1 Corinthians 14:2,4, Acts 2:4, Mark 16:17, Acts 19:6

What is Speaking in Tongues?

Speaking In Tongues, in simple terms, is the Biblical proof of earthly human beings receiving God’s Heavenly Holy Spirit. It is a wonderful experience. God promised an outpouring of the Holy Spirit on all people in the last days (Joel 2:28,29). Fulfilment of Prophet Joel’s Prophecy occurred on the Day of Pentecost when 120 believers were filled with the Holy Spirit, and spoke in other tongues.

The subject of “Speaking in Tongues” is constantly being debated among mainline, protestants and Pentecostal churches alike. Some claim it has ceased, others claim it is not necessary for Salvation, and still others say, it is an optional gift.

Here in the Revival Centres of PNG, we emphasize all believers must Speak In Tongues. We tell people to Repent, Get Baptised and Receive the Holy Spirit (Acts 2: 38). As proof that one has received the Holy Spirit, the believer MUST speak in tongues (Acts 19:6). All our congregation members in the fellowship encounter this wonderful experience. Signs, wonders, miracles and healings take place in peoples’ lives after they are filled with the Holy Spirit, with evidence of speaking in tongues.

Our congregation members who have been healed by God will testify of this phenomenon. God healed them after they received the Holy Spirit and spoke in tongues. You can read more about Speaking In Tongues here on the Revival Fellowship website!


For many people, “speaking in tongues” is an intriguing and controversial subject. This article gives answers to the frequently asked questions (FAQ) about tongues.

Frequently Asked Questions

Isn't it the case that speaking in tongues is not around any more?
The Bible first prophesied that believers would speak in tongues in Isaiah 28:9-13, a Scripture Paul referred to in his writings on the subject
(1 Corinthians 14:21).
Jesus commenced His ministry by telling Nicodemus that being born of the Spirit, accompanied by a “sound” or “voice” was essential for salvation (John 3:5-8). His parting words in Mark 16:15-20 included the mention of speaking in tongues.
If the message were to be different at some other later date then it would make the Word of God into lie when it says, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, and today, and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8).
Therefore, speaking in tongues is definitely for today.
But didn't Paul say, Tongues shall cease?
Yes, Paul did say that in 1 Corinthians 13:8. However, this quotation is commonly taken completely out of context. What Paul said was that tongues, prophecies and knowledge would all cease when “that which is perfect is come…” – the return of the Lord Jesus Christ.
(1 Corinthians 13:10).
That appointed time according to the Bible was to be when we would see the Lord: “face to face”, that is, when He has returned (1 Corinthians 13:12).
We know that we are now in the last days when “knowledge shall increase”, and many prophecies are being fulfilled. Clearly, as knowledge and prophecy have not ceased, neither have tongues. Thus, tongues shall cease but not until the Lord returns.
Well, even if tongues are available, surely tongues can only come by the laying on of apostles' hands?
We see various accounts in the book of Acts where people received the Spirit with the Bible evidence of speaking in tongues. In Acts 2:4, 120 people, including the apostles themselves, received the Holy Spirit/Tongues, on the day of Pentecost, without the laying on of hands of any other human.
Later, as recorded in Acts 9:17, Paul the Apostle received the Spirit when Annanias laid his hands on him. Yet, Annanias was not an apostle, simply a disciple.
Subsequently, in Acts 10:44 Cornelius and his household were converted as Peter spoke the words of Salvation. No “laying on of hands” occurred here.
Don't you just speak a babble when you speak in tongues?
On the day of Pentecost, the disciples were speaking some recognisable languages and God went so far as to ratify this by having many witnesses there on that day to testify to the fact that they were speaking identifiable languages.
We are told however, that the languages given by God may not necessarily be identified by man since He said that there would be tongues of men and of angels (1 Corinthians 13:1). Since angels and men and women of all nations and languages are not available to ratify whether the tongue is a known language on every occasion.
There is not basis however, for concluding that because there is not one there to understand a tongue that it must be a babble.

“For with stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to this people. To whom he said, This is the rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest; and this is the refreshing: yet they would not hear.” Isaiah 28:11,12

Isn't speaking in tongues for preaching?
It is sometimes proposed by those who are not filled with the Holy Spirit, that tongues was a tool given by God to preach His word to those visitors to the region at the time of Pentecost. Superficially, this argument appears plausible.
However, the story told in the first two chapters of Acts demonstrated that the disciples were not preaching but rather initially, praying for the Holy Ghost and later, praying in the Holy Ghost. (Acts 2:1-4).
Although the visitors overheard the Galileans speaking miraculously in foreign languages, they were not being directly spoken to and were certainly not being preached to.
Indeed, if tongues were being used for preaching there would not have been a need for Peter to have stood up and explained to the crowd in his own understanding what had just happened.
(Acts 2:14-40).
Paul tells us that it is with an understanding language, and not a tongue of the Spirit that is to be used for preaching. “…I had rather speaks five words with my understanding, that by my voice I might teach others also, than ten thousand words in a unknown tongue (1 Corinthians 14:19).
The apostle had earlier said, “For he that speaketh in an unknown tongue speaketh not unto men, but unto God: for no man understandeth him…” (1 Corinthians 14:2).
There are no accounts in the Bible of tongues being used for preaching but for prayer to God (Jude 20,21).
But won't I become a barbarian when I speak in tongues?
Those who would wish to deny others the experience of receiving the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues often quote 1 Corinthians 14:11 which says (in relation to speaking in tongues), “Therefore if I know not the meaning of the voice, I shall be unto him that speaketh a barbarian, and he that speaketh shall be a barbarian unto me.”
Here Paul is not criticising the use of tongues but rather expressing concerns about the misuse of tongues. He explains that speaking in tongues is not for preaching as no one will understand it, and if nobody understands it why speak to them in tongues?
Speaking in tongues in private communication with God does not make you a barbarian. In any event, to say that attempting to preach in tongues would make you a barbarian adds weight to the argument that tongues is not for preaching.
Why didn't Jesus Speak in Tongues?
Jesus lived under the Old Testament Law, of which tongues was not a part (although it was prophesied in it, in Isaiah 28:11). He came to usher in the New Testament. In Mark 16, Jesus indicated that tongues would be one of the signs that would follow New Testament believers.
Hence, speaking in tongues was neither a part of the law nor of Jesus’ personal ministry. The New Testament and tongues could only come into force after the death of the testator, Jesus himself.
(Hebrews 9:15-17). Thus, tongues could not be in force while Jesus was alive.
Jesus did not speak in tongues because he was not supposed to nor did he have any need to. Jesus did not need to be converted nor did he require any assistance in His communion with the Father and the Holy Spirit.
Jesus did not say He would speak in tongues, He said we would. (Mark 16:17).
Why speak in tongues if you do know what you are saying?
As previously discussed, speaking in tongues is designed by God for speaking to Him and to no other (1 Corinthians 14:2). In the book of James, we are told that the tongue is an unruly member that no man can tame – at one time we can praise God with it and the next, we can curse our brother. (James 3:3-13).
It is not surprising that God has chosen to tame and take control of the most unruly member of our body and uses it to create a new language, pure and undefiled with which we might speak to Him.
Paul writes, “Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints accordingly to the will of God.” (Romans 8:26,27). Jude tells us that praying “in the Spirit” edifies (builds us up) spiritually (Jude 20).

If ye then, being evil know how to give good gifts unto your children; how much more shall your Heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask Him? Luke 11:13.

Isn't it possible for tongues to be of the Devil?
No! In Luke 11, Jesus teaches the disciples to pray, particularly so that they might receive the Holy Spirit (Luke 11:13) and He encourages and reassures them by stating that their heavenly Father would only give good gifts. While people were seeking God, He certainly would not allow them to receive something spurious.
Interestingly, the next story in Luke relates to Jesus casting a demon our of a dumb man and being accused of having done so by the power of the devil. Jesus Christ, who was perfect, blameless and without sin, had an impeccable testimony. He demonstrated all of the fruit of the Spirit. He loved, forgave, uplifted, helped and healed. He demonstrated mercy, kindness, temperance, gentleness, faith and miracles. Finally, he gave his life for mankind.
He was the epitome of love and yet for all of His righteousness, the religious leaders of the day said that he was of the devil. Jesus said in Matthew 10:25, “…If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household?”
In fact, when a person receives the Holy Spirit, that is, when they speak in tongues, it is common that then or shortly after, ungodly practices and influences such as alcohol, drugs, cigarettes, bad languages, gambling, immorality and so on leave them. In other words, the conversion is to a Godly life, not the opposite.
Isn't speaking in tongues the least of the gifts?
There are people who quote the list in 1 Corinthians 12:28 and make the assumption that because “diversities of tongues” is the last mentioned that it must be the least important. (Note that it is not the last mentioned in 1 Corinthians 12:8-10.) Some even go so far as to say that it is therefore not necessary at all.
There is no evidence to suggest that the order in which items appear in Scripture signify the greatest to least importance. For example, consider the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20).
Can we say that the 4th commandment (“Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.”) was more important than the 6th commandment (“Thou shalt not kill.”)?
Consider also the list of the works of the flesh in Galatians 5:19-21. Would one then say that “murders” which appears 15th down the list is less a work of the flesh than say “wrath” which appears at positive 10?
Rather than attaching various levels of importance to the blessings of God and then perhaps even eliminating those we think less significant, surely we should happily embrace and appreciate all that God offers.
So, do you have to speak in tongues to be saved?
The short answer to this question is “yes!” The Bible says quite clearly that a person must have the Holy Spirit to be saved. For example, “…Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.” (Romans 8:9), and “…Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” (John 3:5).
As we have said before, “…these signs shall follow them that believe…they shall speak with new tongues…” (Mark 16:15-20). Further, the literal translation of Jesus’ comments to Nicodemus in John 3:8 reads: “The Spirit breathes where he chooses, and you hear his voice, but you do not know where he comes from or where he goes to. So is everyone born of the Spirit.”
This text clearly demonstrated that everyone born of the Spirit will have the voice of the Spirit. Jesus spoke these words and as such we can correctly and confidently say that the infilling of the Spirit does include a voice.
If there is any doubt to what this sound or voice or language might be, we have complete clarification in Acts 2:4 when the Spirit was first poured out, where they spoke with other languages as the Spirit gave them utterance.

The Spirit breathes where he chooses, and you hear his voice, but you do not know where he comes from or where he goes to. So is everyone born of the Spirit.
Liberal translation of John 3:8

An inspection of the story of Cornelius tells us that he possessed at least seven fine qualities in the eyes of God. He was a devout man, feared God, gave alms to the poor, prayed to God always, saw visions from God, a just man of good report, who prayed and fasted. However, Cornelius was not saved (Acts 11:14) until he heard the words of salvation. As the words of salvation were preached, he and his household spoke in tongues (Acts 10:46).

Jesus said, “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in Spirit and in truth.” (John 4:24). The only Bible clarification for this is given in 1 Corinthians 14:14 where Paul identified that praying in the Spirit was praying in tongues. “For if I pray in an unknown tongue, my spirit prayeth, but my understanding is unfruitful.”

But didn't Paul indicate that not all speak in tongues?
In 1 Corinthians 12:30, the apostle Paul asks, “…do all speak with tongues?” The key to correctly understanding this question requires recognising the distinction between the initial experience of speaking in tongues (as evidence of receiving the Holy Spirit) and the public use of tongues (with the corresponding gift of interpretation) in a church meeting.
Paul’s question relates specifically to the context of a church meeting (1 Corinthians 12:28, 14:23,26) and therefore, the answer is in the negative. The exercise of this gift is to be limited to two or at the most three in any one meeting (1 Corinthians 14:27) and these tongues should be interpreted.
Nevertheless, all do speak in tongues when they receive the Holy Spirit and all should continue to pray to God, in private, in the Spirit (speaking in tongues).

Frequently Asked Questions Source: REVIVAL TIMES. Spring – Autumn, 1999. SPEAKING IN TONGUES: Of God or the devil.