1 Corinthians 12:10 talks about diverse tongues—the ones that need interpretation. I’ve experienced an example like this in church. Once, God shut down an entire church service during praise and worship at a small tent revival I went to in Woodbury, Ga., as one woman began to speak in tongues out of nowhere. While everyone else was speaking in tongues to themselves and to God, we knew that this lady had a special message because her tongues were more defined and sharp, and long-winded, as if she was actually giving a message. This kind of angelic tongue-speaking is usually a message from GOD to either the entire church or to someone specific in the church. As this one lady spoke in tongues, everyone else’s tongues ceased, they silenced their praises and the worship music was turned down so we can hear what the Spirit of the Lord was saying to the church through the woman. That’s called order—the order Paul was talking about in 1 Corinthians 14, to keep out confusion. As she was speaking in tongues, the pastor was listening intently, and when she finished, he interpreted the message. The tongues were a prophecy/confirmation issued specifically to ME. I knew it was for me, because it was a direct answer to my fervent prayers and pricked my heart. My spirit testified to the directness of the message and I was the only one out of about 20 people who raised their hands, cried and received the message. I actually have the whole thing on podcast for evidence:
1 Corinthians 12:29-30 asks, “Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret?” From this verse, I can’t say that all WILL speak in tongues, but I won’t discredit the possibility that all CAN possess the ability to speak in tongues. We are all many members of one body. And if we all had the same gift or body part, then how could we properly function? We all need a different gift or organ, for the edification of the whole body. Not all can be the head, not all can be the foot, or else we would not have a body. Likewise, not all will have every single gift of the Spirit, but only what He wills for us to have. The elderly lady in the podcast had the gift of diverse tongues, and the pastor had the gift of interpretation of tongues. And it edified me, a member of the church.
This experience and revelation of truth made so much sense to me, because I was nurtured in an Oneness Apostolic Pentecostal church back in 2009. They indoctrinated me, saying, if I did not speak in tongues, then the Spirit of God was not with me at all, I was not saved and I would go to hell if I died without the baptism of it [tongues]. They got their interpretation from John 3:5, when Jesus told Nicodemus that unless he was born of water and of Spirit, he would not enter the kingdom of God. They believe that being born again of the Spirit is exclusively evident with the initial ability to speak in tongues, as the disciples did in Acts 2:4, and to be born again of Water is to be fully submerged in H20 in the name of Jesus, as the disciples preached about in Acts 2:38. They taught me that if I didn’t have the “double-package” of speaking in tongues and being submerged by water in Jesus name, then I was not saved. But this isn’t true.
Water baptism is only a physical, symbolic and open act of repentance and acceptance into the Christian faith. Being washed “spiritually” and throughly with the Word of God, is the true water baptism (Ephesians 5:26) Jesus was talking about. For Jesus told his disciples that they are now clean from the WORDS that he spoke to them (John 15:3). His words are life and spirit. John the Baptist said, “I baptism you in water for repentance to prepare you for the way of the Lord, but Jesus will baptize you with Fire and with Spirit.” The Spirit baptism is not initially evident when you speak in tongues, though it is indeed AN evidence of being filled. The tongues that the Disciples spoke on the Day of Pentecost in the Upper Room were tongues, or languages of other nations. They spoke in tongues as a sign and wonder from Heaven in order to win the unbelievers to the faith and to let the unbelievers know that surely God was with these people. In them speaking in tongues (unlearned languages of men) they fulfilled a prophecy from the Scriptures (Joel 2:28-32). The tongues we are filled up with and speak now in church, are usually heavenly tongues. But true evidence of being filled with the Holy Ghost is when your eyes have been opened and you have gotten the revelation that Jesus Christ is Lord and Savior, and you have received this truth and repented of your sins because of your faith. The Spirit fills you when, by his grace, you accept that revelation of Christ being the Messiah.
But this church I went to would have altar calls, to get you to speak in tongues. Once, when I went up to repent, the ministers came up and surrounded me. They asked me did I receive the gift of the Holy Ghost yet, and I said no. I didn’t know what that meant. Then they told me to raise my hands in the air as a form of surrenderance and pray to receive it, and as I was doing that, they laid hands on me, began to speak in tongues in my ear out loud, pat me on my back and chest, and press down on my stomach to attempt to force the tongues to come out of me as I prayed. You can’t force someone to speak in tongues. That’s trying to perform a work. Tongues is a free gift given from God, so it should come naturally. These ministers were in error.
I actually did speak in tongues that service, though. As they were speaking tongues in my ear (trying to mix up my thoughts and make me stumble over my words), and as they pressed down on my stomach, (trying to make my belly “flow with living water” aka, speak in tongues as John 7:38 hints), I heard the voice of God. He told me that he would not fill me with His Holy Spirit until I forgive my ex-girlfriend for cheating on me 2 years ago. Once I genuinely forgave her in my heart, my lips began to tremble, and my stomach began to quiver, and I began to speak in tongues, cry and jump up and down. I could not stop speaking in tongues, for I had no control over my mouth. The Holy Ghost had filled me. It took me repenting from my sin of unforgiveness, bitterness and hate, before he could come in. To forgive my ex was a work of love, and that’s how I knew I was filled. Romans 5:5 says when we are filled with the Holy Ghost, we would be filled with the love of God. Tongues were just an accompanying gift of me being filled, not the exclusive evidence. The ministers thought that they assisted in my being filled, but it was a complete work of the Holy Spirit by himself. No glory to man, it was all the work of God, as he was dealing personally with my heart. My life had not been the same since the night I received His Spirit. My eyes were opened to understand spiritual things for the first time.
The importance of God using tongues is found in James 3:3-5. It says that the tongue is the smallest, but most unruly member of our body. With it, we bless God and curse men out with it. It says that the tongue is like a fire, a world of iniquity that defiles the whole body. But in God controlling the way we speak, by taking over our tongue, shows that he is able to possess the body. He is Lord over all.
Likewise, Romans 8:26-27 says, “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And He who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.” Here, when we speak in tongues, it is the Holy Spirit praying on our behalf, the things that we know not to pray about in our natural dialect. Jude vs. 20 even admonishes us to build ourselves up in our most holy Faith, by praying in the Holy Spirit. Ephesians 6:18 says to pray always with prayer and supplication in the Spirit. When we speak in tongues, we are actually praying in the Spirit, and are praying the perfect will of God.
Once you are filled with the gift of tongues, it is yours. I speak in tongues all the time now, to build up my spirit man when I am tempted to sin in word, thought or in deed. I speak in tongues when I pray. I can turn it off and on when I want to. Sometimes, I would try to speak in English, but when I open my mouth, the Holy Ghost will manifest and tongues come out instead, almost like second nature. Not all the time do I know what I am saying. But I know that God is interceding on my behalf. Sometimes, when I meditate, I can interpret my own tongues in my mind. Sometimes, I’ll speak in tongues and interpret it myself, right away in English. Sometimes, I have even sung songs to God in angelic tongues, and once I have even interpreted the song into English.
Does God want all of us to speak in tongues? The Bible doesn’t say. But Paul said in 1 Corinthians 14 that he wishes that we all do. It’s a very edifying and useful gift. But not all will get it. By faith, and a desire to want to speak in tongues, God can give it to you if you make yourself available. Jesus said in Mark 16:17 that whosoever BELIEVES shall speak in tongues and cast out demons and heal. Not all will, because they have a form of godliness but will not tap into the full power therein. But if you want it, and have faith, it shall be given unto you. God gives good gifts to his children who ask. But some Christians, by lack of faith and understanding of the spiritual things, will not get it. Fear of tongues is a form of doubt, and doubt is a sin. If your church teaches that there is no such thing as the Holy Ghost, then you probably won’t get the gift. God won’t give you a gift when you doubt, fear, and lack expectancy and faith. Hebrews 11:6 says he is a rewarder of those who diligently seek after him.
Tongues are a blessing from the Heavens above! But I’m tired of people telling me I will go to hell if I don’t speak in tongues. Acts 1:8 says you will receive POWER and boldness to be a witness of the gospel of Christ when the Holy Ghost comes on you. Romans 5:5 says that the LOVE of God will be poured out into your heart when you are filled with the Holy Ghost. Romans 8:15-16 says we will receive ADOPTION into the Kingdom of God as sons and daughters when the Holy Ghost comes into us, and by that Spirit, we can cry out Abba Father. 1 Timothy 1:7 says the Holy Spirit gives up power, love and a SOUND MIND. Galatians 5:22-23 says you will possess the FRUIT of the Spirit when the Holy Ghost comes upon you. Diverse tongues is only 1 of 9 mentioned gifts that we can receive from the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:1:11), and like Paul, I wish that everyone speaks in them (whether the unlearned tongues of men; Acts 2:1-11, or the supernatural angelic tongues of heaven;1 Corinthians 14). But Jesus said a tree is known by its FRUIT, not by its GIFTS (Matthew 7:20). Gifts come without repentance, but fruit comes from a relationship with God!
The world will know if we are His disciples in the way we LOVE one another, not in the way that we speak TONGUES among each other (John 13:35). Tongues are a gift, but if I speak angelic tongues like 1 Corinthians 13:1 says, but have not love, it is pointless! Tongues have its special part, but the power of the Holy Ghost is what’s going to keep me from falling! Tongues can’t save me. But I am saved by grace thru faith in the Blood of Jesus. The Father has called me. The blood has justified me. And the Spirit has sanctified me: It has sealed me unto the day of redemption!
Read your Bible. You will not go to hell if you don’t speak in tongues. But don’t be mistaken: The only thing that sends you to hell is your SINS. You go to hell for being a sinner who refuses to believe in a risen savior! If you do not believe, Jesus said you are condemning yourself and you are still under the wrath of God. But if you do believe in Jesus dying for your sins, and you cry out for his mercy and forgiveness, then by your faith, and by his grace, you will not perish but have everlasting life. I’ve studied the scriptures diligently for THREE years, specifically on the doctrine of tongues because I was terribly confused about this subject, just to receive a confirmation from God. I am fully convinced of the revelation that He gave me. Know the truth, and be set free from false doctrines!