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In Genesis 11:9 we see that humanity had a single purpose, a single city and a single 'tower'. However that purpose and the following construction were in discord to Deity, thus the Lord 'scattered them abroad' and they 'left off to build the city' . . . .

. . . . due to the introduction of multiple languages.

Thus we see that multiple languages, and the lack of them being understood by everybody concerned, caused confusion, strife, scattering and the disruption of purpose.

Paul teaches that :

God is not the author of confusion [1 Corinthians 14:33 KJV],

though clearly he scatters those who, confusedly, build that which is in opposition to his own purposes.

He also teaches :

Let nothing be done through strife [Philippians 2:3 KJV].

And Paul also speaks thus :

Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing [1 Corinthians 1:10 KJV].

Thus to the Corinthian saints, who appear to have been enthusiastically speaking in 'tongues', to these very persons Paul enjoins against confusion and beseeches rather that they all speak the same thing.


Since diverse language causes scattering and disruption of purpose and since Paul enjoins against confusion and beseeches speaking the same thing, why do some engage in the speaking of 'tongues' ?


I am looking for an answer to this question by those who support and participate in the practice or the reportage of the writing of those who do so.


Edit upon Comment (for further clarity)

My question is quite specific. Throughout Christendom, people are speaking in 'multiple languages' -- 'diverse language' (quotes from my question) which requires interpretation as it is not understood by the hearers. And that appears to me to be like Babel.

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Speaking the same thing

The full text of 1 Cor. 1:10 (KJV) reads:

Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. [emphasis mine]

From the context, Paul was not saying that the Corinthians should not speak in tongues. In fact, he speaks positively of their operating in spiritual gifts in verse 5. He was enjoining them to have the same mindset, which was also the case in Acts 2:1 when "...they were all with one accord in one place."

The Answer to Division

What we see with the introduction of the gift of tongues in Acts 2 is the converse to the division created at Babel, and indeed is the Holy Spirit's answer to the confusion of Babel. Note that in Acts 2:11, "...we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God." The arrival of the Holy Spirit and His gifts brings unity, not division. The division of Babel happened because of humanity's hubris—true unity happens when believers are submitted to the Spirit.

The problem the Corinthians were having was that they were missing the point of the Spirit's gifts. Paul states the true purpose of the Spirit's gifts in 1 Cor. 12:7 (NIV):

Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.

Everything that the Spirit does in the midst of God's people is motivated by God's character of love and is therefore "for the common good." Tongues is but one of those gifts that, when used properly by a believer submitted to God's will, always leads to unity and not discord or division.

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    If what you say here is true (that Corinth were 'missing the point') why then does Paul (or Peter, or James, or John, or Jude, or the writer to the Hebrews) not mention tongues and commend other assemblies for their proper usage of the practice ? Why the otherwise complete silence in regard to the subject ?
    – Nigel J
    Aug 13 at 15:56
  • @NigelJ, Jude and 2 Peter both mention "praying in the Spirit," which Pentecostals and Charismatics interpret to be synonymous with praying in tongues. Additionally, during the early apostolic era of Acts, the attitude seemed to be that this was a normal, expected practice (See Acts 8:14-17; 19:1-6). And Paul evidently regarded the gift of tongues for personal edification highly when he said, "I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than ye all" (1 Cor. 14:18). We don't need to talk about drinking water every day to know that it's a good thing to do.
    – RobJarvis
    Aug 13 at 18:46
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    Jude and 2 Peter do not mention tongues, but do mention 'praying in the Spirit'. Acts 8:14-17 does not mention tongues but does mention 'receiving the Spirit'. That's the trouble, 'tongues' is being seen all over the place and - they - are - just - not - there. Save in three very specific places where they were a significance relating to that particular forward step in the progress of the gospel going out to the gentiles.
    – Nigel J
    Aug 14 at 21:25
  • @NigelJ, Paul equates "praying in the spirit [or Spirit]" with praying in tongues in 1 Cor. 14:14-15 "14 For if I pray in an unknown tongue, my spirit prayeth, but my understanding is unfruitful. 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." I believe this is sufficient justification for us to equate "praying in the spirit" with praying in tongues, absent any contradictory scriptural evidence.
    – RobJarvis
    Aug 16 at 12:56

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