The LORD confused the language of men at the city of Babel. The account of this is given in Genesis chapter eleven, verses one through nine. The reason given for confusing the language was so that men will no longer understand each other (Gen. 11:7). Nowhere, in the Bible, are we told God reversed this action. It seems logical He would not, because if He did so, verse six would again apply to mankind and nothing we plan to do would be impossible for us.
Before I go on let me say that when I first read this I thought it was kind of a curse. Verse six states nothing men plan to do will be impossible for them if they all speak the same language. I pictured men doing great and wonderful things. But as I studied men in the light of the Word, and looked inward at myself, I know we would not do great and wonderful things. We would do terrible and awful things. The more I study the Bible , the better I understand, God is always right, always just, and always does everything out of love, for those who love Him, and so God confused the language for our good and it was not a curse.
When I first read this story I thought to myself, this is why we have different languages, such as English, German, French, Spanish, and so forth. But I see with even more clarity now. Even if we speak the same language we can not understand each other and it is because all language is still confused.
Pick almost any word in the English language, or any language for that matter. Look up the meaning in a dictionary and you will find more than one definition for it. The meaning of the word will sometimes vary wildly, with many different definitions. When you use a word you know which definition you mean to apply to it, but the person you are speaking to, or reading what you write, may, or may not, apply the same definition.
Now if you string seven or nine words together in a sentence as you speak to someone, and each word has more than one definition, how could the person being spoken to, possibly understand, completely, what you are trying to convey to him? He will probably get a general understanding, but the odds are against him understanding exactly what you mean. Ideas are not conveyed with one word, or one sentence, but with paragraphs, pages, and books. The more words, the more opportunities to confuse. Sometimes one word can be the root of many books which disagree about it=s meaning. Predestination comes to mind, as does baptism, and trinity. If you have studied God=s word, even briefly, you know of the confusion surrounding these words.
Haven=t you at one time or another been trying to explain something to someone and no matter how hard you try, they just don=t get it. You know exactly what you are trying to convey to them, and it seems so clear to you, but they just can=t quite grasp it. Now it does not seem so frustrating to me when I know it just might not be possible. You know, As iron sharpens iron………
Do you see the humor in this post? I=m writing in English, and I know you don=t fully understand what I am attempting to convey to you. One could say I=m trying to explain to you, that you don=t understand these words, by using words that you don=t understand. Oh well, I never claimed to be a mental heavyweight.
Do you see the truth fitting together? Genesis chapter 11:1 thru 9 that I am speaking about here and how it fits with Proverbs 27:17? We are all students. There are no teachers of God=s children except God. There are no leaders except Christ, we are all just sheep going in the same direction.
That is not to say there are no teachers of any kind. The children of this world need teachers and I will be eternally grateful to, and for, the minister which God used to lead me to Himself. Once I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior, and was Baptized into Christ, God gave me His Holy spirit to teach and guide me. That minister which once led me is now walking in the same direction, still calling to the unsaved, but no longer to me.
It seems to me that the leaders of the Church have the most important job of anyone on earth, and we should support them as much as possible. Provided they are trying to follow the Bible as best as they can (no one is perfect).
So far this post has been about language, but one must understand language to understand Atongues@. This is a word which has generated much confusion to say the least. This word deserves a complete book.
However, instead of clarifying anything, let me add to the confusion. From my side of the table, the AGift of Tongues@ is really the AGift of Ears@. It was those who heard what was said that received the gift, or blessing, not those who spoke. If a person speaks in tongues and no one understands, there is no blessing. If everyone at a meeting speaks the same language why would anyone speak in a tongue when no one else understands it? It is often said the person who is speaking in tongues is speaking to God, but I speak English, and God understands English. Why would I babble in some language no one else understands? This only disrupts the meeting and as I see it, blesses no one: not the hearer, or the speaker.
That is not to say Tongues do not exist today. Tongues are very much alive and well today. Ministers have the gift of tongues. The Holy Spirit is the interpreter. He takes the words ministers speak and reveals the meanings to those who have not yet turned to the Lord. Some will hear, understand, turn, and be healed and some will not. Those who will not turn and be healed cannot claim they did not understand.
I have heard stories where some people have told ministers about things they heard in a sermon, yet the minister did not say them. I think the Holy Spirit took the words the minister used and applied the definitions He wanted the person to understand. Can you see the truth in 1 Corinthians 14:22 ? (NIV) Tongues, then, are a sign, not for believers but for unbelievers; prophecy, however, is for believers, not for unbelievers. Once the unbeliever begins to believe and is baptized into Christ he or she no longer needs someone else to explain the Word of God. He will have the Mind of Christ (the Holy Spirit) as part of himself to explain to him all that God wants him to know. Or perhaps all that he asks, so ask for all!
The word tongue has many definitions and causes many arguments, because the listener applies a different definition to the word than the speaker means. The small dictionary which I use (The American Heritage) lists 17 possible definitions for the word tongue. Some are similar, such as language, which are, in some sentences, easy to use, or hear rather, in the wrong context. Even with 17 definitions my dictionary does not list Awords@ as a possible definition, yet a language is only words strung together. I use to apply the definition of words to tongues, but now I think the word tongues, as used in the Bible means languages.
I also have the Concise Oxford English Dictionary (Eleventh Edition) on my computer. It lists some phrases one of which is Athe gift of tongues@. It says,Athe gift of tongues the power of speaking in unknown languages, regarded as one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2)@. Now I try not to take myself too seriously. So right now I am having a good laugh. You see I am about to disagree with a definition in the Concise Oxford English Dictionary. Language is probably my weakest subject. I can, and do, stump the spell checker on my computer, and not infrequently I might add. However the tongues that are spoken about in the second chapter of Acts are not unknown. The crowed that heard the apostles heard them in each one of their own languages, so the Agift of tongues@ is not the power of speaking in unknown languages. It really is the power to speak to someone and they will understand exactly what you are saying. In other words the hearers will apply the same definitions to the words as the speaker.
One could say Athe gift of tongues@ is the ability to communicate in thoughts no matter what words are used.
Perhaps God will apply definitions to these words so that you can understand what I am trying to convey to you. Well, don=t just sit there, ask Him! Anyway that=s Genesis 11:1 thru 9, along with languages and tongues, as I see it.