Underestimating the Gift of Tongues

What It Means to Speak-in-Tongues?

Taking Speaking-in-Tongues to the Next Level – Part 4

In the previous installment, “Empowered by His Spirit,” we identified thirteen examples of what happens in a person’s life when empowered by God’s spirit. The goal of that message was so that we never fall for the natural tendency to limit the presence of the Holy Spirit in one’s life down to speaking-in-tongues. We often make the assumption, which is a myth, that the Holy Spirit wasn’t poured out on mankind until the book of Acts. That is just not the case. In fact, it was Jesus who “poured out” the Holy Spirit on the infamous apostles we call disciples. 

Shortly after Jesus was raised from the dead, the apostles were gathered together behind closed doors. Out of nowhere Jesus appeared in the room and stood among them. (I would love to stop there and talk about that, but that is not our topic for today.) He greeted them and they were overjoyed to see Him again. Then it happened. Jesus did something that had never happened before for them. He breathed on them and said “receive the Holy Spirit.” [1] It was at this moment that the promised gift of the Holy Spirit was given to them. However, there is something we need to note. The scripture does not mention that upon receipt of the Holy Spirit that they spoke-in-tongues. My point is simply this. Receiving the Holy Spirit is not synonymous to speaking-in-tongues.

However, there are several results or outcomes that everyone gains when the Holy Spirit is received. Before I give them to you, these attributes might surprise you when you think of them in this way. Are you sure you would like to continue?

  1. No longer desire to do what is evil or have sinful cravings.
    Here is the list of evil desires and sin cravings that you no longer desire as a result of God’s spirit: “sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these.” [2]
    What this means is, if your desires are directed towards these items then you are heading in a direction that is taking you away from the Spirit of the living God.


  2. The Holy Spirit produces fruit (uncommon results) in our lives.
    God’s spirit yields these results in our lives: “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” [2]
    Any time we encounter these attributes, we find ourselves in the presence of God. What it also says is that the absence of these is an indicator that God’s Spirit is not present. Ouch. 

Now that we have a better understanding of God’s spirit, we need to obtain a better understanding of what it means to speak-in-tongues. Speaking-in-tongues is viewed in a negative light and has become an underestimated gift. Speaking-in-tongues is not negative and it should not be underestimated. I would like to share a few reasons why this is not the case. Keep in mind there are other reasons not mentioned here.

  • It is a gift.
    Speaking-in-tongues is one of many abilities, empowerments, of God’s spirit. There are gifts given to each person but not every person gets all of the same gifts. Therefore, not all people are gifted with the ability of speaking-in-tongues. Just like not all people will have the ability to teleport. [3] In this way, we are to respect the gifts that God has given us and more important to us through others.


  • It is a sign.
    In most translations, the Bible says that speaking-in-tongues is a sign not to believers but to unbelievers. [4] This is a curious statement. It implies something very interesting. Speaking-in-tongues is not a sign for believers which means it is not a shocker nor is it unexpected. It is not unappreciated nor is it unwanted. However, on the other side, the message Bible provides a different perspective that we might just need to consider. Here’s what it says. “All this speaking in tongues no one understands? It doesn’t help believers, and it only gives unbelievers something to gawk at.” [5] The question we must ask ourselves when we are mature in the things of God is what is this sign doing for those who are lost or don’t understand. Is this sign drawing them closer or pushing them away?  


  • It is an encrypted conversation with God.
    The reason this is important is because we need to know how this tongue-thing works if we are to use it properly. This unknown language that God gives a person is like computer encryption. What you are saying is encrypted in such a way that the only one who has the encryption code is God. People will not be unable to understand you and it will be a mystery to them, but God can unencrypt it. [6]


  • It improves only oneself.
    Speaking-in-tongues is useful to improve only one’s self. [7] It does very little for others, other than the impact that comes as a result of the change you experience from this private (one-on-one) conversation. Therefore, we must consider if it is appropriate to speak-in-tongues when we wish to pray for others? Since this encrypted language between you and God is not for others, but solely for one’s self?


  • It can be used in prayer.
    If you recall our previous messages that explains the difference between talking to God and praying, a person can talk to God without praying, but one can not pray without talking to God. This also applies to speaking-in-tongues. A person can speak-in-tongues without praying and a person can also pray-in-tongues. [8] What this means is that all speaking-in-tongues is not prayer. However, speaking in tongues can be used to pray.

Speaking-in-tongues is a wonderful gift that when used properly brings abundant life and freedom. If you are one who has this unique gift, cherish it and use it wisely to promote the things of God and never use it to repel people from God. For those who don’t have this gift, don’t envy those who do, this works against God’s spirit. You, my friend, have your own gift to use. Lastly, for those who don’t know what your gift is, then it would do you well to get to searching. Once you find your gift(s), your life not only becomes uncommon, but will go to the next level.

Question: what other reasons can you think of that we can use to paint speaking-in-tongues in a positive light?



[1] John‬ ‭20‬:‭19‬-‭22‬ ‭NIV, Bible.com, accessed August 22, 2023, https://bible.com/bible/111/jhn.20.19-22.NIV
[2] ‭‭Galatians‬ ‭5‬:‭16‬-‭26‬ ‭NLT, Bible.com, accessed August 22, 2023, https://bible.com/bible/116/gal.5.16-26.NLT
[3] ‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭12‬:‭1‬, ‭4‬, ‭7‬-‭11‬ ‭NLT‬‬, Bible.com, accessed August 22, 2023, https://bible.com/bible/116/1co.12.1-11.NLT
[4] ‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭14‬:‭22‬ ‭NLT‬‬‬‬, Bible.com, accessed August 22, 2023, https://bible.com/bible/116/1co.14.22.NLT
[5] ‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭14‬:‭20‬-‭25‬ ‭MSG‬‬‬‬, Bible.com, accessed August 22, 2023, https://bible.com/bible/97/1co.14.20-25.MSG
[6] ‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭14‬:‭2‬ ‭NLT‬‬‬‬, Bible.com, accessed August 22, 2023, https://bible.com/bible/116/1co.14.2.NLT
[7] ‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭14‬:‭4‬-‭5‬ ‭NLT‬‬, Bible.com, accessed August 22, 2023, https://bible.com/bible/116/1co.14.4-5.NLT
8] ‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭14‬:‭14‬ ‭NLT‬‬‬‬, Bible.com, accessed August 22, 2023, https://bible.com/bible/116/1co.14.14.NLT

All Scripture references used by permission, see our Scripture copyrights. 

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