What is Speaking in Tongues? A Biblical Analysis

by Jack Wellman · Print Print · Email Email

Many years ago I visited a church while out of town.  At the time I was unaware that it was a charismatic church.  When the church services started, it was quite clear that they believed in the gift of tongues.  I was urged to speak in tongues and to “give it up” to the Spirit.  I needed to speak in tongues to be “baptized with the Holy Ghost.“  As I prayed over this and pondered whether I should try and speak in tongues, nothing happened.  I even contemplated faking it.  I felt somewhat ostracized because I actually never did speak in tongues.  I was praying at the time that, “God, if you want me to speak in tongues, please enable me by the Spirit to do so.“  Nothing ever came out and I felt completely inadequate compared to the other believers who were speaking in tongues that I didn’t understand.  There were several speaking at the same time as they were dancing and jumping up and down. To me, it was a little frightening and confusing.

The tongues I heard that night were completely unintelligible and it was an exercise in futility for me to try and understand what was being said.  And no one was interpreting the tongues either which made it even worse.  The whole assembly, minus me, was in a near frenzy and they were completely lost in their actions.

I can remember reading about tongues in Old Testament times where foreign tongues were not a good sign for Israel at all (Walvoord and Zuck 1984, 539).  Foreign tongues were usually a warning to the nation.  When I looked at the New Testament, what I found was that tongues are not a babbling of words, but that of a known language.  This language was intelligible to those who spoke that language and understood by them.

Speaking in Tongues in the New Testament

The first place that speaking in tongues occur in the New Testament was in Acts 2:1-4: “When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.”  The word tongues has a literal translation in the Greek of “languages”.  This means that the tongues that were being spoken were those of a known language.  The tongues were words with specific meaning and not just babbling.  This is clarified in Acts 2:7-11, “Utterly amazed, they asked: “Aren’t all these who are speaking Galileans? Then how is it that each of us hears them in our native language? Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome, (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs—we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!”

So those who heard these tongues or languages were languages that were known and that the believers may not have known how to speak.  That was a miracle but the miracle was not for the believers benefit but were a sign for the unbelievers (I Cor. 14:22).  These verses were a sign that God used to signify that the Gentiles were receiving salvation to those who did not believe (Walvoord and Zuck 1984, 382).

So clearly, speaking in tongues in the New Testament church were tongues of known languages and not unknown languages or unintelligible sounds.  Since many in Judea were bilingual and some even trilingual, it’s not really that surprising that there were many languages being spoken (Walvoord and Zuck 1984, 357).  They were praising God in different tongues or languages to give evidence for unbelievers that God was at work in more ethnic groups than just the Jews. This validated the fulfillment of Joel chapter two to the Jews as well (Walvoord and Zuck 1984, 408).

Speaking in Tongues and the Baptism of the Holy Spirit

Acts 10:44-46 also has a reference to tongues: “While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message.  The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on Gentiles. For they heard them speaking in tongues (literally, languages) and praising God.”  Notice that the Holy Spirit was poured out and they were not baptized into the Holy Spirit or received a baptism of the Holy Spirit.

Speaking in tongues is a sign for unbelievers and not what some charismatic churches claim as the baptism of the Holy Spirit.  Nowhere in the New Testament is it written that they spoke in tongues and were baptized in the Holy Spirit.  For believers, the receiving of the Holy Spirit is a one time event and it is not a sign of being filled up by the Spirit or being baptized into the Holy Spirit.  It is precisely for the reason of validating God’s acceptance of the Gentiles to the Jews and this acceptance by God for all people was at a specific time in history (Walvoord and Zuck 1984, 408).

Tongues: A Sign for Unbelievers

Biblical scholars agree that in Acts 19:1-7 and elsewhere that these verses clearly indicate that tongues were intended “to overcome unbelief” (Walvoord and Zuck 1984, 409).  They were specifically for unbelievers and to validate Paul’s message and to overcome the listener’s unbelief (Walvoord and Zuck 1984, 408, 409).

Even at the risk of offending some, this reminds me of snake handlers.  Some churches take one text out of context and make it a pretext and sadly, the worship is more centered on the gift of tongues or the handling of snakes than it is with Christ being the center of worship.  Jesus Christ should always be the center of all worship services and never any gift since Paul tells us not to exalt in any gifts of the Spirit since they come from God anyway.

Taking Text out of Context

Here is a personal note on the gift of tongues and the twisting of scriptures.  Sadly, many denominations or churches do not take problematic scriptures and place them against all  the scriptures relating to a particular subject to discover the proper context to see whether it is biblically sound or not.  This is what is meant by “ rightly handling the word of truth” (2 Tim 2:15) and “ no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation” (2 Pet. 1:20). A sound principle is that if there is a problematic scripture or verse; take all the other scriptures that relate to this subject and place them all against the one scripture or scriptures to bring clarity to the subject.  If we still can not decide its meaning, then this might be God’s prerogative alone to know about and we have no business trying to inject or infer meaning when God is not clear on the subject.  If God has not plainly revealed its meaning in scripture or it is not clarified by other scripture, then this is not revelation from God intended for us and should not be taken as such.  Revelation from men is highly questionable and not like the inerrant Word which is infallible.   If God had wanted us to fully understand it, He would have revealed it. Some things that are not clear must be for Him alone to know and we have no business trying to decode such enigmatic scriptures into a meaning that we were never intended to know in the first place.

It is apparent that there is sufficient evidence about tongues that they are clearly a sign for unbelievers, Jews or otherwise.  They are also a sign that God is at work.  The earliest church historians never mention that speaking in tongues continued to occur in the church after all the apostles were gone.  Speaking in tongues is a rather recent movement in the 19th century.  I speak Spanish and I feel that some people are gifted at learning other languages.  My former pastor picked up several African languages at the time he was on mission trips.  He had a gift for it.  But it was a known language.  I can speak in “other” tongues, like English, Spanish, and even some Greek but what sounds like gibberish to those who don’t know them, it is a known language.  But these are known languages and I am not just “letting myself go”.

I have been told that I have never been “filled by the Holy Spirit” or been “truly baptized into the Holy Spirit” unless I have spoken in tongues.   That is not biblical nor should someone feel less “spiritual” if they don’t speak in tongues.   By the way, tongues are the last gift mentioned of all the gifts of the Spirit and love is over and above all other things.  In my humble opinion, charismatic’s too often take it to the extreme and belittle those who do not speak in tongues and incorrectly associate their not being filled with the Spirit when this is actually a one-time event at the moment a believer receives the Holy Spirit at conversion.  You can not have any more of the Holy Spirit, nor can you have any less of Him.  You either have the Holy Spirit or you don’t.


1.       John F. Walvoord and Roy B. Zuck, trans., The Bible Knowledge Commentary – New Testament.  (Colorado Springs, CO.: David C Cook, Publisher, 1984).

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{ 87 comments… read them below or add one }

Kimberly September 26, 2016 at 8:02 am

I would like to say that I agree that certain churches do push the speaking in tongues much to much, when in fact speaking in tongues is real, yet it is not for every believer. It is spoken in GOD’s word that only when there is an interpreter of tongues should it spoken in public because it will just sound like clanging symbol’s and causes confusion, GOD is not a GOD of confusion(which is why I have a hard time excepting ‘bible versions’). Mainly it is to be used in private prayer, it lifts you into the throne room with Jesus at GOD’s right hand and it confuses the demons because they cannot understand it, in places of public it should not be the main focus, hence a rare occasion not the norm. The Bible also states that it will come to an end along with wisdom and knowledge but not love, love is for eternity. I believe the end is when Christ returns for His church. I believe every believer is equipped with all the gifts of the Spirit, it takes walking closely with Christ to access them, but if you don’t believe in the gifts you will not possess any, or they will be weak or used not for the kingdom. I did a study on the gifts, I do not have my notes with me nor can I site all the spots in the word of GOD off the top of my head. My study consisted of searching out all named gifts and places in GOD’s word that referenced them, using 3 ‘bible versions’,defining them with a concordance, each word, and using a dictionary to define them. I collect dictionaries so I used multiple ones to seek the most definition I could get. These are real, how can we accept the gift of service or ministry but not tongues or miracles? churches that use tongues like popcorn are in danger. we are not to glorify the gifts, the gifts are to glorify GOD.


Scott McMurtrie October 4, 2016 at 10:00 am

I to have attended wonderful Pentecostal Churches in my life, I know tongues is a real gift and that it is from God. Though I personally have never had the gift though I asked for it many many times. I did in FACT receive the Baptism in the Holy Spirit, though never had the tongues , why??? ask God Also though we are noyt to rely on feelings, my experience I was alone in my quiet room lying flat on my back, asking Jesus into my life, I fell asleep praising God/Jesus, when I awake I remembered Pat Robertson 700 CLUB suggested asking for Baptism of the Holy Spirit afterwards, after asking Jesus into our lives

So I asked while I was repeating I love you Jesus over and over may I receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit, from the top of my head it felt like a drill in the top of my skull and then a hot heat powerfully swept through me remaining in my chest a hot feeling that remained with me for 2 days, I went to the closest Church, that morning, happened to ne a main line Church Baptist, I was so full of the Holy Spirit I was almost passing out I felt, it was beautiful and scary at the same time on the third day I crashed from this euphoria, for sure a person could not stay in that state

So I have asked for Toungues many many times, have been at the altar with ministers saying stuff like its there just let it out etc

So yes I dont have it, but I dont ridicule those that have this Godly gift…For the Author to say he considered faking it, well that speaks poorly of you I am afraid, that you even considered that

I like this site, but those of us that have never had the gift of toungues should not be so quick to slam it


Jack Wellman October 4, 2016 at 10:19 am

Friend, no one is ridiculing anyone who believes in speaking in tongues. Can you show me where we have done that sir? The Apostle Paul said that not all will speak in tongues. I can live with that. Rather, the greatest use of tongues that any of us can use it for is to rescue the perishing. What is more valuable than a human soul?


Scott McMurtrie October 4, 2016 at 3:39 pm

My take on the combined comments from all posts was that it was twisting Scripture etc to believe that tongues was for today. I acknowledged that I never personally had the gift, though have repeatedly asked for it , actually and still do from time to time.

Perhaps my take on the criticism , that you say was not there, is from the overall reading I do on the subject from all around me. An example would be the good people that put out the Our Daily Bread , you know the daily Mark De Haun (sp)

I really like the people, but I asked for a booklet they had about , Speaking in Tongues, thinking it would be positive, but it was just a hit job that spoke about how it was not Biblical for today (I paraphrase)

Another recent example would be… God Is Just a Prayer away Radio program, I listen to the program but was disappointed to see them slamming the gift of tongues as well, and again as I state I dont have the gift, but many friends do

I obviously offended you with my post, my apologies I did see “the twisting of Scripture reference” maybe read to fast and got the wrong impression, if that was the case my apologies.

I actually had bookmarked the site just prior to reading that, another subject here that I appreciated the answer, so sorry if I got the wrong impression.

Normally a search on the internet for speaking in tongues usually has comments from people that dont have the gift, feeling negative about it, so I was getting that feeling as I read here perhaps to fast.

I gave 2 examples that call it not Biblical, for sure I disagree, though I personally dont have the gift.


Jack Wellman October 4, 2016 at 4:05 pm

Thank you. Well said my friend. I am glad you came by. The day we fail to learn from others we have failed ourselves, and so I say, Thank you mr. McMurtrie.


Mbah Stanley December 1, 2019 at 5:53 pm

We want Bible reference, you can’t just be saying based on your belief


Sharyn December 14, 2020 at 10:15 am

Babies speak in tongues & we understand them.




Jack Wellman December 14, 2020 at 10:19 am

The actual Greek word for tongues is language and it is a known langauge, so speaking in tongues does no one any good…in fact, it was a sign for unbelievers, but babies do not speak in tongues…but in baby talk or babbel.


Ary October 6, 2016 at 12:24 am

Does it mean that the deeper our relationship with God becomes, the easier it will be to feel the Holy Spirit at work? I’ve only recently asked for baptism of the Holy Spirit and had a preacher pray over me for it. I haven’t experience any significant manifestation of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. The most pronounce effect I’ve experience is uncontrolled tremors in my limbs e.g. during praise and worship. I’m not sure if there more to it than just the flesh reacting to the presence of God.


martin cooke October 17, 2016 at 10:26 pm

Interesting article my experience of charasmatics and those who talk in tongues was all disapointing and very shocking appeared the fruit of the spirit sadly missing out of control rabble if you ask me ive seen their trail of messed up lives, then thay want your money,


Lakshmi Eben October 31, 2016 at 4:59 am

Do we have any biblical reference that Satan/demon cannot understand what is spoken in tongues? Please let me know. Thanks.


Jack Wellman October 31, 2016 at 8:47 am

Thank you Thank you for your question Lakshmi. There is no evidence in the Bible anywhere that Satan knows what we’re thinking or can or cannot understand what is being said in tongues. There are no Scriptures that answer this question.


Samson Fidimaye November 6, 2016 at 6:25 pm

Peace be unto you.

Lackshmi, the scripture those who advocate this error use is Apostle Paul’s statement in 1 Corinthians 13:1, that says “Though I speak in tongues of men and angels . . .” However, It is an error of biblical interpretation to assume that Paul was saying he spoke in the tongue of angels when he said “Though I speak . . .” Paul was simply saying, “Even if he speaks with tongues of men and tongues of angels, but have not love, he has become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal”. In the next verses, Paul makes more similar statements which by no means translate to him doing all of them. The Greek word for tongue, “Dialektos” found six times in the New Testament, and two times in Acts 2, means language. Paul clears the air identifying tongues as world languages and not some unknown angelic language, saying, “There are, it may be, so many kinds of languages in the world, and none of them is without significance. Therefore, if I do not know the meaning of the language, I shall be a foreigner to him who speaks, and he who speaks will be a foreigner to me. Even so you, since you are zealous for spiritual gifts, let it be for the edification of the church that you seek to excel” (1 Corinthians 14:10–12).

I hope that helps.


Jamie Curtis November 27, 2016 at 11:20 am

Thank you for your comments on the spiritual gifts as they have been very educational.In Corinthians 12 : 27-31 says; Now ye are the body of Christ and members in particular. And God hath set some in the church,first apostles,secondarily prophets,thirdly teachers,after that miracles,then gift’s of healings,helps,governments,diversities of tongues.Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Are all workers of miracles? Have all the gifts to healing? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret? But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way.” That scripture says to me that God gives each of us different gifts and not everyone will be able to speak with tongues ,or be able to heal etc. If you read on in Corinthians to verse 13, it seems that God would rather have us abide more in faith,hope,charity and love than anything else. The greatest gift is love. I too have struggled with the meaning of spiritual gifts as I was taught by the Baptist Church that the gifts were taken away. Every time I would ask a pastor of a Baptist Church about this subject, I was always left with the same answer. I knew what the Bible said but couldn’t figure out where it said that the gifts were taken away.One pastor used 1cor13 to prove that was where it said they were taken, yet I still don’t understand why or how one could get that interpretation. Unfortunately, I haven’t found a Church that actually goes by what the entire Bible says. If they do speak in tongues than they all speak in tongues instead of doing it the way the Bible says that it was to be done. The Bible is very clear about how tongues are to be done in a church. However, I have yet to see it done by the Bible. Sadly, people just pick and choose what part of the Bible that they are going to base their Church off of and mislead people into thinking the gifts are of no effect.Therefore having some form of godliness but not believing in the awesome power of the Almighty God Jesus Christ!


Sam January 31, 2018 at 9:19 am

Hi Jack,

Interesting article. I’m a Christian who does speak in tongues along with most of my brothers and sisters in Christ at the church I attend. We carry out the spiritual gifts just as Paul instructs the Corinth church to do in 1 Corinthians 14v26-33. This is done decently and in order as instructed by Paul here, two at the most three, tongues, interpretation and prophecy. Paul writes to the Corinthian church particularly in chapter 14 of how to run and operate the gifts in a church setting so there is no confusion and clarification is made to new people in that meeting. If I was to ask you how you know you have the Holy spirit, what evidence do you have to prove that you do? You say in ‘conversion’ you get the Holy Spirit, but no man can give the Holy Spirit as it is from God, so how do you know you have the Spirit of God if you do not speak in tongues? As we all read in 1 Corinthians that it is a sign for unbelievers, which we all were at some point. John 4v 24 As Christ is talking to the woman at the well mentions “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth”. How does one worship in spirit? If they do not speak in tongues? In a reply you made to Stefan above, your remark was this, in your words “second, nowhere in scripture are believers told to be baptised with, in or by the spirit or in any sense to seek the baptism of the Holy Spirit” yet in Acts 1v 5 Jesus himself after being resurrected clearly says “for John baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with Holy Ghost not many days hence”, of course this was the day of Pentecost where in Acts 2v1-4. The evidence that the Holy Ghost dwelt in them was “they began to speak with other tongues as the spirit gave them utterance”. Even Jesus again in Mark 16v15-18 “and these signs shall follow them that believe; in my name shall they cast out devils ; they shall speak with new tongues”. Apologies for going on so long but in Acts 10v44-48, Peter is talking with the Gentiles “because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost” and how do they know they had the Holy Ghost, no man ‘confirmed’ it but in verse 46- “for they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God”. The bible is the living word, I have seen many many miracles done with the laying on of hands as stated in Mark 16. While praying to God in tongues, the blind have seen, the dumb have spoken, the lame have walked, the sick raised up, the dead brought back to life, I have been a witness and prayed for these people. Pure and simple, it is a prayer language for the spirit dwelling us to God. I speak it fluently while I have no idea what I am saying but as it says in Romans 9v 26-“likewise the spirit also helps 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”v27” 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”. Please don’t take this response in a negative manner, that is not my intention or purpose and if that is how it’s taken I sincerely apologise. I agree with other responses that there are over the top churches out there running their church like the early Corinthian church, out of control and disorderly which is why Paul sent the letter to correct them. My main question is what evidence do you have that the Holy Ghost dwells in you if it’s not speaking in tongues? Look forward to your reply.
Kind Regards,


Jack Wellman January 31, 2018 at 9:41 am

Hello Sam. The verse “unknown tongue” is not in the Bible and the word “tongue” in the Greek means “language” and not “prayer language” so even though the Spirit does help us in prayer, we are too focused on the gifts of the Spirit and not the fruits of the Spirit. You asked me how I know I have the Spirit of God without having spoken in tongues. Your question presumes that if I don’t, I must not have God’s Spirit, so that is where the rub is with most who claim to speak in tongues. They use that (wrongly, as you have) as evidence of being a believer or not but Jesus said you will know them by their fruit, not but their gifts. Please don’t respond to others who don’t speak in tongues and ask them the question you asked me about what evidence you have you are a believer if you’ve not spoken in tongues. That is not your call. God alone knows. By the way, Paul asked,
Do all speak in tongue” with the obvious answer, being no! I hope you are kinder to others you meet if they don’t speak in tongues and judge them as not having the Spirit. That is not your call and you cannot look into the heart as God can 1 Sam 16:7).


STEVE June 12, 2019 at 6:47 pm

The words “unknown tongue” is definitely in the Bible, sir! I Cor. 14:2. Just because those words are not in the original manuscripts, we can’t truthfully say they are not in the Bible. How much of the KJV Bible would we have to throw away just because some words are not in the original manuscripts? When a person speaks in an unknown tongue, they are not speaking to men, but to God; for NO MAN UNDERSTANDS HIM (evidently an unknown tongue [or language] means ‘no earthly language’)—howbeit in the Spirit he speaks mysteries.


Jack Wellman June 12, 2019 at 6:55 pm

Hello Steve. I suggest you read any King James Bible and you will see that it is in italics, meaning it was not in the original manuscripts. Most scholars learn this fact in their first year or two of college or seminary. Please do more research on this as yiou are add to God’s Word, which is a very dangerous thing to do as you know. Please look closer at the original Greek manuscripts of this verse…it is just not there, period. You have been misled by someone. Also, tonuge is not Greek either, as it actually is “glosia” which means “language”so you are wrong on both accounts. Study and pray and I hope God gives you the proper understanding. Your source is wrong. Greekis NOT an unknown language. Anyone who has studied Greek knows Greek knows it’s a real language, not some uknown babble. The King James term ” unknown tongue” is itself part of the confusion over understanding this doctrine.

First, the word “unknown”:

Is there even such a thing as an “unknown” tongue in the Scriptures? No, there isn’t. Although most modern translations have dropped the word “unknown” from the phrase ” unknown tongue,” the King James retains it, and is therefore still looked upon as authority for the use of this unscriptural term.

The erroneous term ” unknown tongue” is used but six times in the King James (I Cor. 14:2, 4, 13, 14, 19, & 27,) and in every instance, the word unknown is in italics, signifying that the original Greek manuscripts did not contain this or any such word. It was erroneously added by the translators and should be taken out. It only adds more confusion to this little-understood doctrine.

Williyam Varghese December 7, 2016 at 8:56 pm

Dear Jack Wellman,
I am happy to read your article and it gives a clear insight to this well debated subject. But I am seriously shocked to see your translation of ” This is what is meant by “rightly dividing the Word of God” (II Tim 2:15) and “scripture is of no private interpretation” (II Pet. 1:2).”. I think you took it from KJV, the exact translation of this 2 Tim 2:15 is “rightly handling the Word of God” and I am not finding ““scripture is of no private interpretation” in (II Pet. 1:2).”, can you please give the right verse? 2 Tim 2:15 is misused and misguiding by many because of wrong translation, there is a huge difference between ‘ dividing’ and ‘ handling’. please see this verse in all the available translation and you will find this ‘dividing ‘ only in KJV. And please give the right verse of ““scripture is of no private interpretation”. Thank you.


Jack Wellman December 7, 2016 at 9:24 pm

Great point. I hadn’t noticed that Mr. Varghese. I checked it out and corrected it sir. Thank you so much sir.


Carin Ferreira December 9, 2016 at 10:49 am

I am not at all an expert. I am though, a true believer and with that I strive to live a life inspired by Jesus and the Word of God.
This have taught me that everything that we do should be to honour and praise God.
Can it be that the urgent will to speak in tongues is inspired by a need for self validation? Or maybe a search for a sign from God?
Is the urgent search for it truly to glorify God? We not rather urgently search for YOUR gift and use that?
I too have experienced and seen people speak in tongues, falling around and fainting. I know too little of the subject to raise an informed opinion, but one thing Ive seen was a man who abruptly stopped speaking in tongues to answer his cellphone! That made me think that this all might be just a show…. for self validation or something of the likes.
I pray to know more of this subject, but do pray that it is a gift used purely of heart.
Please excuse my poor english.


Jack Wellman December 9, 2016 at 11:05 am

Amen Carin. You are exactly right about this subject. Is it to glorify God or ourselves? Sadly, some say that tongues is the evidence of the Holy Spirit, but the real evidence of a person being saved is not tongues but their life (1st John chapter 3). Thank you Carin for pointing out these important reminders in your comment.


Anthony December 19, 2016 at 3:10 am

Please take a look at the following that took place almost right before Jesus returned to the heaven after he was resurrected:
John 20:21-22(NKJV)–21 So Jesus said to them again, “Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” 22 And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”
It shows here that the disciples had received the Holy Spirit before Jesus left. Yet, in Act 1:4-5, he told them: “4 And being assembled together with them, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, “which,” He said, “you have heard from Me; 5 for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”
Was he saying that you have already received the Holy Spirit when I breathed on you, but there is more to come? And is that the Baptism of the Holy Spirit? You see according to John the Baptist of in Matthew 3:11–(“I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.”), only Jesus could do such baptism. Jesus never baptized anyone while in His earthly body(John 4:2). Yet in Act 1:5 (“for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”), we can see that Jesus is about to leave, and he told them to wait for this baptism which, of course, only He can do.

In Acts 1:4 (…but to wait for the Promise of the Father, “which,” He said, “you have heard from Me;), the promise of the here is specifically the baptized with the Holy Spirit. So they (the apostles) have received the Holy Spirit before Jesus left, and they now had to wait for Jesus to baptize them with the Holy Spirit in a few more days from then. And Jesus did, He did it on the day of Pentecost.


Jack Wellman December 19, 2016 at 1:29 pm

Jesus is speaking in the context of receiving the power of the Holy Spirit. It has nothing do to with the gifts of the Spirit.


Marquis Modupe December 20, 2016 at 8:48 am

Good day Bro Jack and everyone,
In this hot button topic of tongues, I’d like to draw attention to certain things, having read all that is above.

My comments below I’d like any that reads to carefully do so and kindly correct if my observations are out of place.

Bro Jack, God bless you for your Labour in the word.

Your counsel thus: “A sound principle is that if there is a problematic scripture or verse; take all the other scriptures that relate to this subject and place them all against the one scripture or scriptures to bring clarity to the subject. If we still can not decide its meaning, then this might be God’s prerogative alone to know about and we have no business trying to inject or infer meaning ”

I believe is a sound and safe one.

I also agree with you explaining that being filled/ baptize with the spirit doesn’t necessary signified by speaking in tongues, for there are other instances of people coming to salvation in the book of Acts and nothing is said about their speaking with tongues: Acts 8:36; 9:17-19

it seems to strike me however, that we are saying that because some haven’t experienced the gift of tongues invalidates its existence?

I want to believe that we are not saying in essence that all the gifts of the spirit are no longer in operation today as some believe and if any isn’t existing why should it be tongues alone?

As the apostle has spoken pursuing love as the most excellent gift is pertinent, but because the gift of tongues is mentioned last does it make it the least?

Does that make the last fruit of the SPIRIT mentioned (temperance) in the list the least?

You have also spoken of taking scriptures out of context, I’d be grateful if you can speak to the things I have written out

You cited the Acts 2 example and then you said:
“So clearly, speaking in tongues in the New Testament church were tongues of known languages and not unknown languages or unintelligible sounds.”

I think there’s a restriction of speaking with tongues largely to Acts 2 example, isn’t there a clear difference between this and that which the apostle states in 1Corinthians 14:2

For he that speaketh in an unknown tongue speaketh not unto men, but unto God: for NO MA’AM UNDERSTANDETH HIM howbeit in the spirit he speaketh mysteries. (Emphasis mine)

Is it not further shown by the apostle that it is possible an unbeliever, an enquirer , stranger can come into church and not understand what is being said?:

“Else when thou shalt bless with the spirit, how shall he that occupieth the room of the unlearned say Amen at thy giving of thanks, seeing he understandeth not what thou sayest?

17 For thou verily givest thanks well, but the other is not edified.” 1Corinthians 14:16,17

In the Acts 2 example it is clear as you have pointed out that certain men understood what they said :

“And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galilaeans?

8 And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born? “Acts 2:7,8

In 1 Corinthians 14 isn’t it clear that the church largely spoke in tongues and the apostle was trying to “regulate” it’s use for better edification of all?



Jack Wellman December 20, 2016 at 10:18 am

The greatest use of the tongue in the Bible is to preach the gospel so that others might be saved. I know we can disagree with those who say that tongues is the evidence of the Holy Spirit (which the Bible never says) and that all should speak in tongues, or whatever else, but we are still brothers and sisters in Christ. We can differ on these things. These are non-essentials to our salvation, right? Thank you sir for your comment. By the way, the verse you quoted in 1st Corinthians 14:2 is”For he that speaketh in an unknown tongue speaketh not unto men, but unto God: for NO MA’AM UNDERSTANDETH HIM howbeit in the spirit he speaketh mysteries” but the word “unknown” is not in the original manuscripts, so the word “unknown” as in “unknown tongues” is not biblical. The KJV also mistranslates “servant” which should be “slave” in most places (Greek, “doulos”). Just thought you should know.


Marquis Modupe December 20, 2016 at 8:59 am

Good day, please kindly notify me via mail when you respond,I didn’t click on the cheek box for that the other time. Pardon me and thanks


John January 9, 2017 at 2:30 am

I think what I think what the christians nowadays should desire is not for them to speak on tongues but to come to the truth first whether speaking in tongues (i.e. unintelligible language sense) is biblical (which is not). This does not mean disrespect to the people who claim that they have the gift. However one should introspect, Just like Jack and others had already pointed out, ¨Is it to glorify God or ourselves?¨.
I know most people who enter churches are not aware of these simple facts pointed by Jack. They just accept what is being directly and indirectly introduce to them without due biblical validation. Instead they only use their feelings to validate.

Way back on the first church I attend, I also found that tongues is something to experience, that there is nothing wrong in doing it. I was amazed by the seemingly depth of communication of those who speak in tongues. However, the more I attend every Sunday, the more I feel uncomfortable. It made me even think more when I had conversations with my former fellow churchgoers who speak tongues. Yes, they just fake it! To reach a fair judgement i turned to the scriptures. It made me wonder why there are so many speakers and no one dares to interpret when it is strictly advised by Paul in the whole chapter 14 of I Corinthians to have always have someone who can interpret whenever someone will speak in tongues (e.g. v.27). Even advising to the person who already has the gift to speak to also have a gift to interpret (v.13). I also noticed not only in that Church but also in some others that I attended, that there is no way to do speaking-interpreting because there is no orderly manner that would permit it to happen.

I eventually transferred to a Church who has a more solemn service. I do say that after knowing this, I felt complete awareness biblical already. However, it changed my attitude towards acceptance of some unfamiliar doctrine. I still consider myself a seeker who is always thirsty for the Word of God.


Lawrence Walkup February 16, 2017 at 4:51 pm

Was in the Calvary Chapel scene for about 8 yrs. Have to say the gifts became a bigger issue than the Lord himself. That alone should raise a red flag. Also the thinking of having something special that others didn’t, and needing to be the one to enlighten them in order for them ‘to arrive’ so to speak, is certainly not the love of God operating. Even among Christians the tendency of spiritual competition is nothing more than the competitiveness we acquired in the world being carried over into our Christianity…just one more thing to be set free from. All that counts is faith expressing itself in love. The focus that is missed is Chapter 13 of 1 Corinthians…not 12 and 14.


Jack Wellman February 16, 2017 at 4:59 pm

Well said Mr. Walkup. Thank you.


Kinsey Owens February 16, 2017 at 10:31 pm

I understand what you’re trying to say in this. But, something to add are the different types of tongues and when or when not to use them, which is the issue here. There are many churches today that understand tongues, but do not follow the rules of order that Paul gives in 1 Corinthians 14. There are also many people that believe the only type of tongues are ones that need to be interpreted. It is true that any words publicly spoken in tongues needs to be interpreted. However, this in not the only type. In chapter 14, Paul says this:
“1 Pursue love, and earnestly desire the spiritual gifts, especially that you may prophesy. 2 For one who speaks in a tongue speaks not to men but to God; for no one understands him, but he utters mysteries in the Spirit. 3 On the other hand, the one who prophesies speaks to people for their upbuilding and encouragement and consolation. 4 The one who speaks in a tongue builds up himself, but the one who prophesies builds up the church. 5 Now I want you all to speak in tongues, but even more to prophesy. The one who prophesies is greater than the one who speaks in tongues, unless someone interprets, so that the church may be built up.”
First, Paul says that “For one who speaks in a tongue speaks not to men but to God; for no one understands him, but he utters mysteries in the Spirit.” This means that what the believer is saying does not pertain to men, because it is not understood, but should be directed towards God only. He isn’t saying that this is wrong, but later says that it needs to be in order: “he one who prophesies is greater than the one who speaks in tongues, UNLESS someone interprets, so that the church may be built up.” Paul says that, if there is not an interpretation to the tongues, it doesn’t need to be spoken aloud for everyone to hear because it will not be understood and will not build up the church. Therefore, there are two different types of tongues, which Paul explains further and tells when to use them. One type comes with interpretation, which is for the edifying of the body and SHOULD be spoken aloud for all to hear. The other type does not come with interpretation and is a personal conversation/prayer to God which should NOT be spoken aloud for all to hear. Paul explains later his reasoning for this in verse 23: “If, therefore, the whole church comes together and all speak in tongues, and outsiders or unbelievers enter, will they not say that you are out of your minds?” This explains what you experienced. The church you attended did not follow the rules of order. If everyone speaks in tongues that have no interpretation, and are supposed to be personal, it causes great confusion…
Then there are some that may still say that there are not two types. Here is some more scripture from chapter 14: “16 Otherwise, if you give thanks with your spirit, how can anyone in the position of an outsider say “Amen” to your thanksgiving when he does not know what you are saying? 17 For you may be giving thanks well enough, but the other person is not being built up.” Paul says that while you “may be giving thanks well” by speaking to God in tongues, it is not edifying the church because no one knows what you are saying. This is why Paul says that no one should speak in tongues, unless there is an interpretation.
So, there are two types: one meant to be spoken aloud to edify the church and one that is personal. Both are tongues but only one, tongues with interpretation, should be used during a worship service.
(All quoted scripture is in the ESV version.)


Gloria April 5, 2017 at 11:05 pm

Thank you,
This is a breathe of fresh air.
I do not speak in tongues neither do I believe in it.
Sola scriptura. Let the Bible has it’s final authority.


Jack Wellman April 6, 2017 at 11:11 am

Thank you Gloria…your own words were a breath of fresh air for me because this has brought a lot of heat upon me and others, Amen…Sola Scriptura! That’s the only objective truth we have!


john arnette April 13, 2017 at 12:45 pm

i would like to say this…please go to this website Any believer seeking the baptism of the HOLY GHOST, EMAIL OR, CALL they will lead you in receiving the gift.


Jack Wellman April 13, 2017 at 1:06 pm

Thank you Mr. Arnett, but you do not pray or have other humans lead you to receive the gifts of God…These are given by God as it pleases Him! Not man! And to find out what the baptism of the Holy Spirit. This has the potential of division of the body of Christ into two categories: those who are “regular” Christians and those who have been baptized in the Holy Spirit. This, of course, would be an incorrect way of looking at Christians. In fact, the Baptism of the Spirit can be a pitfall since so many people who have experienced it long for it again, almost to the point of putting the validity of their faith in the experience instead of the clear teaching of the word of God.

Please read this: http://www.whatchristianswanttoknow.com/what-is-baptism-of-the-holy-spirit/


Ronald G. Craddock April 20, 2017 at 6:14 am

There were many Full Gospel meetings that we attended in the 60’s and the charismatic movement of speaking in tongues was fully underway, in all denominations. There we were among them, a small group of believers, in a small Baptist church, in Plymouth, Michigan. We were all seeking the Baptism of the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues. We attended many and I mean many, meetings that always ended with an altar call for healing, deliverance, and yes, to receive the Baptism of the Holy Spirit with the speaking in tongues. Though others received, I did not.
After one night of attending yet another Full Gospel meeting and responding, once again, to the altar call challenge to receive the Baptism of the Holy Spirit and then having hands laid on me in prayer and then responding to the leader of our little prayer group, telling us to lift our hands, begin praising God and to speak the language he was speaking, in tongues; once again nothing came forth from within.
The next morning, while driving to work, I told the Lord that I was giving up my quest for the Baptism of the Holy Spirit and left it in hands, if he wanted me to receive it. I would continue my journey with him and there was no condemnation. My wife called me at my office that morning and said that while talking to one of our fellow seekers, she told her to tell me to accept the Baptism in the Holy Spirit by faith. This made sense to me, because; how do i know that I am saved and have a relationship with God, through Jesus Christ? It is by grace, through faith that I have been saved….not of works, lest anyone boast (Ephesians 2:8,9).

I closed my office door and began the seeking process all over again. “Jesus, the scriptures say that John baptized with water but you baptize with the Holy Spirit and therefore I ask that you baptize me with the Holy Spirit. Thank you, Jesus, I receive it by faith.” Then I said; “Jesus, when the Spirit fell in the upper room, the people were speaking in tongues and so I, by faith, am going to speak in tongues.” I said; “Tedeum Laudumas” several times and by faith, thanked Jesus for giving me the Baptism of the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues. I then said; “Jesus, those in the upper room were speaking a language that they did not know but there were others around them that knew it as their own. Show me that what I am speaking is just not just made up jibberish.”

The thought came that I should look in my dictionary. It seemed strange that I should be searching for these words in an English dictionary, but by faith I reached for the dictionary and leafed through the pages until I saw it. There it was, “Tedeum” and within the definition there was “Te Deum Laudamas” which was the beginning of a hymn that was sung in the third century church and it was Latin, meaning “To thee O’God we give thee praise.”

That was over 50 years ago and there are times when I am lead by the Holy Spirit to pray in tongues and with understanding. By faith, I continue to seek a deeper and closer walk with God, through Jesus Christ. No comparing, no condemnation, no striving….just living by faith.


Janice August 29, 2021 at 9:58 am

Thank you for sharing Mr. Craddock. I had the same experience and it was not for selfish reasons that I sought Him. This experience of being filled with God’s fullness has helped me have the power to overcome sins that I couldn’t overcome, to have boldness to witness to the lost, (my husband and I have seen many come to the Lord) and have compassion to pray for the sick and see them healed, (which we have). Yes, it can be a temptation to use the power of God for selfish reasons, but just because some do this doesn’t mean you have to throw the baby out with the bath water. I have also seen just as many people without this experience who didn’t have the fruits of the Spirit. The fruit of the Spirit depends of our yielding to Him. Some have brokenness and abuse that really need the help of this extra gift to overcome. My desire was being more like Him and He does give that power to use properly if we will. God bless all who are urgently seeking God.


Michael Shugart July 8, 2017 at 12:02 am

Bible says Holy Spirit dispenses gifts as He WILLS. Not all gifts to all people. I think the premise of tongues in today’s holiness churches are to get people swept up in emotional fervor, away from discernment, kind of like Stilton and Hoo baba kanda…


Jack Wellman July 8, 2017 at 1:31 pm

Spot on Mr. Shugart. Thank you sir.


Paulina Mensah July 15, 2017 at 1:09 pm

God bless you Pastor Wellman for allowing Him to use you to glorify His name and preach His word. I am a 19-year old girl from Ghana and your articles have really helped me in my walk with the Lord.


Jack Wellman July 15, 2017 at 1:19 pm

Hello Paulina. Thank you for your kind words, but all glory to God, none to us (Psalm 115:1; 1 Cor 4:7). I do hope it helps.


Kirsten August 1, 2017 at 12:05 pm

Thank you, for this article.
I grew up in a Pentecostal church. It was common for a service to include a period of silence where we would wait for someone to speak in tongues, then more silence, then someone would say something along the lines of “the Lord says this…,” then maybe another round of the same, followed by people going to the front, and having the laying on of hands where they would fall down crying, etc..
Two things have always bothered me. The first is a memory of me as a child playing around the front door and my mom thinking that I said something in tongues even to the point that she told my dad and asked what he thought. My dad just kind of didnt answer, but he looked at me like he wondered what I thought about her thinking I had. Personally I had no idea what she was talking about. I don’t know what she heard that day, and I’ve wondered all these years.
The second is a time that as an adult I went up for a call for healing. I went up because my knee had been hurting constantly. It was my first time back in church after years of running from God, and I was really looking for answers. I went up, was prayed over, felt nothing, the pastor looked at me like I needed to cry or go faint or something, I looked him straight in the eye and immediately felt a sense of falseness. After that we (my husband and I) didnt go back to that church.
I wonder now if the “someone required to interpret” means that if tongues are to be spoken it should only be if someone is there to interpret it into the main language in the church, because it is just that, a Foreign language that maybe was meant for someone in the congregation.
Just my observations as a child, but it seemed speaking in tongues did become a weekly fiasco. It seemed the main point of the service. Now when I hear the term “soaking service” it makes me shiver, because i feel that satan has twisted religion into a feel good thing. I think people are not listening to where God says to be like little children. We’ve gone from simple to over the top and it frightens me.
I DO believe in the gifts of the spirit. I do believe everyone is GIVEN something unique to them. I’ve had the gift of discernment for as long as I can remember. It’s helped me many times with relating to people. It’s kept me safe, led me to feel compassion for people others wouldn’t notice, and well, way too many things to list. It is most definitely a GIFT and a blessing.
I believe we can pray for whatever we feel led to pray for, but I wonder at the praying for a gift like tongues. Is your goal to help someone understand God or is it a selfish request? If you say you wish it for your prayer time, then again “like little children.” We dont need flowery speech to pray. The bible says if we dont know what to pray the Holy Spirit intercedes for us.
I mean the same goes for any gift. If we wish it for helping share God’s love then great, but God knows us inside and out. He knows what we need before we even ask. I think some see a gift of a spirit as being favored by God more than someone else. That makes it selfish. And again, it’s a gift. Gifts are usually given not asked for.
I could go on and on, but again, thank you, for publishing this article.


Jack Wellman August 1, 2017 at 12:25 pm

Thank you Kirsten. Well said my friend.


Jack Wellman August 1, 2017 at 1:28 pm

Please may I add the fact that those who believe in speaking in tongues & those who don’t are still brothers & sisters in Christ as we agree on the essentials (Rom 10:9-13), so thank you for gracious words about this situation. I do agree, we depend far too much on emotion, and yes, it can be a frightening.


Neil October 15, 2017 at 11:03 pm

I think what most Christians miss about being baptized in the Holy Spirit is that we should seek The baptism of The Holy Spirit so we gain the power of The Holy Spirit just as the disciples did on the day of Pentecost. In other words seek The Holy Spirit not the speaking in other tongues. If God should grant us the gift of tongues with The Holy Spirit don’t be ashamed of it and don’t brag about it. Just use the gift as God The Holy Spirit instructs you to. I think if we as Christians did this a lot of important time would be saved and we could be the witnesses God intents us to be for His glory and spreading the gospel.


Jack Wellman October 16, 2017 at 9:49 am

Thank you Neil. Well said sir.


Bernard Howard June 20, 2018 at 8:58 pm

Well stated…All that we do should be to glorify God, edify other believers and enlighten those that are in darkness…


Rodine Palermo October 21, 2017 at 12:19 pm

I think we forget that in seeking to be filled with the Holy Spirit, which can result in the speaking in other tongues, it is important to be seeking and immersed in the act of seeking more of God, Himself. I have instructed many in how to be filled with the Holy Spirit not to seek the tongues, but to seek the giver of the tongues and to want more of Him (God). The tongues is only an added benefit of such hunger for Him. That only comes as we are so immersed in knowing Him that we lose sight of ourselves and want to truly worship Him beyond our human abilities. As we empty ourselves, we can be filled with Him. Thus, “I must decrease but He must increase.” Tongues also helps us to pray for things in a way that only the Holy Spirit knows how to bring the need before the Father. It is also helps us to worship in a way that is higher than our human language can extol before the throne of Heaven. Think of what it would be like for an American to address the Queen of England… though much lower an example, you get the point. I Cor. 14:18 Paul said, “I speak in tongues more than you all (“put together” was the inference).
I Cor 14:2 “For he who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men, but to God. Indeed, no one understands him; he utters mysteries in the “Spirit.” Thus he didn’t have an audience around to interpret his tongues, nor was it for a sign to unbelievers. He had to be worshiping and praying in other tongues as an all day act as the Corinthian church as a whole were needing to be corrected for their abuse in the church services about its usage. Just remember it is a gift for helping us
flow in the Holy Spirit, but the real gift is knowing the Giver of the gift.


Jack Wellman October 21, 2017 at 12:36 pm

Thank you Rodine. Paul’s conclusion in this chapter is more than the one verse you sited and the other in verse 18, since after all these, Paul says, “tongues are a sign not for believers but for unbelievers, while prophecy is a sign not for unbelievers but for believers” (1 Cor 14:22), as it will be ““By people of strange tongues and by the lips of foreigners will I speak to this people, and even then they will not listen to me, says the Lord.” 22Thus tongues are a sign not for believers but for unbelievers, while prophecy is a sign not for unbelievers but for believers. 23 If, therefore, the whole church comes together and all speak in tongues, and outsiders or unbelievers enter, will they not say that you are out of your minds? 24But if all prophesy, and an unbeliever or outsider enters, he is convicted by all, he is called to account by all.” SO prophecy or “forth-telling” or teaching (which is not prophesying the future) is better for those who are not saved than for those who are save. But in the church I would rather speak five intelligible words to instruct others than ten thousand words in a tongue” (1 Corinthians 14:19).


kaz November 17, 2017 at 1:30 am

Thank you Pastor for your well thought through article.

I will try to keep this short and let readers do their own research on what I am about to write as the topic of correct understanding (I believe ) of the gift of tongues as “proven and practised” in many circles is inconsistent with Scripture.

One of the primary rules in understanding scripture is to first and foremost try to see what the original author was trying to say to the target audience in the case the people who belonged to the church in Corinth.

Remember Corinth was an extremely busy with people coming in from many different countries. 1 Cor 14 deals primarily with behaviour in church meetings. The word “strange” before the word tongues (which is also translated as language in Greek – and in Polish amongst other languages) was something added in the 17th century. However, does this mean that it is a non human language? I am not certain.

I was born in England of polish parents, polish was my first language. Imagine if I was a trader whocame to Conrinth from Poland and my Greek was not that hot may be inclined when wishing to worship in my mother tongue. I would therefore read 1 Cor 14 and where strange tongues is mentioned in KJV replace with the word Polish. If I was the only Polish speaker there it would make sense why there would need to be someone to interpret, why i am edifying myself and not others, why I am speaking to God and not to other men (and women), if i pray consciously pray (with my mind) how fruitful will it be to you if you do not understand what I am saying .. and you can go on.

Perhaps I came from the barbaric north with the rest of my crew, non of whom was a follower of the way, unbelievers, who may not understand Greek so I pray in Polish in a language they understand – so I do what Paul has written tongues is for the unbeliever…

Hope this contributes to helping some people understand what Paul was trying to say. God bless you all


Bill Odom November 25, 2017 at 7:38 am

If tongues is a known language why does the scripture say no one understands when you are speaking in tongues. If any one be ignorant, let him be ignorant still. The carnal mind is the enemy of God. Tongues is of the spirit and can’t be understood with the carnal mind. Things like this article is the reason the Church has become powerless.


Jack Wellman November 25, 2017 at 9:44 am

Hello Mr. Odom. It doesn’t say no one can understand you…God does and so does the interpreter if there is indeed a gift of tongues being used. Tongues is Greek for “language” so what language isn’t know by someone? The reason the church has shifted its focus and lost power is because the lift up and almost worship the tongue and not Jesus. that’s sad.


Paul Hoffmann January 4, 2018 at 10:49 am

Speaking in tongues is clearly the most confusing subject for me. It seems to me, from all the discussion, their are two types, one is speaking in known languages, and a second in an unknown type known to God. Am I wrong? Are both types ‘legitimate’?


Jack Wellman January 4, 2018 at 10:55 am

Hello Mr. Hoffman. This subject has brought much contention to believes, but the fact is the word “unknown” as in an “unknown tongue” is not in the original manuscripts. The translators, sadly, inserted the word “unknown” and that has brought a lot of confusion, so we don’t ever speak in an unknown tongue. It’s not in the Bible. I would rather use my tongue to share the gospel. That’s the greatest use the tongue could ever be used for. Agree? Thank you for your question sir. By the way, the word “tongue” is from “glossia” which means “language” so it’s a known language not an unknown tongue where the person doesn’t know what they’re saying. That’s not biblical at all.


Paul Hoffmann January 4, 2018 at 6:21 pm

Does this mean, then, that someone speaking “jibberish” is not speaking in tongues at all?

BTW, thank you very much for your reply.


Jack Wellman January 4, 2018 at 6:35 pm

Only God knows. I suspect in parts of the world God still does enable missionaries or evangelists or even laypeople to speak in the native tongue if He needs to reach someone. I know God can move heaven and earth to reach one lost sinner if He desires to. Those who believe in and speak in tongues, whether legitimate or not, are still our brothers and sisters in Christ and I too likely have some shortcomings in my understanding of the Bible. I love them and pray for tongue-speakers too….whether its real or not. Thank you Mr. Hoffman.


Mrs Delgado January 7, 2018 at 7:40 pm

Tongues are evidence of the infilling of the Holy Ghost. They are not something that we ask for. They are something that occur when we completely yield ourselves to the Lord. Some denominations try to “teach” people to speak in tongues and some tell you “just repeat this phrase faster and faster and you’ll speak in tongues”. Neither of those is of God. Speaking in tongues is not something that we try to do or that can be taught. It is a natural occurrence when an individual receives the Holy Ghost, but it can only happen when we completely yield ourselves to God. That can be hard to do when there are so many distractions around us. But, it does happen. There are church services during which the Holy Ghost moves throughout the sanctuary and many speak in tongues as they did in the Upper Room. That is reflective of the fact that the congregation was completely in one mind and one accord, having their minds on the Lord and not letting the things and people around them distract them.

Something else to note is that if the people are not praying people outside of church as they should then God’s spirit will not be able to flow as freely when they come together to hold church as it would if they were a praying congregation. Prayer helps us to maintain our relationship with the Lord and the more often we pray, the easier it will be for us to completely yield ourselves to Him.


Jack Wellman January 7, 2018 at 9:42 pm

Thank you Mrs. Delgado. I agree that tongues cannot e taught. I do think that if I’m giving a sermon and people start speaking in tongues, it would prove to be a distraction to those who are trying to learn more about God and His Word.


Stefan Ulrich Fischer January 29, 2018 at 4:11 am

Hello Jack,

I learned in my Church that the baptism in the holy spirit was given to the apostles. These were follower of Christ who saw Jesus personally. That is why Jesus revealed himself to John 300 years later. Today we get the Holy Spirit when we got saved. Is that true? In that case some in my church argue that the baptism in the holy spirit today is a demonic thing, because it is taken out of context of the Bible. What do you say?


Jack Wellman January 29, 2018 at 8:40 am

Hello Stefan. Can you explain how Jesus revealed himself to John 300 years later when the Apostle John was only human and could not lived for 300 years or more? There are two facts to help solidify our understanding of Spirit baptism: First, 1 Corinthians 12:13 clearly states that all have been baptized, just as all been given the Spirit to drink (the indwelling of the Spirit). Second, nowhere in Scripture are believers told to be baptized with, in or by the Spirit, or in any sense to seek the baptism of the Holy Spirit. This indicates that all believers have had this experience. Third, Ephesians 4:5 seems to refer to Spirit baptism. If this is the case, Spirit baptism is the reality for every believer, just as “one faith” and “one Father” are. Yes, we receive the Holy Spirit at conversion but don’t focus on the baptism of the holy spirit, which is a one-time event and move on. Your church is right to not focus on that as some churches do and take it way to far.


tom worthington February 1, 2018 at 12:37 pm

thank you


Jeneen February 3, 2018 at 9:24 am

This entry is for all who will read, not just the author of this article, as I was actually performing a search for scripture on trusting God when I came across the article.

I attend a Pentecostal church and some in our church give a message in tongues that is interpreted. While most others pray or worship in tongues. At times our church worship reminds me of the worship David gave in the book of Samuel when they were all dancing in the street after winning a battle. (Just thinking of these services makes me smile.) I thank God that we can worship Him with liberty….to give thanks maybe through shouting, dancing or even sitting quietly, just thanking Him for bringing us through our own battles, thanking Him for His work in our lives or even the work He is currently doing in the lives of my brothers and sisters at my church. Nothing blesses me more than seeing God bless another! For me, my life is set and centered on the One who gave His life for me and I study and read His word on a daily basis. There are many scriptures today I may not fully understand and I leave it there because when God wants me to understand, He will give me understanding and He will do the same for you. I see many entries here by the author and he gives his interpretation/commentary of many verses. I thank him for his wisdom and knowledge of the Bible and that he has taken the time to write to all who encounter this web page. But I do pray the author to encourage others. Every time I read someone’s article (and there are many out here on the world wide web) on tongues who do not believe or speak in tongues, it makes me sad at the things said, words I see as mostly to discourage others or have them believe they are not speaking/worshiping in tongues. I have heard many many many people speaking in tongues that I cannot understand and if God wants me to understand, I believe and trust and know He and He alone will give me that understanding. These precious people are truly Spirit filled and I love them from the bottom of my heart and would never believe they aren’t speaking in a heavenly language given to them by God. One of these people is my Aunt and she has served the Lord all of her life, I know she is a Christian and she loves God with all her heart, she has blessed many people and continues to work for the Lord today. Sharing His love and telling the Good News to all who will listen. Have I myself witnessed what I “think” may be “show”? Sure I have, but I remember to keep my eyes and heart on Jesus, for I have no idea how God is working in their life nor do I need to know. And that mean old devil is out there working diligently to try his best to trip me up and tell me lies. He does not want me to believe and he certainly doesn’t want me telling others of the love of God! I only want to know my Savior better, I only want to be closer and closer to Him. One day I want to meet Jesus in Heaven. I don’t want to say or do anything that would hurt or discourage someone in my church or any other church for that matter. Some church folks do hurt others, we are all still in a fleshly body. Again, keeping my eyes on Jesus. Hebrews 12:2 has been my go to verse and it was a verse given to me by God back when I gave my life to Christ. I didn’t fully understand why He gave that verse….but as I’ve grown in Him, I now know why and I have been comforted and given peace in this verse way to many times to count. I’m sorry to anyone who has experienced ever being looked down upon or belittled by people in a church. I just ask if this has happened to you that you would stop and pray for that person and their church. If you don’t understand speaking in tongues, it’s OKAY! Keep praying, God will answer if you are genuinely a Christian and love Him with all your heart, and all your soul and all your strength. I have been praying for some things for years, and just because God has not yet answered, I don’t turn my back and say He won’t answer them. So when I read the article and it’s mentioned there was prayer and no gift of tongues was received, I can’t give an answer to you as to why God didn’t answer right away, but maybe God doesn’t want to give the gift of speaking or praying in tongues. I honestly do not know. I have prayed for this now. My personal experience of praying to my Father in tongues does not happen at my own “feelings”. And everyone in my church who does “speak” or worship in tongues do so differently. Several people here have commented how they worship in Spirit. I just want to say…I love the Lord and I feel Him inside myself and I can’t help but just love Him back. I get lost in His love…and I and am thankful when His Spirit touches me so deeply. I cannot explain it and even as I write….I am at a loss for words. But I do know that God is ALL powerful and His Spirit lives within me and works in my life in all kinds of ways and the Bible tells me this as well. I have heard testimony of God working in the lives of others as well and I am blessed and thankful to hear their personal testimony. If you will allow God to speak to you, when you open your spiritual eyes and heart, God will speak. When I study my Bible, there have been times when God will give me a word in my heart that I could absolutely feel in my Spirit, God working within me. Does this happen every Bible study? No. I just want to say, my personal relationship with God is mine. Open your heart, allow Him to speak to you, but please don’t discourage others. The gifts God has to give to each person is His own and not for anyone to question. If you love God you will love your Brothers and Sisters, then you will strive to lift and encourage. Ephesians 4:29 comes to mind now as I type. Each time my flesh even attempts to come to the surface about something I see or hear from another, God’s Spirit immediately touches and reminds me, to……pray. God bless you all. In the precious name of Jesus, I pray for everyone here who has taken time to try and explain God’s Holy Spirit. We can’t even begin to do so, but as we listen to our heart, we try our best. But let’s remember to do all we do, in His name giving Him all the glory, honor and praise because He is worthy. He is the author and finisher of our faith. Let’s remember to lift each other and give thanks for all God’s children.


Jack Wellman February 3, 2018 at 11:25 am

Hello my friend. The greatest use of the tongue is not speaking in tongues but in using your tongue to share Christ. Tongues is not a sign that someone has received the spirit and those who don’t, have not, and I realize you are not saying that but many claim you don’t have the Spirit unless you speak in tongues, which of course is not true. Thank you for your comment. Let us have grace for those who believe in tongues and those who use their tongues to share Christ and not put down others who do or who do not speak in tongues. The word tongues means “language” in the Greek, so it’s not an “unknown tongue” since the word “unknown” is not in the original manuscripts so we are all in the family of God, whether we believe in tongues or not.


Laura April 5, 2018 at 9:11 am

Thank you. I’ve felt this way all along, but I always seemed to be the only one, and I didn’t bloom in a Charismatic church!

Read your Bible, not your pastor.


Debra August 11, 2018 at 11:33 am

Dear Jack,

Your article it seems is based mostly on what Walvoord and Zuck think and wrote on the subject of tongues, and I can tell you that they aren’t right, neither are you.

You need to hear what the Holy Spirit says about speaking in tongues and what He says through the scriptures in the New Testament. Paul wrote quite a lot about tongues, and there’s several scriptures about “unknown tongues” which are NOT known languages, at least not known to men! Paul wrote, “there are tongues of men and tongues of ANGELS.” (get a concordance and look this up) You can’t discount such verses just because they don’t agree with YOUR personal bias about tongues.

Also, the proper interpretation of that Acts passage where the citizens heard the tongues in their own languages means just that and only that – they HEARD the UNKNOWN tongues in their own languages! In other words, each got an INTERPRETATION of the unknown tongues in their own language. The apostles were giving a message from God in an unknown tongue which the Holy Spirit then gave the interpretation for in those men’s own tongues so the message could be UNDERSTOOD. This is how the giving of a message in tongues occurs along with the interpretation of the message – Paul also wrote about this common occurrence in the first century church.

I must concur that you sir do not know much about this subject, and or that you’ve not done a diligent enough study of the Word on this subject, and or that you are approaching it from a Dispensational and or Cessationist viewpoint (both of which lead to wrong conclusions). I’d advise you and your followers to research the Cessationist movement which is quite anti-miracle, anti-tongues, and against all of the GIFTS which the Holy Spirit still gives to those who are open to receiving them. Yes, those gifts are still available to those who want them TODAY. I advise you on one more point, please read and do in depth studies in the Word of God before making rash and invalid comments and conclusions about the Gifts of the Spirit or any other biblical topic.



Jack Wellman August 11, 2018 at 11:49 am

Hello Debra. The translation you are using that says the words “unknown tongue” is incorrect. The “unknown” is not in the original manuscripts and was inserted by men and is not inspired. The word “tongue” means “language” and not babbling or jibberish. It is a known language (read Acts 2) and you will know so please study this again before making judgments on others and the Scriptures prove there is no “unknown” tongue but tongues is a known language, otherwise, what good is it?


Otto June 28, 2019 at 11:55 pm

Yes ! Amen Debra . The 120 recorded in the 2 book of Acts were all filled with the Holy Ghost as Jesus told them that they would if they obeyed Him and went to the upper room..They did not speak in a foreign Language.They spake as the spirit gave them the utterance ….The foreigner”s heard them in their own Language …I feel sorry for those who reject the Holy Ghost as Described in the Book of Acts …My advice is for those that do not understand ..to seek the Lord with All your Heart.. He will not withhold anything Good from them that seek Him ..He that Hunger and Thirst after Righteousness shall be filled..Be filled with the Spirit …Deny yourself..God cannot fill a full Glass..He never came for the righteous ..but the sinner.


Jack Wellman June 29, 2019 at 10:14 am

False Otto. The Greek word for tongues is langauge. Please find a good study Bible as you are totally wrong about this.


Tracy walker August 27, 2018 at 4:38 pm

I thank you for this .i was beliving that i did not have the holysprit because i did not speak in tonges.and the people i hear speak in tonges they sound the same.there is no diffrent.


Jack Wellman August 27, 2018 at 4:59 pm

Hello Tracy. Thank you for your comment. Many have gone thru what you have gone thru.


Randall March 8, 2019 at 9:51 pm

I am new to this web site, i read about the prodigal son. I thought it was great. in Christ Randall


Jack Wellman March 9, 2019 at 10:21 am

Thank you for the encouragement Randall.


Randall March 11, 2019 at 12:26 am

I wrote a big article on tongs, what happened to it?


Joseph March 26, 2019 at 7:48 pm

Pastor Jack, thank you for your article. I am able to speak in tongues, and know others that do, but I do think it is important for Churches that do this to not make it too important, which might cause speaking in tongues to become what is worshipped. Also, 1 Corinthians 14:40 clearly supports that when the gift of tongues is used, it needs to be done decently and in order. If someone operates the gift by interupting a sermon or someone sharing a testimony, or in a way that causes confusion, then it is being used incorrectly, and will not help the church or unbelievers. I have visited churches that have used this gift in an orderly way and others that were disorderly. When done in an orderly way, there seemed to be more peace and discernment, as others were able to judge interpretations, which would usually be words of encouragement or correction.


Jack Wellman March 26, 2019 at 8:21 pm

Thank you Joseph. We are all and always still be brothers and sisters in Christ. We agree on the essentials, and that’s great that we don’t have to be disagreeable. You make a good point sir, and thank you for that and may God richly bless you.


Randall April 3, 2019 at 7:28 am

If you will look at 1 Cor. 13:8-10, Verse 8- 3 gifts have been done away V10. When the perfect comes the partial will be done away. The perfect in the strong’s renders it in nut- gender, if it had been masculine gender it could have been Jesus Christ. Verse 10 in KJB, But when THAT, That is not a person, it would have to render HE or HIM. We need to following Acts 2:47 and sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ, Acts 16:30-31. NO ONE is saved by inviting Jesus into your heart, that is something you do, you are not saved by what you do, it is works, You are saved by beveling what Christ did for you on the CROSS. Believe is a non – meritorious verb, all the credit is in the object Jesus Christ, not in the subject, Jesus Christ done it all on the Cross and all you can do is BELIEVE the all= Jesus Christ.


DP June 3, 2019 at 12:28 am

Just check out Corinthians…”does each one have ALL of the gifts? No, to each one his own gift is bestowed for the glory of God”, and NOT to evidence the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Speaking in tongues is just one of the gifts, and if no one is interpreting the tongues, it is meaningless and should be stopped. Many times people use this gift to enhance their own glory and superiority. You cannot will a specific gift that God has not given you.
Watch out for the evil one manifesting in tongues…my sister once attended a church where someone was speaking in another tongue, and someone in the congregation got up and stated it was an Asian language/dialect that they understood, and they were spouting negative/evil profanities!


Jack Wellman June 3, 2019 at 8:51 am

Excellent counsel my friend. THank you. You are so right sir or ma’am.


Mary Goldsmith August 16, 2019 at 1:27 am

Intellect makes no expert of you! You are a false teacher seeking notoriety and followers! You do not seek the truth and are blinded by your an thoughts! The holy spirit makes the bible alive! Words are affirming and real ! Written by saints driven by the Holy Spirit since Adam!


Jack Wellman August 16, 2019 at 9:18 am

Ms/Mrs. Goldsmith. Your comment is very unkind and very un-Christain like and I am embarrassed that some believers speak or write to other believers like you do. Have you not read 1 Cor 13 and Rom 12? Shame on you for your words of hate and anger and name calling. I have edited some of your comments since they were so hate-filled. I detect a spirit of gall or bitterness. I pray you repent of this and see the truth, which will set you free. Our words reveal what’s in our heart, so I pray you repent before you stand before Christ to give an account of your hatred.


felicia vaughn September 29, 2019 at 4:48 pm

glad I found this site. Have I got news for you, but its going to have to wait. you have great activity on here. God’s blessings to you.


Henry October 2, 2019 at 11:05 am

I always felt that speaking in tongue must be possessed by a believer who have been baptized by the holy spirit. Until I stumbled upon this place. Sir please how do u really know that the holy spirit is talking to you. At times I feel a strange voice talking to me bt nt in a strange manner
Thanks. Can I get any verse on the manifestation of the power of the holy spirit in a believer


Jack Wellman October 2, 2019 at 11:51 am

Hello Henry. The Holy Spirit agrees and points us to Christ and the Word of God. God speaks most clearly to us thru Scripture and not thru an inner voice. The power of the Holy Spirit is more manifest in the fruits of the Spirit than the gifts of the SPirit. Jesus said you will know them by their fruits…not by their gifts. Focus on the fruits (Gal 5) and not the gifts, since these are more evidence of God working in you than the gifts. Do not depend on “feelings of a strange or inner voice” but the fruits and the Word, which is God speaking to us most clearly of all.


Scott Dunn November 6, 2019 at 8:34 pm

If Christians that speak in tongues state, that it prevents demonic interference of prayer to God, why not just communicate to God with our minds, closed mouthed? Do our prayers to God have to be verbal ones aloud or can silent prayer still be effective. Please share any relavant Scripture that speaks to this question? Thank you,



Jack Wellman November 6, 2019 at 8:53 pm

Hello Mr. Dunn. If you pray, it is usually out loud like you read in the Bible. When Jesus prayed it was out loud (John 17). You can pray without words, but typically in the Bible, we pray out loud, but in private, as Jesus commanded in Matt 6:6. They can be silent or out loud, but I prefer they are out loud as most in the Bible are and Jesus’ was (in John 17) in the high priestly prayer.


Morris Hunter July 30, 2020 at 11:39 am

Prayer is our expression to God. He has ordained the way He should be approached in scriptures, in many, many places. Prayer out loud is one of the primary forms and there are many others.
Ps. 34:1 I will bless the LORD at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth.
Heb. 13:15 By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.


Jack Wellman July 30, 2020 at 12:18 pm

Amen. Prayer is essential as the Spirit helps us to pray when we cannot find the words (Rom 8). He is certainly worthy of our praise and in words He can understand, and the Bible verses you provided are perfect my friend. Thank you.


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