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The letter from Shlichim and Elders (Acts 15:23)
Shlama akhay,

altho i spent a few years also in Pentecostal churches, i strongly agree that the best contextual interpretation of "tongues" is merely known languages. Abde D'Shleekhe 2 makes very clear that the gift involved known languages. as for Paul's words, i think also that an understanding of the fledgling Messianic community is in order for proper exegesis: so much of the early church was still influenced and connected in some ways to the synagogue setting, and so liturgy could and probably did affect each Messianic community to a noticeable degree. given that, anyone who knows anything about the synagogue liturgy knows that Hebrew and Aramaic are key languages being spoken by way of prayers, blessings, songs, and readings of Scripture and targumim. this would mean that a person could easily pray or speak in a language they had learned the phonetics of, but not the actual meanings. as a believer who has been in the Messianic environment for some years now, and who has taken pains to learn the Biblical languages, i have heard others from time to time reciting prayers and verses and songs in Hebrew while having no idea what they are saying (it can be heartfelt, humorous, or cringe-worthy). that could constitute praying without understanding, in my opinion. the prayer may be beautiful, the song beautiful, etc., but if they have no idea what they are saying, then it would fall under the category of what Paul states.

i think it can be a divinely-given gift, for sure, and the purpose does fall under evangelism, at least per Keepha's remarks in Abde D'Shleekhe 2, but i wouldn't isolate the purpose to that alone.

as a teacher of the Word, that is what i can teach from the Word that is the clearest exegesis of what i read. and that said, however, i've been witness to some really interesting incidents where "ecstatic tongues" took place that appeared to be a babbling event ala the charismatic version. those are anecdotal, however, because while i have seen some that i have no explanation for (i generally don't buy the charismatic tongue approach), the very few instances where it appeared legit just are what they are to me, so i won't be so prideful as to say it CAN'T be that in some cases, only that from the fairest interpretation i can see of the Scriptural verses, it looks like known languages instead.

i personally have to stay within the realm of Scriptural evidence when it comes to teaching, and for me, the best route is the known languages route, but i still have those anecdotal events that i cannot explain that i will keep on the side. the Father knows the hearts of those who uttered them, and knows my heart that i am not trying to make something out of nothing, or even to lessen something of greater origin, but to keep things in a balanced perspective.

Chayim b'Moshiach,

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Re: The letter from Shlichim and Elders (Acts 15:23) - by Burning one - 12-29-2011, 04:34 AM

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