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1 Corinthians 14:39 (NIV)

Therefore, my brothers and sisters, be eager to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in tongues.

In the early church, the gift of tongues was a common gift which almost everyone received, as we see in the church in Corinth as an example. Paul had to give advice on how to utilize their spiritual gifts in an orderly manner in the church.

However, I can't find any specific method/instruction given in the New Testament on how to receive the gift of tongues. If I want to receive the gift of tongues, what must I do? Is there any instructions given by the early church fathers on how to receive the gift of tongues? Since the New Testament doesn't give any specific instructions on how to receive the gift of tongues, there must be some writings from the church fathers on this issue.

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I disagree with the premise of your question that "the New Testament doesn't give any specific instructions on how to receive the gift of tongues". I note that you have several answers to this question: christianity.stackexchange.com/questions/19751/… and have even accepted an answer. I'm happy to attempt a more specific answer to that question, but what greater area of specificity are you looking for beyond that already covered? –  bruised reed May 30 at 5:35
Gifts are given freely by the giver of the gifts ... –  FMS Jul 19 at 19:21

3 Answers 3

Yes and No

The church fathers gave no specific instructions on how to receive the gift of tongues.

However, we can ask God for anything (including gifts) and he can give it to us. There's also credence to believe that the more often and sincerely we ask for them the more likely he is to give them to us (like in the parable of the persistent widow and the evil judge).

John 14:13-14 NLT Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.

Luke 18:7b-8a ESV And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them? I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily.

Paul here is telling the Corinthians that they can pray to ask God for the gift of interpretation. It stands to reason that they could pray for the gift to speak in tongues as well.

1 Corinthians 14:13 ESV Therefore, one who speaks in a tongue should pray that he may interpret.

But in the end it's all in the wisdom and decision of God to give his gifts to whom he wills. You can ask all you want and God might still say 'No'; but he might say 'Yes'.

1 Corinthians 12:11 ESV All these [gifts] are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills.

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+1 for ending your answer with 1 Corinthians 12:11. A lot of people in my area completely disregard the fact that the gifts are given as God wills. –  Jesse Jul 24 at 14:52

Q. Is there any instructions given by the early church fathers on how to receive the gift of tongues?

A. There isn't any [let alone specific] instructions given [let alone by early Church Fathers] on how to receive the gift of tongues.

The Teaching of Church to which the Church Fathers adhered to, is that the Holy Spirit [and the gifts he brings with him] is [are] received in the Sacrament of Confirmation, one of the seven sacraments instituted by Christ.

[On] The Sacrament of Confirmation [cf. CCC, 1303-1316]

By which we are more perfectly bound to the Church and enriched with a special strength of the Holy Spirit

The fruits of this Sacrament are:

  • An increase and deepening of baptismal grace.
  • A deepening of one's roots in divine filiation, which makes one cry, "Abba, Father!"
  • A firming of one's unity with Christ.
  • An increase of the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
  • A strengthening of one's bond with the Church and closer association with her mission.
  • Special strength of Holy Spirit to spread and defend the Faith by word and action as a true witnesses of Christ, to confess the name of Christ boldly, and to never be ashamed of the Cross.
  • The imprinting, as in Baptism, of a spiritual mark or indelible character on the Christian's soul. Because of this character, one can receive this sacrament only once in one's life.

Source: The Seven Sacraments | Handbook of Prayers | Rev. James Socias, Publisher

Please see:

  1. Catechism of the Catholic Church | THE SEVEN SACRAMENTS OF THE CHURCH.
  2. Home > Summa Theologica > Third Part > Question 65 > Article 1: Whether there should be seven sacraments?

'instructions given:' the problematic words in the question.

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It is there by example.

Acts 19:5-6

On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied.

The new disciples operated initially in the gift through the laying on of the apostle's hands. Likewise, this is corroborated by Acts 8.

Acts 8:18-19 (emphasis mine)

When Simon saw that the Spirit was given at the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money and said, “Give me also this ability so that everyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.”

While it does not list tongues here, it is similar enough to the previous that many infer it. Simon's response was wrong, but his observation was right (bold).

While there are two examples of God doing this without human intervention, such as in Acts 2 at Pentecost and Acts 10, this is the exception, not the rule.

Acts 10:44-46

While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message. The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on Gentiles. For they heard them speaking in tongues and praising God.

The sign to the Jews that the Gentile believers had received as well was them speaking in tongues.

While this and Acts 2 were sovereignly initiated by God Himself, Hebrews 6:1-2 lists the "laying on of hands" as a foundational doctrine of the church, without with one cannot go on to maturity.

The proper example, then, to how to receive the gift, according to the first century church, is through the laying on of hands of those who have been equipped to do so.

This is corroborated by 2 Timothy 1:6, where Timothy possessed a gift through the laying on of hands, and likewise 1 Timothy 4:14, where a gift had been given through the laying on of hands by the elders.

This also demonstrates that it need not be one of the apostles, but, by extension, leaders in the church.

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And the answer to "Is there any instructions given by the early church fathers on how to receive the gift of tongues?" is? –  FMS Nov 8 at 20:48
Is not It is there by example. sufficient? The opening line. Either by command, inferred instruction, or by example, is generally recognized as a doctrinal basis, is it not? That, in conjunction and inference from the Hebrews 6:1-2 reference indicates it is through the laying on of hands of those who have been equipped to do so. Also a quote. The question does NOT say early church fathers, it merely says church fathers, mind you. The Biblical text should be sufficient. –  user3892098237432123 Nov 8 at 20:51
I am not the OP just giving my input as I understand it. These are the Church Fathers. An answer is more correct with reference to what they have to say. –  FMS Nov 8 at 20:57
WikiPedia on the subject includes the Didache, the teaching of the twelve, so it would appear, at least in my thoughts, that the Twelve would be included. The question, however, specifically states that the asker could find no instruction on how to receive the gift in the New Testament. It was assumed, then, that the requestor was not specifically trying to find non-Biblical sources, but was looking for any early Christian instruction. Since the instruction is, indeed, in the NT, it was provided. –  user3892098237432123 Nov 8 at 21:01
Or, perhaps, it is a correction to the question, since the requestor did, apparently, ask for early church fathers in the question, but the premise, that it is not in the NT, is wrong. Would such an answer better be answered as a comment, since the question in itself is on a faulty premise, IMO? –  user3892098237432123 Nov 8 at 21:03

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