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What Does the Bible say About Speaking in Tongues?

Speaking in tongues is a very tricky topic because of the nature of the word tongues.  It has been given many interpretations and can really confuse people who wish to study this topic.  I recollect growing up and a church my parents visited had people speaking in unknown tongues. So, what does the Bible say about speaking in tongues?

They were spinning around uncontrollably, and really appearing to be entranced by a spirit or ghost. It was even taught that one could not be saved unless they were able to speak in tongues. This definitely scared me greatly because in my young mind, there was no way I was going to do that (speak in tongues in front of people).

I did not feel it in me to do it even behind closed doors. Also, I did not feel closer to God by doing that; I actually felt fine where I was at. Nevertheless, this is a greatly debated topic and I wish to clear the matter a bit through edification of the scriptures.

What Does the Bible say About Speaking in Tongues

In the bible, tongues has been used multiple times and many times the meaning varies. In Isaiah 28 verses 11, it is said that God will speak to His people with stammering lips and another tongue. Jesus knew He would send His children, Israel, into captivity all over the world. From this He knew He would have to speak to them in another language.

The language or tongue of the country they were driven to. In this example the word tongue refers to language.  Paul says in 1st Corinthians chapter 14 verses 5, he wishes everyone spoke in prophecy (scriptures) rather than in tongues (phrases that men do not understand).

Speaking in tongues (in this sense) does not profit man unless it is interpreted (verses 2). When someone speaks in tongues as in the “babbling” often displayed in the churches, Paul says that such person is only edifying themselves and not the Church.

Speak that which profits and edifies another!

Furthermore, Paul says if he speaks (and this would include us today), in an unknown tongue how will it profit anyone? The only thing that will profit someone is revelations from God; prophesying, doctrine, and knowledge (v6). We should not write or speak words that cannot be understood.

If I type “iadkaidal, daoidkadd adkfald ,adiadlkd,” and do not explain what it is I typed, what did it profit you? Nothing! This is the other way tongues in mentioned in the bible. It is in the sense of “babbling” and not being understood.

The other meaning is as a language such as English, Spanish, French, and Latin. One reason Paul became the apostle to the Gentiles is because he spoke many tongues (languages) as he mentions in verses 18. This allowed him to speak to many people!

Babbling!

Speaking in tongues then refers to language and/or “babbling,” which is confusion. So should we today participate in speaking in tongues as in filled with the Holy Spirit? We already do one, which is language. What about the other?

I would say it can be done, but one should be explain or interpret what they are saying for the people to be edified. Ultimately, speaking in tongues is a big sign. Paul shows us that tongues (as in babbling) is a sign for those who do not believe.

Most people who need to see or speak in an unknown tongue that only God can discern do not believe in God. They need to see something amazing in order to be convinced of God. Paul writes that the Word of God is not enough for these people.

Not a Real Problem Among Israel

Paul seems to be the only one to talk about the subject. This suggest to me that it was or is a topic that was brought forth by Gentiles. Israel never seem to have a problem with it. Peter and the apostles never devoted time to the speaking in tongues topic to the lost tribes of Israel .

This is possibly pagan origin of service to a false god and was brought over by Gentiles and other nations as they converted. It was then made into a topic for Paul to handle. However, in my conclusion Paul appears to be kindly telling people not to speak in tongues.

I did not address the Acts chapter 2 Pentecost speaking in tongues, because it is a great and detailed subject and it pertains to language and not babbling. I hope this answers the speaking in tongues question, I hope this article has helped your perspective on speaking in tongues and what the bible says about it.

God bless you and keep you in all Holy ways in Jesus name.  Amen

Selah

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4 Comments

  1. Keep working, nice post! This was the information I had to know on speaking in tongues.
    My blog is on toys for toddlers.

  2. Charles McKinneyCharles McKinney

    1Co 14:5  I would that ye all spake with tongues, but rather that ye prophesied: for greater is he that prophesieth than he that speaketh with tongues, except he interpret, that the church may receive edifying. 
    except means there is an exception to the rule, so greater is he that speaketh if there is interpatation
    Act 2:4  And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.  The Spirit gives the utterance according to Daniel God gives the interpatation.
    and you might also say it was just for the unbelieving Jews
    1Co 12:1  Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant. 
    1Co 12:2  Ye know that ye were Gentiles, carried away unto these dumb idols, even as ye were led. 
    1Co 12:3  Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.  Puts a lot of significance on the Holy Ghost, everyone in God’s Bible that received the Holy Ghost spoke with tongues even the mother of Jesus
    Act 10:44  While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word. 
    Act 10:45  And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost. 
    Act 10:46  For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter, ( that is how they knew they had received the Holy Ghost they heard them speak with tongues)
    Act 10:47  Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we? 
    Act 10:48  And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then prayed they him to tarry certain days.
     Act 11:12  And the Spirit bade me go with them, nothing doubting. Moreover these six brethren accompanied me, and we entered into the man’s house: 
    Act 11:13  And he shewed us how he had seen an angel in his house, which stood and said unto him, Send men to Joppa, and call for Simon, whose surname is Peter; 
    Act 11:14  Who shall tell thee words, whereby thou and all thy house shall be saved. 
    Act 11:15  And as I began to speak, the Holy Ghost fell on them, as on us at the beginning. 
    Act 11:16  Then remembered I the word of the Lord, how that he said, John indeed baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost. 
    Act 11:17  Forasmuch then as God gave them the like gift as he did unto us, who believed on the Lord Jesus Christ; what was I, that I could withstand God?  ( I hope that you are not one that would withstand God, like Saul of Tarsus who went about destroying the people of God, because he was blind to the truth of God?
    Act 19:1  And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples, 
    Act 19:2  He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost. 
    Act 19:3  And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John’s baptism. 
    Act 19:4  Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus. 
    Act 19:5  When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 
    Act 19:6  And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied. 
    Act 19:7  And all the men were about twelve. 

    • Thank you, brother Charles. Grace and blessings

      Elder Ishe

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