7 Biggest Lies About Speaking in Tongues

In this post, let us know the shocking truth about speaking in tongues no one has told you before.

Did you know that speaking in tongues is among the most misunderstood and misapplied gifts of the Holy Spirit? In fact, a lot of churches and religious organizations today teach various false doctrines that surround this particular gift. If you are not careful, you might be among those Christians who would be led to believe a lie.

To help you know the truth, let me share with you the 7 deceitful lies about speaking in tongues. By identifying this lie, I’m hoping you become more aware of some of the satanic deceptions that have plagued the Christian world.

Lie number 1: Speaking in tongues is an unknown language

Many Pentecostal and charismatic practices include speaking in tongues in their worship. Generally, the way they do it is they have emotional preaching and music, active movement, praying with their arms raised, and trying to “pray down the spirit.”

Slowly, they become “possessed by the spirit.” You will then start hearing them babbling unintelligible words that no one can understand. Some may simply whisper these words while others may shout.

However, if you have truly read and understood the Bible, speaking in tongues does not mean speaking words no one can understand.

Perhaps, the most popular time when people started to speak in tongues was recorded in Acts 2:1-4. Let’s read this verse to better understand what speaking in tongues really means.

1 When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. 2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

The Day of Pentecost signifies the day when the Most High God will pour down His Spirit to His people. Thus, on that day, in Acts 2:1-4, it was the time when the set-apart or the Holy Spirit was made available on a bigger scale.

One of the results of receiving the Holy Spirit was that the followers of Yahshua or Jesus Christ spoke in tongues. If you look into the Greek word of tongues in this passage, it is glossa.

Thayer’s Dictionary defines glossa this way:

“The language or dialect used by a particular people distinct from that of other nations.”

As you can see, speaking in tongues means speaking a language that people would understand. It is not a mysterious babbling, whispering, or shouting of words that no one can comprehend.

This is further proven when you read Acts 2:5-8:

5 And there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men, from every nation under heaven. 6 And when this sound occurred, the multitude came together, and were confused, because everyone heard them speak in his own language

7 Then they were all amazed and marveled, saying to one another, “Look, are not all these who speak Galileans? 8 And how is it that we hear, each in our own language in which we were born?

In verse 11, we read:

“We hear them speaking in our own tongues the wonderful works of God.”

At that time, people from different places came together in Jerusalem. As a result, the audience of the disciples was a mixed group of people. Some are “Parthians and Medes and Elamites, those dwelling in Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya adjoining Cyrene, visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabs.”

There’s no doubt that when a person speaks in tongues, he speaks in a language that people understand.

Lie no. 2: Speaking in tongues is speaking in a sacred or secret language

Some preachers would tell you that it is only natural that you won’t understand a person who speaks in tongues. The reason for this, they argue, is that they are speaking a divine language. Some would say that they are speaking the language of heaven or of the angels.

They would use I Corinthians 14:2 to support their claim. Let’s read that:

 2 “For he who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God, for no one understands him; however, in the spirit he speaks mysteries.”

On the surface, it seems the speakers of random words got their supporting verse. However, if you look at the context, this verse talks about a big problem in the church in Corinth.

Remember that Corinth is predominantly a pagan city. A lot of church members there were pagans in the past. 

In I Corinthians 12:1-2, we read:

1 Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I do not want you to be ignorant: 2 You know that you were Gentiles, carried away to these dumb idols, however you were led.

Paul was saying here that some of the Corinthian brethren were still being influenced by their former paganistic way. As a result, they have a wrong understanding of what spiritual gifts were.

Some Bible scholars understood that some of the paganistic practices in Corinth include speaking intelligible speech that required special interpretation.

As a result, chaos happened in the church of Corinth. The church services at that time became disorganized, disorderly, and disruptive. People are trying to outdo each other by raising their voices and not listening to each other.

This eventually led to division and schism within the congregation. This is the main problem that Paul was trying to address. Paul had to write in I Corinthians 14:40, “Let all things be done decently and in order” because, in the first place, decency and order weren’t present in the church service!

So, we come to I Corinthians 14:2, we read:

 2 “For he who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God, for no one understands him; however, in the spirit he speaks mysteries.”

This simply means that there are brethren in Corinth who can speak various tongues or languages. That person may use a different language. To other people, they may not understand him because he is not using a language they can understand. However, to God, that person is readily understood because God knows what that language is.

Let me give you an example. You know that I’m a Filipino. I grew up in the Philippines. Most of you understand English. If I speak in Filipino, you won’t understand me. However, God can. In this case, I’m not speaking to men, but God. That’s the point of I Corinthians 14:2. 

Paul went on to say that it is difficult to edify one another if you are speaking in a language your audience does not understand.

As you can see, I Corinthians 14:2 does not prove that we should be speaking in tongues in the church today.

Let’s proceed to the next point.

Lie no. 3: Speaking in tongues naturally lead to uncontrollable emotions

If you have watched a church that speaks in tongues, you might be surprised how chaotic their worship services can be. Once they have prayed down the spirit and have it possessed them, they start to do some unusual movements. It starts with their mouth, then their heads, hands, legs, feet, and the whole body.

In some extreme cases, some members who were supposed to speak in tongues would start to shake violently, jump up and down, and fall down the ground. The whole building may be filled with various types of noise.

In short, you can describe such a scene in one word: chaotic.

I have read one person who attended pentecostal services out of curiosity and this is how he described his experience:

In one such meeting where everyone was exhorted to “seek the spirit,” I happened to be sitting just in front of a woman who was suddenly seized with strange convulsions. She began to throw her body forward and backward, her head shaking and her neck almost snapping with the ferocity of these convulsions. She was literally foaming at the mouth, gnashing her teeth, groaning with strange, guttural, mournful-sounding moans, and her eyes were rolled back in her head and had a strange, glazed appearance.

   I have been in hospital wards and seen people dying and near death. But I have never seen a more revolting sight in my life than the type of convulsive “fit” which suddenly seized this poor woman!

The Bible tells us an important principle of how we should conduct ourselves not just in our daily lives, but also in the church.

We read in I Corinthians 14:33:

For God is not the author of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints.

If speaking in tongues leads to uncontrollable emotions, movements, and talking, then surely, this is not what God has authored. These are all signs of confusion, which God didn’t produce.

In verse 40 of the same verse, we read:

Let all things be done decently and in order.

Now, ask yourself:

Is speaking in tongues all at the same time, filling the room with so much unintelligible noise, can be considered as decent?

Is speaking in tongues through shouting, running, and falling down the ground can be considered orderly?

If you’re to be honest, the answer is no.

Lie no. 4: You have to speak in tongues to prove the Holy Spirit is in you

If you have attended a pentecostal and charismatic church or any group with the wrong understanding of speaking in tongues, they will tell you that speaking in tongues is a sign that you have the Holy Spirit. If you can’t speak in tongues, you don’t have the Holy Spirit.

Now, the truth is, speaking in tongues is one of the spiritual gifts. Therefore, having this gift means that you have the Holy Spirit working in you. However, it is definitely wrong to say that speaking in tongues is the only sign that the Holy Spirit is in you.

Think about it for a second: our Master and Savior, Yahshua the Messiah or popularly known as Jesus Christ didn’t speak in tongues.

Why?

Because there’s NO need for Him to speak in tongues. He spoke to His own people when He preached. His audience readily understood the dialect He used.

Now, would you say that Jesus lacked spiritual gift simply because He didn’t speak in tongues? Does this mean that He doesn’t have the Holy Spirit?

Of course not!

Even in the Old Testament, speaking in tongues was never recorded. It only shows that speaking in tongues is a spiritual gift given out of necessity. The spiritual gift of speaking in tongues was needed to accelerate the preaching of the Gospel to people of different languages and nations.

Lie no. 5: Mark 16:17 supports speaking in tongues

Photo by John-Mark Smith on Pexels.com

Some Christians use Mark 16:17 as proof that speaking in tongues is still available and should be done in churches. However, if you read the bigger context of this verse, you will soon realize it is never the case.

Let’s read Mark 16:15-18:

15 And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. 16 He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. 17 And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; 18 they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”

Now, if we believe that everyone who is baptized can and should speak in tongues, then we must also believe that everyone can cast out demons, play with venomous snakes, get bitten and not die, drink poison and will not get sick, and lay hands on all sick people and will recover.

Obviously, this is not a correct understanding of this verse. Mark 16:15-18 is part of the great commission Christ gave to the disciples. The signs Jesus enumerated here are primarily given to the Apostles and the elders of the church as they perform their duty. It does not mean that everyone today in the church would be able to speak in tongues.

Lie no. 6: Speaking in tongues should be the focus of the church

Because of the supposed supernatural power of speaking in tongues, a lot of preachers influence their members to focus on this gift.

However, the truth is, the church should not focus on speaking in tongues anymore because it is not available to everyone anymore. Instead, we must focus on developing our relationship with God, studying His word, seeking the truth, and following His commandments.

If you try to look at the pentecostal and charismatic movements, especially during their “tarry meetings,” you won’t usually hear about obeying God. You won’t hear much about feeling sorry for your sin, asking for forgiveness, and seeking God’s will.

Instead, what you see is that the leaders are more interested in seeking physical, emotional, and sensual thrills.

If a church focuses on speaking in tongues, they will surely miss the most important aspect of the Christian life.

Lie no. 7: We need to speak in tongues to experience the Holy Spirit

Men talking
Photo Credit

This one’s the greatest lie of all. It is not true that we must speak in tongues to prove that the Holy Spirit is within us.

One has to repent of sins, get baptized, and get hands laid upon him/her to receive the Holy Spirit.

We read in Acts 2:38:

38 Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 

The Bible tells us that you have the Holy Spirit and being led by it when we bear its fruit. When we become more like Christ and less like ourselves, we are letting the Holy Spirit dwell in us.

Having the Holy Spirit is not proven when you use obvious and showy signs such as speaking in tongues. The Holy Spirit makes you humble, not proud and arrogant. The Holy Spirit helps you be at peace, not being controlled by emotions.

Final words

These are the 7 most popular and terrifying lies about speaking of tongues. With this, I hope you now know the truth about speaking in tongues, what is and what it is not.

Speaking in tongues is an important miracle that happened during the Day of Pentecost after the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It helped the Apostles, disciples, and members of the Church to preach the Gospel throughout the world.

Because there’s a need for the church members to speak in a language that people understand, God gave them the gift of speaking in tongues. Today, there’s almost no need for the miracle of speaking in tongues anymore. God can use other tools and methods to have His Word proclaimed throughout the world.

When you see churches claiming that they can speak in tongues, that should raise a red flag. Be careful because evil spirits can imitate spiritual gifts and use them to confuse and deceive people.

That’s why we need to heed the instruction of the Apostle John in I John 4:1:

1 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world.

Don’t be easily impressed with people who claim to be speaking in tongues. As we have seen in the Bible, speaking in tongues means speaking in a clear and understandable language. It doesn’t mean you speak in a gibberish language and do all kinds of uncontrollable gestures and actions.

Instead, we read in II Timothy 1:7:

7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

With that said, friends, I hope you have a better understanding of what speaking in tongues really is.

In line with this topic, I want to share with you a free book entitled, “The 7 Most Powerful Habits of Highly Effective Christians.” One of the habits I discussed in this book includes how we can produce the fruit of the Holy Spirit. If you want to learn how you can properly manifest the indwelling of the Holy Spirit instead of the deceitful modern speaking of tongues doctrine, then this book is for you.

The 7 powerful habits of highly effective Christians

That’s it for me. I’m Joshua Infantado of Becoming Christians, praying that the Most High God, our Abba Yahweh, will lead us to all truths.

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