Everything you ever wanted to know
about speaking in tongues but were afraid to ask
Let me tell you a little background on my life. I was saved in a Baptist church on McAllen Texas around 15 years ago. I was a zealous believer, considering what I found to be so precious gift that was worth protecting. I moved with a friend and his family to Washington DC. We found a Baptist church there with a small Spanish group. E few months later I had a disagreement with my friend’s step father. He just happened to be an ex convict. I left their apartment and was robbed hundreds of dollars by him. I ended up staying with the Pastor and his wife for a period of around six months.
I believe that time is the reason I am a Pastor today. The Pastor confided in me of his need to have a helper. He couldn't trust the other members to do it and asked if I could. The day I started to help was the day that a church of around 20 members became a church of one, me. Two families left because an ongoing conflict with the pastor and the family I was leaving with also dropped. We stayed for a month but nobody came back. He started taking me with him when he preached in other churches and even took me to some more charismatic fellowships.
There was a time when a Pentecostal lady started inviting my fiend to her church. Even when we where going to a church already. I got upset with him and said “we are Baptist”. He came back with a video of the place. It featured Ladies with long hair and dresses spinning their heads like helicopters. There is such a thing as church ethics, if a person is in a church that holds sound doctrine leave them there. We where not called to reach the saved but the lost.
I moved to Houston and ended up working with a few members of a non denominational congregation. I started visiting and that is the place where I met my wife. It looked fine I was always careful of finding myself in a place that I shouldn’t be and paid attention to everything said. I did notice one of the pastors seem to speak in tongues every now and then but very little. I kept my eye on him. He is my Senior Pastor now.
I got married and left that church and we found ourselves looking for a church. We heard of a very good church in Katy Texas and we started to visit. I took their basic course and one of the last chapters revolved around “Speaking in tongues”. What he said made sense to me and I received the gift at that time. That church when as far as to baptize the people and impart the gift at the moment of salvation. Not everybody got it but many did. The gift was imparted by speaking in tongues and laying hands over the person’s stomach.
Yeas later I went along with another Pastor to a house where a teen has called asking for prayer. The pastor that when along with me prayed over the teen, he mentioned feeling better but not been free from his oppression. His mother received the Lord that day; we saw a pyramid made out of clear plastic filled with a Buddha and seeds. When we left we asked the teen to destroy it. I told the teen, that the only thing that was left to do was to impart the gift of speaking in tongues. He received the gift and testified to the fact that the affliction he has was gone.
Do you need this to be a fulfilled Christian, to evangelize, heal, or go to heaven? The answer is no. What is the nature of God? God guided my path to where he wanted me to be. He wrote many passages on the Bible about this subject. (1 Corinthians 12:30 Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret?)
Even when I tried a few times to lead friends to Christ, the first person the Lord allowed me to guide to salvation was e few weeks after the impartation of the gift. I have heard of the best form of this gift, somebody that does not speak a language hears a brother praying in tongues and they themselves interpret it. This miracle many times leads to salvations (1 Corinthians 14:22 Tongues, then, are a sign, not for believers but for unbelievers...) Is this similar to what happened the day of Pentecost? (Acts 2:11 both Jews and converts to Judaism Cretans and Arabs—we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!")
Some believe that this was, but is no more. That the speaking in tongues ended when John finish Revelation. (Revelation 22:18 I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book.) The fact is that the gift was dormant for many years only to reappear in the Revival of Azusa. Is this the new reform? I don’t think so. Maybe God is equipping his people for the end of the age? God did say that in the end Adults, elderly, kids, and pretty much everybody will flow in some sort of prophetic gift.
Acts 2:17-18 & 20
17" 'In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy. 20…before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord.
28 "And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions. 29 Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days.
(1 Corinthians 13:8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.) This verse is used to explain the end of speaking in tongues is when it says that knowledge and love will end and tongues cease. Can somebody truly pinpoint this to the time of the primitive church? And if the can why are they not going after Knowledge or Love? Daniel says that in the end times knowledge will increase not decrease. (Daniel 12:4 But you, Daniel, close up and seal the words of the scroll until the time of the end. Many will go here and there to increase knowledge.")
I remember when I told my mom that I became a Christian, How sad she was that I left the Catholic Church, I said “we never went”. I could imagine telling my mom, by the way the casted demon’s out of me and the prayed over me and I spoke gibberish. The word warns us of such things. In (1 Corinthians 14:11 If then I do not grasp the meaning of what someone is saying, I am a foreigner to the speaker, and he is a foreigner to me. 1 Corinthians 14:23 So if the whole church comes together and everyone speaks in tongues, and some who do not understand or some unbelievers come in, will they not say that you are out of your mind?) Tongues for the new or untrained will be lake craziness or fereign. It is also something out of the norm and some will even worry about your sanity, safety or even salvation.
People fear what they don’t know or can’t control. People don’t like to be ridiculed and fear been lead astray. There is and order given in the Bible that in a gathering There should not be speaking in tongues without interpretation. (1 Corinthians 14:5
I would like every one of you to speak in tongues, but I would rather have you prophesy. He who prophesies is greater than one who speaks in tongues, unless he interprets, so that the church may be edified.) God control the gifts and gives them as He will in his sovereign wisdom he does not give the interpretation or the other gifts as easily as the speaking in tongues, why?
The Bible says if somebody is sick take them to the elders and they will (James 5:14-15 Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven.) We as Pastors can do this in full faith that the sick will get well but only God can make the miracle happen. Some demand that the only permissible way to speak in tongues is with interpretation. It is not so easy, is like asking that every time the elders pray people must be healed.
Somebody that does not have the gift does not understand that sometimes we need guidance of God and a few words in the Spirit in the middle of a sermon will do.
We as charismatic leader are in charge of keeping order in our churches. Not giving any space for people to ridicule our faith and the gift of the Holy Spirit by doing think out of order. Don’t cause your brother to sin by your freedom. (Mark 3:29 But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven; he is guilty of an eternal sin.")
Why is tongues seen more that any of the other gifts? Two reasons it’s easy to fake and it self edifying.
1. Easy to fake, I believe there are many out there that believe that have the gift and don’t have it. Some because of peer pressure or to appear to be gifted will fake it. Who can prove them wrong? It’s like when somebody says “God told me” How can you prove it? Who can deny it other than God himself or the word when the say something completely against God’s precepts.
2. Unlike the other gifts speaking in tongues is a self edifying tool. A angelic form of prayer coded so that the enemy can’t decipher it. It is God’s enigma machine to our soul. (1 Corinthians 13:1 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.)
Paul not only stated that he believed that he spoke in tongues more than everybody. (1 Corinthians 14:18 I thank God that I speak in tongues more than all of you.) but also wanted of us to do so. (1 Corinthians 14:5 I would like every one of you to speak in tongues...) He did not want anybody to forbid the speaking of tongues (1 Corinthians 14:39 Therefore, my brothers, be eager to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in tongues.)
Allow me to explain the benefits:
1. Self edifying (1 Corinthians 14:4 He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself...)
2. Faith Building (Jude 1:20 But you, dear friends, build yourselves up in your most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit.)
3. Soul prays – mind unfruitful. (1 Corinthians 14:14 For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my mind is unfruitful.) Many people say what would I want to have my mind be unfruitful? Depression and many other things that hinder us are manifested in our minds. (Romans 1:28 Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done.)
4. Speak with God in code (1 Corinthians 14:2 For anyone who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God. Indeed, no one understands him; he utters mysteries with his spirit.)
5. Knowing what to pray for (Romans 8:26-27 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God's will.)
6. Power to testify (Mark 16:15-17 He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the good news 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;)
These are things unique to speaking in tongues. There are some that don’t speak in tongues yet interpret them. Like I said in the beginning, it is not necessary but it has been at least to me to be very helpful.
Would I even dare to say that it is assumed that believers will have this gift (1 Corinthians 14:23 So if the whole church comes together and everyone speaks in tongues, and some who do not understand or some unbelievers come in, will they not say that you are out of your mind) When the whole church comes together and everybody speaks in tongues. Was this the norm at the time? Is this our goal?
It’s not about us. (1 Corinthians 14 1-5 Follow the way of love and eagerly desire spiritual gifts, especially the gift of prophecy. For anyone who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God. Indeed, no one understands him; he utters mysteries with his spirit. But everyone who prophesies speaks to men for their strengthening, encouragement and comfort. He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself, but he who prophesies edifies the church. I would like every one of you to speak in tongues, but I would rather have you prophesy. He who prophesies is greater than one who speaks in tongues, unless he interprets, so that the church may be edified.) Why seek to edify only ourselves it is determined that prophecy with does not require the use of tongues at all or at the very least the interpretation which takes speaking in tongues and allows it to edify other to be the better gifts. (1 Corinthians 12:28-31 And in the church God has appointed first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then workers of miracles, also those having gifts of healing, those able to help others, those with gifts of administration, and those speaking in different kinds of tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret? But eagerly desire the greater gifts.) It ranks prophets second only to apostles and the speaking in tongues at the bottom of the list, it also encourage us to seek the better gifts. In a word with hundreds of faith healers and a handful of confirmed miracle it is sad that the Catholic Church does a much better job of documenting their so called miracles that we as Christian do.
Where is the balance?
Pray in the spirit and in understanding (1 Corinthians 14:15 So what shall I do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will also pray with my mind; I will sing with my spirit, but I will also sing with my mind.)
Use words to instruct (1 Corinthians 14:19 But in the church I would rather speak five intelligible words to instruct others than ten thousand words in a tongue.)
Do everything in order. (1 Corinthians 14:40 But everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way.)
The spirit is in control of the prophet, God is a God not of confusion but peace. (1 Corinthians 14:32-33 The spirits of prophets are subject to the control of prophets. For God is not a God of disorder but of peace. As in all the congregations of the saints,)
I am asking God for the Gift he was for me what about you? (Luke 11:13 If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!")
(Matthew 13:58 And he did not do many miracles there because of their lack of faith.) Jesus was not able to do many miracles because they didn’t believe. You have to want it, believe you can get it, in order to receive it. Rarely does God manifest himself in miracles and wonders in places where He was not requested and expected. We create the atmosphere for his presence.
What if it’s true? What if tongues are for today? What if we deny the power? (2 Timothy 3:5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them.)
All I can do is ask God to give you the gift. That is if you have received the Lord already.
Acts 19:6 When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied.