By Dr. Stephen Phinney

The Holy Spirit manifests Himself within the believer to enable him to discern the spirit behind certain actions or words (whether the spirit operating is the Holy Spirit or demonic). The person with this manifestation has been given a supernatural ability to see into the spiritual realm for the protection of the Body of Christ.


This manifestation is used in the testing of prophets and prophesying (1 John 4:1-6). Most of a prophet’s words are to convince the Body members around them. The manifestation of discernment is used by God to keep prophets in line. This manifestation can unmask a body member who is an evil worker and expose his deception to the Body of Christ. The Spirit often uses this manifestation to expose a source of error in a believer or expose the source of one’s “revelation.” This manifestation becomes a protection agent for the gifts God has provided.

This gift will determine immediately if there is demonic activity going on in a group or in an individual. The Body member will have an overwhelming sense that spiritual warfare is going on around him. This manifestation gives a special insight into a person’s physical sickness, whether it is spiritually or physically based. Paul experienced this in Acts 16:16-18. Paul was able to discern what spirit was speaking through the slave girl.  


God uses this manifestation to cure human illnesses.  The Greek definition of healing is “to cure”.  This manifestation does not mean to "Band-Aid" or to bring relief, but literally to cure.  The Greek leaves us with the understanding that once the person has been healed, the illness is completely gone – cured.
The purpose is to bring permanent healing to physical, psychological, and spiritual disease.  Many think that once the Spirit manifests through them with this gift, they have the power to heal the sick anytime they choose.  This is not the way this gift works.  When the Holy Spirit is directed by the Heavenly Father to bring a cure to someone who is sick, then the power is released in the Body member to do the work.
We do not know why God leaves certain people with illness and heals others.  We do know that God has His reasons and lessons for His suffering children (2 Corinthians 12:7-9).  When God does choose to heal, He does it so all mankind will know His glory.
Healing is a result of God releasing His power.  Paul was so filled with the power of God that when people would take handkerchiefs from his body, they would be healed.  Body members who are filled with the power and presence of God are more likely to see healings, because they have the power of God powering through them.
The manifestation of miracles reveals how the Holy Spirit conducts powerful acts of God through a Body member.  The Greek definition is “power”.  This includes parting water, walking on water, turning water into wine, and everything in between.
The purpose of miracles is for God to bring what is in the unseen world (God’s world) into the seen world (man’s world).  Many Americans believe God can and will perform miracles in the third world, but not here in America.  If the people don’t believe by faith that God can and will manifest this way, He probably won’t.  It takes faith and works to activate this manifestation.  In many third world countries, people don’t have the prerogative to trust in science and modern inventions.  They simply have to rely upon the Holy Spirit in and around them. God's natural way of living is our supernatural way of living.
The word “tongues” comes from the Greek word glossa.  There are three findings of the word “tongue” in the New Testament: two kinds of tongues of man and one kind of tongue of angels.
God gives the first tongue to man when he is born (Mark 7:33-34).  The family and friends in the culture the child grew up in helps develop this language (tongue) in the child.  God gives the second kind of tongue of man when God deems it necessary.  This tongue is a supernatural manifestation of God giving to man a language he has never learned (Acts 2:4, 11). 
This occurred in me when I was on a mission trip to Uganda.  I was on a stage waiting to speak when I began singing out in a “strange” language.  After the service, the worship leader approached me saying, “I didn’t know you could speak Ugandan?”  I didn’t, of course, but God had his reason for me manifesting in this way. 
The third type of tongues is a language of angels.  When this Spirit manifests in a Body member, the person is not speaking to men, but to God. “For no one understands, but in his spirit he speaks mysteries” (1 Cor. 14:2).

The First Tongue
The first tongue is simply the tongue you and I learned as we were trained up as children.  Many families teach their children several languages.  This is because children notice multiple languages more quickly than adults do.  No matter how many languages children are taught, they are all of this type of tongue.
The Second Tongue
An example of the second tongue was the fiery tongues appearing upon the apostles on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:3).  It was a tongue and earthly language.   The apostles were given tongues of other men so foreigners in the room could understand (Acts 2:5- 6).  This language is a foreign or strange language that one did not learn, but was enabled to speak because of the supernatural intervention of the Holy Spirit.  This type of manifestation, like all manifestations of the Spirit, does not occur until a person is saved.
These were languages foreign to the speaker, which he never learned, but was enabled to speak at that time.  Rarely is someone given a foreign language and then able to speak it from then on (although God can do what pleases Him).
This gift is never to be used unless there are ears to hear.  Why would God manifest in this way if there were no listeners to hear what God had to say (Acts 2:5-6)?
The Third Tongue
The third tongue was used for private/personal reasons, like prayer, unless God was sending a message to His people through a body member acting as a messenger.  People who speak in tongues of angels edify themselves (1 Corinthians 14:4).  This is because of the overwhelming feeling it gives the person when the angelic tongue is spoken through them.  The Body member is given the privilege of joining the Holy Spirit in communicating with God.  This is certainly a supernatural privilege.
This type of tongue, when spoken publicly, needs an interpretation (1Cor. 14:5).  When God manifests Himself this way, He is delivering a message to the Body, or in some cases, to the unsaved world.  If a body member speaks in tongue when there is no interpretation, this person is seeking to edify him or herself publicly.  Correction is needed in this case.  Body members who use speaking in tongues are often selfish and controlling.  Many who are “extreamamatics” (a word I made up) use this manifestation to cause division.  If they cannot convince their church/ministry that everyone needs to speak in tongues or have the “baptism of the Holy Spirit” as a second blessing, they leave the church and find one that supports their self-proclaimed beliefs.  All of God’s gifts and manifestations are practical and God uses them not to build self, but to build the Body of Christ (1 Corinthians 14:4)
Most believers who can be categorized as “extreamamatics” do not understand authority.  They believe they are to hear from God directly and not from the leadership that God has placed over and around them.  It they don’t like what their authorities are saying, they fall back on what they “heard from the Lord”.  Who is to argue with that?  This is why many, if not most, go uncontested.  This reinforces what they believe and that their way is the right way.  In reality, they are gaining more uncontested supporters and soon they have started a movement of self-willed, self-proclaimed prophets who use the name of the Lord to bring division to the established church of God.  The deceptive thing is they do not believe they are divisive.  They move quietly and are very deceiving, gathering their own and plotting to gain more members who will believe as they do.  They believe God has them on a mission.  This group of “extreamamatics” is almost cultish.  I consider them a threat to the Body of Christ.
The bottom line is this: Unless a person utters by the tongue speech that is clear, how will it be known what is spoken?  These people are speaking into the air, if it is outside the order of God (1 Cor. 14:9).  There are many kinds of languages in the world and no kind is without meaning (1 Cor. 14:10).  If we don’t know the meaning of the language, we are the foreigner and the ones speaking in tongues will be foreign to us as well (1 Cor. 14:11).
If anyone does speak in a tongue in the church, it should be by two or three at the most. Each should be in turn (God is a God of order) and each and every tongue needs an interpretation.  If there is not an interpreter, the Body member is to keep silent in the church and use this gift manifestation in his prayer closet before God Himself (vv. 27-28).
Therefore, those who seek to be zealous with the gifts and manifestations of God should seek to abound in the gifts that edify the church, not themselves (1 Cor. 14:13).
"I thank God, I speak in tongues more than you all; however, in the church I desire to speak five words with my mind so that I may instruct others also, rather than ten thousand words in a tongue" (1 Cor 14:18-19).
Scripture  taken from the New American Standard Bible, © Copyright 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.