What does “he who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God” mean?

BibleAsk Team

Automatic Transcript Generated

Speaker 1

All right. So Verina is asking, what does Paul mean when he says, he that speaks in a tongue speaks not to man but to God? How about in the Spirit, he speaks mysteries?

Speaker 2

So verenia? Great question. And I know a lot of people struggle with this. I think I did too when I first studied the Bible for myself. So let’s turn to one Corinthians 14, starting at verse two. First Corinthians 14, starting at verse two. And we’re digging into the word of or the word as written by Paul, the Apostle Paul. And he writes, for he who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men, but to God. So this is the verse he’s referring to, for no one understands him. However, in the Spirit, he speaks mysteries. So what is Paul saying here? We can actually figure it out from the context of the rest of First Corinthians. And he says, but he so there’s this key word. The next word is but he who prophesies speaks edification and exhortation and comfort to men. He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself, but he who prophesies edifies the Church. So basically, tongue is another word for language. In the Bible, when they refer to, oh, you speak in a foreign tongue, they’re saying, oh, you speak in a foreign language. And then you can have different types of languages.

Speaker 2

So there’s, for example, one Corinthians 13 one talks about, paul says, though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am but a sounding brass or clinging symbol. So he talks about the tongues of men and the tongues of angels. I think we could both agree that human race has various languages, and presumably it makes sense that angels and in heaven have their own language. And maybe there was that language spoken by Adam and Eve here on Earth at one time and then through the flood, through thousands of years. Maybe it’s been lost, maybe it’s still a remnant in language we have today. Who knows? And we also have the Tower of Babel. They introduced. And you go back, you look, it says, God confused, the tongues squeaky chair. So basically, what Paul is just talking about is when you’re speaking in a tongue, you don’t know what you’re saying because it’s a foreign language to you. If you’re speaking in Spanish and all you knew was English, it’s going to be a mystery to what you’re speaking. And God will always understand what you’re saying. So you’re always speaking to God whenever you’re moved by the Spirit and will be saying something.

Speaker 2

And if you actually keep reading in one Corinthians, Paul says, you really shouldn’t. Let’s see verse nine of chapter 14 of One Corinthians, he says, So likewise you, unless you utter by the tongue’s words easy to understand. How will it be known what is spoken for by the tongue? Words are easy to understand, for you will be speaking into the air. You’re just saying words and then it’s gone. Nobody heard it. There are it may be so many kinds of languages in the world, and none of them is without significance. Why do languages matter? Because people understand them. He’s saying, Therefore, if you do not know the meaning of the language, I shall be a foreigner to him who speaks, and he who speaks will be a foreigner to me. And he goes on to say, you must always have an interpreter when someone is speaking in tongues, so that someone understands it, so that it’s worthwhile to speak in tongues. Otherwise it’s worthless gift. Why did God give tongues? So that the message of the Gospel could be spread across the world to all nations, kingdoms, tribes and tongues.

For full episode:

Share this video with a friend: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yW_qzwPbfV4

In His Service
BibleAsk Team

More Answers: