The Most Important Gift of the Spirit
The Scriptures teach that some of the gifts of the Spirit are more important than others and that we should desire the most important ones. The apostle Paul taught “But covet earnestly the best gifts” (1 Corinthians 12:31).
There is a greater gift than the gift of tongues. The Lord says, “Greater is he that prophesieth than he that speaketh with tongues” (1 Corinthians 14:5). The gift of prophecy was greater because of its value to the church. More believers were benefited by it than by the gift of tongues. The gifts of the Spirit should be valued according to their usefulness, rather than by their significant nature.
Obviously, the one who spoke with tongues was not always able to interpret the words given to him. Therefore, the apostle Paul instructs him to pray “that he may interpret” (1 Corinthians 14: 13), but warns that “if there be no interpreter” he should “keep silence in the church” (veres 27, 28).
Some charismatic preachers have made the gift of tongues their main focus. They teach that Christians are saved only with the evidence of speaking in tongues. But the apostle Paul makes it clear that different gifts are given to different people, and no one is expected to have all the gifts. He asks in 1 Corinthians 12:29, 30: “Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles? Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret?” The answer is obviously NO!
While the fruits of the Spirit are given to all believers (Galatians 5:22, 23), the gifts of the Spirit are given only as the Spirit wills not as men wish. “But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will” (1 Corinthians 12:11). The Spirit of God decides to whom He imparts His Gifts.
Out of more than 50 examples in the Bible where God filled His people with the Spirit, only three times is tongues tied to this experience. Further, when the Bible lists spiritual gifts, the gift of tongues is found last on the list. “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” (1 Corinthians 12:28).
Jesus was filled with the Holy Spirit, yet He never spoke in tongues. John the Baptist was “filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother’s womb” (Luke 1:15), but there is no record that he spoke in tongues. Of the 27 books in the New Testament, only three make any reference to the gift of tongues.
In His service,