Is Speaking in Tongues Biblical?

Yes, speaking in tongues is biblical. The Bible has scriptures that talk about the practice of speaking in tongues.

However, I’m assuming that you are asking if the type of speaking in tongues that happens in churches today is biblical.

Some of the speaking in tongues that happens today can leave you questioning if it is biblical.

I am baptized by the Spirit of God and I speak in tongues but I know there are unbiblical practices in the name of speaking in tongues that are happening in churches.

In this article, I will analyze what practices of speaking in tongues are biblical. The aim of this writing is to help people practice speaking in tongues according to the bible.

Biblical Speaking in Tongues

1. Biblical Speaking in Tongues can be controlled

Speaking in tongues is a gift of the Holy Spirit. When someone speaks in tongues, the Spirit of God uses his tongue to pray.

Despite the Spirit of God driving the action of speaking in tongues, the person who is speaking has control over when to start and stop.

Apostle Paul said that people should speak in tongues in turns so that what they are saying can be interpreted. The fact that he mentioned people taking turns to speak in tongues means it can be controlled.

I do speak in tongues and I have control over when I start to speak in tongues and when I stop. The power of the Holy Spirit can sometimes be too much and you get tempted to prolong in praying in tongues but you always have control.

In a church setting, it is wise to maintain order as Apostle Paul recommends when speaking in tongues. In some churches, there is time allocated for people to speak  in tongues all at once with no limitations.

Such practices do not break any biblical standards of speaking in tongues. The day of Pentecost had the same kind of experience. The Bible tells us that the disciples of Jesus were in one room when the Holy Spirit came upon them and they all spoke in tongues.

It is obvious that the disciples of Jesus didn’t speak in tongues in turns that day because the Bible tells us that some people thought they were drunk.

However, it is also clear that there was order on the day of Pentecost because we see Peter standing up to explain to people what was happening.

Biblical speaking in tongues must have order even if that order allows a great degree of disorder. It is more like casting out devils; you can’t guarantee order during the process but you can allow a period of disorder which makes the whole session orderly.

2. Biblical Speaking in Tongues can be Interpreted

According to the Bible, speaking in tongues can be interpreted. In fact, the Bible encourages those who speak in tongues to seek interpretation of what they are speaking.

The important point to understand here is that speaking in tongues can be interpreted but that does not mean it must be interpreted unless it is necessary.

I asked God for the gift of interpreting tongues and I got it. I have interpreted tongues on several occasions and I learned that interpreting tongues can be hectic.

One time, I interpreted tongues for close to 2 hours straight! That evening, God sent many messages in tongues. At the end of the fellowship, I was drained.

I learned that even though I could interpret tongues, interpreting everything is not wise. Since then, I learned to only interpret tongues when it is necessary.

While the Bible makes it clear that speaking in tongues can be interpreted, most of the tongues that people speak do not need to be interpreted.

The Bible affirms this in 1st Corinthians 14:2 when it says that whoever speaks in tongues speaks to God and no man understands him. There are tongues that are spoken direct to God and do not need interpretation.

As an interpreter of tongues, I have overheard some prayers made in tongues to God but because they were personal issues between the person speaking in tongues and God, I never bothered.

Speaking in tongues without interpretation is biblical but at the same time interpreting tongues is biblical. The catch is to know when to interpret tongues and when not to interpret.

3. Biblical Speaking in Tongues can sound Weird

The Bible has not specified how speaking in tongues should sound. We only have clues that speaking in tongues can sound weird from the incident on the day of Pentecost.

On the day of Pentecost, the disciples of Jesus spoke in tongues and some people thought they had taken too much wine. For the people outside the room where the disciples of Jesus were speaking in tongues to think the disciples were drunk signifies that the sound coming from the room was like that of drunkards.

God had a reason why there was no sound record of the biblical speaking in tongues. The Bible keeps some details hidden so that we don’t set unnecessary rules for ourselves.

God knew that some people would want to produce the exact sound of tongues that were spoken during the day of Pentecost for them to believe that they are speaking in tongues.

In His wisdom, He chose to let the incident happen before sound recording was discovered. That way, generations that would come afterwards wouldn’t have a ‘script’ of speaking in tongues to refer to.

Also, with no sound reference of speaking in tongues in the Bible, the Holy Spirit can lead different believers in any direction when speaking in tongues.

I have heard all manner of sounds when people speak in tongues. Some people are musical with their speaking in tongues, others are gentle, others are conversational, others only groan and pretty much anything imaginable.

I have come to understand that biblical speaking in tongues does not have rules of how it should sound provided the tongues spoken are powered by the Holy Spirit.

Is Speaking in Tongues Biblical? Conclusion

Speaking in tongues is biblical but at the same time, there are details of speaking in tongues that are not recorded in the Bible.

As a believer, learn to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit. What the Bible has not elaborated about speaking in tongues, the Spirit of God will elaborate for you.

Jesus told us that the Holy Spirit would come to lead us into all the truth. The Bible has truths but there are more truths that could not be revealed when the Bible was being written.

Those truths can only be revealed to us by the Holy Spirit. Jesus Himself said He had much to share with His disciples but they could not bear it at that time.

As a result, Jesus would ask the Father to send the Holy Spirit to reveal those truths at the right time.

Therefore, give control to the Spirit of God and let Him lead you into understanding the word of God and deep truths that the Bible has not elaborated.


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