Equipping the saints for the work of the ministry - Ephesians 4:12

Q & A on Speaking in Tongues

Below are a few answers to questions we’ve received about speaking in tongues. Speaking in tongues is real, and many great men and women throughout history have testified that God so filled or baptized them with the Holy Spirit they had to ask Him to hold back or “stay” His hand.

Q & A

Have you ever spoken in tongues?

Answer: Yes, I do daily.

Do you think it is something Christians should want to do?

Answer: Yes. As believers we should desire all that God has provided for us.

Do you think speaking in tongues is something God wants us to do?

Answer: Yes. 1 Corinthians 14:5 says, “I wish you all spoke in tongues” signifying it is God’s desire.

Why do you think some Christians do not speak in tongues?

Answer:

Is speaking in tongues always an earthly language?

Answer:

Tongues are merely an unknown dialect to the one speaking. They at times may be in a known dialect as on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2) or a spiritual language known only to God Himself (1 Corinthians 14:2). The point is they are speaking in a language that is unknown to the one speaking, which is what makes it so powerful. “He that speaks in an unknown tongue speaks not unto men, but unto God: for no man understands him; howbeit in the spirit he speaks mysteries” (1 Corinthians 14:2).

When one speaks in tongues, they are edifying themselves. When we are speaking in tongues, we are in essence exercising our spiritual man. As such, we are building up, strengthening, edifying and making our spirit man stronger. The more we exercise this gift in our personal time of prayer and praise, the stronger our spirit becomes. “He who speaks in an unknown tongue edifies himself” (1 Corinthians 14:4). This is one reason we should practice this gift regularly.

What about tongues and interpretation of tongues?

Answer:

There is a difference in application in the use of tongues in prayer, praise and worship and a public display in the congregation. If a group is together in prayer time and some are praying in tongues that typically doesn’t need to be interpreted because they are clearly speaking to God.

Interpretation is to take place when in a church service and a person speaks out loud, clear and distinctly in tongues. Interpretation is to be given so that the entire church is edified and built up and not just the one speaking. The interpretation is often similar to that of a prophecy (1 Corinthians 14:3-4). It may be often interpreted as praise to God as well (1 Corinthians 14:17).

In a time of group prayer and there are those praying in tongues, at times it may need to be interpreted if there is a clear and distinct utterance in tongues. You can usually tell the difference. It will usually come across as being distinctive and different from those praying or worshiping in tongues.

A few facts about speaking in tongues.

Let’s be careful not to put God or the Holy Spirit in our religious or traditional box. Our God is so much bigger than man made ideologies. Let’s get back to “Thus saith the Lord!”

Starting a new church or ministry is one of the most rewarding things you can do to advance the gospel, but it can also be very challenging. With over 40 years of church planting and ministry experience, Dr. Linton's passion is to encourage, support and equip pastors and church leaders.