Speaking in tongues

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Kavik

Senior Member
Mar 25, 2017
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But really where did the idea of "prayer language" come from? Is it a doctrine? How is it different than any other language?
The concept of ‘prayer language came about in the early 1900’s when the early Pentecostal church had to redefine their understanding of “tongues” since their original supposition (xenoglossy) was certainly not what they were producing. As I’ve stated in previous posts, the resulting implicit theology was not a synthesis of revelation and philosophy, but rather a synthesis of trying to make sense of the modern “tongues experience” in light of the narrative of Scripture. A way to legitimize and justify the modern phenomenon by ‘proofing’ it in the Bible. The problem with this however, was an obvious overwhelming absence therein of anything resembling modern tongues. Call it what you will, but for this group of Christians, the result was a virtual re-definition of scripture with respect to the understanding and justification of modern “tongues”; a re-interpretation of select texts to fit the modern practice/connotation of what ”tongues” was perceived to be. This is when the concept of modern tongues as “prayer language” came about. A “If it isn’t xenoglossy, then it must be something else” kind of thing.

No idea if it’s part of the Pentecostal/Charismatic doctrine or not – perhaps for some denominations?

As far as how it differs from any other language – well, all you need to do is read some of the posts on this thread 😊
 
Mar 28, 2016
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The concept of ‘prayer language came about in the early 1900’s when the early Pentecostal church had to redefine their understanding of “tongues” since their original supposition (xenoglossy) was certainly not what they were producing. As I’ve stated in previous posts, the resulting implicit theology was not a synthesis of revelation and philosophy, but rather a synthesis of trying to make sense of the modern “tongues experience” in light of the narrative of Scripture. A way to legitimize and justify the modern phenomenon by ‘proofing’ it in the Bible. The problem with this however, was an obvious overwhelming absence therein of anything resembling modern tongues. Call it what you will, but for this group of Christians, the result was a virtual re-definition of scripture with respect to the understanding and justification of modern “tongues”; a re-interpretation of select texts to fit the modern practice/connotation of what ”tongues” was perceived to be. This is when the concept of modern tongues as “prayer language” came about. A “If it isn’t xenoglossy, then it must be something else” kind of thing.

No idea if it’s part of the Pentecostal/Charismatic doctrine or not – perhaps for some denominations?

As far as how it differs from any other language – well, all you need to do is read some of the posts on this thread 😊
Thanks for that!

Like I offered the idea of "prayer language" has no real bases. God understands all languages event the thoughts and desire of our sinful hearts . Its like the term "original sin" used in order to divide the wage of sin from eternal to a temporal unknown. Purgatory, as any thing less than eternal . I don't believe in the idea of sign gifts needed to confirm that one believe God. Spiritual as that not seen yes.
 

RickyZ

Senior Member
Sep 20, 2012
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Thanks for that!

Like I offered the idea of "prayer language" has no real bases. God understands all languages event the thoughts and desire of our sinful hearts . Its like the term "original sin" used in order to divide the wage of sin from eternal to a temporal unknown. Purgatory, as any thing less than eternal . I don't believe in the idea of sign gifts needed to confirm that one believe God. Spiritual as that not seen yes.
It's not about God or us understanding the language, it's about being able to intercede in prayer over things we don't know about but God does.
 
Mar 28, 2016
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It's not about God or us understanding the language, it's about being able to intercede in prayer over things we don't know about but God does.
Sort of like; "Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven", Amen?
 

cv5

Well-known member
Nov 20, 2018
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It's not about God or us understanding the language, it's about being able to intercede in prayer over things we don't know about but God does.
It's not about God or us understanding the language, it's about being able to intercede in prayer over things we don't know about but God does.
“higher gnosis”?
How are you to present the Gospel based on that foundation?
 

RickyZ

Senior Member
Sep 20, 2012
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Sort of like; "Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven", Amen?
No, more like receiving a gift of knowledge that someone was in trouble that I would have never otherwise known about, praying over that person and trouble, and finding out later that the person was mysteriously removed from that trouble and led to a safe place where she received ministry... 'like someone grabbed me by the arm and pulled me out of the room" she said.
 

cv5

Well-known member
Nov 20, 2018
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No, more like receiving a gift of knowledge that someone was in trouble that I would have never otherwise known about, praying over that person and trouble, and finding out later that the person was mysteriously removed from that trouble and led to a safe place where she received ministry... 'like someone grabbed me by the arm and pulled me out of the room" she said.
Wonderful. Now what about the Great Commission? Not much talk of that in the Pentecostal assembly. But all kinds of chatter about mysteries and signs and demands for more mysteries and signs.

So what is you opinion on the Word Faith movement? Legit or not?
 

RickyZ

Senior Member
Sep 20, 2012
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Wonderful. Now what about the Great Commission? Not much talk of that in the Pentecostal assembly. But all kinds of chatter about mysteries and signs and demands for more mysteries and signs.

So what is you opinion on the Word Faith movement? Legit or not?
I think what a lot of the Pentecostal/Charismatic denominations are doing is PRECISELY why Paul wrote 1 Cor 14.

The gist of 1 Cor 14 is,

1. learn the differences,

2. learn the proper time and place for each manifestation,

and

3. While Paul wished we all would do it, he said it's better to not do it at all than do it wrong (because then we end up in the quagmire that we are now in).

There has to be balance and order, which a lot of these churches do not practice.

But again, just because something is being done wrong, that doesn't mean the right way no longer exists.
 

Wansvic

Well-known member
Nov 27, 2018
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The concept of ‘prayer language came about in the early 1900’s when the early Pentecostal church had to redefine their understanding of “tongues” since their original supposition (xenoglossy) was certainly not what they were producing. As I’ve stated in previous posts, the resulting implicit theology was not a synthesis of revelation and philosophy, but rather a synthesis of trying to make sense of the modern “tongues experience” in light of the narrative of Scripture. A way to legitimize and justify the modern phenomenon by ‘proofing’ it in the Bible. The problem with this however, was an obvious overwhelming absence therein of anything resembling modern tongues. Call it what you will, but for this group of Christians, the result was a virtual re-definition of scripture with respect to the understanding and justification of modern “tongues”; a re-interpretation of select texts to fit the modern practice/connotation of what ”tongues” was perceived to be. This is when the concept of modern tongues as “prayer language” came about. A “If it isn’t xenoglossy, then it must be something else” kind of thing.

No idea if it’s part of the Pentecostal/Charismatic doctrine or not – perhaps for some denominations?

As far as how it differs from any other language – well, all you need to do is read some of the posts on this thread 😊
Does one discard scripture?
Paul is clearly referring to speaking in an unknown language:
"For he that speaketh in an unknown tongue speaketh not unto men, but unto God: for no man understandeth him; howbeit in the spirit he speaketh mysteries.
He that speaketh in an unknown tongue edifieth himself; but he that prophesieth edifieth the church." 1 Cor 14:4

In the case below Paul is explaining that his spirit is in prayer with God's spirit. Head knowledge of what is transpiring between spirits is not required. The child of God has faith that God has his best interests at heart and allows the connection because only good can come from allowing the potter access. We know that God can and does intervene on our behalf in many ways:

"For if I pray in an unknown tongue, my spirit prayeth, but my understanding is unfruitful." 1 Cor 14:14
 
Mar 28, 2016
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Does one discard scripture?
Paul is clearly referring to speaking in an unknown language:
"For he that speaketh in an unknown tongue speaketh not unto men, but unto God: for no man understandeth him; howbeit in the spirit he speaketh mysteries.
He that speaketh in an unknown tongue edifieth himself; but he that prophesieth edifieth the church." 1 Cor 14:4

In the case below Paul is explaining that his spirit is in prayer with God's spirit. Head knowledge of what is transpiring between spirits is not required. The child of God has faith that God has his best interests at heart and allows the connection because only good can come from allowing the potter access. We know that God can and does intervene on our behalf in many ways:

"For if I pray in an unknown tongue, my spirit prayeth, but my understanding is unfruitful." 1 Cor 14:14
In regard to what you offered. The child of God has faith that God has his best interests at heart and allows the connection because only good can come from allowing the potter access .How could something be good as fruitful if there is not understanding?

How would you differentiate and prove the good is coming from God and not the evil of god of this world? Don't sounds form words?

The word unknow was added. It is unknow to the hearer but not to God the speaker. God gives them His interpretation in any language they need to believe as an anchor of their souls .
 

Dino246

Senior Member
Jun 30, 2015
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Thanks for that!

Like I offered the idea of "prayer language" has no real bases. God understands all languages event the thoughts and desire of our sinful hearts . Its like the term "original sin" used in order to divide the wage of sin from eternal to a temporal unknown. Purgatory, as any thing less than eternal . I don't believe in the idea of sign gifts needed to confirm that one believe God. Spiritual as that not seen yes.
A question for you, Garee:

Why do you continually write "as that not seen" after "spiritual"? Do you think we're all dumb and can't make the (patently obvious) connection, or is it just a bad habit? It only serves to convolute your writing.
 
Mar 28, 2016
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A question for you, Garee:

Why do you continually write "as that not seen" after "spiritual"? Do you think we're all dumb and can't make the (patently obvious) connection, or is it just a bad habit? It only serves to convolute your writing.

I think you are smart. And it has nothing to do with being dumb but rather turning things upside down taking away the understanding of God. The unbelieving Jews were famous for that. Dumbing down the word of God with their oral traditions of men

Some would seem think spiritual gifts are those seen as sign gifts. We walk by faith the eternal not seen .Many think the holy place is the temporal seen . Therefore making the temporal Jerusalem the eternal as if it was the eternal bride of Christ the new Jerusalem Zion .

You could say taking a spiritual gift turning it upside down as if it was literally seen ,Just as they do with the sign of tongues. It does not confirm they are believer but just the opposite or at least according to the law.
 

Kavik

Senior Member
Mar 25, 2017
609
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Paul is clearly referring to speaking in an unknown language:
"For he that speaketh in an unknown tongue speaketh not unto men, but unto God: for no man understandeth him; howbeit in the spirit he speaketh mysteries.
He that speaketh in an unknown tongue edifieth himself; but he that prophesieth edifieth the church." 1 Cor 14:4

In the case below Paul is explaining that his spirit is in prayer with God's spirit. Head knowledge of what is transpiring between spirits is not required. The child of God has faith that God has his best interests at heart and allows the connection because only good can come from allowing the potter access. We know that God can and does intervene on our behalf in many ways:

"For if I pray in an unknown tongue, my spirit prayeth, but my understanding is unfruitful." 1 Cor 14:14


These two italicized passages have been discussed almost ad nauseum in earlier posts in this thread - neither passage refers to anything but real, rational language. In the last, get rid of 'unknown' as it was never there to begin with, replace 'tongue' with the more modern 'language', see further above for the correct meaning of "pray in the spirit" and see earlier posts that discuss 'unfruitful' (akarpos) - its meaning can be both active and passive; 'produces no fruit (for others)' - see Luther's Bible for that same passage - in English, it's "brings no-one fruit".

"My understanding" - the fact I understand what I'm saying....produces no fruit for others (as they do not speak my language).

I can get into more detail on Monday if need be - written hastily 12/14/18
 

Dino246

Senior Member
Jun 30, 2015
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I think you are smart. And it has nothing to do with being dumb but rather turning things upside down taking away the understanding of God. The unbelieving Jews were famous for that. Dumbing down the word of God with their oral traditions of men

Some would seem think spiritual gifts are those seen as sign gifts. We walk by faith the eternal not seen .Many think the holy place is the temporal seen . Therefore making the temporal Jerusalem the eternal as if it was the eternal bride of Christ the new Jerusalem Zion.

You could say taking a spiritual gift turning it upside down as if it was literally seen ,Just as they do with the sign of tongues. It does not confirm they are believer but just the opposite or at least according to the law.
That was a deft non-answer.
 

presidente

Senior Member
May 29, 2013
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A quick response...

How do you arrive at “mysteries within his spirit” from “howbeit in the Spirit he utters mysteries”??
My mistake. I must have conflated 'my spirit prayeth' with 'in the spirit he speaketh mysteries.'
From the Greek - literally “the one indeed speaking with a language, not to men speaks, but to God; no one indeed hears; in spirit however, he utters mysteries.”

The interesting thing is that the word ‘hears’ is used in the sense of ‘understand’, or better yet, ‘hear with understanding’.
The KJV says, 'no man understandeth him.' How does this fit with your own intepretation of the passage?

I don’t think it changes the meaning or inference though – to add the context: if someone is speaking a (foreign) language, he’s really not speaking to men (read, “other people at the worship service”), but to God (who understands all languages); no one understands (or it could be argued – no one is paying attention to him/no one is really listening to him/no one ‘hears’ him with any degree of understanding). Though he may be praying as the spirit leads/inspires him; (as far as the audience/hearers are concerned) he’s uttering ‘mysteries’ (as no one understands his language), an idiomatic way of saying “it’s all Greek to us” (well, obviously if it was Greek in this case, there’d be no issue, but trust you get the idea).
That would seem a rather fuzzy interpretation. Why would 'in the Spirit' or 'in the spirit' designate a foreign language? Here is an example of how 'in the Spirit' is used in Revelation which is consistent with some Old Testament usage:

Revelation 4:2
Immediately I was in the Spirit; and behold, a throne set in heaven, and One sat on the throne.

Sometimes the word is used for a supernatural experience. Paul also writes of believers being in the Spirit and not in the flesh. I know of nowhere that it is used to refer to mundanely speaking a foreign languge. Why would naturally speaking in a foreign language be designated as 'in the spirit'. Why would the spirit pray if you spoke in a language you know as opposed to praying with the understanding? The contrast around verses 14-18 really wouldn't make any sense with your interpretation here.

I am thinking of a 'goodness of fit' approach to statistics, here, when I say this, like an SEM model. But the passage does fit well if we posit the idea of speaking supernaturally (in the Spirit/spirit) in a language the speaker does not understand (and hence he is told to pray that he may interpret and such speaking is contrasted with speaking words (with the understanding.) The idea that the passage is just about speaking a foreign language naturally does not fit the passage well. The parenthetical comments go a bit beyond 'goodness of fit' there and are actual exegetical arguments for it. If I am not mistaken,
An issue here is the Pentecostal/Charismatic redefinition of “praying in the spirit” – it does not refer to the words one is saying. Rather, it refers to how one is praying. In the three places it is used (Corinthians, Ephesians, and Jude), there is absolutely zero reference to 'languages' in connection with this phrase. “Praying in the Spirit” should be understood as praying in the power of the Spirit, by the leading of the Spirit, and according to His will. In Pentecostal/Charismatic parlance however, the phase has come to be equated with modern “tongues”, i.e. when one “prays in the Spirit”, one is typically engaged in some form of tongues-speech.
In I Corinthians 14, it is explicit that Paul says when he prays in a tongue, his spirit prays. (v. 14) I would not say that speaking in tongues is the only means of praying in the Holy Ghost, as the book of Jude puts it, but some Pentecostals think that way. The wording is similar to I Corinthians 14, so it does make sense that this passage would come to mind, especially for a Pentecostal.

Where are you getting “the implication that tongues are something other than speaking with ‘the understanding’ ..“?? Are you referring back to 1 Cor 15 or 19? With respect to the above, the only ones who are not ‘understanding’ are those in the audience as they do not know the speaker’s language.
Look at this passage from I Corinthians 14

18 I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than ye all:
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.

If Paul knew Aramaic, and praying in Aramaic were 'speaking with tongues' in verse 18, since he knew the language, he would be using his 'understanding' to pray in it. But in verse 19, he contrasts praying with his understanding with speaking in tongues. The implication is that when he prays in tongues, he is not using his understanding, his 'noi'-- his mind, understanding, reason. If he spoke in tongues, he would not be using his reason or mind. What language would Paul speak in that he did not know? If he were to use a Hebrew, Aramaic, or Greek liturgy, it is highly unlikely that there was one of those languages that he did not know. How would he be able to speak in a language he did not know?

That is the question. When Paul spoke in tongues, how was it possible for him to do so without knowing it, without using his mind to do so?

Do you see how the idea that the speaker does not understand the tongue comes from direct exegesis.

I wonder why the interpretation you propose appeals to you, and also the diglossia interpretation of Acts. To me, this seems like grasping at straws to find a non-supernatural explanation to events in a book filled with the supernatural. It reminds me of liberal scholars trying to argue that there was a tidak wave or earthquake that caused the Red Sea to be knee deep for the Exodus, or the (joke) liberal theory that Elijah poured lighter fluid on the sacrifice at Mt. Carmel, and had a match behind his back.

To touch a bit on your other points –

I think you have misunderstood. ecclesiastical diglossia does not forbid non-priests from using Hebrew in the Temple. Not sure where you got that from. It has nothing to do with non-priests; other languages were not ‘outlawed’.

The Jewish tradition of ecclesiastical diglossia was for the teacher (typically the rabbi) to use Hebrew first as the language of ‘instruction’, then translate into the vernacular (whatever it may be – usually Greek or Aramaic). The teacher could translate it himself if he was able or have someone translate for him. As I’ve mentioned in other posts, because of the Hellenization of that area of the world (essentially the lands of the Western Diaspora), and of course in Greece itself, Greek was essentially replacing Hebrew as an acceptable alternative as a sacerdotal language for Judaism in the Western Diaspora.
What is a 'sacerdotal' language in this context. It is questionable whether Levites would have had a prominent place in the synagogues. Nowadays, a synagogue has a man they call a 'rabbi' (a title that should actually be used specifically for the Messiah), who leads like a pastor or priest does in a Protestant or Catholic church. But from what I have read, that was not the case in the first century. Synagogues had elders and an administrator-- the head of the synagogue. It is possible that one of them could have been ordained by the legal cult. The legal cult took over Judaism after the temple had been destroyed. Before that, there were many influences and groups in Judaism.

I think you should Edersheim's 'Life and Times...' I know its from the 1800's. I have a friend who's a Bible scholar and Bible college professor, and the last he mentioned it, Edersheim was still considered good. According to Edersheim, in the first century, the practice of having a Hebrew sermon and a Aramaic interpretation was something you might see in the synagogues in the Levant. But to the east, they would have used the Septuagint. It was more popular because it was cheaper, being copied without the strict scribal rules. Also, the people who used it spoke Greek. The belief was that it was an inspired translation that the 70 elders in Alexandria centuries before had all translated exactly the same way, working independently of one another. There were early Christians who believed the same thing about the LXX.

Apparently there were numerous Greek-only synagogues that did not use the Hebrew Torah. These Jews would visit Jerusalem and settle in Jerusalem. The reason I mentioned the idea of non-Hebrew being forbidden in the temple or Levant synagogues is that would be a missing piece of the puzzle to make the diglossia theory make sense. It is unlikely that the Helenistic synagogues were diglossic throughout the empire. The idea that Jews from other places would be shocked to hear preaching in Greek or Aramaic without first hearing Hebrew is extremely far-fetched, IMO, based on what we know of the period (which I say just based on what I've read without being a subject area expert.) I recall reading that archeologists did find a Hellenistic synagogue in the first century.

From what I understand, there were well-to-do Hellenistic Jews retiring in the holy city, whose wives outlived them. Many of them may not have spoken Aramaic or Hebrew. Then many widows joined the church, and there was a dispute about the distribution of food. The church appointed seven men with Greek sounding names, probably Hellenistic Jewish believers, to handle the matter and make sure the negected parties were fed. Stephen probably got into a debate with men from a Greek-speaking synagogue.

see part 2
 

presidente

Senior Member
May 29, 2013
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part 2
In the Pentecost narrative, if analyzed with respect to languages, without getting into detail, we have Jews from all over the Eastern and Western Diaspora as well as Judea itself. A lot of places, but only two languages and the apostles would have spoken both. The reason for astonishment, questioning, accusations, etc. among the ‘crowd’ of attendees was because by breaking with tradition and bypassing the “Hebrew first” concept,
First of all, do you have any evidence that a man standing up in the street was socially or religiously required to speak in Hebrew first? If you don't, the whole theory is just too silly to entertain. As a linguist, doesn't sound a bit naive to think that these regions did not have local languages? Jews in the modern world learn local languages. Lingua france do not wipe out the use of other languages for trading in the market place. I am thinking of Indonesia right now. If I go to Jakarta, they negotiate prices in the markets in Indonesian. But go to Padang, and they negotiate in Minang if they can. Go to Parapat, and the vendors negotiate in Batak if they can. Given the low rates of literacy and the fact that minority languages tended to be spoken among subjugated peoples rather than the rich elite who could read Greek, it is reasonable to think that there were many languages in North Africa and other regions.

the apostles effectively publicly made the Jewish God available to all people any language completely dispensing with Jewish tradition. To many people this was unthinkable.
Can you show me some evidence for this Jewish tradition, especially as it would apply outside of a Levant synagogue. How could Hellenistic synagogues exist if this were the case? Why would they use the LXX if everything had to be done in Hebrew?
Many there would have expected to have heard the apostles addressing the crowd in Hebrew first, then the vernaculars (Aramaic and Greek). Was there perhaps a bit of “poetic license” on the part of the author describing the crowd’s reaction – I think, for dramatic effect, perhaps just a bit.
You have to impose dramatic effect to make the passage make sense with your interpretation?
Native Greek speakers who wrote on the subject would have been proponents of promoting the idea of the usage of Greek over any other language, so it’s not really surprising to find they didn’t hold to the idea of teachers in the temple using “Hebrew first”.
Do you have any evidence that all groups did this. Some probably did Hebrew first. Can you give me a reason to think Hellenistic Jews who were used to reading from the Greek Torah would have expected Hebrew first?