The Holy Ghost and Tongues

The Holy Ghost and Tongues

What is the Holy Ghost?

A Comforter

John 14:16

John 14:26

John 16:7

John 15:26

The Spirit of Truth

John 14:17


Luke 24:49

Acts 1:8

Spirit of Christ

Galatians 4:6

What is the Role of the Holy Ghost?

Provides peace and comfort

Romans 14:17 – “For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.

Philippians 4:7 – “And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Discerning of spirits

1 John 4:1 – “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.


1 Corinthians 12:3 – “No man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.

Necessary for adoption

Galatians 4:4-7 – But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.

Tongues and the Holy Ghost

Tongues as initial evidence

Acts 2:1-4

1 When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord* in one place. 2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them.4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

Acts 10: 44-46

44 While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the word. 45 And those of the circumcision who believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also. 46 For they heard them speak with tongues and magnify God.

Acts 19:1-7

1 And it happened, while Apollos was at Corinth, that Paul, having passed through the upper regions, came to Ephesus. And finding some disciples 2 he said to them, "Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?" So they said to him, "We have not so much as heard whether there is a Holy Spirit." 3 And he said to them, "Into what then were you baptized?" So they said, "Into John's baptism." 4 Then Paul said, "John indeed baptized with a baptism of repentance, saying to the people that they should believe on Him who would come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus." 5 When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 6 And when Paul had laid hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke with tongues and prophesied. 7 Now the men were about twelve in all.

The common doctrine of salvation is that believing and accepting the Gospel is the only prerequisite of salvation. Consider Acts 8:5-19:

5 Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria and preached Christ to them.6 And the multitudes with one accord heeded the things spoken by Philip, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did. 7 For unclean spirits, crying with a loud voice, came out of many who were possessed; and many who were paralyzed and lame were healed. 8 And there was great joy in that city. 9 But there was a certain man called Simon, who previously practiced sorcery in the city and astonished the people of Samaria, claiming that he was someone great, 10 to whom they all gave heed, from the least to the greatest, saying, "This man is the great power of God." 11 And they heeded him because he had astonished them with his sorceries for a long time. 12 But when they believed Philip as he preached the things concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, both men and women were baptized. 13 Then Simon himself also believed; and when he was baptized he continued with Philip, and was amazed, seeing the miracles and signs which were done. 14 Now when the apostles who were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them, 15 who, when they had come down, prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit. 16 For as yet He had fallen upon none of them. They had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 17 Then they laid hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit. 18 And when Simon saw that through the laying on of the apostles' hands the Holy Spirit was given, he offered them money, 19 saying, "Give me this power also, that anyone on whom I lay hands may receive the Holy Spirit."

It’s clear that the Samaritans received the Word (vs. 14), were baptized in Jesus’ name (vs. 16), and were filled with joy (vs. 8), but had not yet been filled with the Spirit (vs. 15-16). When Peter and John came and laid hands on the Samaritans, Simon the sorcerer saw a visible sign – given the context of the book of Acts, what do you suppose that sign was? Even nonPentecostal scholars agree that tongues were the initial outward sign that Simon saw the Samaritans exhibit. He KNEW that they had been filled with the Spirit.

Types of Tongues

Earthly languages

Acts 2:5-12

5 And there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men, from every nation under heaven. 6 And when this sound occurred, the multitude came together, and were confused, because everyone heard them speak in his own language.7 Then they were all amazed and marveled, saying to one another, "Look, are not all these who speak Galileans? 8 And how is it that we hear, each in our own language in which we were born? 9 Parthians and Medes and Elamites, those dwelling in Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia,10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya adjoining Cyrene, visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, 11 Cretans and Arabs--we hear them speaking in our own tongues the wonderful works of God." 12 So they were all amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, "Whatever could this mean?"

In this instance, it is clear that the tongues were spoken to glorify God to unbelievers

Tongues for interpretation

1 Corinthians 14:27

If anyone speaks in a tongue, let there be two or at the most three, each in turn, and let one interpret

Tongues as private prayer language

Romans 8:26-28

26 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. 27 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. 28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.

Understanding 1 Corinthians 12 and 14 – Criticisms of Tongues

1 Corinthians 12:27-31

27 Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually. 28 And God has appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, varieties of tongues. 29 Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Are all workers of miracles? 30 Do all have gifts of healings? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret? 31 But earnestly desire the best gifts. And yet I show you a more excellent way.

This isn’t Paul saying that not all believers speak in tongues – remember, he was speaking to people that had already been saved. He was speaking of the gift of tongues, as in the gifts of the Spirit.

1 Corinthians 13:8-12

But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away. When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.

I’ve heard some people argue that this passage is arguing that tongues will one day cease (and I agree), and that this day has come, since we’ve received the entire canon of scripture. This is reading FAR removed from the intent of the author. There’s nothing that says that tongues would cease with the completion of canon. There is too much that tongues accomplishes in the believer’s life! When we see Jesus face to face, and no longer limited by our humanity or flesh, then and only then, will tongues cease.

1 Corinthians 14:1-40

People of other theological views use these passages to argue that not everyone will speak in tongues, but this isn’t the proper context or understanding

We’ve seen from other passages of scripture that tongues occur consistently as the initial evidence of the Holy Ghost. Additionally, we’ve seen the use of tongues as a private prayer language, a tool that is incredibly powerful for the believer. So what is being said in this passage of 1 Corinthians?

The Corinthian church was abusing the gift of tongues – they would walk to the front of the church, speak in tongues for awhile, then step down. The next person would step up, speak in tongues, and then step down. They did this to demonstrate how spiritual they were, to show off to the rest of the congregation. Paul wrote to correct this abuse of the gift of tongues, not to restrict the individual believer’s speaking in tongues (in proper order).

Paul’s point in chapter 14:

Tongues edify the individual, not the church – vs. 4

While we’re in a church meeting, we should seek to edify the entire body, not just ourselves – vs. 12, 13

It is better to speak five words that can edify than to speak for hours in tongues while in the church!! – vs. 19

God is a God of order, and all things should be done appropriately and in order – vs. 33, 40