Speaking in tongues can be beneficial, but only if it is used as it is intended. Don’t let the desire for tongues distract you from a much better gift –one that can be more beneficial to the body of Christ– that gift is prophesying.
Prophesying is speaking forth God’s word. Before Jesus was born, God spoke to prophets and they in turn repeated that message.
Since that time, He has given us the Living Word –Jesus; and His life and influence have been recorded in the written word –the Bible. Now we have God’s message that we can repeat. The message, whether through the Old Testament prophets or through quoting the Bible, has always been about God’s redemptive plan accomplished through His Son.
In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. (Hebrews 1:1-3)
Remember what we read previously in 1 Corinthians 14:21-22. The purpose of speaking in tongues is to tell the gospel of Jesus to unbelieving Jews. Then what would be the purpose of speaking in tongues in an assembly of believers? Maybe, if there happened to be an unbeliever in the midst, there might possibly be some benefit in it. But most people –including the speaker– won’t be able to understand what is being said. According to Paul, rather than speaking in tongues, it is much better if the body understands what is being said so that it might be instructed.
I thank God that I speak in tongues more than all of you. But in the church I would rather speak five intelligible words to instruct others than ten thousand words in a tongue. (1 Corinthians 14:18-19)
Although it is misused in so many churches today, we aren’t to forbid speaking in foreign languages (tongues) simply because God continues to reach out to the lost Jews.
Did the word of God originate with you? Or are you the only people it has reached? If anybody thinks he is a prophet or spiritually gifted, let him acknowledge that what I am writing to you is the Lord’s command. If he ignores this, he himself will be ignored. Therefore, my brothers, be eager to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in tongues. But everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way. (1 Corinthians 14:36-40)