Speaking In Tongues

In the NIV Bible, located in Acts, it is said that the Apostles received the gift of Tongues at Pentecost(to speak in foreign languages)In order for us today to receive Tongues, we only need pray to Jesus for the Holy Spirit to come down upon us and fill us with the Spirit. My question is: When we speak in Tongues, can that language be translated? How would we find out what language we are speaking?

It’s tricky ground to try an answer such a question but it can be approached on several levels. I have never spoken in tongues though I do believe I have been filled with the spirit. In the late seventies my family attended a charismatic church where people often did apparently pray in tongues. I have no emprical proof that what I heard was a true spirit gift or not. I doubt if there can be such proof. When you ask how do “we” know wer’re praying in tongues you’ve answered your own question. When it happens to you, you’ll be able to answer this post.

There’s a lot of good info in this previous GQ thread (which apparently turned into a Great Debate):

What’s the deal with speaking in tongues?


Why, why, why Delila?
I swore I’d never do this to a newby, but I’m going to offer some friendly advice.
If you go to the top RHS of your screen you will seee a search function. If you do a search on “speaking tongues holy spirit” and set the date to “All Dates” you will discover that this has been discussed quite recently here:
From that thread we find this:

I don’t know whether this will answwer your question, or maybe you’ve seen it already and it didn’t, but it’s always worth doing a search before posting a question.

Sometimes it can be translated. If you are speaking an earthly tongue through the spirit and a person who speaks that language is present, then it can be translated. If you are speaking a heavenly language throught the spirit, then I don’t think it can be interpreted, but I might be wrong.

That isn’t what the Bible says.

[quote} That isn’t what the Bible says. **[/QUOTE]

This is what happens at my church.
What is it that you read in the bible? I would like to look it up.

newbie alert

My understanding of it is as follows: there are two or three kinds of speaking in tongues. I’ve actually witnessed the last two myself.

The first is the kind demonstrated at Pentecost, the scene in Acts where the disciples speak in languages understood by all present. To my knowledge, this phenomonon has never been replicated. The story comes from Acts 2.

The second kind is a personal prayer language, which correlates quite closely with the “glossolalia” mentioned by Crystal (through Gaspode). I’ve heard people pray seemingly random syllables which make sense to them and God. Whatever you believe, if there is a God up there listening to prayer, he probably knows what we mean even if our words don’t follow typical linguistic patterns. This is mentioned in 1 Corinthians 14:2: “For anyone who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God. Indeed, no one understands him.”

The third kind is a sort of hybrid, which is why I said two or three. The theory is this: a worshipper is “filled with the Spirit,” as Padeye says, and begins speaking words nobody seems to understand. Immediately thereafter, a translation, supposedly equally divine, is uttered by/through a second worshipper.

Personally, I am given to doubt this last, because it’s a lot like an Ouija board. Too many people have their fingers on the planchette. It’s impossible to tell if it’s divinely inspired, or if the translation is in accordance with what God wanted, or if it was all just manufactured. It is, however, mentioned scripturally: “To one there is given through the Spirit . . . speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues” (1 Corinthians 12:8, 10).

/newbie alert

That was an excelent and completely accurate reply. Welcome to the Straight Dope Message Board. Keep posting like this and you’ll go far here.

BTW, Acts records that when “God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven” who were in Jerusalem that day heard the Apostles speaking, “each one heard them in his own language” (NIV). Whether this is means that each Apostle was speaking a different language which corrosponded to that of one or more listeners, or each listener heard ALL the Apostles in his or her own language (like on Star Trek, in “The Corbomite Maneuver”) is not clear, at least to me.

*Originally posted by JerseyDiamond *

1 Cor. 14:6-19:

6 "Now, brothers, if I come to you and speak in tongues, what good will I be to you, unless I bring you some revelation or knowledge or prophecy or word of instruction?
7 Even in the case of lifeless things that make sounds, such as the flute or harp, how will anyone know what tune is being played unless there is a distinction in the notes?
8 Again, if the trumpet does not sound a clear call, who will get ready for battle?
9 So it is with you. Unless you speak intelligible words with your tongue, how will anyone know what you are saying? You will just be speaking into the air.
10 Undoubtedly there are all sorts of languages in the world, yet none of them is without meaning.
11 If then I do not grasp the meaning of what someone is saying, I am a foreigner to the speaker, and he is a foreigner to me.
12 So it is with you. Since you are eager to have spiritual gifts, try to excel in gifts that build up the church.
13 For this reason anyone who speaks in a tongue should pray that he may interpret what he says.
14 For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my mind is unfruitful.
15 So what shall I do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will also pray with my mind; I will sing with my spirit, but I will also sing with my mind.
16 If you are praising God with your spirit, how can one who finds himself among those who do not understand say “Amen” to your thanksgiving, since he does not know what you are saying?
17 You may be giving thanks well enough, but the other man is not edified.
18 I thank God that I speak in tongues more than all of you.
19 But in the church I would rather speak five intelligible words to instruct others than ten thousand words in a tongue.

1 Cor. 14:27-30:

27 If anyone speaks in a tongue, two–or at the most three–should speak, one at a time, and someone must interpret.
28 If there is no interpreter, the speaker should keep quiet in the church and speak to himself and God.
29 Two or three prophets should speak, and the others should weigh carefully what is said.
30 And if a revelation comes to someone who is sitting down, the first speaker should stop.

I’m giving all comers 5-1 odds that people in JerseyDiamond’s church don’t stop speaking out loud in tongues, as instructed by the Apostle Paul, if noone is there to interpret. Nay, much like the old Jewish joke with the punchline, “Look who thinks he’s humble!” they need to show how “in touch with God” they are by praying publicly in gibberish.

My thoughts on glossolalia are well-known, so I won’t belabor the point.