Sunday, 1 February 2015
I thank my God I speak with tongues more than you all; 1 Corinthians 14:18
For most of the past seventeen verses, Paul has been speaking of coherent sounds which form understandable languages, not gobbledeegoop. There is no chance then that he now departs from that in order to say something pertaining to unintelligible noises which would ecstatically roll of his tongue. To Paul, edification is the main intent of any words spoken in the church.
Understanding this, we can know that he is not referring to anything similar to the nonsense which is uttered in Charismatic churches today – ecstatic tongues, prayer languages, etc. Nor is he referring to the number of times that he speaks in foreign languages in a church. Rather, he is speaking of known languages that he has acquired, most of which the other congregants would not understand.
Paul would have known Hebrew. He would have learned it in his rabbinical training and used it in synagogues. He would have known Aramaic, the lingua franca of the land of Israel at his time. He would have known Greek, the standard language of the Roman Empire at his time. He also probably knew Latin, a language which was growing in ascendancy during his time. He was raised in Tarsus of Cilicia, and there was probably a regional dialect in that area that he grew up with. In addition to this, he was a tent maker and moved around as he shared the gospel. He probably learned many local dialects as he traveled. In all, his words in this verse are certainly true. He was a man of many languages, and for this he thanked his God. It made him a useful tool in the spreading of the most important message ever entrusted to man.
Life application: Tongues are known languages. When speaking in the church, use a tongue which is known to all.
Lord, I need a vacation, some time away. And so Lord, I will be visiting with You today. I need to have some time alone; and so Lord, I am coming to Your throne. I have to clear my mind of every impure thought; and so Lord, I will come to You as I ought. And in Your presence, I will find rest for my soul. There to You my troubles I will roll. And when I get back to my regular pace, I know I will have energy available to run this race. Thank You for allowing me a vacation in Your presence, O God. I will cherish that time now while I continue my daily trod. Amen.