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Is the gift of tongues more important than other gifts?

Hello S,

Thank you for contacting BibleAsk.

The Bible teaches that all the gifts of the Spirit, including the gift of tongues, are needed and available to the church today. And it adds that some of the gifts are more important than others. The apostle Paul clearly showed that we should focus on the most important ones “But covet earnestly the best gifts” (1 Corinthians 12:31).

When the Bible talks about spiritual gifts, the gift of tongues is found at the bottom of the list “And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues” (1 Corinthians 12:28). In fact, the Bible teaches that “Greater is he that prophesieth than he that speaketh with tongues” (1 Corinthians 14:5). Therefore, we should put the emphasis where God puts the emphasis.

Some charismatic churches teach that a Christian who does not speak in tongues is lacking in his religious experience. But Paul makes it clear that different gifts are given to different people, and no one is expected to have all the gifts. He asks in 1 Corinthians 12:29, 30: “Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles? Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret?” The answer is a clear No.

Jesus who is our example was filled with the Holy Spirit, yet He never spoke in tongues. Some preachers are mistakenly teaching that every time a person is filled with the Holy Spirit, he or she must speak in tongues. The Holy Spirit is the One that decides who gets which gift as He sees fit “Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will” (1 Corinthians 12:11) and not as man wills.

In addition, we notice that out of more than 50 examples in the Bible where God filled His people with the Spirit, only three times is the gift of tongues connected with the experience. Also, of the 27 books in the New Testament, only three books mention the gift of tongues. And out of the 39 Bible authors only Luke, Paul, and Mark mention the gift of tongues.

In His service,

BibleAsk Team

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