The Bible reveals that God gave many spiritual gifts to the Church when His Spirit was first given at Pentecost and in 1 Corinthians 12:31 Paul instructed us to seek after the best gifts. But it seems that the majority of the time that there is only one gift being sort after, which is the gift of speaking in tongues that is also referred to as ecstatic tongues and glossolalia.
Since glossolalia was first revealed in scripture to be speaking in other known languages where the speaker understands what they are saying, then what is it we are primarily seeing in the Church today? Those practicing this incoherent glossolalia as seen today claim that there are two types of tongues where they say that one is the gift of speaking other languages and the second is a prayer language. But where in scripture is the second one demonstrated and where does it actually teach this without having to make any form of an assumption? We know at Pentecost they spoke in other languages to preach the Gospel to all the foreigners that were present and the Church grew by three thousand that day as a result. But where does it say beyond any doubt whatsoever that glossolalia is a prayer language or the language of angels that some also claim?
You most commonly find 1 Corinthians 14:4 is quoted but the context of the passage reveals that Paul is saying that he would rather that we prophesy then speak in tongues as that edifies the whole Church but tongues only edifies oneself so he is saying do not do it unless it edifies the Church. The entire chapter is in fact one of rebuke to the Corinthians for the abuse of the gift of tongues.
The other very disconcerting fact is that ecstatic tongues predates Pentecost and are of non-Christian origin and this should be of extreme concern. So we cannot say that every occurrence of glossolalia is from God and yet most Christians do not seem to be concerned at all. So how do we know if our apparent gift is from God? And if we do not understand what we are speaking then how can we ever be 100% certain of what we are saying? Some say that the Holy Spirit would never allow us to be deceived like that but Jesus said that if possible even the elect can be deceived.
And if there are two types of tongues-speaking then why does the incoherent speech seem to be so freely given in the Church today yet you almost never here of the gift of tongues as demonstrated in scripture being given to missionaries who really need it? You find that almost every time that missionaries have to learn the language the hard way and yet Acts chapter 2 demonstrates that the gift of tongues is for the spreading of the Gospel message. So what is more important? Self edification or preaching the Gospel for the salvation of as many people as possible?
Satan counterfeits all the spiritual gifts and many other things of God, so if the first occurrence of speaking in tongues was at Pentecost and for preaching the Gospel, then what is the counterfeit from Satan? If God were to give us the ability to pray by the power of the Holy Spirit then why not empower us to do so in our own language rather than having no idea what we are saying? Is God not capable of doing this? We should know that there is nothing that God can't do.
When the Apostles asked Jesus to teach them how to pray there is not one mention of glossolalia as we see it in the Church today and in fact there is no record of Jesus Christ even mentioning it at all. In the great love chapter of 1 Corinthians 13 we find some claiming that Paul spoke in the tongues of angels and use this as support for what we see today. But if that was so then Paul also said that he gave his body to be burned but that was not so and hence not what he was saying. Paul was giving examples of how such things are of no comparison to love. He states that even if he could do all the things he just mentioned that it would not profit him anything if he had not love.
In 1 Corinthians 12:7 Paul states that every single one of the gifts of the spirit were given by God for the profit of all. In other words, they were given for the edification of the Church. So how does the incoherent speech seen today edify the rest of the Church?
There are many such passages in scripture that those promoting tongues-speaking claim support this practice but are these passages being abused or misunderstood or are they genuine? Please read page 2 of speaking in tongues for a very in depth study of this gift and what the Bible truly says.