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What Does The Bible Say About Speaking In Tongues?

What does it say in the Bible about speaking in tongues?


One of the mysteries of being born-again is the ability to speak in tongues – an uncommon language, strange to the ears and impossible for the human mind to comprehend.

Just as it is common for mysterious events to cause controversy, speaking in tongues has been a topic of debate within and outside Christian circles.

Unbelievers mock believers who exhibit this gift, and certain Christians do not understand why they cannot speak in tongues. 

As strange as speaking in tongues might be, the Bible dealt with it sufficiently.

Several verses of the Bible addressed the gift of speaking in tongues, how to get it, those who are qualified to have it, how to use it, and how powerful it is.

If you would love to have sufficient knowledge about speaking in tongues in a sitting, then you are in the right place.

This article will discuss what the Bible says about speaking in tongues.

What does the Bible say about speaking in tongues?

Speaking in tongues in evidence of the infilling of the Holy Spiritbible verses about speaking in tongues

First and foremost, speaking in tongues is mostly activated immediately when one receives the Holy Spirit.

Jesus had long promised His disciples that He would send them the comforter and helper, the Holy Spirit after He ascended to heaven (John 14:26).

This promise came to pass in Acts 2. The Bible says the disciples gathered in the Upper Room, praying, and then the Holy Spirit descended on them like a tongue of fire.

Soon after, they started speaking in tongues, “And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.” (Acts 2:4)

Their experience, therefore, attests to the fact that only those who receive the infilling of the Holy Spirit speak in tongues.speaking in tongues verses

You might be asking why you have not spoken in tongues, even as a genuine Christian.

Everyone has different experiences with speaking in tongues.

Some people receive the gift when the Holy Spirit descends on them, while others take time before manifesting it. 

Apostle Paul went to Ephesus and found some so-called Christians who had never heard about the Holy Spirit.

Paul was then led to ask them how they got saved, and they responded by saying they received the baptism of John. But the Apostle Paul taught them that only those baptized in Jesus’ name are genuinely born-again and qualified to receive the Holy Spirit.

These men accepted Paul’s teaching and got baptized in Jesus’ name.

Then Paul laid his hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit and began to speak in tongues and prophecy (Acts 19:6). 

Two lessons from this experience.

Only those genuinely born-again receive the Holy Spirit, which can be gotten through the laying of hands.

So, do you desire to speak in tongues but struggle with it? Seek counsel from a mature believer and ask that they lay their hands on you.

Speaking in tongues is a gift of the Holy Spirit.speaking in tongues scripture

1 Corinthians 12:7-11 gives insight into different gifts of the Holy Spirit.

They include wisdom, knowledge, faith, healing, miracles, prophecy, discerning of spirits, speaking in tongues, and interpretation of tongues. However, Apostle Paul revealed that each person possesses one of these gifts.

That means that one person gets one gift while another person receives another.

We deduce this through his use of “to another.” For example, one can have the gift of wisdom and not have the gift of speaking in tongues. speaking in tongues bible

This truth reveals why many genuinely born-again Christians cannot speak in tongues, while some start exhibiting the same gift the moment they receive Christ into their lives. But that does not mean a Christian cannot possess more spiritual gifts.

In fact, most believers have multiple gifts, numbering up to five.

This is not because they are special or God loves them more but because they earnestly desire the gifts.

According to 1 Corinthians 12:31, “But earnestly desire the best gifts. And yet I show you a more excellent way.”

While you have one gift, you can desire another gift. James 1:5 confirms that God is willing to give us gifts we desire generously. “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.” 

Therefore, although speaking in tongues is a gift only some have. However, it is available for all who desire it.

Only those who believe in Jesus speak in tongues.speaking in tongues in the bible

Anyone who does not believe in Jesus Christ but speaks in a tongue is doing that under demonic influences.

The devil is an imitator.

He tries to recreate God’s creation and gifts for his evil purpose.

He makes it look exactly like God’s work, but those with God’s Spirit can detect and expose him.

Jesus said, “And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues” (Mark 16:17).

Therefore, one of the signs that you are Jesus’ follow is speaking in new tongues.

It is a confirmation that you are Christ’s verses against speaking in tongues

For example, the Apostle Paul started speaking in tongues after he became Jesus’ disciple, the same as the twelve men in Ephesians Paul baptized and laid hands on and those who waited in the Upper Room on Pentecost.

If your salvation is not genuine, you will not speak in tongues. 

Therefore, the first step toward speaking in tongues is to accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior, forsake sin, and ask for the infilling of the Holy Spirit.

The Bible says that God grants you every request when he becomes your father. “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!” (Matthew 7:11)

Speaking in tongues is prayer and praise language. what does the bible say about speaking in tongues

According to 1 Corinthians 14:14-15, we can pray and sing in tongues or understanding.

Speaking in tongues is often called praying in the Spirit or a prayer language.

This means it’s a coded way of praying to God. 1 Corinthians 14:2 says, “For he who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God, for no one understands him; however, in the spirit he speaks mysteries.” 

This verse shows that speaking in tongues is a private affair between you and God. Only God can decode your language because it is heavenly and not earthly. 

Believers are advised to speak or pray in tongues to confuse the enemy so he cannot interfere with their answers.

In Daniel 10:13, the Prince of Persia (a principality) withheld Daniel’s prayer despite God having answered him.

It took Angel Michael’s intervention for Daniel’s answer to be released after a twenty-one-day delay. However, praying in tongues solves this challenge because you pray in mysteries – demons and humans cannot decode what you are telling God. 

Singing in the Spirit or in tongues is also a means to worship and praise God in the Spirit. It enables you to connect to heaven directly because you are not singing to please man but God.

Only God understands the song you are singing.

The Apostle Paul concludes by saying, “What is the conclusion then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will also pray with the understanding. I will sing with the spirit, and I will also sing with the understanding.” (1 Corinthians 14:15)

Speaking in tongues is for self-edificationtongues in the bible

1 Corinthians 14:4a says, “He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself.” 

Another advantage of speaking in tongues is self-edification.

This means to build yourself up spiritually.

Speaking in tongues is like plugging a device into electricity to boost its battery.

We often feel weary and drained as believers. However, speaking in tongues charges us spiritually with divine power. Jude 1:20 says, “But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit.”

Spiritual strength cannot come from physical activities.

Remember, the Holy Spirit inspires us to speak in tongues.

Also, speaking in tongues is a direct communication with God. Therefore, God strengthens our weaknesses and gives us sufficient grace to live a successful spiritual life.

Speaking in tongues will help you pray more, study your Bible, witness to sinners, fast more, and fulfill the Lord’s command.

Interpreted tongues edify the verses on speaking in tongues

“I wish you all spoke with tongues, but even more that you prophesied; for he who prophesies is greater than he who speaks with tongues, unless indeed he interprets, that the church may receive edification.” (1 Corinthians 14:5)

Speaking in tongues is fantastic. But it only benefits those speaking it because they speak mysteries unto God.

Therefore, a person close by might not understand, especially in a church gathering, where people with different levels of spiritual understanding worship.

Since a church gathering often includes sinners who do not understand certain spiritual activities, speaking in tongues might confuse them. 

God understands that this kind of situation might arise, so He gave some believers the gift of interpretation of tongues.

This set of people has the rare gift of decoding and interpreting the mysteries to bless the church.

So, Apostle Paul admonishes us to consider unbelievers within us while wanting to pray in the Spirit.

The Apostle Paul asked a crucial question in 1 Corinthians 14:16, “if you bless with the spirit, how will he who occupies the place of the uninformed say “Amen” at your giving of thanks, since he does not understand what you say?” 

Paul is interested in the growth of new converts and unbelievers.

“Therefore if the whole church comes together in one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in those who are uninformed or unbelievers, will they not say that you are out of your mind?”(1 Corinthians 14:23).

Our churches today must consider unbelievers when trying to speak in tongues.

You must also endure to speak more of understanding so you will not be the reason a soul leaves the church.

Paul confirmed that he spoke in tongues more than all Corinthian believers. However, he preferred to speak in understanding in church, suggesting that speaking in tongues was a private spiritual activity (1 Corinthians 14:18-19).

Speaking in tongues must be accompanied by love. bible verse about speaking in tongues

Apostle Paul compares speaking in tongues, a spiritual activity, with love. 

“Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal” (1 Corinthians 13:1). As powerful as speaking in tongues is, it can become noise in God’s ears. 

Paul compares anyone who prioritizes speaking in tongues over love to a clanging cymbal.

Why is love important? Matthew 22:37-38, “Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment.” 

Therefore, anyone who lacks love in their heart is not walking in God’s will and purpose. 

You must first love God before you can pray, praise, and sing to Him in tongues.

God searches our hearts and does not focus on what we do alone.

Many speak in tongues to impress people and show they have attained a certain level of spiritual maturity. However, God looks beyond the spiritual language and looks at the heart to know its motive and standing with Him.

Love will also guide you when speaking in tongues in the presence of unbelievers.

You will understand that you are not edifying them but confusing them.

Instead, you will speak in understanding so they receive the revelation of God’s Word and become born-again. 

Speaking in tongues becomes profitless when the motive is wrong.

Unfortunately, God does not answer such prayers (James 4:3). Therefore, every believer must understand that God wants us to fulfill His commandments. 

Finally, 1 Corinthians 13:8 says, “Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away.”


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