“Sure you can join our church, but you must speak in tongues.” “You
don’t!” “Not a problem, we’ll teach you.” “Why is everyone talking at
the same time?” “How do you know what anyone is saying?” Sounds crazy,
but many churches make modern tongue speaking a requirement for
membership. Can someone really teach you to speak in tongues or is it
a gift from God? Should the entire church have the same gift and
should all the members speak at the same time? Is that how it really
works? Let discover the truth from the Bible.
What does tongue mean in the Bible?
these are the generations of the sons of Noah, Shem, Ham, and
Japheth: and unto them were sons born after the flood. 5By
these were the isles of the Gentiles divided in their lands; every one
after his tongue, after their families, in their nations” (Genesis
10:1, 5, KJV).
Most modern translations use the word language to mean
tongue. Here is how it reads in two modern translations.
these the coastland peoples spread. [These are the sons of Japheth] in
their lands, each with his own ________, by their families within
their nations” (Genesis 10:5,
“From these the maritime peoples spread out into their territories by
their clans within their nations, each with its own __________” (Genesis
The word “TONGUE” in the Bible simply means “LANGUAGE.”
Where does the gift of tongues comes from?
“To another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to
another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in
different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of
tongues. All these are the ______ of one and the same
_______, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines” (1 Cor.
12:10, 11, NIV).
Tongues are a gift
bestowed by the Holy Spirit.
Is every member of the church given the same gift?
“And in the church God has appointed first of all apostles, second
prophets, third teachers, then workers of miracles, also those having
gifts of healing, those able to help others, those with gifts of
administration, and those speaking in different kinds of tongues.” (1
Cor. 12:28, NIV)
No. The Spirit gives
different gifts to everyone so that the church will have all the
necessary tools to accomplish the work.
Does a pastor or any other clergy bestow the gift of tongues?
these are the work of one and the same _____, and he gives them to
each one, just as he determines” (1 Cor.
“When Paul placed his hands on them, the ______ _______ came on them, and
they spoke in tongues and prophesied” (Acts 19:6, NIV).
NO! Only the Holy
Spirit can bestow it.
gift of tongues only came after the Holy Spirit came on the
Why did God give the gift of tongues?
“Go ye therefore, and ________ all __________,
baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the
Holy Ghost” (Matthew 28:19, KJV). “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will
be my ___________ in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the
ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8, KJV).
The gift of tongues
was given to spread the gospel to all people.
NOTE: The disciples were told
that they would receive POWER to communicate the gospel to all people,
and Jesus commanded them to “teach all nations.” This posed a problem
because the disciples did not speak all the languages of the then
known world. This could only be accomplished by the supernatural
ability to speak different languages.
Was the gift of tongues a heavenly language?
the day of Pentecost came, all the believers were gathered together in
one place. 3Then
they saw what looked like tongues of fire which spread out and touched
each person there.
were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to talk in other
languages, as the Spirit enabled them to speak.
were Jews living in Jerusalem, religious people who had come from
________ __________ in the __________. 6When
they heard this noise, a large crowd gathered. They were all excited,
because all of them heard the believers talking in _______ own
___________” (Acts 2:1-6, Good News Translation).
No, it was earthly languages; the native language of people from
all corners of the earth.
Which gift was greater: speaking in tongues or prophesying?
would like every one of you to speak in tongues, but I would _______
have you __________. He who prophesies is greater than one who speaks in
tongues, unless he interprets, so that the church may be edified.”
(1 Cor. 14:5, NIV).
Prophesying was more important.
the Apostle Paul expresses a desire that all believers should speak
he did not want the gift of tongues to overshadow the less spectacular
but more important gift of prophecy. It was through the gift of
prophecy that the church would be edified or built up.
Would the gift of tongues last forever?
never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where
there are _______, they will be ________; where there is knowledge, it
will pass away” (1 Cor. 13:8, NIV).
No. It would cease or
NOTE: While the gift of
tongues served as a useful function in the early church, it would no
longer be needed as men and women of other languages spread the gospel
in their native languages.
Do you understand that speaking in tongues was equivalent to speaking
in another earthly language?
NOTE: No church has the power to bestow spiritual gifts. Scripture is
clear; the “Spirit” determines who receives which gift. Therefore, it
is incorrect for any church or leader to demand its members to all
have the same spiritual gift.
Jesus had commission the disciples to "Go ye
therefore, and teach all nations" (Matthew
28:19). Through the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, He gave the
gift of tongues so that His commission could be fulfilled. The Apostle
Paul was a good example of this gift. We know from Scriptures that he
spoke at least two languages: Hebrew and Greek (Acts
21:40, 37). It was through the gift of tongues that Paul was given
the ability to speak many other languages. Paul himself said, "I thank
my God, I speak with tongues (languages) more than ye all" (1
Corinthians 14:18). He had to speak several languages because he
traveled to many different countries.
Paul’s desire was for everyone to utilize the
gifts that they had been given by the Holy Spirit for the building up
of the church. The real question then is, "Are you utilizing all of
your gifts for the advancement of the gospel?"