Speaking in tongues is a matter of the will, according to the apostle Paul. He said, "For if I pray in an unknown tongue, my spirit prays, but my understanding is unfruitful. What is it then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding. I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding" (1 Cor. 14:14-15, MEV).
He says that you will either choose to speak in tongues or choose not to. Everyone may do so anytime. Also, this passage proves that God does not speak through people when they speak in tongues and the Holy Spirit does not force people to speak.
Since speaking in tongues is a matter of one's will, it is therefore a faith operation. What helps our faith is the realization that it is impossible to speak gibberish when speaking in tongues according to 1 Corinthians 14:10, which says that every utterance has meaning with God. And unless we know all 6,000 languages in the world today, we ought not tell people who are speaking out by faith to be careful not to speak gibberish. That's a sure way to deceive and mislead them and destroy their faith.
On the contrary, here are ways to truly help people understand the baptism with the Holy Spirit and to confirm their reception of the Holy Spirit by speaking in tongues:
First, have a Bible study. Read aloud the following passages and either answer questions about each passage as you read it or ask your initiates to bring notepads and pens to write down questions that you answer at the end of the study. The relevant passages are as follows: Joel 2:28-29, Matthew 3:11, Luke 24:49, John 7:37-39, Acts 1:8, Acts 2:1-18, Acts 2:38-39, Acts 8:14-17, Acts 10:44-46, Acts 19:1-7, Romans 8:9, 1 Corinthians 6:19, 1 Corinthians 12:13, and 1 Corinthians 14:10 and 14.
Second, after reading these passages and explaining them as necessary, inform the initiates that you and others in the room who already speak in tongues will begin to pray and worship God together. Remind them what Oral Roberts said: "Get with those who are praying in the Spirit and enter in." It's that simple.
Third, inform them that when you lay your hand on their heads, they are to enter in with you in praying in the Spirit at that moment. Remind them that they already have the Holy Spirit because they are saved, according to Romans 8:9. So all they are going to do is manifest the indwelling Holy Spirit as a river of living water flowing out of them, according to John 7:37-39.
Fourth, inform them to speak out by faith. There is no such thing as gibberish, for every utterance has meaning with God, according to 1 Corinthians 14:10, which says, "There are, it may be, so many kinds of languages in the world, and none of them is without significance." If they worry that there may be a counterfeit tongue on the basis that they think Satan speaks in tongues, inform them that is not true. If Satan spoke in tongues, and if this was an issue with which we should be concerned, Jesus or Paul would have warned us. But nowhere in Scripture did they say Satan spoke in tongues. Therefore, Satan does not speak in tongues. Since they were not concerned about it, neither should we be.
Fifth, after believers speak in tongues, they should be encouraged to do so daily. Inform them that their prayer language will grow just like any other language. Believers who do not speak in tongues at the laying on of hands should not be made to feel guilty nor told they do not have faith. Rather, be encouraging and willing to pray with the initiates again at any time. Or encourage them to speak out by faith when they pray alone with God.
With scriptural teaching, more people will begin manifesting the indwelling Holy Spirit and become powerful witnesses for Christ. Please join us for more teaching on how anyone may speak in tongues anytime. Please click here.
James F. Linzey received a Bachelor of Arts degree in biblical studies at Vanguard University of Southern California (1979), and a Master of Divinity degree at Fuller Theological Seminary (1983), where he studied church growth under C. Peter Wagner and signs and wonders under John Wimber. He hosted Operation Freedom television and radio programs on the baptism with the Holy Spirit around the world. He authored The Holy Spirit and A Divine Appointment in Washington, D.C., and is the chief editor of the Modern English Version Bible translation. He served as an Air Force and Army chaplain for 24 years, attaining the rank of Major, and authored "The Space Force Hymn (Creator of the Universe)."
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