Before we start, I DO BELIEVE in the Spiritual gift of tongues and the options for God to use them today. My views do not follow the contemporary view. Often, people like to treat this like there are only two camps, either believe or don’t believe, but that is not the case. Because of this opinion of “two camps”, when I teach on Scripture, I’ve been told that I’m confusing the gift of tongues with praying in tongues.

There is no confusion between Gods gift of tongues and prayer in tongues. The fact is, there is no place, within Scripture, that we are commanded to “pray in tongues” nor are we told we would “pray in tongues”. This belief comes from two passages that are; and these two passages are non-related. These two passages come from the letter to the Corinthians (1 Corinthians 14:14), and a letter to the Romans (Romans 8:26). We are going to look at these two letters and see what Paul was writing to these two churches.

Before we start, we MUST look at the Strongs definition of tongues. Many pastors love to use Strongs, when it comes to defining words in the Bible, but they reject Strongs definition of tongues to continue with what they feel is right (Colossians 2:8).
We must be careful when interpreting Scripture and remember that a word, or a statement, can never mean what it never meant. It will not mean today what it didn’t mean then.

glōssa; of uncertain affinity; the tongue; by implication, a language (specially, one naturally unacquired):
the tongue, a member of the body, an organ of speech a tongue the language or dialect used by a particular people distinct from that of other nations

What we are seeing is that glossa, which is translated to “tongue”, as a gift of the Spirit, is a language not previously learned. Strongs then goes to clarify “language” - “the language or dialect used by a particular people distinct from that of other nations”

It’s clear that we are seeing Strongs definition of the gift of tongues as that which is a language of another nation but one we have not previously learned. That is exactly what we see in the examples in Scripture.

For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my understanding is unfruitful.
(1 Corinthians 14:14)

There are several context’s missing from the modern interpretation to try and support a prayer in tongues. Besides the fact that the passage is ripped from the middle of a letter and a thought that is addressing a problem within the church, there is the context of THEIR language and dialect that is missing from modern interpretation. Also, there is the context of the nation and church of Corinth.

Corinth had two international sea ports and multiple languages. This would obviously be in the church also. In the letters of the New Testament, it’s like listening to one side of a phone conversation; thus, we don’t know the exact issue or question that was being asked by the church in Corinth. By looking at the full context, we would understand that the church was having issues with the multiple languages. This is understood through the whole of this portion of the letter - when kept within the context of the surrounding passages. People were getting up and trying to talk, yet others could not understand them. In Acts 2, we see that the manifestation of tongues was the ability to communicate to other languages; even though the apostles did not know the language (Acts 2:6, 11). The issue we are discussing is obviously evident within the full context of what Paul is talking about.

While 1 Cor 14 opens making mention that the Corinthians were pursuing gifts of tongues, the whole of this chapter is not about a gift but rather Paul addressing the many languages being spoken in the church while not everyone can understand; thus Paul makes the statement in 1 Corinthians 14:10-11. That is why the majority of this chapter is addressing speaking so others can understand; and Paul is stressing to NOT pursue the gift of tongues but actually to prophesy - which is better (1 Corinthians 14:1)

Then we get to 1 Corinthians 14:14. We are not looking at a point in which we are told we don't understand the gift of tongues, but the passage actually says it's unfruitful. The Greek word used here is a negative particle word. Would God do anything which is unfruitful? Also, some say that tongues is for our own edification (not understanding the true definition of edification), how does it work that we are unfruitfully edified?

The problem with this statement is one of lack of understanding of the language dialect of the time. If we let Scripture show us the dialect, we can get a better grasps at what is being said. In Luke 4:34 we see an example of a dialect that gives the elution of a "reverse meaning".

The demon speaking says:

“Let us alone! What have we to do with You, Jesus of Nazareth? Did You come to destroy us? I know who You are—the Holy One of God
(Luke 4:34 NKJV)

I know the demons are not asking what they are suppose to do to Y'shua because they have no power to do anything with Y'shua. Likewise, 1 Corinthians 14:14 is saying that, when he speaks another language, what Paul understands is unfruitful to those who do not know the language. In other words, Paul is saying: “When I pray in another language, my prayer is sincere, but what I understand is unfruitful to those around me.” Or, better yet, an example in my life is when a man from Africa prayed over me in the African language. While his prayer was sincere, his understanding of what was being prayed was unfruitful to me (1 Corinthians 14:14) and I couldn't say "amen" because I did not know what he said (1 Corinthians 14:16) and I was un-edified (1 Corinthians 14:17).

Therefore, by looking at the full context of the church, what was going on in the church, 1 Corinthians 14 is addressing a problem of multiple languages within the church and NOT commanding, or even insinuating, to a “praying in tongues”.

Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered
(Romans 8:26 NKJV)

The other verse used for “praying in the spirit” comes from Romans 8:26. People pull this passage from context and force a meaning on it that was not intended from the beginning. This passage was not written by itself, within it’s own context. It starts with the word “Likewise” which is used to introduce a point that is similar to one already made. To take this verse from the context of this writing is to ABUSE Scripture!

So, what is the context of Romans 8? When you back up to Romans 8:22, we see animals groaning also. Do animals speak in tongues? We see the same word (groan) in Romans 8:23.

Again, Romans 8:26 begins with “Likewise” which means this verse is introducing a point that is already made in a prior verse, or verses. The only comparative word is groan; thus it’s comparing the “groaning of the Spirit” with the groaning’s of the animals and the groaning of man. The question becomes, “What is this groaning?”

Romans 8 makes clear that the children of God have two divine intercessors: Romans 8:34 - Christ is our intercessor to Heaven and in Romans 8:26 - the Holy Spirit is our intercessor of our Heart.

Groan does not indicate anything pleasurable. It’s a sound to pain or despair, a miserable tone, a noise made when pressure, weight, or oppression is applied. That alone makes this verse non applicable to “praying in tongues”; as believed to be so positive an act used today. That understanding of groaning’s then makes it work in unison with what we are seeing in the context of Scripture. In Romans 8:22, groaning is associated with labors of birth pains. In Romans 8:23, groaning is associated with our waiting for adoption.

When we understand the definition of groan, we understand that the uses of this word are then tied into the word “hope” in Romans 8:24-25.

Now when you look at the context of this portion of the letter, we see Paul talking about how the animals are groaning from the bondage of corruption (Romans 8:21); likewise, man is too. Then Paul continues to say that the Spirit, like creation and like man, groans for us also. Since we understand the link of the groaning’s by the word “likewise” we then understand that the Spirit is groaning in expectation of the finishing of the corruption on earth.

The point that the Spirit is making intercession for us does NOT, in any way, indicate a verbal noise coming from our lips. In our weakness of what to pray, in our groaning’s of this life, the Holy Spirit intercedes so perfectly that it’s beyond expression of words. Romans 8:27 then tells us that the Spirit does not take the prayers straight to Heaven but rather places them in our hearts and perfects our prayers for us.

What prayer is Paul talking about? The context of this passage tells us in Romans 8:24-25. It’s about our future hope. The Spirit petitions God of the fulfillment of the completion of our adoption as sons and the redemption of our body (Romans 8:23) through the complete realization of the joys of Salvation Romans 8:28. On our behalf, the Spirit of God intercedes with God to make all these things real in our lives which then defines why Christ called the Spirit “Comforter” (John 14:16).

This generation really needs to quit spending so much time in worldly pleasures and start spending time learning how to study the Bible; and actually do it while breaking away from the false teaching of satan; for it’s satan who removes God’s Word from it’s context and twist’s it for his own personal meaning.