SPEAKING IN TONGUES IS NOT COMMANDED IN THE BIBLE ACCORDING TO SOME. Pentecostals Believe That Speaking In Tongues Is The Initial Evidence Of Having Received The Holy Spirit. Not only do Pentecostals attribute the Baptism of The Holy Spirit With Speaking In Tongues.
Nobody in the Bible commands anybody to speak in tongues, unless this is a command when the Apostle Paul says, “Now I want you all to speak in tongues” (1 Corinthians 14:1). Also, when in church, tongues are mentioned as needing an interpreter.
Now a linguist might tell you that having recorded people speaking in glossolalia in Pentecostal or Charismatic meetings or privately that this is not a language that makes sense; therefore, it is linguistically disqualified.
To illustrate a point about our limited understanding and the spirituality of men, let us digress a little. Have you ever read this Scripture in Proverbs:
Three things are too wonderful for me; four I do not understand: the way of an eagle in the sky, the way of a serpent on a rock, the way of a ship on the high seas, and the way of a man with a maiden. (Proverbs 30:18-19)
There are some things that people do not understand because it just does not fit into the worldview they perceive. The way of a man with a maiden apparently is one of them—bear in mind, Proverbs was written in a time when one man had 300 wives and 700 concubines. Indeed, many men get married, but not so many enjoy being in love. This is why fewer men are actually found in churches than women. The idea of love is something that men have difficulty understanding. Maybe this is the reason the resurrected Lord Jesus Christ had an issue with people who lost their first love:
But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. (Revelation 2:4)
Carnal men are a fickle lot. In the main, men are less inclined towards being spiritual and more inclined towards being carnal. The reason being is they do not understand what it means to give of themselves. There are many exceptions, but in the main, experience has shown me that this is the truth—unless I am biased towards women.
When it comes to speaking in tongues, there are some important texts that need to be understood. In Ephesians 10:18, we are instructed to “Pray at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication”. Now why would the Apostle Paul desire that everyone speak in tongues (glossolalia) and suggest that this is what occurs when praying in the Spirit. For he says:
For one who speaks in a tongue speaks not to men but to God; for no one understands him, but he utters mysteries in the Spirit. (1 Corinthians 14:2)
What am I to do? I will pray with the spirit and I will pray with the mind also; I will sing with the spirit and I will sing with the mind also. Otherwise, if you bless with the spirit, how can any one in the position of an outsider say the “Amen” to your thanksgiving when he does not know what you are saying? For you may give thanks well enough, but the other man is not edified. (1 Corinthians 14:15–17)
People who pray in the Spirit are obviously speaking in a tongue that is unintelligible to humans. Because those who speak in the Spirit are not understood by others. Whereas the person who is speaking in unknown tongues (gibberish to others) is edified, but not necessarily those who are listening.
There is a doctrine that is peculiar to Pentecostalism that speaking in tongues is the initial evidence of having received the Holy Spirit.
And the believers from among the circumcised who came with Peter were amazed, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the Gentiles. For they heard them speaking in tongues and extolling God. Then Peter declared, “Can any one forbid water for baptizing these people who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?” (Acts 10:45-47)
One famous preacher, a Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, who was called “The Preacher’s Preacher” by certain Evangelicals and Calvinists, was very opposed to speaking in tongues. Then late in life he had a change of heart when he was baptized in the Holy Spirit and spoke in tongues. Afterwards. having recanted of his sin of speaking against the baptism of the Holy Spirit, Martyn Lloyd-Jones wrote a book: Joy Unspeakable!
However, all anti-tongues-speaking Evangelicals, and the Calvinists with whom Martyn Lloyd-Jones had identified, refused to accept his teaching on the need for the baptism of the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues.
(I have to admit, I am not sure to what extent that Lloyd-Jones identified with Calvinism’s non-biblical TULIP teachings and the claim “Calvinism is the Gospel” (N.B. 2 Corinthians 11:4; Galatians 1:7), or if he ever did.)
An interesting account of being baptized in the Holy Spirit and speaking in tongues is also found when the Apostle Paul encounters some disciples who had been baptized into the baptism of John only. We read:
Paul passed through the upper country and came to Ephesus. There he found some disciples. And he said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” And they said, “No, we have never even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.” And he said, “Into what then were you baptized?” They said, “Into John’s baptism.” And Paul said, “John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in the one who was to come after him, that is, Jesus.” On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Spirit came on them; and they spoke with tongues and prophesied. (Acts 19:1–6)
The Apostle Peter heard the Gentiles speaking in tongues and equated this as evidence of them having received the Holy Spirit. Here we see the same evidence of speaking in tongues occurring in the account of Paul at Ephesus, when the Holy Spirit fell on the disciples. The disciples spoke in tongues and they also prophesied.
Tongues can be construed as fruit of the lips where one utters mysteries in the Spirit. For these are not understood by men. People who speak in tongues often talk about being edified. This is what the Apostle states:
He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself, but he who prophesies edifies the church. (1 Corinthians 14:4)
For those who desire to have a deeper spiritual walk, the evidence in the Bible is clearly found that speaking in tongues comes with the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. When one speaks in tongues, one is like a babe before God. Just because speaking in an apparent unintelligible babble does not make sense to our natural mind, this does not mean that the Word of God, Lord Jesus Christ, cannot read a person’s heart when speaking in—glossolalia—unknown tongues.
Likewise the [Holy] Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the [Holy] Spirit himself intercedes for us with sighs too deep for words [not intelligibly uttered]. And he [Lord Jesus Christ] who searches the hearts of men knows what is the mind of the [Holy] Spirit, because the [Holy] Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God [Our Father]. (Romans 8:26–27)
For the Word of God [Lord Jesus Christ] is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and spirit, of joints and marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And before him [Lord Jesus Christ] no creature is hidden, but all are open and laid bare to the eyes of him with whom we have to do. (Hebrews 4:12–13)
Does the Apostle Paul contradict himself when stating that he desires all to speak in tongues? He did pose the question earlier on in his Epistle to the Corinthians, “Do all speak in tongues?” (1 Corinthians 12:30). One thing we definitely know for sure, the Apostle to the Gentiles clearly stated that speaking in tongues (glossolalia) was not to be forbidden (1 Corinthians 14:39).
Since it is difficult to prevent a person from speaking in tongues privately, the Apostle Paul was speaking about forbidding speaking in tongues in church. This is also the context in which he asks the question, “Do all speak in tongues?” Because this is sandwiched between questions about whether everyone has the gift of healing or interpreting tongues. In which case, in respect to this issue, the correct reading of the text would be:
Do not forbid speaking tongues in church, but do not expect everyone to speak in that capacity in front of a congregation. Nevertheless, when it comes to spiritual warfare, pray in tongues as often as you can, because I do more than you all.
Here is a little incident that occurred in my life as a baby Christian. One night I was listening to a prominent Baptist Calvinist Pastor (later convicted for making sexual advances and victimizing women in his counselling room) who had a popular late night radio program. This Calvinist was always talking about how the heart of man is full of iniquity and very deceitful but God forgives those He loves. He spoke out against speaking in tongues, keeping the Sabbath Day, but (surprisingly) would never say anything against praying to Mary as the mediatrix between God and man—even dodging questions about her—maybe because too many of his audience prayed to her. This particular night, all three issues arose regarding Mary, the Sabbath and speaking in unknown tongues. For some reason, this left me a little confused in my mind. I prayed to God about the three matters:
As I earnestly sought God for the truth, three Scriptures came to my mind. They were:
There is one God and there is only one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus. (1 Timothy 2:5)
For we who have believed enter that rest, as he has said,“As I swore in my wrath, ‘They shall never enter my rest,’” although his works were finished from the foundation of the world. (Hebrews 4:3)
Do all possess gifts of healing? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret? (1 Corinthians 12:30)
I looked up the Scriptures. They told me that ONLY Lord Jesus Christ mediates between man and God. He alone gives us the rest that we need everyday, not only one day out of seven, for “today” (now) is the Sabbath of God and we need to enter His Sabbath Rest from the work of Creation. Not all speak in tongues, nor heal, nor interpret. Nevertheless, to speak in tongues is better than not speaking in tongues, if we accept what the Scriptures teach on the subject. You can have it all. If you really want it.