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Speaking in Tongues is 100% Biblical (Here’s Why)

Speaking in tongues is all throughout the Bible. It is prophesied in the Old Testament and it is revealed in the New Testament. It is a spiritual gift of the Holy Spirit that is given to every believer and it is a manifestation of the Holy Spirit that has never ceased.

The first instance where people spoke in tongues appears in Acts chapter 2 when the 120 disciples of Jesus were waiting for the Holy Spirit to come upon them after Jesus ascended to the Father.

For they were told by the Lord to “wait for the Promise of the Father, “which,” He said, “you have heard from Me; for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” (Acts 1:4-5)

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Once Jesus told them this, He ascended to the right hand of the Father and the 120 began to spend time in “prayer and supplication”, waiting for the Holy Spirit to come upon them (Acts 1:14).

In Acts chapter 2, we see the Promise of the baptism in the Holy Spirit coming upon all of those in the upper room.

“When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.” (Acts 2:1-4)

As we see from the above scripture when the Holy Spirit came upon them (or filled them) they all began to speak in tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.

And when this happened a crowd of people surrounded the disciples wondering what was going on because they were receiving a divine interpretation, in their own languages, of what the disciples were speaking (see my article Is Speaking in Tongues a Real Language? Or is it Gibberish?).

So Peter stood up and preached the gospel to them, and 3000 people were added to the Lord.

But watch what Peter said when the crowd asked him what they should do in response to the Gospel.

“Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.” (Acts 2:38-39)

This gift of the Holy Spirit, which includes the ability to speak in tongues, is a gift given to all people.

The people Peter was speaking to, their children, those who are afar off, and as many as the Lord our God will call.

So if you have put faith in Christ, you have been called by Him. For “no man comes to me unless my Father draws him” (John 6:44)

This means that this Gift and Promise is for you just like it was for them in the early church.

In fact, we see this pattern laid out time and time again throughout the Book of Acts.

When someone receives the baptism in the Holy Spirit they speak in tongues shortly after.

Here are just a couple of examples:

“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)

“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. Now the men were about twelve in all.” (Acts 19:5-7)

[Related articles: How to Receive the Holy Spirit and Speak in Tongues (Explained) and Can You Have the Holy Spirit Without Speaking in Tongues? (Answered)].

Speaking in tongues as a spiritual gift

Not only is speaking in tongues common when someone receives the baptism in the Holy Spirit, but it is also a manifestation of the Holy Spirit.

We see it mentioned in 1 Corinthians 12 and we see it explained alongside prophecy and other gifts in 1 Corinthians 14.

“Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I do not want you to be ignorant…But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues” (1 Corinthians 12:1-10)

“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. But he who prophesies speaks edification and exhortation and comfort to men.” (1 Corinthians 14:2-3)

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Speaking in tongues prophesied in the Old Testament

When Paul was explaining speaking in tongues to the Corinthian church and how this gift should be used in a gathering of believers, he mentioned an Old Testament prophecy.

“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 from Isaiah 28:11-12, which reads in the original as,

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”

Another passage of the Old Testament that prophesied speaking in tongues is Joel 2:28-29.

“And it shall come to pass afterward that I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, Your old men shall dream dreams, Your young men shall see visions. And also on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days.”

This may not look like it is referring to speaking in tongues on the surface but when we dive deeper and see what the apostle Peter said about this scripture, we get a more clear understanding.

In Acts 2, after the 120 disciples received Holy Spirit and spoke in tongues, some people in the crowd began to mock them and began to claim that they were drunk.

But Peter stood up and said,

“These are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day. But this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel..” (Acts 2:15-16)

And then Peter began to quote Joel 2:28.

But notice Peter said, “this is what was spoken about by Joel.”

Meaning the Holy Spirit coming upon them and giving them utterance to speak in tongues was what Joel prophesied about.

“Now you may be thinking, how is it that possible? Joel said that people would prophesy, not that they would speak in tongues or with stammering lips.”

That is true, he did say that they would prophesy. But speaking in tongues is equivalent to prophecy when it is coupled with an interpretation (1 Corinthians 14:1-5).

So as you can see, speaking in tongues is absolutely biblical! It was prophesied in the Old Testament, seen in the Book of Acts, and taught about in Paul’s letters to the church.

Is speaking in tongues for everyone?

Now some might say that this was only for these select individuals or only for this time period, but we know that can’t be true because God is “not a respecter of persons” (Acts 10:34, Romans 2:11, and Galatians 2:6), meaning He shows no personal favoritism to any man.

God shows favoritism towards faith (Hebrews 11:6), not towards people. So the things that are true for them are true for us.

And this is even what Jesus said in Mark 16:17.

“And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name, they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues…”

Speaking in tongues is a sign that will follow all of those who believe! Not just some, and not just for certain believers in a certain time period either.

No, but it is a sign for all believers.

In fact, in every instance in the Book of Acts of someone receiving the baptism in the Holy Spirit, they all spoke in tongues.

In Acts chapter 2, 120 out of 120 people received Holy Spirit and spoke in tongues.

In Acts chapter 10, the entire household received the baptism in the Holy Spirit and spoke in tongues.

In Acts 19, 12 out of 12 people received the Holy Spirit and spoke in tongues.

Speaking in tongues is not just for some people. This gift is for all believers who have been filled with the Holy Spirit.

I have an entire article that covers this very in-depth! If you wish to know more about this topic you can read it by clicking on the title. Is Speaking in Tongues for Everyone? (Biblical Answer).

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