Be a Follower of Jesus
Speaking in tongues is a manifestation, or a spiritual gift, of the Holy Spirit. It is a sign of the Holy Spirit dwelling inside of a believer.
Because of this, it is reserved only for the believer and follower of Jesus Christ.
And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever— the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. (John 14:16-17)
Notice Jesus said, the Father will give you and I the Holy Spirit “whom the world cannot receive.”
It is impossible for those who do not believe and follow Jesus Christ to receive Holy Spirit, and thus be able to speak in tongues.
Another scripture that confirms this is Acts 5:32.
“And we are His witnesses to these things, and so also is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey Him”
In order to speak in tongues, we must first receive the Holy Spirit. To receive Holy Spirit we need to obey Him. And in order to obey Him we need to “Repent, and believe in the Gospel” (Mark 1:15).
Receive the Baptism in the Holy Spirit
Now, since speaking in tongues is a manifestation of the Person of Holy Spirit it is critical that we get immersed (or baptized) in the Holy Spirit.
Jesus said the purpose of the baptism in the Holy Spirit is to receive the power to be a witness of His death, burial, and resurrection.
“But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)
This power of the Holy Spirit is explained in detail in 1 Corinthian 12 when the apostle Paul lists the spiritual gifts or the manifestations of the Holy Spirit.
Every one of the Spiritual gifts listed is only possible by the Holy Spirit. And every one of these gifts, when done in public and coupled with one another, will bear witness to the resurrection of Christ.
So the “power” that we receive when the Holy Spirit comes upon us is the spiritual gifts and speaking in tongues is one of these gifts.
So the next step in starting to speak in tongues is to receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit.
Understand that the gift of tongues is for every believer
The next step is to understand that the gift of tongues is for every single believer. Which means that it is a gift for you to practice.
Jesus made this abundantly clear when He said,
“And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues.” (Mark 16:17)
Notice, Jesus said that “those who believe will speak in new tongues.” It is a sign for every follower of Christ.
We see this played out in the Book of Acts in three different locations.
In Acts chapter 2, 120 disciples were baptized in the Holy Spirit and 120 of them spoke in tongues.
In Acts chapter 10, the whole household of Cornelius received the Holy Spirit and the whole household spoke in tongues.
In Acts 19, 12 men received the Holy Spirit when Paul laid hands on them and all of them spoke in tongues.
We see this also in the teaching of the apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 14. He mentioned in multiple places that the entire church at Corinth could and does speak in tongues.
“I (Paul) thank my God I speak with tongues more than you ALL; yet in the church I would rather speak five words with my understanding, that I may teach others also, than ten thousand words in a tongue.” (Acts 14:18-19)
There would be no significance in Paul saying that he speaks in tongues more than all of them if all of them couldn’t speak in tongues.
“Therefore if the whole church comes together in one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in those who are uninformed or unbelievers, will they not say that you are out of your mind?” (1 Corinthians 14:23)
This is not a passage of scripture where Paul is giving a fake scenario of “all” believers speaking in tongues as some suggest.
But this is actually one of Paul’s main reasons for telling the disciples in Corinth to have only two or three people speak in tongues and have someone else interpret the tongues. This way every believer receives edification and if an unbeliever comes in he doesn’t end up saying, “you’re all out of your mind.”
I have an entire article devoted to this topic that can cover it more thoroughly. You can read it by clicking on the title. Is Speaking in Tongues for Everyone? (Biblical Answer).
Understand the Holy Spirit does not control your mouth
The next step is to understand that the Holy Spirit will never control your mouth to force you to speak in tongues.
In fact, one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit is self-control (Galatians 5:). In addition to this, the apostle Paul also said that the “spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets” (1 Corinthians 14:32) when he was trying to make the point that we can start and stop speaking in tongues/ prophecy at will.
Note: The term “spirits of the prophets” was an old testament term that was used when people encountered God supernaturally. This is why Paul used this phrase. He was simply saying “the gifts of the Spirit are subject to you.”
This is important to understand because if we don’t understand this we could make the false assumption that God will control our mouths to speak in tongues.
When in reality God will never do such a thing. He has subjected the gifts of the Spirit to us so that we can learn to exercise them by faith.
The Book of Acts is filled with examples of people speaking in tongues and every time the Bible makes it a point to show that these people were the one’s doing the speaking, not the Holy Spirit.
Here are two examples…
“And they (the 120) were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.” (Acts 2:4)
Notice, they were filled with the Holy Spirit and they were the ones who spoke in tongues. The Holy Spirit simply gave the utterance, which means He guided their words but He never overtook their mouth.
“While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the word…For they heard them speak with tongues and magnify God.” (Acts 10:44 & 46)
Same thing. The Holy Spirit fell upon them, but they did the speaking.
[Related article: Speaking in Tongues: Can You Control it?).
Begin to speak in tongues by faith
You have received the Holy Spirit, you have understood that the gift of speaking in tongues is for you, and you have understood that the Holy Spirit does not control your mouth in order for you to speak but simply guides your words, it is finally time for you to speak in tongues.
Now everything we do in the Christian life has to be of faith. For “without faith it is impossible to please Him” (Hebrews 11:6).
So when we begin to speak in tongues, we open our mouths and start to speak syllables, believing and trusting that the Holy Spirit is giving us “utterance” as we speak.
That although the first syllable may be us stepping out in faith, the following syllables will be Holy Spirit inspired.
If you just open your mouth and don’t speak any syllables, no utterance will be given because “faith without works is dead” (James 2:14-26). You must step out and act in faith and I promise you Holy Spirit will guide your words.
So just begin to thank God for His Holy Spirit. Thank Him for filling you and for Jesus who paid such a high price to make all of this possible. Begin to praise Him for a few minutes.
After loving on Jesus, step out in faith and start speaking in tongues, trusting that Holy Spirit is guiding every syllable that you are speaking.
I hope you enjoyed this article and that it assisted you in your walk with God!
God bless all of you!