Recently, a friend asked me some questions regarding speaking in tongues. As you read through the scripture on this topic, you can learn a great deal.
What are you doing when you speak in tongues? According to 1 Corinthians 14:13-14 you are praying in the spirit. People have lots of questions about this subject, many of which can be answered by simply carefully reading 1 Corinthians chapters 12-14. However, some issues will not become clear unless you also consider the body of scripture throughout the book of Acts.
One question I am asked repeatedly is why I believe that all Christians can and should pray in tongues. Depending on how you read some verses in 1 Corinthians, it can be argued that not everyone receives the gift of tongues. I will not dwell on the reason why these verses may not be properly understood, except to say that if you read carefully, you will see that there are gifts as well as manifestations described. However, a more compelling argument regarding who can pray with tongues can be found in the book of Acts. There are five accounts in Acts where people believe in Jesus and accept him as savior. In all of these records, the people spoke in tongues. In fact, in one instance, when they declared their faith and did not speak in tongues, the leadership of the church was alarmed. This is because the normal response when someone received salvation was that they spoke in tongues.
This was the outward sign which always accompanied the reality of the inner presence of the holy spirit. The five sections are located in chapters 2, 8, 9, 10 and 19. It is important to understand the truth that all Christians are equipped to pray in the spirit. It is also equally important to understand the concept of how scripture clarifies issues by providing consistent patterns. When you come up against a verse which seems difficult, take a breath and look for other scripture which addresses the topic at hand.
I attempt to teach this, and other keys in the pages of my book as I present the various topics covered. As you will see, much of the scripture can be understood directly in the verse being read, but there are times where the surrounding scripture must also be included in order to get a complete picture. In some cases such as the one described here, you must search throughout scripture for references to a particular topic and consider the whole body of information in order to gain proper perspective.