jesus was speaking to the 11 disciples at an appointed place just outside of Galilee. This took place after the ressurection, but before he ascended into heaven. In the gospel of John (20:21-23) we are told that Jesus breathed the Holy Spirit into them himself, to prepare them for their mission.
Peter was one of the eleven.
Ten days later (Acts 2:38), we find Peter addressing the crowd after the HolyÂ Spirit comes at Pentecost:
Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”
Was Peter being disobedient? He had just been told 10 days before, and by Jesus Christ himself, to “baptize them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”. In fact, every account of water baptism after Jesus ascended into heaven was done “in the name of Jesus”.
You can’t take one scripture in the 28th chapter of Matthew, and ignore the rest of the new testament, to make a case for this issue. But at the same time, you cant ignore the words of Jesus Christ as he instructed his disciples.
So why did Peter baptize “in Jesus name” - and for that matter, why did Paul? I’ll give you two possible explanations:
Perhaps because Peter knew the name of the Father, and the name of the Son, and the name of the Holy Spirit. And he knew this name was Jesus. Perhaps he understood that all of those titles referred to his Lord and God - Jesus Christ.
It should also be noted that Matthew was Jewish. In the book of Matthew, you find many references to the “kingdom of heaven”, where in the other three gospels it is referred to as the “kingdom of God”. These phrases have the same meaning but Matthew used “kingdom of heaven” because the Jews, out of their intense reverence and respect, did not pronounce God’s name.
That is certainly something to understand in its context, considering that Matthew is the only gospel that records the baptism instructions for the early church. Could it be that Matthew wrote it the way that he did, stating the obvious?
See the following bible studies for more information:
Feel free to leave your comments/questions below…Â
Closing Scripture, from Colossians 3:17 (NIV):
And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
Tags: baptism, water baptism, jesus, jesus name, great commission, acts, holy ghost, holy spirit, new testament, bible study]]>
Instead, the bible speaks in parables and mysteries and leaves many people confused with interpretations. Wouldnt it be nice if it were just given to us in an easy-to-understand list, much like the ten commandments?
Actually, the bible is a mystery for a reason. God created us for true fellowship, and in order to do so he gave us Free Will. He wants us to actively seek him, and make a conscious choice to enter the kingdom. If it were all simplified, there would be a lot of half-hearted followers. But as it is, a person has to put forth a serious amount of desire and energy to understand the mysteries of the bible… and to come into close fellowship with God.
Consider our own relationships in comparison: When you choose who you would like to spend time with, is it the person who looks up to you and agrees with everything you say - but doesnt really get you or take the time to learn anything about you? Or is it the person who gets to know you sincerely, and contributes something to the relationship themselves?
Perhaps I didnt word that well, but I think you get the point… and thinking along these lines helps us to understand why God might have required so much of those who desire fellowship with him. God expects us to be obedient andÂ sincere, and to put forth an effort on our end.
Jesus didnt speak in parables to confuse people. He did that to challenge those who sincerely sought the truth.
What does the bible say about its mysteries?
Matthew 13:10-17 (NIV)
The disciples came to him and asked, “Why do you speak to the people in parables?”
He replied, “The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them. Whoever has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. This is why I speak to them in parables:
Though seeing, they do not see;
though hearing, they do not hear or understand.
In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah:
‘You will be ever hearing but never understanding;
you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.
For this people’s heart has become calloused;
they hardly hear with their ears,
and they have closed their eyes.
Otherwise they might see with their eyes,
hear with their ears,
understand with their hearts
and turn, and I would heal them.’
But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear. For I tell you the truth, many prophets and righteous men longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.”
Jesus was explaining the Parable of the Four Soils. In theÂ gospel of Luke,Â Jesus goes on to say:
Luke 8:14-18 - The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature. But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.
No one lights a lamp and hides it in a jar or puts it under a bed. Instead he puts it on a stand, so that those who come in can see the light. For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open. Therefore consider carefully how you listen. Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what he thinks he has will be taken from him.” (NIV)
‘Consider carefully how you listen’… Hmm. It is not enough to just hear the Word and to believe it. We must continue forward, become mature as Christians, ‘persevere’ and ‘produce crops’. That means we must take what we learn and do something with it.
What does ‘persevere’ mean? It means “to persist in or remain constant to a purpose, idea, or task in the face of obstacles or discouragement”.
In his letter to the Colossians (2:2-3), Paul said:
My purpose is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
Paul also said, in his letter to the church at Corinth (1 Corinthians 3:14 NIV):
The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned. (NIV)
Every day people get online and search for an understanding of the mysteries contained within the bible. This list of search phrases is just an example of the active searching on this topicÂ that occurs across the major search engines every single day:
understanding the bible 22.0 /day
study on understanding bible 16.0 /day
bible study for understanding 12.0 /day
mysteries of the bible 34.0 /day
bible mysteries 15.0 /day
how to read a bible and understand it. 7.0 /day
easy to understand bible studies 5.0 /day
how to understand and apply the bible today 5.0 /day
how to understand text in the bible 5.0 /day
easy to understand bible 4.0 /day
how do we understand bible words 4.0 /day
how can i understand the bible 3.0 /day
The key to understanding the bible, to getting revelation on the mysteries of the bible, is GOD. Your first step is to get into the Word, because when you do… theÂ Word gets into you.Â Study daily, continuously seek the answers you are looking for, and pray sincerely that God will give you understanding and discernment.
Seek and you shall find. Ask and it shall be given. Praise God continually, and you will find that your eyes and mind are opened to the truths that lie within the pages of the bible!
If you came here hoping to find any other answer, I’m sorry to say there isnt one. I would encourage you to read through the individual bible studies here on this site, and to study for yourself. You’ll find truth in the Word, and in the Spirit!
It’s not enough to listen to your pastor at church on Sunday morning when he reads from the Word. It’s not enough to just complacently agree that “everything in the bible is true”. We must seek truth and revelation for ourselves, because nobody can lead us blindly into heaven - our salvation is our personal responsibility.
If you have a question about the bible, or would like to see a detailed study on a particular topic or parable from the bible, feel free to email me at Info @ BibleNewz.com (no spaces) with your suggestion. If I post a study on your topic, I will email you the link to it once it is live on the site.
Tags: christianity, bible, bible study, free will, mysteries of the bible, secrets of the bible, bible secrets, mystery, parables]]>
Jesus’ name carries authority in heaven and on earth. Jesus gave us specific instructions about the use of his name in his teachings, and the apostles continued that teaching throughout the New Testament.
The New Testament represents a New Covenant - one where anyone can approach the throne of God, through Jesus…
Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe.
“For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.”
“I tell you the truth, anyone who gives you a cup of water in my name because you belong to Christ will certainly not lose his reward.”
“And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.”
But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.
…then know this, you and all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed… Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.
All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.
…always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord.
1 John 5:13
I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.
He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God.
In the 19th chapter of Revelation, we are told of the “rider on the white horse” who wears the words “King of kings, Lord of Lords”. In reference to his name being the Word of God, we can look at the gospel of John, chapter 1, verses 1-18. For more on that, see the Is Jesus God? bible study linked below.
Tags: jesus name, jesus, new testament, bible study]]>
Source: The Biblical Basis of the Doctrine of the TrinityÂ
- See Also -
Resources on the doctrine of the TrinityÂ Â
Tags: trinity, doctrine, christianity]]>
This came to mind to me tonight, the term Tough Love, as I was meditating on the Word. I recalled in Jesus’ teaching that he compared God to an earthly parent, so that we might grasp the concept:
Mat 7:9 â€œWhich of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone?
Mat 7:10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake?
Mat 7:11 If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!
In the book of Hebrews, the author quotes Proverbs in teaching us about God’s discipline:
Hbr 12:5 And you have forgotten that word of encouragement that addresses you as sons:
â€œMy son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you,
Hbr 12:6 because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son.â€
Hbr 12:7 Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father?
Hbr 12:8 If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons.
Hbr 12:9 Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live!
In Romans, Paul says:
Rom 8:14 because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.
Rom 8:15 For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, â€œAbba, Father.â€
Rom 8:16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.
We are God’s children. Imagine how our own children grieve us with their opposition and negative behavior. How it tears our hearts out that we can invest years of our time and energy… to have them tell us or show us that it meant nothing to them. Imagine loving your child more than anything else on this earth, but knowing there is nothing at all that you can do to help them.
Parents face these issues every day. With young children, teenagers… and even adult children. It is heartbreaking, and tough love is one of the most difficult things a parent ever has to put into practice. Yet they do it - for the benefit of their child - because they love them that much.
I’m not necessarily an advocate of ‘tough love’ (or not), but I do agree that you cannot go on enabling a bad behavior or a major negative problem. I know, as a parent myself, that discipline is necessary to raise a child. And you do have to set boundaries as to what you will and will not tolerate. Sometimes this means refusing a child until they make acceptable choices (such as discontinuing drug use, for example)… so that they can learn and change.
I thought of these things as I prayed to God, and called him Father. I imagined how grieved he must be with his own children at times. How sad it must make him, and how hard it is for him to watch us learn our own lessons along the way - because we didnt listen to his wisdom and truth…
But I am glad that He loves us enough to welcome us when we turn back to him. That he corrects us and disciplines us, and watches for our returnÂ - because this shows the depth of his love for us…
Mat 18:12 â€œWhat do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninetyâ€‘nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off?
Mat 18:13 And if he finds it, I tell you the truth, he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninetyâ€‘nine that did not wander off.
Tags: tough love, love, parents, parenting, children, kids, raising kids, christian, christianity, God, father, sin, bible, bible study]]>
Was it when you repented of your sins? Was it when you believed? Was it when you confessed with your mouth? Was it when you were born again? Or was it when you were baptized?
Continuing my studies on the Kingdom of God and Water Baptism, I was reading a paper by Robert Stein titled ‘Baptism and Becoming a Christian in the New Testament’. The questions presented above were presented in this paper… and I found them quite thought provoking.
You can download a copy here: Baptism and Becoming a ChristianÂ (Right click this link and choose “save target as” to save a copy of the PDF file on your computer. Or click once on the link to open the document in a new window)
SteinÂ lists theÂ 5 components of salvation:
While he concludes that the latter two can occur in either order, the first three are obviously in appropriate order. In order to confess it, you must first believe it. And in order to repent, you must also believe. And while there is no particular order for water baptism and baptism of the Holy Spirit, Stein wholeheartedly believes that all five of theseÂ components play a role in salvation.
Did I mention that Robert Stein is a professor at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary? The document linked to above was presented by Stein at the Baptist General Conference.
In the study on Water Baptism, I pointed out that “according to Baptist doctrine, baptismÂ plays no role in salvation.” So I found this paper of great interest, and particularly so that it was written by a Baptist believer. If you choose to download the paper, be sure to read “A Concluding Allegory” at the very end - it was quite good!
Feel free to leave your thoughts on the topic, and on Robert Stein’s article, in the comments section below.
Tags: repentance, faith, confession, born again, holy spirit, holy ghost, baptism, salvation, saved, christian, christianity, bible study]]>
Speaking in Tongues is something we hear more controversy (and misquoted or misinterpretedÂ scripture) over than any other thing mentioned in the bible. What is the cause for that… and why are the churches so divided on this topic?
The main question tends to be: Was it (speaking in tongues) a ’sign of the times’, or is it a spiritual gift of prayer language that is evidence of baptism of the Holy Ghost? The answer to this question seems to be what divides the churches, and many believers.
In this study I will compare common beliefs, available resources and Scripture in an attempt to shareÂ a full understanding of the gift of speaking in tongues…
A Sign of the Times?
Some ChristiansÂ consider Speaking in Tongues a ’sign of the times’, meaning that they believe that it happened only in biblical times and that it was an occurence only relevant to those times.
One of the most common explanations for this belief is that on the Day of Pentecost* (Acts, Chapter 2), there was a supernatural phenomenon whereby the Holy Ghost enabled the Jewish believers to speak in many different languages. This allowed everyone present (people from many nations) to hear the gospel in their own language.
Not only did they hear the gospel in their own language, allowing them an opportunity to hear and understand it, but they also recognized this as an act of God. And because of this, about 3000 of them were saved that day.
ObviouslyÂ these people ’speaking in tongues not known to them’ (or languages)Â was one of those amazing acts of God that aided in the spread of the gospel, and fueled the beginnings of Christianity and the foundation of the first Christian churches.
* for clarification, the word “pentecost” has nothing to do with the miraculous events that happened on that day, or with speaking in tongues. Pentecost actually means “50″ and was an event that was held 50 days after Passover known as the “Feast of Weeks” relating to harvest.
But it should be considered that Speaking in Tongues can mean two things: 1) speaking in known languages other than your own, and 2) speaking in the ‘tongues of angels’ (1 Cor 13:1)Â or having a ‘prayer language’ understood only by God (’as the Spirit gives them utterance’).
Obviously it is true that the Jews from various nations each heard the gospel in their own language on the Day of Pentecost. But this was not the only occurrence of tongues in the new testament. There are many other Scriptures that tell us born-again Christians spoke in tongues that nobody else could understand - which had to be interpreted by God, through the Holy Spirit. These Scriptures cant simply be ignored or ‘explained away’Â by people who arent comfortable with them…
And besides, if you keep reading, Peter says (in Acts 2:38-39):
â€œRepent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far offâ€“for all whom the Lord our God will call.â€ (NIV)
Speaking in Tongues as a Spiritual Gift and Prayer Language
There is no controversy over whether the Jewish Christians ’spoke in tongues’ in Acts on the Day of Pentecost. People from both sides of ‘the tongues debate’ agree this instance was an incredible spiritual movement to spread the gospel and bringÂ those people into the kingdom of God.
In the modern church, believers who speak in tongues generally do so in ‘prayer language’ and consider this a spiritual gift given to those with the baptism of the Holy Ghost. Some believe that everyone with the Holy Ghost baptism will speak in tongues as evidence - and some even believe that this is a condition to salvation.
In regards to Speaking in Tongues being a Prayer Language, inasmuch as it can also be a gift (or act of God) to cross language barriers, study the following Scriptures (quoted from the NIV translation):
Note:Â the word “edifies” means ‘to instruct or encourage spiritually’. Scriptures such as 1 Corinthians 14:4 have been interpreted and understood to mean many different things - such as that speaking in tongues in church “is pointless without an interpreter”. It is not pointless, as it does edify the individual who is speaking in tongues. That is to say, they are instructed or encouraged by the Holy Spirit asÂ it is interceding (or communicating wtih God) on the individuals behalf.
Paul was not saying that it is ‘pointless’, but that it is a gift best used outside of the “church service” and in personal prayer time. Church service is so that everyone in attendance can be ‘edified’ - particularly visitors or new believers.
The fact that speaking in tongues edifies that personÂ goes toward the point that speaking in tongues is indeed a spiritual prayer language - unlike the definition of tongues that is for ‘edifiying’ other people within earshot who speak the language spoken.
In 1 Corinthians, Chapter 12, Paul attempts to explain Spiritual Gifts to the people at the church of Corinth. He illustrates inÂ verses 21-26 by telling them about ‘one body, many parts’. Paul isÂ explaining the importance of each gift individually, and each Christian, in the Body of Christ.
This is an important passage for those that dismiss certain spiritual gifts as ‘meaningless’ or ‘unneccessary’ in the modern church. While some may read 1 Corinthians (which is a very strong letter, easily taken out of context) and gather that Paul is concluding that one should not ‘desire the gift of tongues’ - this would be an incorrect conclusion. Paul is simply instructing the church (not individuals)Â on ways that they can use their spiritual gifts to benefit the body of Christ.
1 Cor 14:18-19 (The Apostle Paul speaking) - “I thank God that I speak in tongues more than all of you. But in the church I would rather speak five intelligible words to instruct others than ten thousand words in a tongue.”
Paul himself spoke in tongues,Â but he preferred not to use that particular gift while he was in church. This lends also to the point that speaking in tongues is a personal prayer language.Â
In 1 Corinthians 14:13, Paul instructs them to pray that they may interpret what is said in tongues. Separate from his teachings on what is expected in church, in this particular verse he is speaking to the individual who speaks in tongues:
(v13) “For this reason anyone who speaks in a tongue should pray that he may interpret what he says.”
If you dissect that sentence, you will notice:
“For this reason anyone who speaks in a tongue should pray that he may interpret what he says.”
He didnt say that your neighbor should interpret what you said in tongues. He said that we should pray to God that we might interpret what was said while we were praying in tongues. Many people dont realize that we can ask God to reveal the message to us, even if we ourselves were the one to speak it… but that is what this Scripture plainly says.
I would encourage you to ask this in your prayers, if you pray in tongues. Following the teachings of Paul, who spoke by the Spirit of God, this would be done during personal prayer time - and would be done in order to edify (instruct/encourage) the one praying.
In regards to Speaking in Tongues being evidence of baptism of the Holy Ghost, or playing any role in your salvation, refer to the following Scripture:
This ScriptureÂ seems to say that each member of the Body of Christ will be given different gifts, according to God’s will. Is everyone a prophet? Does everyone work miracles or have the gift of healing? Will every Christian speak in tongues? These questions are worded and concluded in such a way as to mean the answer is an obvious “No”.
In that case, it would certainlyÂ not be a component of salvationÂ - norÂ would it beÂ the only evidence of having the Holy Spirit within you. That said, we must remember that Paul was specifically instructing the Corinthians on their role in the church, not on their individual lives as born-again Christians. So the emphasis may need to be on “in the church” in that particular passage. Obviously that is open to interpretation.
But -Â in every instance throughout the new testament where someone was saved and baptized in the name of Jesus, they received the Holy Ghost and spoke in tongues. There is only one instance where a group received the Holy Ghost and spoke in tongues before they were baptized in the name of Jesus - and that was the story of Cornelius.
Cornelius was a Gentile, and while he was a God-loving man… salvation was not available to him as it was only available to the Jews at that time. God gave him a vision to send for Peter (a Jewish Apostle), and gave Peter the vision to go to Cornelius. Peter, and six other Jewish men, went to share the gospel with Cornelius and those that had gathered with him. ThisÂ followed the revelation to Peter that salvation was now open to people of every race… and Cornelius and his family were the first Gentiles to be ’saved’.
While Peter was sharing the gospel with these Gentiles, the Holy Ghost came over them all and they spoke in tongues. This was the evidence to the Jews that they were baptized in the Spirit, and so they also offered them water baptism.
In this particular instance, it could be said that God used tongues as a sign to the Jews so that they would believe that the Gentiles were saved. Had the Gentiles not spoke in tongues when they believed and received the Holy Spirit… how would the Jewish men have known - and proven - that salvation could now be preached to the Gentiles as well? (No one could deny the Gentiles after an obvious act of God)
Another story of interest, also found in Acts (chapter 19), is when Paul came across 12 disciples in Ephesus that believed, but did not have the Holy Spirit:
Every time I turn back to this passage of Scripture in my bible, I find myself studying it intently and with great interest. It would be easy to just read straight through and not pick up on some of the finer details… but let’s dissect that a bit:
What do we know about the 12 men? They were disciples (ie followers). They believed. They didnt know anything about the Holy Spirit. They had been baptized.
Does this mean that you wont be filled with the Holy Spirit automatically when you are saved, or when you are baptized? (Unfortunately, these things are not done at the same time in most modern churches, as they were in those days. There is a very good study on that here: Becoming a Christian)
If not then when, how and why do you receive the Holy Spirit in relation to the other salvation components? And if not everyone is given the gift of speaking in tongues, then how would you know (ie what would be the evidence) that you did indeed receive the Holy Spirit?
And… if you have believed, become a disciple of Christianity, and have been through a water baptism - but have not spoken in tongues - does this scripture indicate that perhaps you need to be baptized again, this time “in the name of Jesus”?
Food for thought, no doubt,Â but in the meantime we’ll carry on with the study…
What the bible says about Speaking in Tongues
1 Corinthians 14:39-40 is translated in the NIV version as: “Therefore, my brothers, be eager to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in tongues. But everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way.”
The letter that Paul wrote to the church of Corinth is the one most referred to by those who support the gift of Speaking in Tongues, and those who seek to disprove its place in the modern church. It’s important to read 1 Corinthians in context, and to read the entire book - not just select Scriptures.
Read in context, you will discover that Paul spoke in tongues himself and instructed them not to forbid speaking in tongues within the church. The main point of his letter was to answer their questions, which they had sent to him while he was in Ephesus. Paul’s instructions toÂ them offered solutions to their issues, and outlined the role of the church’s leaders and members.
It’s worth noting too, while we are studying Scriptures on the ‘gift’ of Speaking in Tongues, that it was God himself who confused mans languages originally. Refer back to the story of The Tower of Babel in Genesis chapter 11: (v.1) “Now the whole world had one language and a common speech.” (v.7) “Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other.“ (NIV)
Obvious Misconceptions about Speaking in Tongues:
CouldÂ allÂ of the misconceptions andÂ varying beliefs about Speaking in Tongues…Â be a simple lack of understanding?
In his teachings at the church of Corinth, Paul speaks of the ’secret wisdom’ revealed to Christians by the Holy Spirit:
…but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man’s spirit within him? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us. This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words. The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned. The spiritual man makes judgments about all things, but he himself is not subject to any man’s judgment: “For who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ. (1 Cor 2:10-16, NIV)
This passage from the Scriptures says that anyone who thinks that Speaking in Tongues is foolish, or doesnt believe or understand it, is not born againÂ - or does not have the Holy Spirit within him.
Can you be a Christian (ie be ‘saved’) and not have the Holy Spirit? According to Romans 8:9 - “And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ.”
I consider this a particularly interesting passage, obviously important to note in the division on this topic among “believers”. If, after reading this Scripture for yourself, you are still unsure where you stand on the topic, IÂ encourage you toÂ pray on the matter.
‘Study to show thyself approved’. Seek guidance from the Holy Spirit, and go directly to the Word for truth. Dont believe what you are taught, or what you are told, or even whatÂ you think or feel.Â Believe the Word.
Ask God to reveal the truth to you in prayer and through his Word: “And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive”. Matthew 21:22 KJV
Personal Notes to other Resources on Speaking in Tongues
There are many websites that serve as a resource on the topic of speaking in tongues. I have taken the time to read through many of them, and below I will share with you my objective thoughts onÂ a fewÂ of those articles:
From ReligiousTolerance.orgÂ :
The phenomenon of speaking in tongues differs greatly among conservative Christian faith groups:
- Most Pentecostal denominations teach that, at the time that a person is saved, or slightly later, the believer will be “baptized of the Holy Spirit.” One automatic manifestation of this baptism is the gift of speaking in tongues (a.k.a. glossolalia). Essentially all of their members do exhibit this gift when or after they are saved.
- Other conservative Christian denominations, such as Fundamentalist and other Evangelical groups, also teach the vital importance of personal salvation. Most of their members are saved. But these denominations do not associate salvation with speaking in tongues. Essentially none of their saved members speak in tongues.
We have only been able to come up with two possible explanations for this major difference among denominations:
- It might be that the Pentecostals are right and that all, or essentially all, saved persons will speak in tongues. This would imply that essentially all non-Pentecostal conservative Christians are not really saved, even though they feel that they have sincerely repented of their sins and have trusted Jesus as Lord and Savior. This would mean that essentially all of the 16 million members of the Southern Baptist Convention, 11 million members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the Mormons) and many millions of members of other denominations are not actually saved.
- It might be that the Pentecostals are wrong. Speaking in tongues is not a normal result of having been saved. Rather, Pentecostals are motivated to speak in this way because of the expectations of their religious culture. They are expected to speak in tongues; this expectation is internalized; thus, they do speak in tongues.
Neither of these explanations are liable to be acceptable to large numbers of Christians.
I have to admit, this piece is quite thought-provoking. I dont feel compelled to comment on this in detail at the moment - though I may later. Still, I wanted to include it and you are welcome to leave your own comments below.
The one thing I will say is that I do not believe that ’speaking in tongues’ could be such a pressing expectation on the church members as to cause a nationwide falsity of this magnitude. This might be reassuring to assumeÂ for those who think that it is foolishness, or those who ‘fear’ this spiritual gift… but those people would be better served spending their time in study and prayer - making sure that they are indeed on the ‘right side of the fence’ so to speak.
I would be more apt to believe that most people who consider themselves ‘Christians’ (ie church-go’ers) are not, in fact, born-again Christians that have a true understanding of the kingdom of God.
From Lehman Strauss :
Who needs tongues? Only the untaught, carnal babes in Christ, for Paul added, â€œWhen I was a child, I spake as a child .Â .Â . but when I became a man, I put away childish thingsâ€ (13:11). The word â€œspakeâ€ in context can only refer to speaking in tongues. So that Paul himself came to the place of Christian maturity, through Godâ€™s revelation to him, where tongues were no longer necessary. And so in the same tongues context he admonishes the Corinthians, â€œBrethren, be not children in understanding .Â .Â . but in understanding be menâ€ (14:20). Experientially, tongues cease when the Christian matures on a diet of the meat of Godâ€™s Word. Actually tongues is baby talk.
Paul states in 1 Corinthians 14:18 that he speaks tongues more thanÂ all of them (the peopleÂ he was speaking to) and he thanks God for that. Strauss is completely out of context within this article, as he tries to make the point that ’speaking in tongues’ is not to be a part of modern Christianity — and may in fact be satanically induced.
Strauss is incorrect on many points, misquoting or misinterpreting Scripture. Or maybe it is best said that he simply takes certain Scriptures out of context (specifically to match his theory on the matter).
In the Scripture that Strauss quoted (1 Cor 13:11), Paul was talking about ‘growing in love’. He was teaching that Love is the greatest gift, and the most important component of all other spiritual gifts.
From Tom Brown Ministries:
This experience is what John the baptist and Jesus called the baptism in the Holy Spirit. This was the fulfillment of Jesus promise, “In a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit” (Acts 1:5). Every Christian believes in baptizing in water. But few accept the better baptism–the baptism in the Holy Spirit. Since you were willing to be baptized in water, shouldn’t you also be willing to be baptized in the Holy Spirit?
This article is written by a man who speaks in tongues himself, and is well worth the read. Tom addresses many of the same things that I have brought up here, and also has some very well thought out answers to the questions that I raised in my own article.Â
Closing Thoughts for those who are still unsure about the gift of speaking in tongues…
What if you found out that thereÂ was indeedÂ a special priveledged prayer language. And that the Holy Spirit (the spirit of Jesus himself) would reside within you, and use this language to communicate directly to the throne of God on your behalf. Would you want that?
And why, do you think, would the Holy Spirit need a special prayer language? Why would he not just use plain english, or the language of the one praying? Could it be that the Holy Spirit communicates things to God beyond our understanding? Is it possible to you that we may not be able to grasp the scope of that spiritual communication?
And if this is the case, and God (and his Son and his Spirit) already know exactly what you need… why would you have to let the Holy Spirit pray through you to God? Why wouldnt he just bless you with exactly what he knows you need or want, since you are a Christian?
Perhaps because God requires our obedience. And perhaps ‘free will’ stands in the way of God working on our behalf without our involvement. These are very real, and very biblical, things to consider.
If it is even remotely possible that you have not understood (up to this point) the whole truth in the Word of God, and you now realize that there may be more to it all than you previously thought… would you not want to explore that idea in depth and be certain (without any doubt) of your salvation?
And lastly, let me ask you this: In your life here in this world, do you feel utter joy? Do you feel peace beyond human understanding? Do you think good and wonderfully happy thoughts throughout your day, every day?
If you dont, and you think that being a Christian is ‘difficult’, I encourage you to reconsider your position. In Matthew 11:28-30, Jesus said: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
1 John 5:3-4 (NIV): “And his commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.”
Satan would have us believe that being a Christian is difficult. That our only reward is ‘heaven’ and that we wont even likely make it there - because we are weak. Satan doesnt want us to know that the kingdom of God has already arrived, and that we can enter into it anytime that we please. Yes, even in this life here on earth.
â€œNot everyone who says to me, â€˜Lord, Lord,â€™ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, â€˜Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?â€™ Then I will tell them plainly, â€˜I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!â€™Â Matthew 7:21-00 NIV
…work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. Philippians 2:12-13 KJV
Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 2 Timothy 2:15 KJV
Tags: speaking in tongues, speaking tongues, tongues, gift of tongues, glossolalia, glossa, spiritual gifts, holy spirit, holy ghost, charismatic, christianity, born again, church, pentecost, pentecostal, acts, new testament, bible study]]>