I. Importance of Words
Many people may have heard the phrase, Theology of Tongues, for the first time. There are many theological issues of pros and cons on speaking in tongues.
People with spiritual gifts inside the church generally know how to pray in tongues. It is one of the most common spiritual phenomena; yet, tongues is one of the most neglected and unwelcome spiritual gifts. I am truly grateful for an opportunity that under the Lord’s grace I am able to work on this project to clarify the issues, and I am confident that in the near future, other pastors and lay people being led by God’s guidance will work diligently to improve my initial work to further clarify and strengthen the work towards perfection.
My words do not claim to be the absolute truth on this topic. Spiritual gifts in each individual person are expressed in various ways as mentioned in 1 Corinthians 12:4, and at the same time one’s knowledge is only in part, as stated in 1 Corinthians 13:9. Though we do not have the total understanding on everything but a small one, I believe that God will make it as a whole.
“For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known”
(1 Cor 13:12).
In Korean language, tongues signifies a dialect or a foreign language, but its direct meaning in the Bible relates more to tongue. Tongues in Greek is ‘glossa,” and it indicates a tongue. Thus, as the origin of Greek language indicates, speaking in tongues should be understood more as a sound, coming from a sound or uttered words. Words are the sound created by the movement of a tongue coming from a throat.
When we know the value of words, once we understand the value of speaking in tongues, we then understand the spiritual meaning of the Holy Spirit moving our tongues in a uniquely different way, further helping us gain the experience of the Spirit working in our daily lives. Thus, I will share with you on the importance of having the understanding of speaking in tongues and words.
1. Spirit = Words = Life (Movement) ¦ Image-realization
The content of John 1:1-4 is the theology of the Word, and it clearly states the importance of the Word.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people”
When God has created all things out of words, Scripture states that there was a life in the Word. Hebrews 4:12 explains that the word of God has movement and life, as well.
“Indeed, the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing until it divides soul from spirit, joints from marrow; it is able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (Heb 4:12).
Active movement is “energeia” in Greek, same as the today’s word “energy.” When water flows, when grass emerges, when animals move, all these movements talk about energy, being expressed as “active” in Hebrews 4:12. In today’s science, all existential beings are made of energy (active).
The Word of God is living, and living life is active; thus, the word of God is active (energy). Out of words, God created all things in universe. Everything is created by active movements of the Word (Joh 1:3).
There is a life in a seed. A grain of rice or wheat has life (active). This life—when life (energy) is put in the earth—turns into a form, growing into rice or wheat in the end. Likewise, God is the one who gives a form to life (a seed) (1 Cor 15:38).
All things in the world are created by the words of God, by the energy of God, by the life of God, and by the light of God (Joh 1:1-4).
In Genesis chapter one, when God created all things out of the words, God gave the words (active movement) according to its kind. To the life of a plant, the life of an animal, the life of a man, and the life of an angel, God gave various forms of life. Among these forms of life, the ones belonging to heaven have become angels, and the ones belonging to earth have become, either animals or human beings. Thus, the physical body of a person has the form of one belonging to earth, and the inner person, the form of the other belonging to heaven.
The word of God is the life passage of God giving the form to an existing being. The meaning of God creating the world by the word of God is based upon this principle. “Giving the words” and “Saying the words” imply “Giving energy” and “Delivering life.” That’s how we receive life (energy) through the words. As we receive life, we make a move. If we keep moving, a form emerges out of nothing. This is because God calls into existence the things that do not exist” (Rom 4:17).
“As it is written, “I have made you the father of many nations”—in the presence of the God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist” (Rom 4:17).
This is further to say that, when God’s children receive God’s ability (life) through the words, the church becomes active and creates forms, things that were there previously. This is the principle of the church growth. When a physically weak person receives God’s life from the words of God, whatever lacking in that person’s body, will be filled up, resulting in healing.
Even now, through the words and power God controls everything in the universe (Heb 1:3). God is still continuing in the work of creation. Therefore, there is no nature. Regarding the forms given by the words of God, the unbelievers think in such a way (1 Cor 15:37-38). God alone exists by Himself, implying “God remaining as nature (Exo 3:14).
All created beings are formed by channels of the word (energy). When energy is received, forms emerge; when energy is drained out, forms disappear. This is the reality of changes taking place in the world (Psa 104:28-30).
The Lord said, “The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life” (Joh 6:63). The word of God, the spirit, the life, the activity, and the light, they are all the same. Though expressed in different forms, they all relate to the presence of God. God alone is active, and God alone becomes the source of all energy and movements.
2. Three Spirits and Three Words
“For what human being knows what is truly human except the human spirit that is within? So also no one comprehends what is truly God’s except the Spirit of God. Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit that is from God, so that we may understand the gifts bestowed on us by God” (1 Cor 2:11-12).
The Bible mentions of three spirits. As illustrated in Diag. 2, three spirits through three words receive three activities (energy). Our human body is an earthen jar (2 Cor 4:7). God has blown the spirit of life into the human body made out of dust.
In our human body the spirit of the words, the living energy of God, is active, and there is a channel where the life of the Lord can enter into the human body (Act 17:24-25). God put the energy of life into the human body, resulting in the humans to become an entity to live by the energy (the spirit) of God. Therefore, a believer is someone who belongs to heaven as a result of receiving the words of God (1 Cor 15:48).
“Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit of God”
(1 Cor 2:12).
Our body is a clay bowl to hold our soul, and in this clay bowl three spirits can be placed, that is, the Spirit of God, the spirit of man or the spirit of the world. For more thorough understanding and clear discernment of three spirits, refer to the author’s work titled Principle of Spiritual Discernment.
3. The Spirit of God, the Words of God
The spiritual being can speak and become active by the words. Thus, the humans can become active, either by the words of God, by the words of the world, or by the human words, and depending on the kind of the words a person will be under, the fate of his life will get determined.
When a man becomes active by the words of God, a form can emerge even from nothing, but even an existing form can disappear when the person gets active by the words of the world (1 Joh 2:17); on the other hand, when one becomes active by the words of a man, no change will take place to the existing form.
The Word of God is Jesus Christ, the Son of God; thus, as we accept the Lord into our hearts, the life of God (the movement) comes into our hearts. Though we hear the words through our ears, we invite the Lord into our hearts by listening to the words of God.
“So faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the
word of Christ” (Rom 10:17).
In other words, since Jesus Christ is the genuine words of God, when we listen to the words of the Bible and accept the Lord into our hearts, our inner beings acknowledge Jesus and further experience the Lord. This is what it means having a faith in God (Joh 1:12; 17:3).
When we believe in Jesus and understand God, this does not mean that we develop understanding about God through our head. Since Jesus being the Word of God—the life of God, the conscious life of God—came into our lives, we experience and understand God. To understand another human being, unless we accept the other person into our lives, we cannot develop relationship with that person (experience him).
Through the words of husbands, children or wives, we accept them into our lives. When we listen to the words of a person and accept that person’s thoughts, his/her consciousness comes into ourselves, consequently leading us to understand our husbands, our children and love them. This is how a person trusts the other person and makes a friend with him.
Likewise, for the same reason God, in the form of a human being, came into the world. When we trust a person, as a result of accepting the words of that person, the personality of that person, the thoughts and emotions of that person, that person’s personality enters into ourselves, and we end up acknowledging him within us. We call this “love” and “trust.”
In the Garden of Eden, when God created Eve and brought her to Adam, Adam said, “this at last is flesh of my flesh, bone of my bones,” and he sensed Eve in his inner self (Gen 2:22-23). Therefore, when the personality of another person comes into us, he becomes flesh of my flesh and bone of my bones.
In the words of the Lord, when “you eat my flesh and drink my blood,” it conveys the same meaning (Joh 6:54). As Adam felt Eve within himself in a passionate way, when we feel the blood and flesh of the Lord in our inner self, the Lord has already entered into my life (Joh 1:12). That is the Spirit of the Lord, the presence of the Lord.
When we invite into our hearts the Lord who came in the form of God’s words, the presence of His life exists in our hearts and then helps to turn that presence to become active in the life of the Lord, and that is the love of God (Rom 8:28).
In 2 Corinthians 2:16, Apostle Paul stated, “we have the mind of Christ.” This means that the mind of the Lord, the movement of the Lord, the flesh and blood of the Lord, has entered into us. People with the mind of the Lord are called the children of God
The words of God turn into the movement of life and then enter our life in the form of the spirit (Joh 6:63) and become active; this is what faith is. So faith is not a product we acquire as a result of human thoughts and efforts, but it is the gift of God.
“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God” (Eph 2:8).
4. The Spirit of the World, the Words of the World
“‘For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.’ So when the woman saw that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate; and she also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate” (Gen 3:5-6).
It is the same with the spirit of the world. The spirit of the world is the devil. In the same route the spirit of the world entered into human beings. In the third chapter of Genesis is written the story of the devil, the spirit of the world, coming into humans. God created the Garden of Eden and brought into existence the trees bearing the fruits looking delightful to the eyes and good for food, even creating the tree with the fruit of life and knowledge of good and evil.
The tree good for food gives nutrition to our body. The tree looking delightful to the eyes provides us with an emotionally uplifting experience, and the tree of life was one that gave us, not the life of flesh, but the life of God (Joh 6:48-50).
God had Adam reign over the Garden of Eden (Gen 2:15). To rule something, we would have to receive the life of reigning, and the life of reigning is the life of God. That is, the humans were able to reign over the Garden of Eden through the tree of life by receiving the life of God. Moreover, God had Adam watch over the Garden of Eden, and here the term of “watching over” indicates “protecting the Garden of Eden” from the devil.
Prior to God creating the human beings, the devil of the revelation star became corrupted and fallen into the world. The devil disguised in a snake was watching the Garden of Eden. Knowing the situation, God provided Adam with a way to protect the Garden of Eden from the devil entering (Gen 2:17).
The fruit of good and evil is the tree protecting the Garden of Eden from the devil entering. If the humans become the judge of good and evil on their own, they fall from the life of God; thus, the meaning of eating the fruit of good and evil is to fall away from God. Thus, the fruit of good and evil were not eaten; the devil surely could not have entered into the humans.
Through the fruit of life, God made the humans to rule over the Garden of Eden, and through the fruit of good and evil, God had them protect the Garden of Eden from the devil, and He allowed the humans to reign over and enjoy everything.
“As for those who in the present age are rich, command them not to be haughty, or to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but rather on God who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment” (1 Tim 6:17).
But the devil through a Serpent accosted Eve in the Garden of Eden. To have spoken means to have handed over the soul, implying that the life of the devil (movement) was passed over. Despite her recollection of the will of the Lord, Eve accepted the words of the devil. That is how the spirit of the devil has entered into the human race.
When the Lord was tempted in the wilderness by the devil, he surely rejected the words of the devil. As the devil said, “Turn this stone into bread,” in response Jesus rejected the words of the devil by telling him, “One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.” On the other hand, since Eve embraced the words of the devil, the conscientious thoughts of the devil have entered into Eve, consequently causing the fruit of good and evil looking good to eat and a delight to the eyes, leading her to eat that forbidden fruit at her will. The will of the other, that is, the energy of the other, moved inside Eve, eventually causing her to think and conduct herself, not following the words of God (Gen 3:6).
God is the owner of all things in the universe; thus, did He not only give the humans ability to create things, but also the authority to rule over them. Yet, the devil is one, who was driven out by God, and he did not have anything of his own to give away to the humans. That was why he tempted them simply in words, nudging, “You do it, You pick the fruit and eat it, You be exalted” (Gen 3:5).
The devil deceives the humans by leading them to reject receiving things by grace from God and sweet-talks to them trying things to have them rely on themselves. Even now, the humans get tempted by the devil, so we keep trying to acquire things on our own efforts instead of receiving things by the grace of God.
The believers with faith in God solely think of Him and rely on the Lord. If we can think of nothing about me and the world but of God within me, we can become Christians filled with the Spirit. Yet, when we do not feel much of God’s grace within me, I think more of me and the surroundings (the world). At such a time, we can easily feel we are the most pitiful ones, we are the best ones around, or all our negative situations are brought over by the fault of others, all being the spirit of the devil and the spirit of the world.
The Lord said, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves” (Mat 16:24). This was to nail self and the world onto the cross. As the devil tried to tempt the Lord, “Command these stones to become loaves of bread, Throw yourself down, You will receive all the splendors of the world,” the Lord did not respond, “Yes, I will do it,” but He encountered the devil through the word of God (Mat 4:1-11).
When the Lord said, “I do not do things on my own, I rely solely on God and do things. Do not put God to the test. Do Not tempt God. Satan, be away from me! I will serve the Lord only,” did not the devil leave Jesus? The words of the world put me in the center, the channel of the thought process where I become the owner of all things (Gen 3:5).
“Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; for you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things” (Mat 16:23).
The same scene appears in Matthew 16:16. Peter confessed his faith by telling the Lord, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” The Lord then told Peter, “My Father in heaven has revealed this to you.” As the Lord mentioned of him going to Jerusalem and of him being killed, Peter sternly said, “Lord, this must never happen to you.” Jesus then told Peter, “You are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things” (Mat 16:23), rebuking Satan who gave that thought to Peter, “Satan, Be Away!”
The Bible states that the devil put the idea of handing Jesus over for money in the heart of Judas (Joh 13:2). Since Judas Iscariot stole money often, it was the devil who put in the mind of Judas the idea of selling Jesus for money; thus, embracing that thought is what it means to love the world (Joh 12:6), to love money (1 Tim 6:10).
That is why in 1 John 2:15, Scripture says, “Do not love the world or the things in the world. The love of the Father is not in those who love the world.” When we love the world, the love of God cannot find its way into us.
All worldly things find their place in the desire of the flesh, the desire of the eyes, the boastfulness of the world, and money is the one thing that can satisfy the mind of these things, and the love of money becomes a root cause of all evils in the world.
“For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, and in their eagerness to be rich some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pains” (1 Tim 6:10).
The devil tempts our body to leave God and in its place pursue the glory and pleasure of the world. These are the things money can buy. So the devil asked the worldly people to exchange youth, health, parents, and children for the sake of money (1 Tim 6:9-11).
People living their lives chasing after money live, following the way of the devil. This is the spirit of the world, the conscientious mind of money. The world revolves around money. As you cannot do much without money, the whole world basically runs around the money. The world gets active by money, resolving by the energy of money.
On the other hand, as the church revolves around by the movement of God, the church asks the people to offer money, instead. Listening and obeying the words of a God-installed leader, the people offer money in church and worship Him; that becomes the church of God. That is how the church wins the world. This is how the problems of the world get resolved.
“And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it” (Mat 16:18).
5. The Spirit of love, the Word of Man
“Do not love the world or the things in the world. The love of the Father is not in those who love the world; for all that is in the world—the desire of the flesh, the desire of the eyes, the pride in riches—comes not from the Father but from the world” (1 Joh 2:15-16).
Home is another place where the money cannot force its way to move things. Home does not get moved by money. Home gets controlled by the love (the spirit) of people. Home functions as the members of the family love one another. Children get influenced by the love of a husband or a wife, not by their love for God or for the sake of money. The spirit of man moves by the love towards people.
The spirit of man draws warm feelings by one’s thoughts towards the others, and that becomes the basis of happiness. Humans are wired to influence and to be influenced by each other. The human nature can be explained by the move of a parent following the child out of love, and by the way a wife following her husband who is leading his wife.
Eve first ate the fruit of good and evil, and she in turn encouraged Adam to eat. Adam then ate, as asked by Eve. Why did he eat? It is because of love. As Samson, the servant of God, had his head shaved by Delilah, a gentile woman. As a result, Samson had his eyes pulled out; this explains that one’s love can lead him to be the servant of the object of one’s love.
“Am I now seeking human approval, or God’s approval? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still pleasing people, I would not be a servant of Christ” (Gal 1:10).
The love of man provides us with a sense of belongingness, a sense of happiness. But we surely face a loss because of that person. That is why the Bible tells us not to put trust in mortals (Isa 2:22).
As an example, when we watch a TV or video program, this is the act of accepting the spirit of man. As we watch an entertainment or a singing program, we get emotionally excited. We feel nothing happen inside us after watching the program. It is like we get controlled or used by the actor or the singer, because we would have to think and act following after the singer.
The citizens of God’s kingdom would have to know the will of the Lord and follow God’s way rightly, not simply listening to the words of other people and follow them; otherwise, there is nothing to gain in the end. Through God, Solomon gained all the riches of the world in the beginning, but he lost everything when he followed the way of the world (Ecc 1:2).
The spirit of man becomes the channel where the spirit of the devil and the Spirit of God can enter through. It is because man is a clay jar to hold soul. For this reason, though man is not to rely on, he cannot be ignored.
Through the Lord who came to us in the image of man, the spirit of God enters into us. Moreover, though a human pastor is called and ordained by God, the children of God receive the grace of God. Thus, it is not right to ignore man for the sake of ignoring. We cannot ignore all people and at the same time cannot put our trust in all human beings unconditionally.
The people God has established for His purpose as a channel of grace, in church they are pastors, for pastors, he is the Lord, for children at home, they are parents, for wife, that person is her husband (Eph 6:1-4, 5:22-25.)
“Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls and will give an account. Let them do this with joy and do with sighing—for that would be harmful to you” (Heb 13:17).
The passerby on a street is not a person set up by God for you. A woman treated her husband insignificantly at her home; yet, she was overly committed in her efforts to leave a positive impression of herself on the others. Such an attitude is a very foolish one. Faith is to receive God’s blessings from a relationship of the word set up by God, and through a person God has put in our life.
Through the words, all different kinds of spirits come to us. All things, such as God, the devil, home, and the society, evolve around the words. God, the devil and the humans, they all are spiritual beings, and they all speak. Depending on who I receive the words from, the giver of the spirit changes.
The words determine the fate of our life. The world follows the words of the world, the world gets evolved around money, caring hearts are getting scarce, and it rejects the words of God. Since the church would have to return to the spirit of God, it would have to leave the things of the world and the things of men. That is what holiness is. Therefore, our life has intimate relationship with our words.
6. Holiness and the Word
“If any think they are religious, and do not bridle their tongues but deceive
their hearts, their religion is worthless” (Jam 1:26).
We encounter difficulties in our homes and churches due to our careless words. The churches with trials tend to have some members saying the words that can be used as the channel of the devil. In either the growing churches or the ones with problems, church members are not influenced by their reason, but greatly by their words.
Money does not magically solve all problems. In our society as well as in our homes, we often have quarrels because of money. Problems hinge upon words. There are families prospering and families struggling; so, will everything get better when more money are brought into our homes? Absolutely not! Happiness of each family depends on the words of other family members.
The more education you receive, the more wicked and crowded you can be due to the increase of the words on the homework and words we use. Problems are engendered due to other channels being closed through the words.
Thus, the people who have experienced the deep spiritual relationship with God, they would like to leave people and come to God and enjoy Him steady. Nowadays, there are too many words spoken in churches. All programs in the church heavily rely on human words. The more we get involved in secular things, as we talk and open the meetings without prayers, the more we get tempted.
Through words, spiritual confusion can be created. If we can do something in churches so that we do not do anything but sing the praises of the Lord and listen to the words of God, the churches will definitely become more of spiritual centers. This is so called the theology of the Word (Isa 59:9).
7. Tongue Controlling Life
“For all of us make many mistakes. Anyone who makes no mistakes in speaking is perfect, able to keep the whole body in check with a bridle”
James chapter three can be described as “the chapter of tongues.” The tongue is gravely important in the spiritual life. The tongue is like a bridle placed on an animal, like a steering wheel of a boat, or like a fire it can burn up the whole life.
Through various life examples we are taught that the tongue can determine decisively the fate of our life. Since the tongue is simply an entity conveying the words, unless the spiritual channel gets changed, it is explained that no one can tame the tongue.
“For every species of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by the human species, but no one can tame the tongue—a restless evil, full of deadly poison” (Jam 3:7-8).
All the words of the world are connected to the hell and the devil, and they come out through the tongue of a man. The world gets flooded with words, but do the problems get resolved? Though the news media and the papers use all the beautiful words, hardly any problem gets worked out. What is the reason for that? It is because through the words the channel of the devil gets opened up continually. The Lord said, “Man will be judged by one’s words.”
“I tell you, on the day of judgment you will have to give an account for every careless word you utter; for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned” (Mat 12:36-37).
The words become the means of salvation. It is recorded that when we receive the Word of God through our faith and confess it through our lips, we will be saved (Rom 10:10). On the other hand, it is further stated, when the words are spoken without producing the power of God, that is, the useless (unbeneficial) words of the world, the words of man, God will bring judgment upon the bearers of these words.
Man speaks a certain amount of words daily; thus, when he speaks only useless words instead of the words of God, he ends up helping expand the channel of the devil. In the end he himself will get trapped into his own hole.
The words of jealously and argumentation will open up the channel of destruction, and as a result, his life will become darkened inside, and his church and his family will find no harmony and prosperity. The words determine the fate of our life.
The Spirit of God cuts down all things in the world and only will enter our hearts when we have the doors of our minds open towards Him, but the spirit of the world, that is, the desires of the eyes, the desires of the flesh and the pride in riches will naturally enter our hearts (1 Joh 2:16).
That is why the level of faith readily drops down when the believers neglect their prayer life, even for a while. When we think, “Oh, well, since the Lord is residing within me, since the Spirit of God is inside me, everything should be well with me. Unless staying alert, we can easily be deceived by our own thinking and get lazy spiritually. Before long we will find ourselves falling down spiritually, distancing ourselves further away from God. Thus, as the Bible keep reminding us, we would need to keep ourselves awake spiritually and pray to the Lord.
“Be on guard so that your hearts are not weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of this life, and that day catch you unexpectedly, like a trap. For it will come upon all who live on the face of the whole earth. Be alert at all times, praying that you may have the strength to escape all these things that will take place, and to stand before the Son of Man”
Man cannot deliver himself from the oppressive spirit. Man can desire what is good, but he himself cannot do it (Rom 7:18). Our present reality is, though we know that we cannot do it by our selves, we are in a situation where we are always dragged along.
That was why Apostle Paul sighed as in the following: “Wretched man that I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?” (Rom 7:24).