Pentecostal Apologetics


A Description of The Revelational Nature of Tongues and Prophecies. It Will Be Seen Why "Prophecies" Are Mentioned More Than "Tongues-Speaking" in The Bible. 

Why Are Prophecies Mentioned  More Than tongues In The Holy Bible

  This is primarily because "tongues;" like dreams, visions, the word of wisdom, the word of knowledge, and interpretations are all prophetic in nature. They are considered to be part of the prophetic gift, and are recognized as "prophecy" by writers of the Holy Bible. For instance, on the day of Pentecost, Peter described the tongues speaking as the "prophesy" that Joel spoke of. Peter's words (describing the tongues-speaking):

"But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy" Acts 2:16-18
Although Joel did not mention it as such, "tongues" are part of the "prophesying" that he predicted--In fact, Paul taught that tongues, when interpreted, are equal in importance to prophecy:
"for greater is he that prophesieth than he that speaketh with tongues, except he interpret" 1 Cor. 14:5

Is Tongues Prophecy

Although tongues interpreted is slightly different than a "prophecy" proper; they are both similar, as they are both revelational knowledge from God's Spirit. Therefore, the New Testament definition of the word "prophecy" most definitely includes tongues and their interpretation.
     It is true that "prophecy" proper, is listed as a distinct gift, but there seems to be some overlapping in classifying the manifestations of the Holy Spirit. For instance, the apostle John speaks of his great vision of the "Apocalypse" as both a "revelation" (Rev. 1:1), and a "vision" (Rev 9:17), but finally refers to it as a "prophecy" (Rev.22:18).
In other words: A vision--is a prophecy--is a revelation.

Even though John equates a prophecy with a revelation (above); Paul disinguishes a prophecy from a revelation (below):
"Now, brethren, if I come unto uou speaking with tongues, what shall I profit you, except I shall speak to you either by revelation, or by knowledge, or by prophesying, or by doctrine [teaching]?" 1 Cor. 14:6

The context of the above verse, is Paul's teaching that tongues need to be interpreted. Here he is saying that a tongues-interpreted would be a "revelation," " knowledge," "prophecy," or a "teaching."
In other words: Tongues interpreted--is a revelation--is knowledge--is a prophecy--is a teaching. In the verse 14: 30, below, it is realized that a “prophecy” (that prophets receive) is a “revelation”

"Let the prophets speak two or three, and let the other judge. But if a revelation comes to one remaining [sitting], let the first keep silent." 1 Cor. 14: 30 GREEK

The KJV does not have the best translation of verse 30 (it is written below), but many Holy Bible translations agree that "a revelation" (as written above) is the correct phrase, as it is thus written in the Greek.

"Let the prophets speak two or three, and let the other judge. If anything be revealed to another that sitteth by, let the first hold his peace.For ye may all prophesy one by one, that all may learn, and all may be comforted." 1 Cor,14:29-31 KJV

In other words: A prophetic word is a "revelation."  What we are seeing, is that there are times when a Bible writer may use the word “prophecy” to describe tongues, or their interpretation.” In turn, he might also use the word “revelation” to describe a “prophecy” or visa versa. Therefore when a Bible writer uses the word “prophecy” he may be including all forms of revelation, including tongues. That is why, in the following verse, where Paul speaks of prophetic manifestations; he leaves out "the word of wisdom," "the word of knowledge," (which are prophetic) and the most important gift of "prophecy," but instead, he mentions, "a revelation."

"When ye come together , every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine [a teaching] hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation." 1 Cor. 14:26

In other words: "knowledge," "wisdom," and "prophecy" are all contained in the word, "revelation" (above). But of course, a "revelation," may in turn, be called, a "prophecy."
The overlapping nature of the prophetic gifts is seen in the verses below. It is seen that speaking in tongues, is speaking “mysteries” and the prophetic (prophetic-knowledge) gift is the understanding of “mysteries.” 

 “For he that speaketh in an unknown tongue speaketh not unto men, but unto God: for no man understandeth him; howbeit in the spirit he speaketh mysteries” 1 Cor. 14: 2

“And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge” 1 Cor. 13: 2

In other words: Mysteries is knowledge--which is prophecy. Speaking in tongues is also speaking mysteries—which is prophetic knowledge!
      When Paul mentions that he learned his doctrine from the risen Lord Jesus he refers to it as a "revelation" that he received as an impartation of "grace." But Peter refers to Pauls revelation/grace as, "wisdom".
“For I neither received it [the gospel he preaches] of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.” Gal. 1: 12
"If indeed you have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to youward: How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery [of salvation for the Gentiles]" Eph 3: 2-3

"And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul, also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written." 2 Peter 3: 15
In other words: "wisdom" is "revelation;" which is "grace."

This brings the reader to the point of this Chapter. Namely; why are there more references to "prophecy" than there are to "tongues" in the Holy Bible? Well, "tongues;" (like the "message of wisdom" or "knowlegde") may be expressing a "revelation," a "mystery," or some kind of prophetic "teaching," (as it is interpreted) and might be described as such. The lack of the word "tongues," or "word of wisdom" in an epistle, does not require the absence of tongues speaking or Divine wisdom at the church the epistle is addressed to. If one would maintain that tongues speaking, or the word of wisdom did not occur often after Pentecost on the grounds that there is not a lot written of them per say; then he must also hold to the belief that prophetic dreams never happened because there is nothing written of it after Pentecost—despite Joel's prophecy of Acts 2:17 that dreams would, in fact, happen in the church-age. 
      The point of the matter is that Paul did not write of the spiritual gifts in order for people to classify them into clean-cut, and well-defined categories to be analyzed in a classroom setting. Instead, Paul spoke loosely of the spiritual gifts, being primarily concerned with how they edify the church, rather than how they can be defined and compartmentalized by theologians.
     This section should not have even needed to be written--except that cessationists insist on saying that, "tongues died out before prophecies." This idea of theirs being based soley on the fact that "propheying" is mentioned more than "tongues-speaking" in the Bible. Therefore this section had to be written to refute that notion, by showing that where a Holy Bible writer mentions "prophesies," he is including tongues (and interpretations, dreams, visions, revelations etc).

Apostle Peter And Tongues

Before leaving this issue, it should be noted that Peter, who evidently spent some time at the tongues-speaking/prophetic Corinthian church (he is mentioned in 1 Cor. as, "Cephas" Therefore the Corinthians must have known Peter well), in speaking of the spiritual gifts, has this to say:
"as every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God" 1 Peter 4: 10-11

Because Peter is writing of the spiritual gifts in this place it would be silly to exclude tongues and interpretations from what he meant by "the oracles of God." Also, Paul, writing to the Romans of the spiritual gifts, has this to say:
”Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith" Rom. 12: 6

Can tongues speaking be assumed to be included in the "prophesying" that Paul mentioned (in the verses below)? Certainly. This is because, in writing to the Romans of the different gifts that God gave to the church, (written below) Paul does not mention all of the gifts--but they may all be implied. For instance, Paul does not mention "pastoring," or the gift of "administration," to the Romans but those gifts may be deduced by the gifts of "teaching," and "leading" which are mentioned in "Romans." Likewise, the prophetic utterances of "tongues," and "interpretations"--that are not mentioned are implied by the gift of "prophecy" that is mentioned. After all, what do people prophesy—but tongues, interpretations, revelations, wisdom etc.

"having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith; or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching; or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness." Rom. 12: 6-8

There is no reason to believe that by the time the book of Romans was written, the gifts of pastoring, administration, tongues, and interpretations were no longer important to the church—especially since Paul wrote "Romans" (from Corinth) just 1 year after he wrote 1 Corinthians, in which he spoke of the need for the gifts of "tongues," "interpretations," and "administrations" etc. Therefore, because the word "prophesying" covers the whole gamut of prophetic speaking (per Peter's application of "tongues" to Joel's prediction of "prophesying), and because tongues-- interpreted, may be a word of wisdom, a word of knowledge, or a revelation; which are all prophetic in nature, and may be called a "prophecy;" it is not surprising that "prophesying" is mentioned more than "tongues," and "interpretation" in the Holy Bible.

1 Corinthians 13: 8-9
For a conclusion, it will be mentioned that there will be a time, when we will be in the presence of Christ, and no longer needing the special prophetic knowledge that is needed during the church-age. Paul, in 1 Cor. 13: 8-9 (below), writes of the ceasing of the spiritual gifts for that heavenly age. However, notice, in verse 8, that “tongues” is mentioned alongside of “prophecies” and “knowledge.” But in the next verse, only knowledge and prophecies are mentioned. This means that Paul is not being overly specific in his discourse of the prophetic gifts. He simply includes tongues (and dreams, visions, and other forms of revelation) as part of the “prophesying” that he mentions in verse 9. 
      It is a shame that cessationists try to read too much into Paul’s writings here. For they have decided that Paul was being hyper-specific in his use of the word “tongues.” And they have come up with an entire story that Paul, in verse 9, by neglecting to mention “tongues,” is saying that tongues were to die out before prophecies would. Verses 8-9 may be properly understood as the following:

13:8“Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away."
13:9 “For we know in part [prophetic knowledge], and we prophesy in part [speaking out the prophetic knowledge in what may be called tongues, interpretation, word of wisdom, word of knowledge, a revelation, or a prophecy]”
A final word: By reading the book of Acts, it is easy to see that along with the tongues and prophecies that may be spoken by all (regardless of what gift(s) they have); there is also a "tongues" and "prophecies" that are an actual gift that are only given to some. This is explored on the next article.

Copyright 2006 - 2007. Peter Kwiatkowski. All rights reserved.