Speaking in Tongues

  1. What is speaking in other tongues?
  2. Can you be saved without speaking in tongues? 

1. What is speaking in other tongues? 

The Christian Church started on the day of Pentecost (50 days after Jesus Christ was crucified), when God poured out the gift of the Holy Spirit on His disciples. This is described in Acts chapter 2: "And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance" (ACTS 2:4).

At that time there was a convention going on in Jerusalem and the people were amazed at this occurrence asking: "And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born?" (ACTS 2:8). "And they were all amazed, and were in doubt, saying one to another, What meaneth this?" (ACTS 2:12). Some even accused the disciples of being drunk!

But Peter stood up and told them: "For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day. But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh …" (ACTS 2:15-17). He told them that as Jesus was now in heaven the Holy Spirit had come (see also JOHN 14:26): "Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now SEE and HEAR" (ACTS 2:33).

This same pattern is repeated throughout the New Testament where people received the Holy Spirit, which was evidenced by speaking in other tongues. For example, the disciples knew that the Gentiles had received the Holy Spirit in Acts chapter 10, "FOR THEY HEARD THEM SPEAK IN TONGUES, and magnify God …" (ACTS 10:45-46).

More Scriptures on the baptism of the Holy Ghost, evidenced by the sign of speaking in other tongues, can be found in our Bible study about baptism in the Holy Ghost and speaking in tongues.

Speaking with other tongues is the visible sign of receiving the Holy Spirit. It is a language you cannot learn but which is given to you as a gift from God, as soon as you receive the Holy Spirit. This tongue can sometimes be understood by others (ACTS 2:8), but more commonly is an unknown language which is meant only for private prayer and worship to God: "For he that speaketh in an unknown tongue speaketh not unto men, but unto God: for no man understandeth him; howbeit in the spirit he speaketh mysteries" (1 CORINTHIANS 14:2). "For if I pray in an unknown tongue, my spirit prayeth ..." (1 CORINTHIANS 14:14).

When you pray in this new tongue, you are praying directly to God, and you no longer need to use "vain repetition" of prayer, but are free to praise God "in the Spirit". God had indeed already prophesied of this relationship with His people in the book of Isaiah: "For with stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to this people" (ISAIAH 28:11).

At present, about 500 million people all over the world have had this experience with the Holy Spirit. "Wherefore TONGUES ARE FOR A SIGN, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not …" (1 CORINTHIANS 14:22).

There are many more Scriptures that tell us of the benefits of praying in tongues and the Apostle Paul, who was mightily used by God, said that he himself spoke in tongues more than anybody else! (See 1 CORINTHIANS 14:18)

In our Bible study section, we have gathered many more reasons as to why we should pray in the Spirit.

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2. Can you be saved without speaking in tongues? 

The Bible does not condemn those who do not speak in tongues. God's Word speaks of "believers", like Cornelius in Acts 10, who was 'devout; a just man' in God's sight. While many professing Christians are certainly 'believers', they must also take heed to follow the "whole counsel of God" (ACTS 20:27), just as God sent Peter to explain to Cornelius "what thou oughtest to do" (ACTS 10:6).

People that have "given their heart to Jesus; made a decision for Christ etc. etc." have repented before God and are obviously "believers." They are then to 'go on' and seek the fullness which God has provided (EPHESIANS 3:19). "Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, IF YE CONTINUE IN MY WORD, THEN are ye my disciples indeed" (JOHN 8:31). This means that even though a person is saved, unless they GO ON and become DISCIPLES according to MATTHEW 28 etc. they will lose their "freely given salvation".

Salvation is likened to 'bringing forth to birth'. It is easy once God grants faith, but to go on and grow up in Christ and prepare as a disciple to meet Him, is where the real Christian life begins. Yet, without being trained and taught the Christian can simply stagnate in his early experience and will not go on to that fullness of Christ, which God intended us to come to in our walks in Christ.

As Peter on the Day of Pentecost, we preach ACTS 2:37-39: "Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost", for we want everyone to come in to the fullness which God supplies. Our own experience is that 80% or more of our folk receive the Holy Spirit already before they are baptised. However, 'speaking in tongues' is not the central issue - we do not seek the gift, but the Giver. Christians need to look upon the Lord Jesus Christ and call upon Him as their Saviour. Most receive the Holy Spirit and speak in tongues within seconds of seeking God … and sometimes with great power.

We do encourage all to go on and receive the infilling of the Holy Spirit … not just to 'enable them', but because we don't want anyone to miss out on anything and because we firmly believe that the example the first disciples followed and experienced IS for everyone. Jesus told His disciples to wait in Jerusalem (ACTS 1:8) - where they would receive POWER to be His witnesses throughout the world. God warns us, "… With men of other tongues and other lips will I speak unto this people; and yet for all that will they not hear me, saith the Lord" (1 CORINTHIANS 14:21). Some of Jesus' last words to His disciples show us that tongues would be one of the "signs following" His church: "And these shall be the signs that shall follow them that believe: … they shall speak with new tongues …" (MARK 16:17).

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