There is much concern in my mind about the issue of speaking in tongues. Without a doubt this is the most controversial of all the spiritual gifts of today. Many positions are held by all sides, some are pro, con, and even middle ground on this subject. Yet I find the idea of tongues speaking today in our culture is confused and does not resemble that spoken about in Scripture, that which was to eventually cease. .
The point is Christians need to know where to stand on such issues. We are not trying to be unloving or critical when we address this misunderstood doctrine. We have to speak the truth and we must do it in love. We cannot just say that tongues does not exist because we feel that way or because the congregation we attend does not believe that way. Our conclusion must be one that is based upon what the Scriptures teach. The Bible has to be our final authority. We are going to look at three area of tongues. What is tongues? Their purpose and finally if they are still relevant for today. .
There are two main definitions that apply to the use of the term "tongues" when it appears in Scripture. Tongues is defined as normal human language. Then when tongues is applied as a gift of the Holy Spirit, it is the ability to speak a foreign language one had never learned before. The word tongues comes from the Greek word glossa which basically means languages or as it is most commonly translated as tongues. "The word glossa is used in the Greek O.T. no less than 100 times."(Staton 1973, 61) The word is used as referring to the physical tongue itself or to an unknown language. "The word glossa is used no less than fifty times in the New Testament."(Staton 1973 62) In the New Testament the word is used in two ways as in the Old Testament. First as in reference to the physical tongue as an organ. See Mark 7:33-35, Luke 1:64, Romans 3:13; 14:11, and ect. Then tongues refers to the human languages as in Acts 2:4.