Most Christians know that when they accepted Jesus as Lord, they received salvation. However, although eternal life is the most important part of that salvation,it includes other benefits which God wants us to enjoy while we live on this earth. After Jesus was raised from the dead, he told his apostles some of the things which they would soon receive as believers. Mark 16:17-18 17 And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; 18 .They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover. In these verses, Jesus was describing the things which would become available when God poured out of His spirit on those who believed on Jesus as Lord. The gospels tell us about the miracles which Jesus and his followers did, but here in Mark, we are also told that the followers of Jesus would also speak with tongues. In other studies, we will explore the other signs described in these verses, but in this study, I would like to show you what the bible teaches about speaking in tongues. Acts 1:4-8 4 And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me. 5 For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence. 6 When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? 7 And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. 8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. These verses describe the final instructions given by Jesus to the apostles immediately before he was taken up to heaven. He said that they would receive the promise of The Father, which is holy spirit. Even as John had baptized with water, they would be baptized with holy spirit. He also told them that when this occurred, they would receive power. This would enable them to be witnesses for the Lord Jesus Christ. Luke 24:49 49 And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high. This verse establishes that the promise of The Father is holy spirit, which is power from on high. When you consider the verses in Acts and Luke, you can clearly see that they are speaking of the same thing. Jesus is teaching the apostles that the promise of The Father is to be baptized with holy spirit, which is power from on high. We know that the first time people received this promise of God was on the day of Pentecost. Acts 2:1-4 1 And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. 2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. 3 And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. These four verses mark the beginning of the Christian church! The apostles received holy spirit as Jesus had told them. They spoke with tongues as the spirit gave them the words. They did the speaking, but the spirit provided the words. We will explore this further, later in this study. Some people teach that the sign of tongues was a special occurrence which was given to the apostles exclusively. We will see that in the early church, this was a normal part of the salvation experience. Even as the promise was given to the twelve apostles, it was given to everyone who would believe. Acts 2:38-39 38 Then Peter said unto them, 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. 39 For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call. Now, let us consider the purpose for speaking in tongues. To speak in a tongue is to speak in a language which is unknown to the person who is speaking. In the early days of Christianity, it was expected that when a person received salvation, they also received power from on high, which was evidenced by speaking with tongues. To see this, we will look at another section of the book of Acts. Acts 10:33-46 33 Immediately therefore I sent to thee; and thou hast well done that thou art come. Now therefore are we all here present before God, to hear all things that are commanded thee of God. 34 Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: 35 But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him. 36 The word which God sent unto the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ: (he is Lord of all:) 37 That word, I say, ye know, which was published throughout all Judaea, and began from Galilee, after the baptism which John preached; 38 How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him. 39 And we are witnesses of all things which he did both in the land of the Jews, and in Jerusalem; whom they slew and hanged on a tree: 40 Him God raised up the third day, and shewed him openly; 41 Not to all the people, but unto witnesses chosen before of God, even to us, who did eat and drink with him after he rose from the dead. 42 And he commanded us to preach unto the people, and to testify that it is he which was ordained of God to be the Judge of quick and dead. 43 To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins. 44 While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word. 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. 46 For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. If you read the beginning of Acts chapter ten, you will see that an angel of God appeared to Cornelius and instructed him to send for Peter, who would teach him what he needed to know regarding salvation. This was a challenge for Peter because Cornelius and his kin were Gentiles. That is why God also showed Peter a vision, which is also described in Acts chapter ten. When Peter and his company heard the Gentiles speak with tongues, they knew that they had received the gift of holy spirit. When people received salvation, they also spoke with tongues. This was the outward sign because you can't see the gift of holy spirit but you can observe the things which the spirit enables you to do. Acts 19:1-7 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, 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. 3 And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John's baptism. 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. 5 When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 6 And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied. 7 And all the men were about twelve. When Paul visited Ephesus, the new Christians there had not received evidence of the baptism with holy spirit. Why? Because they were not aware of anything regarding the holy spirit. Many Christians today are unaware of the power they received when they were saved. Notice also, that the baptism with water is called John's baptism. It is the baptism of repentance. It represents repentance and cleansing. It Is the symbolic work which we do on earth in the natural realm. The acceptance of Jesus Christ as Lord brings the true baptism, that is, the baptism with holy spirit. Ephesians 1:12-13 12 That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. 13 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, Even as Jesus had told the apostles that they would be baptized with holy spirit, the above verses in Ephesians confirm the same promise to everyone who professes Jesus as Lord. To be sealed with holy spirit is to be enveloped in it. We have seen that speaking with tongues gives us evidence of salvation. However, it is and does much more than that. 1 Corinthians 14:2 2 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. When you speak with tongues, you are speaking to God. 1 Corinthians 14:14-18 14 For if I pray in an unknown tongue, my spirit prayeth, but my understanding is unfruitful. 15 What is it then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also: I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also. 16 Else when thou shalt bless with the spirit, how shall he that occupieth the room of the unlearned say Amen at thy giving of thanks, seeing he understandeth not what thou sayest? 17 For thou verily givest thanks well, but the other is not edified. 18 I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than ye all: When you speak with tongues, you are praying in the spirit. That is, your spirit, the gift you received when you were saved, is praying to God. You don't understand it, nevertheless, it is a conversation, spirit to spirit, between your spirit and God! Therefore, we now have two kinds of prayer: prayer with the understanding and prayer with the spirit. Notice that I described this as a conversation. Prayer in the spirit is not a one-way street. Many people do not realize that God speaks to us. Unfortunately, most people think that they are supposed to do all of the talking and God simply listens. As it states in 1 Corinthians 14:2, when we speak in tongues, we are speaking divine mysteries with God. Obviously, the only way we can discuss divine mysteries is if God is involved in the conversation. John 14:25-26 25 These things have I spoken unto you, being yet present with you. 26 But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. John 16:13-15 13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. 14 He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you. 15 All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you. When we speak in tongues, we are in a conversation with God. We are able to learn in ways which exceed our natural ability. We are also able to pray for other people, even if we don't know their needs. Romans 8:26-27 26 Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. 27 And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God. Praying with our natural ability is wonderful, and God wants us to do it. However, as Christians, we also have supernatural power for prayer! To build your faith and thus be more powerful in helping others, it is essential that you speak in tongues. We are supernatural people who can work miracles because of the love and power of God and the love and obedience of the Lord Jesus Christ. To become more powerful in spirit, we must do the thing which God instructs us in His word. 1 Corinthians 14:4 4 He that speaketh in an unknown tongue edifieth himself; Jude 20 20 But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, Ephesians 3:16 16 That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; We can walk with God and do extraordinary things to bring blessing to His people by supernatural power. To become strengthened with might spiritually, you must speak in tongues. It is not difficult to do, because if you know and do your part, God will faithfully do the rest. As we read in Acts chapter two, when the apostles spoke with tongues, they spoke as the spirit gave utterance. In other words, they did the speaking but the spirit within provided the words. To speak in tongues, you simply begin moving your mouth, your tongue, your throat: that is, you do the action of speaking. As you begin speaking, the words will appear, one by one, on your lips. You don't try to think of the words and then repeat them. Instead, you just start speaking and the spirit will supply the words. The spirit will not move your mouth for you. God doesn't make you speak: you control when you start speaking and when you stop, but God will give the words to you through the spirit within. When you begin, you may be concerned that you are making up the words. Don't worry. Once you start speaking, just keep going. If you speed up, you won't have time to think about it and your confidence will grow. You should relax and let it flow out of you. John 7:38-39 38 He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. 39 (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.) When you begin speaking in tongues, be assured that the spirit can provide the words as fast as you can speak. You will become more confident and relaxed as you practice. You can speak or you can sing! Remember 1 Corinthians 14:15? If you are having difficulty getting started, you can try thinking of it as speaking in a language which is unknown to you. When I was a child, I was raised in the Roman Catholic Church. At that time, the Sunday services were conducted in Latin. I remember many times at night before going to sleep, I would pray. My parents always reminded us to say our prayers before bed. Sometimes, as I prayed quietly in English, I would switch into another language. At that time, I thought I was pretending to speak Latin just as the priest did in church. Many years later, the Lord brought this to my remembrance, and I now know that I was actually speaking in tongues. Perhaps this illustration will help you as you begin to speak with tongues. I guarantee you by God's Word that you will be speaking things which glorify Him. Luke 11:11-13 11 If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent? 12 Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? 13 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him? It is absolutely according to God's will for every Christian to speak with tongues. It is an exciting and joyful experience and it enables God to work mighty works through you. John 4:23-24 23 But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. 24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. God desires that we worship him by way of the spirit which He gave us through Jesus Christ. Many Christians are unaware of the joy and power which comes from speaking in tongues. The devil has clouded this topic so that some even think it is unnecessary or even from satan. As we have seen from the many scriptures presented here, to speak with tongues is a dimension of prayer which God only gave after Jesus completed his work of salvation and God raised him and set him down at His own right hand. Until Christ returns to gather his church together, we have this and the other supernatural abilities given to us. We must always remember to do everything with love in our hearts. Thus, when we speak with tongues, we do it with all meekness and love. 1 Corinthians 13:1 1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. With all of the instruction and encouragement of God's Word, you can relax, pray and thank God for the peace and confidence to speak with tongues. When you do, you will be sharing in God's divine mysteries; you will be magnifying God; you will be worshipping Him and you will be building yourself up so that you are strengthened with might in your spirit. There is no need to wait any longer, now that you know what to do and how to do it. Go to your comfortable place of prayer and thank God for energizing you. Take deep breaths to relax yourself, and when you are calm, begin moving your mouth and tongue and throat; begin speaking in a language unknown to you. Once you have done it, you will have the confidence to do it again and again! Ephesians 6:18 18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; Ephesians 5:18-19 18 And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; 19 Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; As you begin learning about the wonderful things which God has given you through the spirit, if you would like to contact me, please do not hesitate to do so. I will do all that I am able to help you and God will help us as we learn together. May God bless you and enlighten your understanding!
Copyright © 2004 Joseph A. LaFauci. All rights reserved.