What Are We Talking About?
The Bible speaks of ‘Divers Kinds of Tongues’, Unknown Tongues’, ‘Tongues of Men and Angels’, and ‘other Tongues’. Are they all the same? If they are different then, just what is the difference?
In this article, we will take a briefly define each type of ‘Tongues’ according to the scriptures.
Divers Kinds of Tongues
Let’s begin with ‘Divers Kinds of Tongues’. One of the nine gifts of the Holy Spirit, Divers Kinds of Tongues is mentioned in I Corinthians 12:7-11 7. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. 8. For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; 9.To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; 10.To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues: 11. But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.
‘Divers Kinds of Tongues‘ is different from ‘Other Tongues’ and/or ‘Unknown Tongues’ only in the fact that they, Divers Kinds of Tongues’ operate with a companion gift of ‘The Interpretation of Tongues’. This operation is one way in which God will speak to His people through His people. These two gifts are equivalent to prophesy. They are a message from God and should in-line with His Word.
Other Tongues and/or Unknown Tongues
Next let us look at ‘Other Tongues and/or Unknown Tongues’. In John 7:38, Jesus told the people that if they believed on Him according to what the scriptures say, then out of their belly shall flow rivers of living water. The next verse tells us that He was talking about Believers being filled with the Holy Spirit and having the ability to ‘speak in tongues’.
Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 14:12 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.’ The one speaking in an unknown tongue is speaking mysteries to men, including himself, but not mysteries to God.
He also tells us that when one prays in ‘Other Tongues or Unknown Tongues’, it is the spirit of the person doing the praying and that his or her understanding or logic is ‘unfruitful’. Unfruitful here means that it does not yield or contribute to the action. (Strong’s concordance G175). I Corinthians 14:14 For if I pray in an unknown tongue, my spirit prayeth, but my understanding is unfruitful.
These are also the Tongues that Paul talks about praying in or praying with in 1Corinthians 14:15 ‘What is it then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also: I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also.’
Tongues of Men and of Angels
Paul makes reference to the Tongues of men and the Tongues of Angels in 1Corinthians 13:1. Well, what are Tongues of men and what are Tongues of Angels?
All Tongues or languages fall within one of these two categories. They are either Tongues of men defined as, any language that is spoken or has ever been spoken by mankind on Earth; or they are Tongues of Angels which are defined as, those Tongues that are not spoken or have ever been spoken by any man, regional group or cultural group of this Earth.
Tongues of Angels are further defined as being given to men through the power of the Holy Spirit.
What About Missionaries?
God can supernaturally endow you to speak in a language that you have never learned as a sign and wonder on the Earth. Hundreds of accounts of missionaries are available which describe how they felt called to a certain nation and not knowing the language simply obeyed God and upon their arrival in the foreign land found that they did both understand and fluently speak the native tongue of the people. They were a sign and a wonder.
There is much more to be said and more in-depth explanation that could be given, but our purpose was to give a brief and hopefully clarifying view regarding the differences between Divers Kinds of Tongues, Other Tongues and Unknown Tongues.