Does the Holy Spirit take over a persons tongue until speaking in tongues is over, or does the person speaking in tongues actually have some control over it?
Acts 2:1 - 47
NRSV - 1 When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. 2 And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting.
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I would say that, since the ability to speak in tongues is a specific gift of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:10), the bestowing of it on an individual is entirely at the Spirit's discretion and control, and for His purposes (as it was at Pentecost (Acts 2:1-12), for example, with the express objective of allowing the people from many nations who were assembled at Jerusalem to each hear the gospel in the person's own language); or at the time of Peter's visit to Cornelius (Acts 10:44-46) as a definite sign that God had accepted Gentiles into the church); or to differentiate between the baptism of repentance (such as John the Baptist practiced) and baptism with the Holy Spirit (Acts 19:1-7)). It is not (in my opinion) something that people can call up or display of their own volition or upon their own demand. Also, since speaking in tongues is intended for the edification of believers (1 Corinthians 14:6-28), it always (in my opinion) consists of speech that is capable of interpretation (even if that speech is not in a known earthly language), rather than words or sounds that no one can understand or interpret (although -- and especially in the case of an unknown language -- the ability to interpret it is also a separate gift of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:10)).
This is a great question! As someone who speaks in tongues daily, I have some ideas, but I'll start with what Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 14: 14 For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays but my mind is unfruitful. 15 What am I to do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will pray with my mind also; d I will sing praise with my spirit, but I will e sing with my mind also. 16 Otherwise, if you give thanks with your spirit, how can anyone in the position of an outsider 2 say f "Amen" to g your thanksgiving when he does not know what you are saying? 17 For you may be giving thanks well enough, but the other person is not being built up. 18 I thank God that I speak in tongues more than all of you. 19 Nevertheless, in church I would rather speak five words with my mind in order to instruct others, than ten thousand words in a tongue. 20 Brothers, h do not be children in your thinking. I Be infants in evil, but in your thinking be j mature. 21 k In the Law it is written, l "By people of strange tongues and by the lips of foreigners will I speak to this people, and even then they will not listen to me, says the Lord." 22 Thus tongues are a sign not for believers but for unbelievers, while prophecy is a sign 3 not for unbelievers but for believers. Paul states that when we pray in tongues, our mind is unfruitful, and I would agree with that. However, this doesn't necessarily mean that it is happening without our control over it. What this means to me is that when we pray in tongues, the Holy Spirit is praying on our behalf, and unless we also have the gift of interpretation, we may not know exactly what we're praying about when we speak in tongues. As the Bible states in Romans 8: 26 Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For b we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but c the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. It seems logical to me that if Paul is giving clear instructions in 1 Corinthians 14 about the parameters of speaking in tongues, then those who speak in tongues do have control over it, and anyone who speaks in tongues should heed the directions given in the Bible about it. From my experience, when I speak in tongues I have control over when I'm doing it. I open my mouth and begin to speak, and the words flow. That being said, there are times in my life when I'm in deep prayer and I find myself beginning to speak in tongues without really being conscious that I've started. Even so, I still have control over the opening and closing of my mouth, and whether or not I will continue to speak in tongues, or to stop. Since speaking in tongues is meant for the edification of the speaker, I agree with Paul's instructions about the orderliness that we need to observe about it in 1 Corinthians 14: 27 If any speak in s a tongue, let there be only two or at most three, and each in turn, and let someone interpret. 28 But if there is no one to interpret, let each of them keep silent in church and speak to himself and to God. I would again assert that since Paul is giving instructions about how tongues should be handled in a public setting, this is further indication that those who speak in tongues have definite control over it.
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