I found three instances of speaking in tongues in the book of Acts. One is very common but the other two are rarely mentioned.
The book of Acts lays the foundation of the gift of speaking in tongues. It is in this book that we get the narration of the first ever encounter of speaking in tongues.
When you want to study the gift of speaking in tongues, you need to begin in the book of Acts. In this article, I will analyze the three instances of speaking in tongues in Acts.
Speaking in Tongues in Acts
First Instance: Speaking in Tongues in Acts 2
Acts 2 records the first instance when the disciples of Jesus spoke in tongues. We are told that the disciples were in the upper room. Though we know the disciples of Jesus were 12 and Judas had killed himself, we are told there were about 120 disciples in the upper room.
Apart from the disciples who walked with Jesus, there were others who had joined them.
On that day, the Spirit of God came in the form of a mighty rushing wind and filled the room. Flaming tongues rested upon all the people in the room and they spoke in tongues.
Those that were outside the room heard the disciples as they were speaking in tongues and they were puzzled. Others mocked them saying they were drunk yet it was still in the morning.
Speaking in tongues in Acts 2 has three key lessons:
1. Speaking in Tongues is a result of the Power of the Holy Spirit
It has to be mentioned that speaking in tongues is only a byproduct of the power of the Holy Spirit. On the day of Pentecost, the disciples in the upper room received power. That power did many things including enabling the disciples to speak in tongues.
This has to be emphasized so that people don’t reduce the Holy Spirit to a speaking in tongues spirit. The Holy Spirit comes in the fullness of God; with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control.
For the fruit of the Spirit to manifest in us, the Holy Spirit edifies us through gifts. Speaking in tongues is how the Spirit of God prays for us to the Father.
For those who are sick, the Holy Spirit heals them through the gift of healing. When it comes to living a fulfilling life, the Holy Spirit gives us wisdom.
Speaking in tongues is popular among the gifts of the Holy Spirit because it is easy to detect. But the Spirit of God is more than just a spirit that enables us to speak in tongues.
2. Speaking in Tongues causes Bewilderment
Acts 2 records the first instance of speaking in tongues and we clearly see there is bewilderment among the people.
The gift of speaking in tongues is designed to turn heads; both believers and unbelievers can’t help but wonder about it.
To this day, anyone who speaks in tongues draws the attention of people.
This should help those who speak in tongues be comfortable when they are speaking in tongues. They should not be surprised when their speaking draws so much attention.
If it is fitting, let them explain to those who are bewildered what is going on the same way Peter explained what was happening on the day of Pentecost.
3. Speaking in Tongues is Controversial
Speaking in tongues has never been free of controversy right from the first day. In Acts 2, we see some people accusing the disciples of being drunk while others were in awe because they could hear the disciples praising God in their native languages.
The divisions that exist today on the topic of speaking in tongues began on the day of Pentecost. To this day, there are some who claim that those who speak in tongues are drunk and what they speak is nothing but gibberish.
The point here is that you should expect controversy around the gift of speaking in tongues. I practice the gift and countless times I have met people who strongly opposed it. But because I expect such kind of opposition, it barely affects how I practice the gift.
Without expecting backlash, it will be so hard to speak in tongues.
Second Instance: Speaking in Tongues in Acts 10
The second mention of speaking in tongues is in Acts 10. The chapter narrates the story of Cornelius. We are told he was a devout believer together with his family.
He then had an encounter in which he was told to find Peter. After the encounter, he sent servants to call Peter.
When Peter showed up at his house, he began speaking about the good news of Jesus. While he was speaking, the Holy Spirit came upon those who heard the message and they spoke in tongues.
Acts 10 teaches us that speaking in tongues is a gift for everyone who believes in Jesus and receives the Holy Spirit.
Those who were listening to the message of Peter in the house of Cornelius were gentiles. The fact that they received the Holy Spirit proves that speaking in tongues is for anyone who believes in Jesus.
The Bible even tells us that the Jews who had come with Peter were astonished to see gentiles also receive the Holy Spirit and speak in tongues.
This should encourage those who desire to speak in tongues but they feel inadequate. Provided you believe in Jesus and have received the Holy Spirit you are eligible to speak in tongues.
Third Instance: Speaking in Tongues in Acts 19
The third instance of speaking in tongues is in Acts 19. In Acts 19, Apostle Paul went to Ephesus and met believers who had never heard about the Holy Spirit. They only knew about the baptism of John.
After Paul explained to them, they believed in Jesus and when he laid hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them and they spoke in tongues.
From this encounter we learn that the baptism of the Holy Spirit can be imparted through the laying on of hands. If a believer is filled with the Spirit of God, he is able to impart another believer with the Holy Spirit.
Because speaking in tongues is an extension of the power of the Holy Spirit, it can be transferred to another person through lying on of hands.
Lying on of hands is not the only way to receive the gift of speaking in tongues but it is one of the ways.
Speaking in Tongues in Acts: Conclusion
There are many lessons we can draw from the three instances of speaking in tongues narrated in the book of Acts. The most important of course is that you believe in Jesus, receive the Holy Spirit and speak in tongues.
It doesn’t benefit you anything to read about speaking in tongues in the book of Acts and preach about it but fail to practice the gift.
God gave us the gift so that we may be intimate with Him.
Seek to get the power of the Holy Spirit and practice speaking in tongues.