Through the prophet Isaiah, God told Israel that He would give them a sign by speaking with them in other tongues (Isaiah 28:11). Fifty days after the Passover, in which Christ was put to death by wicked men but raised out from the dead three days later by God, the disciples where in Jerusalem as they had been commanded (Acts 1:4) when the Holy Spirit came upon them (Acts 2:1-4) and they spoke in a different language.

Tongue (γλῶσσα) is a word that is used of the physical tongue, how a person speaks, and the language spoken. When Christ healed a deaf man with a speech impediment, the man’s tongue was loosed, and he spoke correctly (Mark 7:33-35). In the story of the rich man and Lazarus, the rich man asked for water to cool his tongue (Luke 16:24). In the book of Romans, we see that the tongue is used for speaking for with their tongues they deceive (Romans 3:13) and every tongue will verbally agree with God (Romans 14:11).

When it comes to the Spiritual gift of speaking in tongues, it is defined in the same context in which it first appears in Scripture. The intense sound made when the Holy Spirit came upon the disciples caused many of the Jews in the city to come to see what was happening (Acts 2:6). Now at this time a lot of devout Jews, meaning they were saved under the Mosaic Law, from every nation under heaven were in the city and their reaction explains what was happening. They marveled because the disciples were speaking in their dialects (διάλεκτος) the wonderful works of God (Acts 2:11). They were not just speaking another language, but specific dialects from where these Jews lived among the nations. The context of the speech was also understood, for they were speaking of the greatness of God. Later, when Peter is called to Cornelius’ house, this same thing happens to the Gentiles, causing amazement to the Jews with Peter that the gift of God was also poured out on the Gentiles. They spoke in different dialects magnifying God (Acts 10:44-46).

The Spiritual gift of speaking in tongues is the ability to magnify God in another dialect not known by the speaker and it was given to the Church for a sign to the unbelieving Jews (1 Corinthians 14:14). As a sign to the Jews (1 Corinthians 14:22), Paul wished that all spoke in tongues (1 Corinthians 14:5); however, more so prophecy because it is understood by all. For within the assembly Paul would rather speak five words with understanding than ten thousand in an unknown tongue (1 Corinthians 14:19). Due to its purpose, the Spiritual gift of speaking in tongues caused itself to cease (1 Corinthians 13:8) when Israel again rejected God’s offer of salvation, and therefore is no longer active within the Church today. Speaking in tongues has no value within the assemblies (1 Corinthians 14:6), for unless there is an interpreter the one speaking is not understood by men, only God (1 Corinthians 14:2) and is only edifying himself (1 Corinthians 14:4). This does not mean speaking in tongues is a prayer language, that would require ignoring the context. We are to worship God in spirit (rational) and truth (John 4:24), which cannot be done when the mind does not understand what is being said (1 Corinthians 14:9 – for if I worship in a tongue, my spirit worships, but my mind is not fruitful).

There is a lot of heresy built around speaking in tongues. Pentecostal and Charismatic assemblies, which are led by sons of Satan (Ephesians 2:2; 5:6; Colossians 3:6), preach a different Jesus and have a different spirit (2 Corinthians 11:4). Are you being influenced by a different spirit? Test each spirit (1 John 4:1). For those claiming to speak in tongues today, we have technology that can understand different spoken languages, test them. Excuses will be made, but the reality is it is false. For those who claim to speak in tongues, this testing can be very difficult to accept because often it becomes an integral part of a person’s identity, but remember it is not God who lied to you and now He is giving you an opportunity to be free from that lie, if you will take Him at His Word over that of men. The assembly is for the edification of all, not the lifting up of a few. Therefore, let us cast off ignorance and walk in the light while we grow together unto a full experiential knowledge of the Son of God, for Satan would love nothing more than to deceive us and get us to walk independently from God by those he has deceptively placed into the assemblies to do his will.