Is speaking in tongues a gift of the Holy Spirit?
Yes. Some of the early followers of Christ were given the ability to speak fluidly in languages they did not know to people who understood, which is the true definition of tongues. This was for the purpose of giving unbelievers a sign of God’s miracles, as well as spreading the Word of God and the Good News to foreigners across the world. The gift carried on in believers from one region to the next, then to the next and so on.
Here are some examples of where the Bible addresses this gift:
Mark 16:17-18 (King James Version)
And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;
They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.
Acts 2:4 (King James Version)
And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
Acts 2:11 (King James Version)
Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God.
There are numerous other passages that confirm this being a gift from the Holy Spirit. However, the question isn’t really whether or not it was a legitimate gift, but rather does it still happen? Additionally, many are unsure if what some people claim they are doing is truly from the Holy Spirit…or demonic.
Many arguments are made on this subject. Some make the argument that since this is a gift to those who truly are anointed by/with the Holy Spirit, that it can be expressed in whatever fashion or language the Spirit moves a believer to speak in. But, Praise God and His infinite wisdom for knowing that there would be such a situation, in that He mentions it many times in the New Testament, and in fact gave us a way to prove if the person who claims to have this gift is truly endowed with the ability.
As mentioned before, the Bible says that speaking in tongues is to be a sign to the unbeliever (1 Corinthians 14). Not just an unbeliever, but obviously those of a foreign language. What an awesome gift that must of been! Yet, what if you were to speak to an individual or group of people of a foreign language that had absolutely no idea what you were saying? Would they consider that a sign from God that you can speak gibberish? No. Better yet, would a foreigner receive the Word of God in any way, shape, or form? Highly unlikely.
Again, one of the points of this gift was to show those who did not speak the native tongue a miracle from the Holy Spirit, thus it was not necessary or helpful unless there was at least one who could interpret. Remember that when they were first given this ability, those who were initial witnesses accused them of being drunk until those from other nations were able to recognize what they were speaking. Many began to gather…they marveled at this amazing miracle, which led many to become followers of our Lord Jesus Christ. That is when it was clear that the Holy Spirit was really working. It wasn’t profitable otherwise, unless to boast.
The reason this gift as it is currently being used today is of no help, and in fact may actually be coming from another entity, is that speaking in tongues is not what many of these leaders are actually doing. They are instead acting out Glossolalia – which is to say they are uttering “speech-like syllables that lack any readily comprehended meaning”. In addition to these incoherent chants, they can be accompanied with running, violent gestures, or convulsing withough feeling of pain or discomfort. I don’t believe that is what the Apostles did, and if so, they would have made very little progress.
I would go as far to say the false practice currently being done in religious gatherings is not only pointless for believers from a Biblical stand point, but incredibly dangerous for anyone participating. So much so, that if someone were to do this in the name of the Holy Spirit, it may be one of the most abominable sins one can ever commit. In fact, unforgivable.
What do you think?
If churches were to apply the verses below, I would bet that most of the confusion and questions surrounding this issue would be cleared up in a hurry. It is very evident that what is presently being done in most churches does not come close to the true gift of tongues.
1 Corinthians 14:26-28 (King James Version)
How is it then, brethren? when ye come together, every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying.
If any man speak in an unknown tongue, let it be by two, or at the most by three, and that by course; and let one interpret.
But if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the church [assembly]; and let him speak to himself, and to God.