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Is Speaking in Tongues a Sin? Does the Bible Say it is Wrong?

Speaking in tongues is absolutely not a sin! It is a manifestation of the Spirit that is given to each believer in Christ the moment they receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit.

Speaking in tongues is mentioned by Jesus in Mark 16:17. It is seen as an example to us throughout the Book of Acts. And it is taught on by the apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 12 and 14.

It is a very common gift of the Spirit that is mentioned throughout the entire New Testament. It is by no means a sin for a believer to speak in tongues. (Related article: Speaking in Tongues is 100% Biblical (Here’s Why)].

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In fact, Jesus told us that speaking in tongues is a sign that will follow a believer’s life.

“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)

In addition to this, almost every time someone received the baptism in the Holy Spirit throughout the Book of Acts they spoke in tongues.

In Acts chapter 2 we see 120 people get baptized in the Holy Spirit and when they do they all spoke in tongues.

“And they (120) were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.” (Acts 2:4)

In Acts chapter 10 we see the whole household of Cornelius the Centurion receive the Baptism in the Holy Spirit and when they do all of the household begins to speak in tongues.

“While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the word. And those of the circumcision who believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also. For they heard them speak with tongues and magnify God.” (Acts 10:44-46)

And in Acts chapter 19 we see 12 disciples who the apostle Paul prayed for to receive Holy Spirit speak in tongues as well.

“When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke with tongues and prophesied.” (Acts 19:5-6)

So 120 out of 120, the whole household out of the whole household, and 12 out of 12 all spoke in tongues when they were filled with the Spirit of God. [Related article: Is Speaking in Tongues for Everyone? (Biblical Answer)].

This is important to understand because the Holy Spirit is not in the business of causing people to sin. In fact, He is our Helper, our Guide, our Strengthener, and our Comforter so that we do not sin and so that we continue to run the race of this life with endurance.

This is why the apostle Paul said, “Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.” (Galatians 5:16)  

[Related article: How to Walk/Live in the Spirit (Complete Guide)].

Where in the Bible does it say speaking in tongues is wrong?

Never does the Bible say speaking in tongues is wrong. In fact, it says the opposite, “Do not forbid to speak with tongues” (1 Corinthians 14:39). However, the Bible does give us guidance about speaking with tongues when believers gather together.

Before I mention the guidance on speaking in tongues, I want to mention first that these rules of guidance were only put in place because the Corinthians were overly zealous (1 Corinthians 14:12) and tongues were functioning too much among them (1 Corinthians 14:23) and their meetings were out of order (1 Corinthians 14:40).

This is not the case for 99% of our modern churches. We limit the spiritual gifts WAY TOO MUCH.

We have to understand that the gifts of the Spirit were very prevalent in the Corinthian church’s meetings and Paul never told them to stop speaking in tongues.

The only limitation and guidance that the apostle Paul told them was that they made sure that when someone spoke in tongues there was an interpretation following that tongue and that there would only be a few speaking in tongues at a time.

“If anyone speaks in a tongue, let there be two or at the most three, each in turn, and let one interpret. But if there is no interpreter, let him keep silent in church, and let him speak to himself and to God” (1 Corinthians 14:27-28)

Then after this Paul reminds them that “the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets. For God is not the author of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints.” (1 Corinthians 14:32-33)

[Note: when the people of the Old Testament experienced the Holy Spirit they would call it the spirits of the prophets. This is why Paul uses this term.]

He mentioned this so that they would be reminded that they can control when to speak in tongues and when to stop, and when it was time for them (or someone else) to interpret that tongue. (Related article: Speaking in Tongues: Can You Control it?)

This is the only guidance on speaking in tongues in the entire Bible and it only applies to speaking in tongues within the church setting.

When you are alone, you can speak in tongues as often as you want without any interpretation.

This is why Paul said,

“I 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.” (1 Corinthians 14:18-19)

So Paul spoke in tongues A LOT, but when he was within the church setting he wouldn’t speak in tongues, unless there were an interpretation, so that the church could receive edification.

I hope this article assisted you in your walk with God and that you enjoyed it!

God bless you all!

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