Why should you speak in tongues? There are many benefits to speaking in tongues that the Bible reveals to us.
However, some people still don’t fully understand the value of speaking in tongues. People feel like they are just talking gibberish at times, or that speaking in tongues is only for the initial evidence of receiving the Holy Spirit. I have even heard of people saying that “speaking in tongues is one of the lesser gifts, so why should I want it?” All of these come from a lack of understanding the purpose and value of this wonderful gift God has given to us.
Here are 5 benefits of speaking in tongues that I could find from the Word of God.
#1: Speaking in Tongues is Speaking Mysteries Directly to God
“For he who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God, for no one understands him; however, in the spirit he speaks mysteries.” (1 Corinthians 14:2)
One of the most powerful things about speaking in tongues is it is a spiritual language that no one can understand, but God alone. Some people believe, however, that speaking in tongues is a natural known language, but this isn’t the case. The verse above clearly says that if you speak in a tongue you DO NOT speak to men, for NO ONE understands you. (Related article: Speaking in Tongues: 5 Things to Know From the Bible).
Speaking in tongues is for you and God, it is a personal language between only you two. It is where your spirit communicates with His Spirit directly through spoken mysteries.
#2: Speaking in Tongues Edifies the Speaker
“But he who prophesies speaks edification and exhortation and comfort to men. He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself, but he who prophesies edifies the church.” (1 Corinthians 14:3-4)
“But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.” (Jude verses 20-21)
The Bible says when we speak in tongues, our spirit prays, but our mind is unfruitful (1 Corinthians 14:14). So, when we talk about being edified by praying in the Spirit, we aren’t talking about our mind being edified. It is our spirit that receives the edification.
So, what is the benefits of the spirit being edified?
The book of Jude has the answer. Jude reveals to us that we build ourselves up in our most holy faith and that we keep ourselves in the love of God.
#3: Speaking in Tongues is Praise and Thanksgiving
“For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my understanding is unfruitful. What is the conclusion then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will also pray with the understanding. I will sing with the spirit, and I will also sing with the understanding. Otherwise, if you bless with the spirit, how will he who occupies the place of the uninformed say “Amen” at your giving of thanks, since he does not understand what you say? For you indeed give thanks well, but the other is not edified.” (1 Corinthians 14:14-17).
In the passage above, the apostle Paul is explaining who speaking in Tongues is for. Speaking in tongues is for the believer that is doing the speaking, not for the people that around them, unless the tongues is interpreted (1 Corinthians 14:4-5).
Paul is showing here that in the church speaking in tongues should be interpreted for the edification of the church. However, we do see some benefits to speaking in tongues in this passage. The apostle Paul says that when we speak in tongues we are blessing with the Spirit and we are “indeed giving thanks well.” So speaking in tongues is a form of praise and thanksgiving.
We also a see a glimpse into the apostle Pauls prayer life. He says,
“I will pray with the Spirit, and I will pray with my understanding. I will sing with the Spirit, and I will sing with the understanding.” (1 Corinthians 14:15)
“I thank my God I speak with tongues more than you all.” (1 Corinthians 14:18)
Speaking in tongues was a huge part of the apostle Pauls prayer life. So much so that he said that he speaks in tongues more than the whole church at Corinth. In his private prayer life, Paul would switch between worship in the Spirit and worship with the understanding, prayer in the Spirit, and prayer with the understanding. This is a huge tool to deepen our prayer lives.
#4: Speaking in Tongues Helps us Enter into Rest
“In the law it is written: “With men of other tongues and other lips I will speak to this people; And yet, for all that, they will not hear Me,” says the Lord.” (1 Corinthians 14:21).
Paul is quoting this scripture from Isaiah 28:11-12, and he’s using this verse to explain speaking in tongues. Let’s read Isaiah 28:11-12 to better understand this gift.
“For with stammering lips and another tongue. He will speak to this people, To whom He said, “This is the rest with which You may cause the weary to rest, ”And, “This is the refreshing”; Yet they would not hear.”
Did you catch that? Speaking in tongues is the rest and refreshing by which God causes us to rest. The Bible tells us there is a rest for God’s people in Hebrews chapters 3-4 and that we are to be diligent to enter that rest. Speaking in tongues is a tool God has provided to enter into that rest.
Why is tongues a tool to enter into the rest of God?
Because the New Covenant, the Covenant we are under, is a Covenant of the Spirit. Paul said,
“our sufficiency is from God, who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.” (2 Corinthians 3:5-6).
Paul also said in that same chapter that it is the Spirit of God who transforms us.
“Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.” (2 Corinthians 3:17-18).
The New Covenant is a covenant of the Spirit, and the Spirit is the one who transforms us into the image of God. So when we pray in the Spirit (a.k.a speaking in tongues) we are yielding to the Holy Spirit to do his work in us, which allows us to rest because we aren’t doing the work of sanctification, He is.
#5: Speaking in Tongues is a Tool to Receive Divine Revelation
The scripture reveals that speaking in tongues is equivalent with prophecy when it is paired with interpretation of tongues.
“I wish you all spoke with tongues, but even more that you prophesied; for he who prophesies is greater than he who speaks with tongues, unless indeed he interprets, that the church may receive edification.” (1 Corinthians 14:5).
So the same amount of revelation that can come from a prophecy can come through speaking in tongues, if it is interpreted. But how do we receive the interpretation? Paul tells us how in 1 Corinthians 14:13.
“Therefore let him who speaks in a tongue pray that he may interpret.”
As you pray in the spirit, ask God for the interpretation of what you are speaking. The Hoy Spirit will give you the interpretation, and you’ll understand the mysteries that you spoke in the Spirit.
Remember Isaiah 28? Well, Isaiah 28 also mentions that speaking in tongues is a way to receive revelation form God.
“Whom will he teach knowledge? And whom will he make to understand the message? Those just weaned from milk? Those just drawn from the breasts? For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept, Line upon line, line upon line, Here a little, there a little. ”For with stammering lips and another tongue He will speak to this people” (Isaiah 28:9-11).
We see in this passage that speaking in tongues is a way God speaks, and a way He teaches. God always teaches through steps, and His teachings always build upon each other. This is what is meant by “precept upon precept, line upon line.” The New Testament also reveals this.
“Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God. These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual.“ (1 Corinthians 2:12-13).
Did you notice that Holy Spirit teaches by comparing spiritual things with spiritual things? This is a New Testament way of saying “here a little, there a little.” This is why when you begin to understand God’s Word your mind sees multiple scriptures to understand a concept. I don’t know about you, but when I receive revelation about God through His Word, I see multiple scriptures at once that all explain a specific topic. The Holy Spirit will give me multiple verses of scripture that fit perfectly together. This usually happens to me more often when I’m speaking in tongues continually.
In short, speaking in tongues, paired with interpretation of tongues, is a great way to receive revelation from God. The apostle Paul probably had more revelation of God than anyone, and he said “I thank my God I speak with tongues more than you all” (1 Corinthians 14:18). I don’t think that was a coincidence.