Is the Gift of Tongues for Everyone?
Is the Gift of Tongues for Everyone? Live Q&A for April 27
From Julie via email –
I listened to your teaching on “Do all speak in Tongues.”
I thought it was really good it’s helped me on my journey and by the way I do speak in tongues.
But from some of the things you said I just have these questions:
-Wouldn’t the tongues be for everyone to eventually manifest because of Jude 20 building yourselves up… and then in Romans 8:26 when you don’t know what to pray the spirit helps us in our weakness..?
-And then I too wonder: if the spirit gives the gifts as he Wills, how could everyone have the gift of tongues? I mean because at Pentecost it says they were all filled not just the apostles but the rest that made up the 120.
And the other instances in the Bible after that, it says they were all filled and spoke in tongues?
- No, 1 Corinthians 12:29–30 says not all speak in tongues.
1 Corinthians 12:29–30
Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Are all workers of miracles? Do all have gifts of healings? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret?
- No, not every believer wants or senses a need for the gift of tongues.
The one who speaks in tongues speaks to God, not to man.
1 Corinthians 14:2
For he who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God, for no one understands him; however, in the spirit he speaks mysteries.
Tongues edifies the individual believer.
1 Corinthians 14:4
He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself, but he who prophesies edifies the church.
1 Corinthians 14:14
For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my understanding is unfruitful.
Why someone should seek the gift of tongues:
- Not to prove something to myself (such as, “God really loves me”)
- Not to prove something to someone else (such as, “I am filled with the Holy Spirit”)
- Not as a merit badge
- But to communicate to God in a way that transcends my understanding
When someone asks me, “Please pray for me to receive the gift of tongues.” I tell them I am happy to do it, but I ask them: Do you ever feel limited in your ability to pray or to praise God? That there is more in your heart than you can articulate with words? If so, let’s pray for the gift of tongues. If not, then let me know when you do.
Questions from Aslan – (please note that there will be a special Q&A for kids on June 22!)
Aslan Question 1:
How do I know if it is an angel or a demon?
Demons can pretend to be angels.
2 Corinthians 11:14 – Satan transforms himself into an angel of light
Instead of trying to figure out if something is an angel or a demon, focus on the message. Paul said that even if an angel from heaven were to preach some other gospel than what God gave us in Jesus Christ, we should reject it. If it is a false message, it doesn’t matter if it comes from a demon or an angel – we should reject it.
Aslan Question 2:
Will we be naked in heaven?
No, the book of Revelation often speaks of God’s people being clothed in heaven
Revelation 3:5 – He who overcomes will be clothed in white garments
Revelation 4:4 – Elders (representing the people of God) clothed with white robes
Revelation 7:9 – Those around the throne are clothed with white robes
Revelation 19:14 – Armies of heaven are clothed in fine linen
What does the Bible say about delays which are allowed by God?
Are there Bible verses about dealing with life challenges, especially in terms of delays allowed by God? [I’m facing] huge delays for therapy funding for my special needs son, who has autism.
I’m very sorry to hear about this. Before I do anything else, I would just like to pray for your son. Maybe our YouTube audience can pray along with me very briefly. Lord, we pray for our sister and her son, that You would grant them the relief they need in getting the assistance that is delayed in being provided. Lord, we pray that You would intervene and make this go very quickly. They have been waiting a long time. Show your grace and Your mercy to this mother and her son, in Jesus’ name, amen.
Obviously, we can pray, and we should pray for such things. But you already know that.
You asked if there are Bible verses dealing with life’s challenges, especially in terms of delays. I can think of two things. First of all, there is the idea in the Bible of waiting on the Lord, most notably in the Psalms and Isaiah. You can search for the phrase “wait on the Lord” in a Bible program such as blb.org and find verses that include that phrase.
The idea of waiting on the Lord isn’t just sitting around waiting for something to happen. Rather, it’s waiting in the sense of being attentive to God, sort of like a butler or a server at a restaurant would wait upon a person. But it still indicates that we are waiting upon God to take initiative and waiting on God to move. We are steadied upon Him, looking at the Lord, and looking for what He wants to do. But at the same time, we’re being attentive to Him.
I also come back to the idea that God tells us again and again to “Cast your cares upon Him, because He cares for you.” I love this passage from 1 Peter 5:7. The cares of life come upon us and press upon us like a burden, like a load, like a very heavy backpack that somebody might carry. And God simply says, “I want you to cast those cares upon Me, knowing that I care for you.” It seems like every day our backpack of cares and concerns of the world gets a little fuller and heavier. So, we need to continually empty it out and continually cast those cares upon God.
The other verse that comes to mind is Philippians 4:6, where the apostle Paul says, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, make your requests known to God.” So, when the anxiety starts coming upon us and we start worrying and fretting, then we just come to the Lord again and again. And we say, “Lord, I want to be anxious for nothing. So, I’m going to pray about this and commit this to You.”
God bless you. I pray that you’ll get the assistance you need very soon, and I pray that God strengthens you. We understand that God’s timing is perfect in all things, but there are certainly many situations in our Christian life when it feels to us like there’s a delay. We can trust that God’s apparent delays are not His denials.
In light of all that’s happening in the world, do you lead from the pulpit and address our government?
Well, no. I’m in a different situation than many pastors, in that I am not leading a congregation. I certainly get to speak and preach around, but I don’t have that pastoral responsibility over a congregation. I think that makes the dynamic a bit different, because a pastor senses his responsibility to speak to his congregation, the flock that God has entrusted to him, as it says in 1 Peter 5. The pastor has a responsibility to talk to them about what’s going on in the community, in the state or province, and in the nation.
Not being a shepherd over a particular congregation, I think my responsibility is a little bit different. Nevertheless, I think it’s important to address things that are happening from the world when we feel led by the Spirit and as we feel the text leads us. As they are led by the Holy Spirit, it is important for pastors to speak about where things are at in the current day and age. It doesn’t mean that they need to be obsessed with cultural, political, or economic things. But they need to know how to speak the truth of God and the wisdom of God into the issues that their congregation is thinking about and worrying about. They need to bring the care, the compassion, the boldness, and the courage of Jesus Christ.
We are in a time of very rapid change in Western culture. Talking to some of the brothers and sisters here in Kenya, they see how much wickedness there is in the United States right now, how much wickedness is advanced and promoted under what is often called the LGBTQ+ community, where people and lifestyles aren’t only tolerated, but there’s a demand to applaud them, to give them special accommodation, and to promote them in the society at large. People around the world see this in western society. Many brothers and sisters here in Kenya have mentioned this to me. And they deplore it; they don’t want any of that over here. But people see it in our own culture, and think it is appropriate.
Pastors should not be afraid to engage with these things from a biblical perspective, and to speak to their congregation as God would direct them. Again, this should be done as the Holy Spirit would lead; we’re not going to make any kind of rule about how often they should do so.
Does the three days of darkness take place during the Great Tribulation?
Yes. In the book of Revelation, there’s a series of judgments: seal judgments, bowl judgments, and trumpet judgments. I think I have that in the correct order. These days of darkness are a time of tangible darkness that can be felt across the earth. Yes, according to my understanding of biblical prophecy, those three days of very tangible, notable darkness, do in fact happen during the Great Tribulation.
Do you have any advice about serving as a married couple?
Hello, David. I’m newly married and I wanted to know your advice and wisdom on serving as a married couple. I knew in your work, you and your wife serve separately, but still support each other. Thank you in advance.
What a great question. I have to say that one of the many great blessings of our marriage is that I’m married to a godly woman who serves the Lord and has her own gifts and abilities. And you’re exactly right, in our particular marriage, we have several ways that we serve together. We have other ways that we serve independently. But even in the independent service that we do, we are supportive of each other. If I’m away at a conference, and Inga-Lill is not joining me, I know that she’s praying for me, that her heart is with me, that she has prayed, that she is praying, and that she supports what I’m doing, even if sometimes it’s an inconvenience or sacrifice to her. Now, of course, I’m trying to be sensitive to not put any kind of excessive hardship on her. But at the same time, my wife is a strong woman who is willing to endure some difficulty and hardship for the sake of advancing the Kingdom, through whatever gifts and callings God has given me as well as through whatever gifts and callings God has given her. Right now, we are in the midst of a dental mission trip. My wife goes out several times a year; this year she will take three or four trips. She goes to places where good dental care is difficult to find. She often organizes a team, such as she’s done here. She’s here with four other women who are doing an amazing work together with her. Some of them are pastors’ wives, and some are just people who love the Lord. It’s wonderful to see what God does through willing hearts and hands. When Inga-Lill plans these trips, she does it knowing that she’s going to accept discomfort, some hardship, some trials, some surprises, but she says, “Lord, it’s worth it to help people in Jesus’ name, and to see You do a work to advance Your Kingdom and to honor You with my gifts.” She also does it knowing that I support her in this. There are times when Inga-Lill is off doing a dental mission, and I’m home alone. Would I rather have her at home? Yes, of course I would. But I encourage her to go and to use her gifts and the calling God has given to her.
In a marriage, there will be some ways in which God calls you to serve together, which my wife and I certainly know. But spouses should be looking for and encouraging and supporting the gifts and callings that God has given to their spouse. I think that has really been a blessing for us in our marriage.
How would you respond to a Jewish person who says that Jesus shouldn’t be trusted because in Luke 4:18, Jesus quotes Isaiah 61 and adds recovery of sight to the blind to it?
I can understand why a Jewish person who is resistant to Christian evangelism say that. But from a Christian perspective, it is completely irrelevant. Jesus Christ is God, and He has the right to add anything He wants to His word. This is not the same situation at all as a human instrument of God adding to or taking away from God’s Word. No, Jesus Christ is God and therefore He has abundant right to do such things.
To a Jewish friend, I would say, “I understand why that’s a question for you, but for a Christian, it’s absolutely no question. Because we believe what the Bible says about Jesus Christ, that He is not only the Messiah of Israel and Savior of the world, but that Jesus Christ is God.”
What is David Guzik’s devotional time like?
Would you mind sharing what your devotional time is like with prayer and a Bible reading plan? I’ve read the Bible many times, but now I seem to be focusing on the New Testament as it applies to my life more.
I’m happy to answer that question. One of the key components of my own devotional life is a time of prayer with my wife nearly every day. Look, we don’t have it every single day, sometimes because we’re apart. But even when we’re apart, we’re praying for one another. And of course, we’re praying to God in our own time. But anytime we’re together, we try to have a time of prayer. That’s one key come opponent to my own devotional life. It’s something that my wife Inga-Lill and I prize very highly, our time of prayer and connection everyday together before the Lord.
As far as Bible reading, most of my devotional reading takes place in the Psalms. Whenever I have the chance throughout the day, whether from my phone, from a device, or from a paper Bible, in moments that are planned and moments that are spontaneous, I love to read the Psalms and meditate on them for their devotional and spiritual value. I find it very touching and very meaningful.
Someone might think that I’m neglecting the rest of the Bible by focusing on the Psalms. But because of the nature of my work, especially the work I do on my written commentary on the entire Bible, I’m in the Bible a lot. And it feeds and nourishes my soul. I’m not just in the Bible for what it might say to somebody else. When I’m in the Bible, I’m looking first for what it means, and the correct interpretation. But when it comes to application, I’m looking for what it says to me. And then I also think of what it may have to say to a broader audience.
Because of the uniqueness of that work, I’ve been very deliberately going through the entire Bible chapter by chapter in the last six months, in preparation for an Enduring Word Study Bible, that’s going to be coming out in a year and a half. I’ll give you more details on that some other time. Therefore, in general, I feel like I am in the Scriptures a lot, from Genesis to Revelation. But my devotional time focuses on the Psalms. Beyond that, one of my favorite written devotionals is Charles Spurgeon’s “Morning and Evening.” I find those devotionals to be very helpful and very touching.
Why isn’t the gift of tongues (which is directed to God) interpreted by the gift of prophecy (which is directed to the church)?
1 Corinthians 14:2 – For he who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God, for no one understands him; however, in the spirit he speaks mysteries.
I would say that it’s concerned with the nature of what the gift of tongues is about. Paul delighted to speak in tongues. He said, “I thank the Lord that I speak in tongues more than you all.” When he spoke in tongues, Paul recognized that he did not understand what he was saying, but that it was understood by God.
So, why is the gift of tongues not interpreted by the gift of prophecy? It’s because the gift of prophecy is generally a spontaneous word inspired by God toward people on a horizontal level. It’s God speaking to man. On the other hand, the gift of tongues is man speaking to God. That’s the difference. I believe that if an utterance in tongues is properly interpreted, it will give the sense of a prayer or a praise or an intercession, coming from man to God.
I have been in meetings where someone will utter something in tongues, and somebody will speak after that, not as an interpretation of the tongue, but a word of prophecy directed to men and not to God. People might assume that since it came after the tongue, it must be the interpretation. But I would just say, no, that wasn’t an interpretation of the tongue. It was a prophetic word.
The New Testament says that every word of prophecy should be judged. It’s very important that we remember that that anything which claims to be a prophecy shouldn’t just be accepted at face value. It should be examined, and it should be judged. That’s what the New Testament commands. It needs to be measured against Scripture. It needs to be measured through the guidance of the Holy Spirit, as discerned by the leaders of the congregation or the meeting. This is how God wants prophecy to be judged, and not just accepted at face value.
Are dead believers waiting in Sheol/Hades?
Is Sheol or Hades a Christian form of purgatory? I understand that there’s no purification in Sheol or Hades, but is this the same place as Abraham’s bosom? Are dead believers also there waiting?
No, dead believers are not in Abraham’s bosom. Abraham’s bosom was an area within Sheol or Hades that was occupied before the finished work of Jesus on the cross. When Jesus paid the penalty, when He could say from the cross, “Tetelestai” or “paid in full,” it was not only paid for believers who would believe in Him at that moment and in the future, but it was also paid for believers who had trusted in Jesus in the past. The believing dead were in an area of Hades called Abraham’s bosom. It was a place of comfort, assurance, and blessing. I believe that when Jesus finished His work on the cross, when He could say it was finished, and the New Covenant was thoroughly enacted, then Jesus led those people out of this place of blessing and into heaven.
Now, believers do not go to some intermediary place once they die. Paul said, “To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.” Believers are with the Lord. They are not in Purgatory, Hades, or Sheol. That was only in effect before the finished work of Jesus on the cross.
Before Jesus instituted the New Covenant by His death and resurrection, there were two compartments to Hades or Sheol. One was a place of torment, and the other a place a blessing, called Abraham’s Bosom.
Since the cross, there is only one compartment in Sheol/Hades: the place of torment. Those people who are awaiting the final judgment, the Great White Throne Judgment, when will be cast into the lake of fire, as the book of Revelation says.
The Bible makes no indication no of a purification process happening in Sheol or Hades. The Roman Catholic concept of purgatory isn’t a biblical idea at all. Certainly there’s no place for that in Hades after the finished work of Jesus.
Why did David flee from Saul for so many years? What did David learn from it?
I understand that David ran for Saul for 10 years. Did David do something that caused him to suffer the consequences of having to run from Saul? And what did David learn from it?
That’s a great question. As the years go on, I hope that my understanding of the Scripture gets better and better. Don’t you hope that’s true for you? I hope it’s true for me. When I look at much of my commentary work and many of my teachings from years ago, I often said that David was a fugitive for 25 years. But that’s not correct. Really, I think it was somewhere between 10 and 15 years. Some of it depends on how old David was at the time.
Any way you figure it, that’s a long time to be a fugitive. That’s a long time to have the king of Israel, with all his resources, trying to hunt you down and kill you. David had not done anything wrong to merit that. Not a single thing. That’s part of what it made such a such a difficult trial for David. He knew he was innocent and had done nothing wrong. He knew that he had been a completely loyal subject to King Saul. But he was being hunted as a traitor, as a criminal, and as just a very bad man.
What was God doing in David’s life? He was preparing him to be a king. It’s often true that those whom God uses greatly, He first prepares deeply. A lot of that preparation will come through pain and difficulty. Oftentimes, we trust the Lord in the way that we should only when we’re compelled to do so. We lean entirely upon the Lord only when every other support has been knocked away. And that was true for David during those wilderness years. He had no other support; every other potential support was knocked away. All he could do was trust upon the Lord. That was a critical phase in God’s training of David. Alan Redpath, in his biography of David, described it as, “The Making of a Man of God.” David’s years as a fugitive were not the only means by which David was made into a man of God, but they were certainly important.
How can churches become more involved in missions?
Any advice on reaching out to groups connected with for mission groups? There are so many out there, and I’m trying to get my church involved and to understand that our money can go places we never will.
There are so many organizations that do tremendous work, both in local nearby missions and around the world. Wherever you live around the world, there’s work to be done right where you are. But God also wants us to have a heart for the world. There are a lot of great missionary organizations doing some really good work. Some of them are small organizations. Some of them are larger organizations.
I’m really impressed with the amount of both spiritual resources and humanitarian aid, assistance, and effort going out from among believers. Every believer should be involved in reaching the world for Jesus Christ. One way to do that is by supporting those people who are out there on the front lines doing the work.
Can you clap in church?
Well, sometimes I can and sometimes I can’t. Sometimes I can clap just fine, and other times I have trouble keeping a beat. That’s kind of a humorous answer your question. But to be straightforward, it really depends on the church.
In the congregations we’ve visited here in Kenya, they really clap when they sing. They sing beautifully to the Lord, honoring God in song, sometimes in English, mostly in Swahili, and sometimes in local dialects, which we’ve been around today.
In many congregations, clapping is just something they do during songs of worship. Sometimes they do it as an exuberant declaration before the Lord. Sometimes, it’s really a matter of trying to fulfill what the Word of God says. In the Psalms, clapping to God is an acclamation, an applause unto the Lord. The Psalms exhort us, saying, “Clap your hands, all you people. Shout to God with a voice of triumph.”
I’ll also say that in some congregations, such clapping would be seen as disruptive. If I’m visiting a congregation like that, I’m not going to try to break the mold. I need to respect their culture and realize, “Okay, this is not a clapping church.”
So yes, as part of worship and acclamation to God, clapping definitely has a place. Of course, as with any display of emotion and passion before the Lord, we want to avoid any sense of phoniness, or mechanical nature, or do it without thinking. We don’t just clap “because everybody’s just supposed to clap.” It doesn’t have to be like that.
When the mark of the beast comes, will we move into the mountains and hunt food?
That’s certainly a possibility. Christians have done so in the past amid persecution, whether or not it has to do with the very end times or simply just the changing times in the world. Christians have fled to refuge when there has been a significant persecution in the past. There’s nothing wrong with that. But there have been other times when God has led Christians to simply stand and endure in the face of that persecution, and, if necessary, to suffer death, deprivation, or imprisonment.
What are your thoughts on historically black churches? Is race important?
Here in Kenya, the churches we’ve been in are certainly black. Of course! We’re in Kenya, in East Africa, in the heart of Africa. It’s a reflection of the community and the culture. There’s nothing wrong with a historically black church, unless they would consciously or unconsciously make people of other races unwelcome.
God is worshipped in different cultures, in different atmospheres, and they can all be honoring to God. There’s nothing more or less intrinsically honoring to God in the worship of a historically black church, or a historically white church, or a historically Asian church, or a historically Latino church, and so on. In the United States, you can find each one of those examples all over the place. As long as those churches aren’t doing anything deliberately, or even unconsciously, to make people of other races or ethnicities or cultures feel unwelcome, they should feel free to be the church they are.
A historically black church shouldn’t feel like they have to imitate the music of white churches in order to draw in white people, but they should be welcoming to white people, or Asian people, or Latino people who want to come. I would say that that principle just pretty much applies across the board.
Just like churches in any community, historically black churches have their challenges. One challenge is to emphasize and to really promote expository Bible teaching. I’ve had people tell me that there is a lack of good expository Bible teaching in many historically black churches. I’m sure that’s not the case universally, and I personally don’t know that to be true. But that’s what some people have noticed, and that’s something that can be strengthened. The same could be said for churches of any ethnicity.
We shouldn’t over-romanticize any church. In our time here with the wonderful believers in Kenya, I’ve met godly people who love the Lord. But I’m sure these churches have their problems and have their challenges just like any church. I shouldn’t come here and over-romanticize them and think that somehow this is like Christian perfection on Earth. Of course, it’s not; it’s the church. And every church has its problems, its strengths, and its weaknesses. We should all be seeking Jesus together, and finding out how we can honor Him.
What does it mean that faith is a verb?
Our pastor said faith is a verb. What does that mean?
I think what your pastor is saying is that faith requires action. Verbs are words that describe action. Technically, faith is a noun, it’s not a verb. But what he’s trying to communicate is that faith doesn’t just exist; it takes action or carries out action. In many ways, this is the message of the book of James. James is very careful to explain that real biblical faith will act. That’s probably what your pastor has in mind when he says, “Faith is a verb.” Again, technically, grammatically, he’s wrong. But spiritually, he’s right. True and genuine faith will make itself known in action.