(Part 1 of 2)
When the apostle Paul wrote his letter to the Corinthians dealing with the experience of tongues, he did not want to speak disparagingly of the gift of tongues. He stated his desire was that all would speak with tongues [I Corinthians 14: 5].
In effect he was saying, “I am not negative about tongues, but there are certain regulations that I am bringing to your attention.” In fact, interspersed throughout his discourse this positive attitude towards speaking with tongues was always expressed.
Paul told the believers in I Corinthians 14:1 that speaking with tongues is one of the nine gifts listed in first Corinthians 12: 8 – 10. Paul also indicated that those who speak in tongues are speaking to God and not to men” (I Corinthians 14:2). Verse 5 contains the basis for this article, “I wish you all spoke with tongues.”
In this same verse Paul compared prophecy to speaking with tongues, and he ranked prophecy as the greater gift. Paul implied that some gifts are greater than others, for he said, “Earnestly desire the best gifts” [12: 31]. However, when tongues are interpreted, the gift is just as edifying as prophecy.
For allowed for praying and singing in tongues. “If I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays … I will pray with the spirit… I will sing with the spirit” [14: 14, 15]. “When one speaks with tongues, he gives thanks as well” [verse 17].
Paul followed this statement by a declaration, “I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than you all” [14: 18]. He was not saying here that he was multilingual [which he was]; rather, he was testifying of his personal experience. In verse 21 he then called attention to the prophecy of Isaiah: 21:11 “In the law it is written, with men of other tongues and other lips will I speak to this people.”

Was not Acts inspired by the Holy Spirit and therefore infallible? Is the theology of one portion of this scripture more authentic than another?____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Paul further noted that tongues not only edify the believer but are given as a sign to the unbeliever as well. “Therefore, tongues are for a sign to unbelievers” [I Corinthians 14: 22].
To interpret the regulations of Paul concerning speaking with tongues as an indication of a negative posture is to do injustice to scripture. At no time did Paul say not to speak with tongues, but rather he made a strong statement at the conclusion of chapter 14, “Forbid not to speak with tongues.”
In other words, observe the regulations and restrictions I have set forth but forbid not to speak with tongues.” We must not forbid others to speak with tongues but rather encourage them as did the apostle.
I take issue with those who say Paul wrote only to the Corinthians about tongues. Ephesians 5:19 and Colossians 3:16, which mention “spiritual songs,” are believed by many commentators both Pentecostal and non-Pentecostal to refer to singing in tongues. It is also the opinion of scholars that I Thessalonians 5: 19 -20, “Quench not the spirit. Despise not prophesying,” refers to the operation of spiritual gifts, and more particularly speaking with tongues.
Respectfully Submitted

Dr. Robert Bryant