Speaking in tongues

To start with this study, I want to look at the importance of speaking in tongues. Jesus said in Mark 16:17, that “these signs will follow those that believe. In My name they will cast out devils, they shall speak with new tongues …” It is important, because Jesus said, that those that believe will speak in tongues. Paul said  in 1 Corinthians 14:18, “I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than you all.” If it was important for Paul then it must be important to us. Furthermore, we read in 1 Corinthians 14:39, “… and forbid not to speak with tongues.” To forbid, or ignore the importance of this gift, is disobedience to the word of God.

In this study, we will look at the benefits of speaking in tongues. Therefore, we will take it for granted that you have been baptized in the Holy Spirit with the ability to speak in tongues.  Therefore, the purpose of this study is not to help you receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit or to speak in tongues, but to examine the benefits of speaking in tongues. With that in mind we can proceed.

We receive the following benefits when we speak in tongues:

The first benefit of speaking in tongues, is to  give us the assurance that we have been Baptized in the Holy Spirit.

As we have already discussed in the study, “The Baptism in the Holy Spirit,” I made the comment that: “In three out of the five examples from the book of Acts, the believers spoke with tongues when they were baptized or filled with the Holy Spirit. The other two examples imply this.”  

We read about the example in Acts chapter 10. Peter goes to the house of Cornelius, the believers are baptized with the Holy Spirit and speak in tongues. Peter then reports back to the other apostles and says to them in Acts 11:15-16, “And as I began to speak, the Holy Ghost fell on them, as on us at the beginning.  Then remembered I the word of the Lord, how that he said, John indeed baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost. Forasmuch then as God gave them the like gift as he did unto us,“How did he know that they were baptised in the Holy Spirit? It is because he heard them speaking with tongues!

The second benefit what tongues together with the gift of interpretation of tongues does. 

We read in 1 Corinthians 14:27-28If anyone speaks in a tongue, let there be two or at the most three, each in turn, and let one interpret. 28 But if there is no interpreter, let him keep silent in church, and let him speak to himself and to God.” Without going into any detail, the public utterance in tongues in a public meeting, together with the gift of interpretation of tongues, releases a prophetic utterance for edification, comfort and encouragement in the public meeting.  This public application of this is covered in the study called, “The Gifts of the Holy Spirit.”

We can also interpret our own tongues. It says in 1 Corinthians 14:13, “Therefore let him who speaks in a tongue pray that he may interpret.” We can pray in tongues, and then take a step of faith and speak out by faith the words that come into our minds. This is a wonderful way to encourage ourselves as well as release prophetic words over our lives. Jesus said that the Holy Spirit will show you things to come.

The third benefit is that  tongues can enable us  to communicate with others in a language that we have not learnt. 

We have an example of this in Acts 2:11. On the day of Pentecost, we read how the people of Jerusalem were astonished and said “… we hear them speaking in our own tongues the wonderful works of God.

When I was at university, my landlady gave me this amazing testimony. “One day I was preaching the gospel to a group of Zulus living near the city of Durban in South Africa.  They could not understand English and I could not understand their Zulu tongue. I spoke in English and what they heard was me speaking in Zulu. When they spoke back to me in Zulu, what I heard was them speaking in English.” I have heard many similar testimonies. Therefore, this gift can help us preach the Gospel in languages that we do not understand!

The fourth benefit is that  tongues can edify us and increases our anointing.

 Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 14:4 and says, “He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself.  The word ‘edify’ means to ‘build oneself up.’ Speaking in tongues is one of the means that God has given to us to be filled with the Holy Spirit. That is why Paul said in 1 Corinthians 14:18, “I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than you all.”  In Jude 1:20 we read, “Building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost.” Smith Wigglesworth, who was greatly used by God was asked about the secret of his great anointing. He simply answered, “I speak in tongues a lot.”

Isaiah 28:11-12 says,  “This is the rest with which You may cause the weary to rest,” And, “This is the refreshing…” Paul quotes this verse in 1 Corinthians 14:21 in the context of speaking in tongues. When we speak a lot in tongues, we will be refreshed and filled with the Holy Spirit. We will often ‘sense’ a physical manifestation of the anointing.

The fifth benefit is that  tongues enables us to pray according to God’s will. 

In Romans 8:26-27 we read,  “Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.  The Aramaic translation says, “He ALSO knows the mind of the Spirit…”  Therefore when we pray in tongues, the Father searches our hearts, but He also knows the mind of the Spirit. Therefore, when we pray in tongues, we pray according to the perfect will of God!

In the King James Version, Romans 8:27 and Romans 8:28 is linked together by the word AND. It reads as follows: “And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.  And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” This implies that when the Holy Spirit makes intercession for us, which happens when we pray in tongues, then things begin to work together for our good. Therefore the more we pray in tongues, the more things will work out for our good.

In 1 Corinthians 14:14 we read, “For if I pray in an unknown tongue, my spirit prays, but my understanding is unfruitful.” Notice he said, “My spirit prays.” The Amplified Bible reads, “My spirit [by the Holy Spirit within me] prays . . . .”  When we pray in tongues, our spirit is in direct contact with God, Who is a Spirit. There is a partnership between the Holy Spirit and our human spirits. Let us look at another verse that confirms this.

In 1 Corinthians 2:11 we read, “For what man knows the things of man except the spirit of man that is in Him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God.” We consist of spirit, soul and body. (1 Thessalonians 5:23) When we receive Jesus, the life of Jesus comes into our human spirit by the Holy Spirit, and we are born again. We therefore have the perfect life of Jesus living in our born again spirits. Then in Proverbs 20:27, we read that, “The spirit of man is the lamp of the Lord,searching the inner depths of his heart.”

So what happens when we pray in tongues? Our human spirit who searches our hearts, knows our needs. The Holy Spirit, knows the will of God. So when we pray in tongues, the Holy Spirit together with our human spirit, form a prayer partnership and prays according to the will of God. When we pray in tongues we often pray about things that are even hidden from our minds. We also read in 1 Corinthians 14:2, “He that speaks in a tongue does not speak to men, but to God, for no one understands him; however, in the spirit he speaks mysteries.”

I have noticed more divine appointments and wonderful opportunities after I had prayed much in tongues. I once heard a testimony of a well known pastor in the USA. One day he was invited to the White House to be an adviser to the president. When he asked God, why this happened, the Lord said that this was an answer to a prayer request. Without being aware of it, when he prayed in tongues, he was asking God to send him to the White House. 

In Ephesians 3:20, Paul writes and says, “God is able to do exceeding, abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power (of the Holy Spirit) that is in you.” Therefore, as we pray in the spirit, or pray in tongues, we release the power that is in us for God to do exceedingly, abundantly, above all we ask or think.

The sixth benefit is that tongues enables us to glorify God. 

Jesus said in John 16:15, that the Holy Spirit would glorify Him. In Acts 2:11, we read “… we hear them speaking in own tongues the wonderful works of God.”  When we speak in tongues, we are often speaking about the wonderful works of God! We do not only speak in tongues, but we can also sing in tongues. We read in 1 Corinthians 14:15, “I will sing with the spirit, and I will also sing with the understanding.”  When we sing in tongues, we give to God the most beautiful adoration that even goes beyond our natural abilities.  We can combine praise, worship and thanksgiving, with speaking in tongues. We can worship with our understanding, then take a step of faith and worship in tongues. 

The seventh benefit is that tongues enables us to be led by the Spirit.

The Bible says, in Romans 8:14, “Those who are led by the Spirit are sons of God.”  We also read in 1 Corinthians 14:21, “With men of other tongues and other lips I will speak to this people...” When we speak in tongues a lot, we will become more sensitive to the leading and the voice of God. It quietens our flesh, especially our carnal thoughts and enables our human spirit to have dominance over our minds and emotions. A good practice is to write down the questions we want to ask the Holy Spirit. We pray in tongues as a step of faith and then write down the impressions and the thoughts that come into our minds.

The eighth benefit is that tongues enables us to grow spiritually: 

The seventh use of this gift is to help us grow spiritually. We have already read in Jude 1:20, “Building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost.” We read in Galatians 5:16, “Walk in the Spirit and you will not fulfill the desires of the flesh.” When we speak in tongues a lot, it enables us to walk in the Spirit.

Two important questions:

Firstly, when or how often should we speak in tongues? The answer is, as much as possible, even when we do not feel like doing so. Speaking in tongues is a decision of the will and not just a stirring of our emotions. The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 14:15, “I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also: I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also.”  Paul boasted that he spoke in tongues more than all. The more we use this gift, the more it will develop. 

Secondly: How long should we speak in tongues? We should speak long enough until we sense something happening in our minds and emotions. There should be an increased level of peace and joy. We may even experience our language in tongues  becoming deeper and more profound. When Paul wrote about tongues in 1 Corinthians 14:21, he quoted a verse in Isaiah 28:11 which says, “This is the rest, this is the refreshing...” Therefore, we should speak until we feel spiritually an emotionally refreshed which can take a considerable amount of time! When we start to speak in tongues, it may seem that nothing is happening and our thoughts may even wander. However, if we persevere, our minds will settle down and we become more aware of God’s presence.

Finally, speaking in tongues is often the entrance to the other gifts of the Holy Spirit and  connects us with the supernatural spirit world. In 1 Corinthians 13:2 it is called the  language of angels. The more we speak  in tongues, the more we will experience wonderful things happening in our lives such as divine appointments and amazing opportunities.

Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 14:29,  “do not forbid the speaking with tongues.” To ignore this instruction is disobedience to the word of God. I hope this brief study has inspired you to explore and tap into the wonderful benefits of this amazing gift.   Amen