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The first variety seemed to be without need for interpretation because all those who heard it heard their own language being spoken.

Acts 2:8 (NKJV):

And how is it that we hear, each in our own language in which we were born?

The second one the church is warned not to utter without interpretation. Paul said in 1 Corinthians 14:28 (NKJV):

But if there is no interpreter, let him keep silent in church, and let him speak to himself and to God.

And in 14:23:

Therefore if the whole church comes together in one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in those who are uninformed or un-believers, will they not say that you are out of your mind?

What makes the initial event different from the subsequent?

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closed as primarily opinion-based by fredsbend, bruised reed, curiousdannii, El'endia Starman Jan 5 '15 at 19:23

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

I would say there are in fact three different variations of tongues in the New Testament. Romans 8:26, "Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words." has been taken by some Christians to refer to a special prayer language; this is sometimes known as "praying in tongues". – Bruce Alderman Oct 12 '11 at 16:50
Thank you. I'm still curious about the first event being one that everyone who heard it understood it as their own language...not the as the "language of angels" as I have heard it sometimes referred to as today. Why did it change into something that needed interpretation? Is there any clue for this in scripture? Or, even a personal opinion would be welcome. – new wings Oct 12 '11 at 18:16
My guess is that what happened in Acts 2 was fundamentally different from what is commonly called "tongues" in the New Testament. – Bruce Alderman Oct 12 '11 at 21:52
I was thinking that because it was the first time that sort of thing happened that it was done in a way that everyone understood each other so there wasn't complete confusion. It may have freaked everyone out a lot more if no one could understand what was being said...or what they themselves were saying. So, maybe God was sort of easing them into that form of prayer? – new wings Oct 13 '11 at 5:47
This is an old question, but different denominations would have very different viewpoints on it because it's a contentious issue. So I think the question would need to be scoped. – Mr. Bultitude Jan 2 '15 at 17:12
up vote 1 down vote accepted

In reference to the Acts passage:

The believers speaking in native tongues is a throwback to a Midrash on the Sinai event when the Law was received. The rabbinic retelling has Israel speaking in all the tongues of the world, meaning that this is a monumental act of GOD happening. The gospel is here, guided by the spirit and is intended for all peoples of the world, thereby undoing the judgement of the tower of babel.

The midrash is from Midrash Tanhuma 26c, as referenced in the book Speaking in tongues: the New Testament evidence in context.

And in respect to the Corinthians passages:

They are In respect to the spirit of GOD speaking through someone for the building up and edification of the local church and therefore not necessarily with the intention of evangelism. The Corinthians used to fake speaking in tounges because they wanted to be seen as spiritual but here Paul is putting an end to that by saying don't speak in tongues in church unless there is an interpreter.

Craig keener, a Pentecostal evangelical conservative scholar has a great commentary on this called 1 + 2 Corinthians, it's totally worth the money.

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Where did you get the information in your first paragraph? I appreciate the historic reference. – new wings Oct 13 '11 at 14:56
just put in the reference! – jchaffee Oct 13 '11 at 18:32

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