The doctrine of languages or tongues has several divisions, as follows:

1. Babel. The first, universal language of man was confounded at Babel, from which event human languages sprang (Gen. 11:1-9). As another miraculous demonstration of His presence and power much later, God bestowed the gift of tongues, which appeared in the early church as recorded by the New Testament. The gift of tongues, however, the great Apostle predicted would cease (1 Cor. 13:8; cf. Mark 16:17; Acts 10:44-46; 11:15; 19:6; 1 Cor. 12-14).

2. Regulations for Glossolalia. The divine directions given for the use of tongues are seven:

a. Tongues must be addressed to God (1 Cor. 14:2, 28).

b. The utterance must be prayer (1 Cor. 14:14).

c. The element of thanksgiving must be present (1 Cor. 14:15-17).

d. Tongues can be understood only by interpretation (1 Cor. 14:2, 5-6).

e. One must interpret—the complementary gift—if there is to be any use of the tongues gift (1 Cor. 14:28).

f. Only two at most at one service may exercise the gift (1 Cor. 14:27).

g. Women are to keep silent in church (1 Cor. 14:34).

During the history of the church there have been sporadic outbursts of a type of movement purporting to speak in tongues. This form of supernatural phenomena has sometimes been employed in order to establish serious error or false doctrine. It is so used by some, doubtless, at the present time.

3. Pentecost. At Pentecost God had assembled Jews from all countries under heaven, for them to hear the gospel in their own tongue. The implication is that they returned to their own countries, bearing the message heard, thus obviating the long delay which a missionary's experience in learning the language of the people to whom he goes would have caused. It was in the power of God to reverse the experience of Babel, which He evidently did for a time in Jerusalem this day. Tongue gifts appeared in connection with the giving of the gospel to the Jews on Pentecost at Jerusalem (Acts 2:1-21), later at Samaria (Acts 8:14-17), and finally in giving the message to the Gentiles at Cornelius' house (Acts 10:4448).

4. Of Angels. The Apostle speaks of the tongues of angels, of which, naturally, nothing can be known (1 Cor. 13:1) .

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