Speaking In Tongues

(Speaking In Tongues.) Bible Question.


“Some have told me that speaking in tongues is proof that the Holy Spirit is in a person. What does the Bible say?”


Speaking in tongues was a gift of the Holy Spirit. That is, the Holy Spirit enabled one to speak a language that had not been learned through the ordinary means (Acts 2:6, 11). It was only one of many gifts that the apostle Paul lists as tools to be used by believers to build the church. These were all miraculous gifts; they were gifts that enabled the believing recipient to do things that ordinary people could not do.

Let’s notice the passage where these are described. Then we will notice some principles Paul gives us and compare those with the idea that all believers should speak in tongues.

Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord. There are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all persons. But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. For to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, and to another the word of knowledge according to the same Spirit; to another faith by the same Spirit, and to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit,and to another the effecting of miracles, and to another prophecy, and to another the distinguishing of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, and to another the interpretation of tongues. But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills.” – 1 Corinthians 12:4 – 11 (New American Standard Bible)

First, each gift (including the ability to speak in tongues) is given for “the common good” (verse 7). The gift was never given so the individual would have a gift. The gift was given so the individual could minister to the body. All spiritual gifts were not designed to be selfishly used or to merely build up a person. They were designed to be used to build up the body of believers.

Second, the Spirit made the decision about who received what gift. To some the Spirit gave one gift; to others, the Spirit gave different gifts. The Spirit decided and the believer received. That means the individual did not and could not control the choice of the gift that he or she received from God. This was God’s decision. To claim that we must speak in tongues is to require that a believer receive a gift that God did not always give.

Third, the other gifts were just as critical to the whole body as this one gift. Speaking in tongues was a valuable tool to teach those who spoke different languages. But it was not more important than the other gifts Paul lists. To make tongue-speaking the criteria for having the Spirit is to make rules and conditions which God denies.

These gifts were not intended to last forever. They had a purpose – to build up the body of Christ until the time came that a standard could be written and handed down. That standard is the New Testament. Once the revelation of God was complete, the need for miraculous gifts disappeared . . .

We must pay the most careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away. For since the message spoken through angels was binding, and every violation and disobedience received its just punishment, how shall we escape if we ignore so great a salvation? This salvation, which was first announced by the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard him. God also testified to it by signs, wonders and various miracles, and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.” – Hebrews 2:1 – 4 (New International Version)

God tells us the reason for miracles. They were to confirm the Word of God. But now that we have the Word, we must pay careful attention to it, or we can be lost. Miracles do not prove we are saved, and miracles do not keep us saved – it is the Word of God.

Related Article On This Blog:

What Was The Miracle on Pentecost?



Slain In The Spirit?

(Slain In The Spirit?) Bible Question.


“I am confused. Some churches practice laying on hands followed by the recipient being slain in the spirit and falling backwards. Is this Biblical?”


Peter said to them, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” Acts 2:38 (New American Standard Bible)

Being “slain in the spirit” has no Biblical support. People who received the Holy Spirit did so by being born again. Everyone who is baptized into the name of Jesus receives both forgiveness and the Holy Spirit.

Others received the miraculous powers of the Holy Spirit through the laying on of hands. Then they began laying their hands on them, and they were receiving the Holy Spirit” (Acts 8:17). In none of these events was anyone ever overwhelmed and knocked down by the power of the Holy Spirit.

In fact, when people received the power of the Holy Spirit they would not need to recover, but would begin using the gift immediately. The idea of being “slain in the spirit” is not from the Bible.

Related Article On This Blog:

Laying On Hands To Receive the Spirit


Does the Holy Spirit Leave the Sinner?

(Does the Holy Spirit Leave the Sinner?) Bible Question.


“I believe (from Acts 2:38 and other passages) that we receive the Holy Spirit when we are baptized. But if a Christian turns back from Christ into a sinful lifestyle, does the Holy Spirit leave him. If so, would the Spirit return, if the person repents and returns to the Lord?”


You are correct that we receive the Holy Spirit when we are baptized into Christ:

Peter said to them, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” – Acts 2:38 (New American Standard Bible)

The apostles said later of the life and death of Jesus which they preached,And we are witnesses of these things; and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey Him” (Acts 5:32). When one obeys God by being baptized, he is given the Holy Spirit. In fact, the Scripture clearly say, “. . . But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him” (Romans 8:9b).

What happens if a Christian turns back from Christ and into the world of sin? Let us look at another passage:

This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all.  If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth; but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.” – 1 John 1:5 – 7

Look at that again carefully. God is light; if we continue to “walk in the Light”, we are in fellowship with God. But if we turn back and again “walk in the darkness “, we are no longer in fellowship with God.

The parallel of fellowship with God and our having the Holy Spirit is too clear to miss. While we walk in the light, the Spirit dwells in us because we are in fellowship with God. If we turn back and walk in darkness, we are no longer in fellowship with God and the Spirit no longer dwells in us.

When one is willing to return to God, he is forgiven and restored to God’s fellowship (Acts 8:22, 23; 1 John 2:1, 2; Hebrews 10:26 – 31). And thus the Holy Spirit returns to that person. If we are not in fellowship with God, the Holy Spirit does not dwell within us. If we are in fellowship with God, we have the Holy Spirit.