As a country boy from Mississippi, there are times I feel like I understand Paul the Apostle’s writings on a deeper level. In 1 Corinthians 14:18, Paul writes, “I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than y’all.” Okay, so I know it actually says “you all” or “ye all,” but it just goes to show how easy it is to read the Bible out of our own life experiences and in the language we understand.
All humor aside, I am so grateful that I have the Holy Spirit to help me hear God as I read the Bible. When I do this, I can understand what God has to say to me and not just what I feel like it might mean based on what I’ve heard others say, what I’ve studied from scholars, or what my personal form of communication is. I get to hear it in from a heavenly point of view that can resonate within my heart and spirit as I put what I hear into practice.
The Apostle Paul wrote and spoke about speaking in tongues – an evidence of being filled with the Holy Spirit. Jesus stated very clearly in Mark 16:17 that “these signs shall follow them that believe…that they shall speak with new tongues.”
A distinction is made between “other tongues” and “unknown tongues.” When we receive salvation, we have responded to the prompting of the Holy Spirit to become a believer. A follower of Christ has the privilege of hearing God for what's right for them. Is God saying that speaking in tongues is a key part of your growth in Him? If you're not sure, ask him. He'll be faithful to let you know! The Bible tells us that speaking in tongues builds us up. It's a tool we're given by God.
Unknown tongues are a little bit different. When we are baptized in the Holy Spirit, an evidence of that is speaking to God and to angels in an unknown tongue. Most people around us won’t understand what we’re saying, instead it’s a special language between you and God.
1 Corinthians 14:12 "For one who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men, but to God; for no one understands, but in his spirit he speaks mysteries."
If Jesus and Paul both felt speaking in tongues was important, then I find myself asking God to show me why. I’m well aware that this subject is controversial among various churches, denominations, and professed believers. I don’t personally struggle with believing that speaking in tongues is an evidence of my belief. But how do I articulate why?
I came across an article that brought up 7 reasons why every believer should speak in tongues and I have enjoyed meditating on them and asking God to speak to me on this subject. He’s even added two more! I’m going to share with you over the next few weeks these 9 reasons and what God has been speaking to me. Let’s dialogue about this. I want to hear what God is saying to you!
Reason #1: It’s a sign that I’m a believer.
Scripture shows us that those who were filled with the Holy Spirit spoke with other tongues as the Spirit of God gave them utterance. I love how The Message version of the Bible says this. “Then, like a wildfire, the Holy Spirit spread through their ranks, and they started speaking in a number of different languages as the Spirit prompted them.” At the time that the church of Acts was filled with the Holy Spirit, the fact that they spoke in all of these different languages was a sign that something bigger than themselves was at work.
The same can be said today. Speaking in unknown tongues is one evidence of the Holy Spirit being invited into our lives.
These are the signs that shall follow those who believe. I don’t know about you, but I want to have signs following me in every conversation, in every place I walk into, and in every situation I pray about.
My next few blogs will delve deeper into this subject, so stay tuned!