Is speaking in tongues for today?

Question: “Is speaking in tongues still in operation by the Holy Spirit as in the early church?  Should I learn to speak in tongues?”

Bible Answers

You do not have to speak in tongues in order to be saved or to have the Holy Spirit in you, but for the free and full outpouring that is the power of the Holy Spirit, you must seek the Gifts of the Holy Spirit.  

Speaking in tongues is a gift from God, and we know that God only gives good gifts to those who are obeying Him.  

Jesus said

And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues (Mark 16:17). This was the last thing Jesus said before returning to heaven. He said that speaking in a new tongue was a sign that accompanied those who believe and was for all believers who would be open and seek the gifts.  

What is speaking in tongues

Speaking in tongues is speaking in a language that you do not know as provided by the Holy Spirit, it being one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit.  He may provide a heavenly language or an earthy language that someone else may understand.

Do only a few speak in tongues

Today, over 400 million Christians, around the world, speak in tongues and this number is quickly growing. The gift of tongues is not reserved for just a few but for everyone as Paul said in 1 Cor. 14:5, I would like every one of you to speak in tongues.

God gave us His Holy Spirit to teach us, guide us, and empower us. The power and gifts of the Holy Spirit are for everyone, not just a select few.

Is speaking in tongues just babble

Some who do not believe claim that speaking in tongues is just babble but science has proven them wrong.  The language center of the brain, the frontal lobes that are normally busy when we speak, during testing, were quite quiet when subjects were speaking in tongues.

Speaking in tongues is clearly not fabricated but from another source, God.

Is speaking in tongues for today

Some claim that speaking in tongues is not for today, that it ceased with the early church, but the apostle Paul said to the early church approximately 25 years after Jesus’ crucifixion, Therefore, my brothers and sisters, be eager to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in tongues (1 Corinthians 14:39).

Many claim that the apostolic and charismatic gifts stopped after the original 12 apostles passed away. However, several well known early church fathers, including Justin Martyr (100-165 AD), Irenaeus (115-202 AD), Tertullian (160-220 AD), and Origen (185-254 AD), wrote that the spiritual gifts, including speaking in tongues, were very much active in the church, long after John, the last apostle had passed away around 100 AD.

Today, it is estimated that some 100,000,000 Christians speak in tongues.

It is a shame that many are afraid and criticize those who do believe and operate within the gifts of the Holy Spirit, a gift from God to help and benefit, when the Bible clearly says we are to operate in the gifts and speak in tongues.

Paul told us to …eagerly desire gifts of the Spirit, especially prophecy (1 Corinthians 14:1).

Nothing in the Bible indicates that this gift would cease several hundred years later. Nor is there any logical reason to assume that a gift God gave to the early church to advance His children and proclaim His wonders and miracles would not be needed by the later church.

God would not take away a gift to His children as long as they needed it.

Claimed as proof that tongues has stopped

The following verse is the most popular proof used by some to prove that speaking in tongues have stopped.

Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away (1 Corinthians 13: 8).

Now that sounds rather impressive, but wait. It ends with as for knowledge, it will pass away. Has all knowledge passed away?  No. Then how can they claim tongues have passed away at this time. The real issue is timing.

When they show you 1 Corinthians 13:8, they fail to also show you verses 9 and 10. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. Verse 10 is very important as it provides the needed timing.  Verse 8 will occur when the perfect comes. The perfect is Jesus Christ.  Only when the perfect comes will prophesy, tongues, and (man’s) knowledge no longer be needed.  Only then will they cease.

What does speaking in tongues accomplish

1. Speaking to God. , For anyone who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God (1 Corinthians 14:2).

2. Praising God. For they heard them speaking in tongues and praising God (Acts 10:46).

3. Declaring God’s wonders and majesty. We hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues (Acts 2:11).

4. Edifying selves. He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself (1 Cor. 14:4).

5. The Holy Spirit declares God's will. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express ...because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God's will (Romans 8:26-27).

How can I learn to speak in tongues

If you desire to speak in tongues, pray for it until you receive it. Jesus said, How much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him? (Luke 11:13). Keep praying until you receive.

How often should you speak in tongues

Paul said, I thank God that I speak in tongues more than all of you" (1 Cor. 14:18).

Are there abuses in the use of tongues

As with nearly everything, some will and do misuse and abuse the gift of tongues. But do not reject the wonders of God because of misinformed fear caused by a few.

Rather, let us remember the words of the Apostle Paul in 1 Cor. 14:39. …“do not forbid speaking in tongues."


God gave a gift to the early church, in which we have no indication that He ever took it back, in which over 400 million Christians will tell you that the charismatic gifts are real and a blessing of the Lord.

But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit (Jude 20).


These powerful gifts are available today for those who seek them. For more details.

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