I’ve spoken in tongues only twice.
And yet, it doesn’t make me feel less of a Christian.
The first time, I felt compelled to do so.
I had just finished my compulsory foundation class session in the church.
And as a requirement, we should all speak in tongues.
To be frank, it was weird, and I knew I was faking it.
But then came another day, As I was praying at home, I felt a surge of power within me.
As I prayed, I started moving my lips and saying some unlearned languages.
This was the first time I spoke in tongues. And it was a real and powerful experience.
So, is speaking in tongues for every Christian? Should we still speak in tongues in the church? Are there bible verses about speaking in tongues that can explain more?
I have compiled bible verses about speaking in tongues. Read and learn the truth of God’s word.
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10 Speaking in tongues bible verses (new testament)
If you are in doubt about God’s word on speaking in tongues, here are bible verses to uplift your faith.
1. Mark 16:15-17 on speaking in tongues in Christ’s name
He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons;they will speak in new tongues
Diving into Mark 16:15-17, we unearth a fascinating connection. The Great Commission and speaking in tongues intertwine here. Jesus’ command is clear: “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.” He then foretells, “In my name, they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues.”
These instructions mirror those in Matthew 28:19-20. There, Jesus instructs his disciples to make disciples of all nations. These commands come with a divine empowerment – speaking in new tongues.
In the wider scope, speaking in tongues becomes more than a spiritual gift. It transforms into a divine tool, enabling the spread of the gospel. This gift bridges language barriers, connects cultures, and shows God’s universal love.
Let’s consider Acts 2:4, providing a snapshot of the early church. Here, filled with the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, the apostles begin speaking in tongues. These events underscore the promise of Christ. The gift of tongues acts as a sign, accompanying believers.
In contemporary Christian worship, particularly in Pentecostal and Charismatic circles, speaking in tongues is common. It’s a sign of the Holy Spirit’s presence, a tangible manifestation among believers.
The role of speaking in tongues during Christ’s time was revolutionary. It was a new way of expressing faith, an extraordinary sign that the Holy Spirit was working within believers. The disciples, simple men of humble backgrounds, were suddenly able to speak languages they had never learned. This unusual ability amazed the crowds and grabbed their attention, paving the way for the disciples to share the message of Christ.
Speaking in tongues is thus woven into Christian history. It stands as a testament to the Holy Spirit’s work. It is a gift, a divine tool for sharing the gospel. I urge you to appreciate this divine gift, for it’s not just about speaking – it’s about communicating God’s love.
Remember, speaking in tongues isn’t only an act of faith. It’s a vehicle of divine love, a testament to God’s presence, and a tool for gospel propagation.
2. 1 Corinthian 14: 1, 2 on love and prophecy are greater than speaking in tongues
Follow the way of love and eagerly desire gifts of the Spirit,especially prophecy. For anyone who speaks in a tongue does not speak to people but to God. Indeed, no one understands them; they utter mysteries by the Spirit
Love, the heartbeat of our spiritual life, sits at the very core of all spiritual gifts. Echoing Galatians 5:22-23, love is the tangible fruit produced by a life deeply intertwined with God.
In 1 Corinthians 14:1-2, Paul presents two spiritual gifts – prophecy and speaking in tongues. Let’s delve into these.
Prophecy isn’t merely forecasting the future. It’s a proclamation of God’s truth, edifying the church through understanding. Even Paul, an avid speaker in tongues (1 Corinthians 14:18), advocated for the edifying potential of prophecy (1 Corinthians 14:4).
Speaking in tongues, on the other hand, is a deeply personal, spiritual prayer language. It transcends our understanding, allowing the speaker to commune with God. This ‘unknown tongue’ needs interpretation, however, to edify the wider church.
This brings to mind an experience in a Bible study group. I witnessed someone eloquently speaking in tongues during prayer, expressing a profound depth of spiritual communication. However, it was the subsequent discussion of the Scripture – a form of prophecy – that brought illumination and general edification to the entire group.
This points us to the delicate balance between personal edification and the edification of the church. Speaking in tongues can be a source of personal spiritual enrichment, as one engages in divine communion. On the other hand, prophecy, interpreted tongues, or any gift exercised in an understandable manner, serves to build up the entire community of faith. The gifts of the Spirit, including speaking in tongues, aren’t given for personal satisfaction alone, but for the common good (1 Peter 4:10).
In conclusion, our spiritual journey should center on love. This should encourage us to desire spiritual gifts, with an emphasis on prophecy for communal edification. Speaking in tongues has its place, especially in personal prayer. Yet, in communal settings, understanding and edification reign supreme. This is because spiritual growth isn’t solely personal – it’s also about uplifting the community. Ultimately, love binds these aspects, making our spiritual gift practice a divine symphony of grace.
3. 1 Corinthian 14: 3, 4 on prophesying helps the church
But the one who prophesies speaks to people for their strengthening, encouraging and comfort. Anyone who speaks in a tongue edifies themselves, but the one who prophesies edifies the church.
Prophecy is a vital gift for the church’s life. It serves to edify, encourage, and comfort. It fosters communal growth, acting as spiritual sunshine that nurtures faith. This idea is central to 1 Corinthians 14:3.
Biblical prophets, like Isaiah and Jeremiah, perfectly exemplify this role. Amidst Israel’s darkest hours, their words brought comfort. They delivered divine messages, steering the nation back when it strayed. Their voices were instruments of God, fortifying Israel’s spiritual foundation.
In modern times, pastors continue this tradition. Their sermons, grounded in Scripture, inspire and uplift. They communicate God’s word in ways that resonate with congregants. Through prophecy, they provide comfort, instill courage, and rekindle spiritual passion.
Speaking in tongues, according to 1 Corinthians 14:4, is a different type of gift. It serves personal edification, acting as a private prayer language. It strengthens individual faith, fostering personal spiritual growth. But without interpretation, it doesn’t contribute to the communal growth like prophecy does.
When contemplating spiritual gifts, I picture a spectrum of diverse hues. Each unique, each contributing to a grand masterpiece. Some gifts, like prophecy, are public. Others, like tongues, are private. Romans 12:6 suggests that our gifts vary as per divine grace. Their usage should glorify God and fortify His people.
Ephesians 4:12 drives this point home. It articulates the purpose of these gifts: to equip believers for service, to build up Christ’s body.
To conclude, we all have a part in the church’s growth. We’re encouraged to seek prophecy, a gift aiding this growth directly. It’s like watering the church’s roots, promoting its spiritual health. The best part? We’re not alone in this. We have the Holy Spirit, our guide, leading us to harmoniously use our gifts. Together, we contribute to the entire body’s benefit and the glory of the One who gave us these gifts.
4. 1 Corinthian 14: 18 on speaking in tongues is a gift
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
Spiritual gifts are special abilities given to believers by the Holy Spirit. In essence, they’re God’s grace personified, free and unmerited. This concept aligns with Romans 6:23, which talks about the free gift of God being eternal life.
One such gift is speaking in tongues. This was something Paul, an early Christian leader, was quite familiar with. As noted in 1 Corinthians 14:18, Paul expressed deep gratitude for this gift. He didn’t use it to elevate himself but thanked God for it.
Remember, the gift of tongues is a divine tool for communication. Like Paul, we should express gratitude when we employ it. It’s not for self-elevation but for divine connection.
Paul’s experience provides an excellent example of how to use spiritual gifts correctly. He used his gift when appropriate and acknowledged the value of other gifts, like prophecy, that build up the church.
Even today, some Christians manifest this gift during personal prayer. In these moments, they pour out their hearts to God in languages unknown to them. It’s a testament to the enduring power of the Holy Spirit.
Every spiritual gift, including speaking in tongues, is meant for God’s glory. Whether it’s prophecy, teaching, or serving, every gift has a significant role in the Christian faith. Each contributes to the divine symphony of worship.
In summary, speaking in tongues is an extraordinary gift, enhancing personal communion with God. It must be received gratefully and used wisely. Like Paul, we should use our gifts not for self-elevation, but for edification, ultimately glorifying God. After all, that’s the true essence of any spiritual gift we receive.
5. 1 Corinthian 14: 22 on speaking in tongues as a sign to those that do not believe in Christ
Tongues, then, are a sign, not for believers but for unbelievers; prophecy, however, is not for unbelievers but for believers
Diving into the Biblical mystery of speaking in tongues, we find a captivating duality. As Paul explains in 1 Corinthians 14:22, tongues serve as a sign to non-believers. This places tongues in a new light. Often seen as a gift for believers’ edification, Paul reveals another role: guiding non-believers towards faith.
Consider the Pentecost account in the Book of Acts. Disciples, filled with the Holy Spirit, began speaking in foreign languages. This miracle occurred during a time when Jerusalem was teeming with Jews from various nations. These individuals were taken aback as they heard God’s wonders proclaimed in their native languages. This divine sign led to approximately three thousand conversions. Clearly, speaking in tongues was a potent spiritual instrument, marking a path to belief for non-believers.
Now, you might wonder, “What about believers?” In the life of a believer, tongues carry significant benefits. When paired with interpretation, tongues edify the church, much like prophecy, which Paul states is for believers. However, tongues without interpretation can cause confusion, emphasizing the need for orderly use in church settings.
Furthermore, tongues carry a weight of divine judgment. According to Isaiah 28:11-12, God, addressing Israel’s unbelief, would speak through foreign tongues. This was a clear warning sign of impending judgment.
In summary, the spiritual gift of tongues is multi-faceted. It serves as a faith beacon for non-believers, while also offering edification for believers when rightly interpreted. Further, it acts as a divine judgment indicator, underscoring unbelief. As we delve deeper into this spiritual gift, we should remember its complexity, aiming to comprehend and utilize it for God’s glory and the church’s benefit.
6. 1 Corinthian 14:26 on the true order of worship
What then shall we say, brothers and sisters? When you come together, each of you has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. Everything must be done so that the church may be built up
Spiritual gifts, especially speaking in tongues, created a vibrant tapestry in early Christian worship. Let’s dive into this, focusing on 1 Corinthians 14:26, Ephesians 5:19-20, and Colossians 3:16.
The Christian community thrives on diversity. Each believer has unique spiritual gifts. Paul, in his writings, encourages their use for the church’s edification. Ephesians 5:19-20 further emphasizes this point, nudging us towards a mutual dialogue filled with Spirit-filled songs, psalms, and hymns. In this milieu, speaking in tongues, interpretation, and prophecy find their rightful place.
Picture a worship service. A believer, moved by the Spirit, starts speaking in tongues. Another interprets. Yet another shares a prophetic word. All these acts serve a singular purpose – edification. It isn’t about individual spiritual prowess but the collective spiritual nourishment of the church.
Colossians 3:16 portrays the beauty of shared spiritual contribution. Every hymn sung, every prophetic word delivered, and every prayer spoken in tongues and interpreted enriches the worship experience.
Applying this to the modern context, I find these principles still resonate. Particularly in charismatic and pentecostal traditions, we see this vibrant spiritual environment. Members contribute songs, Scripture readings, and prayers in tongues. Each act, driven by a unique spiritual gift, builds up the congregation.
In conclusion, early Christian worship thrived on the dynamic use of spiritual gifts. They prioritized communal edification and welcomed spiritual diversity. As a church today, let’s embrace these principles, honoring the Spirit’s varied gifts within us. Every time we exercise our gifts, we contribute to the continuing legacy of worship in the body of Christ.
7. 1 Corinthian 14: 27, 28 on the requirement for speaking tongues in the church
If anyone speaks in a tongue, two—or at the most three—should speak, one at a time, and someone must interpret.If there is no interpreter, the speaker should keep quiet in the church and speak to himself and to God.
In the heart of Paul’s teachings, we find vital instructions for worship in 1 Corinthians 14:27-28. He underlines an orderly approach for speaking in tongues. The edifying nature of such a spiritual practice is enhanced when conducted with clarity and coherence.
Paul advocates for a limited number of people to speak in tongues during worship. A similar principle resonates in 2 Thessalonians 2:15, urging believers to hold fast to teachings. Paul’s guidance isn’t about curbing the gift, but channeling it for the community’s benefit.
Next, let’s consider interpretation. This aspect holds the essence of communication in worship. If tongues aren’t interpreted, the congregation loses the potential enrichment. The church, Paul’s “pillar and foundation of the truth” (1 Timothy 3:15), necessitates clarity in the delivery of God’s message.
Now, I invite you to think of a balance. Freedom for spiritual expression needs an orderly framework. Much like in a symphony, harmony comes from blending different notes while following the conductor’s cues. The church is God’s symphony, and order is our conductor.
Speaking in tongues is about edification, not mere fascination. Paul encourages believers to ensure that their spiritual expressions edify others. A tongue without interpretation might intrigue, but it doesn’t build. The role of interpretation is to transform these spiritual expressions into strokes on the canvas of collective worship.
Lastly, Paul emphasizes the speaker’s responsibility to ensure interpretation. Without it, the speaker should keep silent, focusing instead on a silent dialogue with God. This stance reflects the essence of worship, underlining the importance of enriching the spiritual community.
Paul’s guidelines for speaking in tongues foster harmony and mutual edification. They remind us that spiritual gifts, including tongues, should primarily uplift the church and glorify God.
8. 1 Corinthians 12:4-10 on speaking in tongues as a gift of the Holy Spirit
There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them.There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.
Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues.
In any vibrant church community, the diversity of spiritual gifts is a sight to behold. Imagine a musical symphony, each note essential, each melody integral. This is the body of Christ. In his first letter to the Corinthians, Apostle Paul highlights the role of these gifts, including speaking in tongues.
Each spiritual gift, from wisdom to healing and tongues, originates from the same Spirit. Paul, in 1 Corinthians 12:4-10, likens it to a heavenly downpour, where every gift serves the common good. Such diversity of gifts also echoes in Romans 12:6-8. Here, gifts range from prophecy to mercy, given to build up, not show off.
Interdependence marks the operation of these gifts. One person’s word of wisdom might inspire another’s prayer in tongues, leading to comfort and edification for a third. This synergy brings the church to life.
In Ephesians 4:11-13, we see Christ bestowing gifts. Apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, teachers all aim to equip saints for maturity. The gifts blend to create a perfect symphony of unity. Each note matters, each contribution is significant.
Observing these gifts in a church community is awe-inspiring. Wisdom enlightens, faith heals, tongues touch heaven. Each gift pulses with the Spirit’s heartbeat, enhancing the divine symphony. As believers, we’re part of this grand performance, this eternal endeavor.
Recognizing the variety of spiritual gifts nurtures unity. Valuing each gift, we honor the Giver. It strengthens bonds, fosters love, and fuels mutual respect.
Speaking in tongues, like other gifts, emerges from the Spirit. Amidst this diversity, unity stands tall. The source is singular, the purpose unified – edification of the church, reflecting God’s multifaceted wisdom.
So, when you next attend a church service, take a moment. Listen to the spiritual symphony. Regardless of whether it’s an encouraging word, a prayer of faith, a prophecy, or someone speaking in tongues, remember, it’s the same Spirit working. And for me, it’s in this orchestra of spiritual gifts that I find solace, witnessing the beautiful blend of diversity and harmony within the body of Christ.
9. 1 Corinthians 12:28-30 on not all receives the gift of speaking in tongues
And God has placed in the church first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, of helping, of guidance, and of different kinds of tongues.
Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? 30 Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues[a]? Do all interpret?
Let’s take a deep dive into 1 Corinthians 12:28-30. Here, Apostle Paul maps out an intriguing hierarchy of spiritual gifts. It’s a divine tapestry, where speaking in tongues, among others, weaves its unique pattern. Yet, it’s not the sole or most important thread.
Paul’s rhetorical question, “Do all speak in tongues?” sets the stage. The answer is an unmistakable “No.” It’s an affirming nod to the diversity of our gifts, a recognition of our unique spiritual configurations.
As Ephesians 4:7 tells us, “grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift.” This speaks to the heart of diversity within the church. Each gift, tongues included, serves to uplift the church, glorify God, and underscore our interdependence.
The fourth point to consider is the divine origin of these gifts. Our focus isn’t just about who does or doesn’t speak in tongues. It’s about the divine distributor – the Holy Spirit. The choice isn’t ours. I don’t pick my gift anymore than I pick my hair color.
Our reaction to these divine gifts? Paul’s message is clear: encourage, be content, and cooperate. As in 1 Peter 4:10-11, we’re stewards of God’s varied grace. I may not speak in tongues, but perhaps I can prophesy, heal, assist, or lead.
Remember the disciples in the New Testament? Their gifts varied. Peter and John healed a lame man (Acts 3). Agabus prophesied a severe famine (Acts 11). Believers spoke in tongues at Pentecost (Acts 2). Diverse gifts, yet all essential to the early church’s growth.
Speaking in tongues is indeed a unique gift. But in the body of Christ, it’s one of many. By respecting this diversity and embracing our divine design, we contribute to the church’s growth. We’re all part of the spiritual symphony, each playing our unique part in harmony with others. This unity amid diversity is the true beauty of the body of Christ. As I reflect on my role, I realize that every gift matters. In this divine harmony, I see the church’s strength and purpose.
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Frequently Asked Questions
What are the verses in Acts that mention speaking in tongues?
The Book of Acts in the Bible specifically highlights the phenomenon of speaking in tongues, termed glossolalia, in several sections. Key among these is Acts 2:4, where all the disciples, filled with the Holy Spirit, began to speak in tongues. Acts 10:46 and Acts 19:6 also record similar instances.
What are the Bible verses that speak against speaking in tongues?
Although the Bible lacks verses that directly criticize the act of speaking in tongues, it provides guidelines on how it should be conducted. As stipulated in 1 Corinthians 14:27-28, orderly and controlled practices with interpretations are emphasized.
Can you provide an example of speaking in tongues from the Bible?
Acts 2:4-11 offers an exemplary account of speaking in tongues. During the event of Pentecost, the apostles, under the influence of the Holy Spirit, communicated in languages unfamiliar to them, causing amazement among the diverse listeners.
What is the power associated with speaking in tongues?
Speaking in tongues, according to biblical teachings, showcases the power and influence of the Holy Spirit. As stated in Acts 2:4, this gift manifests when an individual is imbued with the Holy Spirit, symbolizing divine power and often correlating with prophecy and spiritual edification.
What is the purpose of speaking in tongues according to the Bible?
The Bible outlines a tripartite purpose of speaking in tongues. Primarily, it acts as a sign for non-believers (1 Corinthians 14:22). Additionally, it serves for personal and church edification, given there’s interpretation (1 Corinthians 14:4, 14:5, 14:27).
Is there a Bible verse that discusses both speaking in tongues and its interpretation?
The interplay of speaking in tongues and its interpretation finds mention in 1 Corinthians 14:27-28. These verses underline that tongues, if spoken, must be interpreted for mutual understanding and edification.
Are there any Bible verses against speaking in tongues in the King James Version (KJV)?
The King James Version (KJV) of the Bible doesn’t contain explicit anti-tongue verses, yet it advocates for orderly conduct in all things (1 Corinthians 14:40).
What is the difference between speaking in tongues and praying in tongues?
The distinction between speaking and praying in tongues lies in their application. Speaking in tongues refers to speaking in unknown languages, as noted in Acts 2:4, while praying in tongues implies divine communication in an unknown language (1 Corinthians 14:2).
What did Paul say about speaking in tongues?
Apostle Paul, in 1 Corinthians 14, provides counsel on the usage of tongues in the church. He underscores their edifying function, orderly utilization, and the imperative of interpretation.
How can I start speaking in tongues?
As per traditional Christian belief, speaking in tongues is a Holy Spirit-bestowed gift, obtainable through prayer and the laying on of hands (Acts 19:6). However, it’s not mandatory for salvation or faith.
What does KJV Bible say about speaking in tongues?
The KJV discusses speaking in tongues primarily in Acts and 1 Corinthians. An instance is 1 Corinthians 14:2, where it describes speaking in an unknown tongue as speaking divine mysteries.
What does Jesus say about speaking in tongues?
In Mark 16:17, Jesus prophesied about believers speaking in new tongues, which is considered a foretelling of the Pentecost event narrated in Acts 2.
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Dr. Akatakpo Dunn