THE BIBLICAL LEGITIMACY OF TONGUES
To some church-going people, speaking in tongues is an unacceptable behavior. They have rationalized that since they know some people whose tongues speaking is merely a rehearsed and artificial act, that all tongues speaking is fraudulent. That is like saying that because we know of some people who don’t know how to make bread, that there is no such thing as real bread.
There is little that is mysterious about what the Bible calls, “tongues.” In fact, it is so clear when we study the Greek language (the language in which the New Testament was written), that it is surprising that so many people have chosen to ignore its’ obvious definition.
Throughout the New Testament, the Greek word “glossa” (Strong’s # 1100), is used to describe that physical part of the anatomy called the tongue. Mark 7:33 “And he took him aside from the multitude, and put his fingers into his ears, and he spit, and touched his tongue” ; Mark 7:35 “And straightway his ears were opened, and the string of his tongue  was loosed, and he spake plain.”
It is loosely used to describe the noise which comes from the tongue. This is applied to ANY noise. It is used to describe the noise of a person’s native language. Acts 2:11 “Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues  the wonderful works of God.”
It is used to describe a variety of different earthly languages which God uses to communicate the Gospel. 1 Corinthians 12:10 To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues ; to another the interpretation of tongues : 1 Corinthians 12:28 And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues <1100>.
These earthly languages may be unknown to someone who was not raised in that language, or has never studied it. 1 Corinthians 14:19 Yet in the church I had rather speak five words with my understanding, that by my voice I might teach others also, than ten thousand words in an unknown tongue <1100>.
The Bible specifically validates the very real and useful gift of tongues. This gift was provided for the Believer, as all gifts were, to bring honor and glory to the Lord Jesus Christ, by either winning souls or edifying the Body of Christ, the Church.
Validation of the genuine gift of the Holy Spirit is made in several ways.
1. First, the Holy Spirit gave the gift.
But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues: I Corinthians 12:7-10.
2. Next, God authorized tongues as one of the official works of the Church.
And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues. I Corinthians 12:28.
3. The apostles and the early church utilized tongues.
Paul, for an example of the apostles.
I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than ye all. 1 Corinthians 14:18.
~ Examples in the early church.
Acts 2:4 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
Acts 2:11 Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God.
Acts 10:46 For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter,
Acts 19:6 And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied.
4. God encourages the use of tongues when used in a Biblical manner.
Wherefore, brethren, covet to prophesy, and forbid not to speak with tongues. 1 Corinthians 14:39
I would that ye all spake with tongues, but rather that ye prophesied: for greater is he that prophesieth than he that speaketh with tongues, except he interpret, that the church may receive edifying. 1 Corinthians 14:5
While the Bible makes this strong case, and the Church throughout her history has provided legitimate and verifiable evidence that speaking in tongues in of great value, those who take the position of opposing tongues have one valid point. That is, there is a tremendous amount of fraudulent tongue-speaking in the world today which has hindered the work of the Church and created a lack of credibility among unbelievers because of what they see.
This study is designed to address this issue, and I trust it will help you see the Biblical definition, procedure, and applications for the use of tongues.