Speaking in Tongues (ATL)

by Creflo Dollar | 21 Feb 2018


Religion has a way of getting us to believe something without scriptural basis to support it. If we find ourselves believing a teaching that is nowhere to be found in the Scriptures, it might be time to re-evaluate that belief. Speaking in tongues is an example. There have always been people who mock speaking in tongues, but this is a valid spiritual gift that accompanies the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Some people think speaking in tongues ceased when the last apostle died, but this is a misunderstanding that stems from misinterpreting the Scriptures. The gift of tongues is still relevant and evident today, and it will continue for as long as we are on this earth. It is a powerful tool to help us bypass our intellect and pray the perfect prayer directly to God.
  1. The grace gift of tongues will cease to be needed after we leave this earth.
    1. Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.  When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known(1 Corinthians 13:8-12).
      1. If we take verse eight out of context, we could assume that tongues have ceased.
      2. “That which is perfect” has not yet come. When we are in heaven and we are looking face-to-face with Jesus in our glorified bodies is the point at which tongues will cease, because that is when the perfect will have come.
      3. Tongues will continue as long as we are alive on the earth. If we do not rightly divide the Word, we could take the wrong interpretation about speaking in tongues and make a doctrine out of it.
    2. But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased (Daniel 12:4).
      1. Daniel prophesied about tongues in the Old Testament. In the end times, knowledge will increase while we are still on the earth. When we get to heaven, knowledge will cease.
      2. Speaking in tongues is only good while we are on the earth. In heaven we will not need this grace gift.
    3.  Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered (Romans 8:26).
      1. “Infirmities” refers to the weakness of the flesh.
      2. The Holy Spirit helps us deal with things we do not know about through our own understanding. Speaking in tongues allows us to pray about them.
    4. So too the [Holy] Spirit comes to our aid  and bears us up in our weakness; for we do not know what prayer to offer  nor how to offer it worthily as we ought, but the Spirit Himself goes to meet our supplication  and pleads in our behalf with unspeakable yearnings and groanings too deep for utterance (Romans 8:26, AMPC).
      1. “Utterance” here means too deep for articulate speech. When we pray in tongues, we are speaking a language that transcends our intellect.
      2. The Holy Spirit gives us the utterance and the ability to perfectly speak a language we do not know.
  1. Praying in the Holy Spirit makes known to us previously hidden mysteries.
    1. Follow after charity, and desire spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may prophesy. For he that speaketh in an unknown tongue speaketh not unto men, but unto God: for no man understandeth him; howbeit in the spirit he speaketh mysteries (1 Corinthians 14:1, 2).
      1. When we pray in tongues as a group, no interpretation is needed because we are speaking directly to God. However, giving a message to others in tongues requires interpretation so that they may be edified.
    2. For one who speaks in an [unknown] tongue speaks not to men but to God, for no one understands  or catches his meaning, because in the [Holy] Spirit he utters secret truths  and hidden things [not obvious to the understanding] (1 Corinthians 14:2, AMPC).
      1. “An unknown tongue” may not be known to us, but someone else may know the language.
    3. But he that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort. He that speaketh in an unknown tongue edifieth himself; but he that prophesieth edifieth the church.I would that ye all spake with tongues but rather that ye prophesied: for greater is he that prophesieth than he that speaketh with tongues, except he interpret, that the church may receive edifying. Now, brethren, if I come unto you speaking with tongues, what shall I profit you, except I shall speak to you either by revelation, or by knowledge, or by prophesying, or by doctrine? And even things without life giving sound, whether pipe or harp, except they give a distinction in the sounds, how shall it be known what is piped or harped? (1 Corinthians 14:3-7).
      1. Knowledge is good, but wisdom is the ability to use that knowledge. God will shine His light on the knowledge we have accumulated and assimilate it, and we will see things we have never seen before.
      2. God has the ability to take something complex and make it common sense for us. This is revelation from Him.
      3. The scriptural meaning of a mystery is a hidden divine secret not obvious to our minds. When we pray in tongues, we are speaking hidden wisdom.
    4. For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle? So likewise ye, except ye utter by the tongue words easy to be understood, how shall it be known what is spoken? for ye shall speak into the air. There are, it may be, so many kinds of voices in the world, and none of them is without signification. Therefore if I know not the meaning of the voice, I shall be unto him that speaketh a barbarian, and he that speaketh shall be a barbarian unto me. Even so ye, forasmuch as ye are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek that ye may excel to the edifying of the church. Wherefore let him that speaketh in an unknown tongue pray that he may interpret. For if I pray in an unknown tongue, my spirit prayeth, but my understanding is unfruitful (1 Corinthians 14:8-14).
      1. When someone gives us a prophecy, it should build us up, exhort us, and comfort us. If someone is prophesying over us and the prophecy does not fit these requirements, it did not come from God.
    5. What is it then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also: I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also. Else when thou shalt bless with the spirit, how shall he that occupieth the room of the unlearned say Amen at thy giving of thanks, seeing he understandeth not what thou sayest? For thou verily givest thanks well, but the other is not edified. I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than ye all: Yet in the church I had rather speak five words with my understanding, that by my voice I might teach others also, than ten thousand words in an unknown tongue. Brethren, be not children in understanding: howbeit in malice be ye children, but in understanding be men. In the law it is written, With men of other tongues and other lips will I speak unto this people; and yet for all that will they not hear me, saith the Lord (1 Corinthians 14:15-21).
      1. Tongues edify us, but the interpretation of tongues builds others up because they understand what is being said.
      2. We are spirits possessing souls and living in physical bodies. Our spirits are the part of us that prays when we speak in tongues.
  1. Praying in tongues allows our spirits to connect directly with God’s Spirit.
    1. If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent? Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him? (Luke 11:11-13).
      1. God wants even more than we do for us to have the gift of the baptism of the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues.
      2. Some people teach that if there is any sin in our lives, God will not fill us with the Holy Spirit. They say that we must be cleansed first because He does not fill dirty vessels, but that is the only kind of vessel He fills.
      3. If we were perfect without the Holy Spirit, we would not need Him.
    2. There are three purposes for speaking in tongues.
      1. It builds up our faith. When we pray in tongues we do not know what we will say next; therefore we must pray in faith.
      2. It draws out the power inside us. When we realize we have this power, we eventually see the manifestations of the Holy Spirit’s power in our everyday lives.
      3. It draws out the knowledge that is inside our spirits. There are things in the Spirit that we do not know in our minds, and praying in the Holy Spirit helps us to give birth to them.
    3. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven. Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language. And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galilaeans? And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born? Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia, Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes, Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God. And they were all amazed, and were in doubt, saying one to another, What meaneth this? Others mocking said, These men are full of new wine (Acts 2:4-13).
      1. Speaking in tongues is associated with being filled with the Holy Spirit.
      2. This is not an utterance coming from our minds or our intellects.
      3. Tongues are not simply babbling gibberish. It is a language we learn regardless of our educational level, that we know nothing of in our minds.
      4. When we speak in tongues, there will always be someone who doubts or does not understand it.
    4. But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned (1 Corinthians 2:14).
      1. When someone does not understand or believe the Word of God, it is because they are carnal, or “of the five senses.” Everything they believe is filtered through their senses of smelling, tasting, touching, seeing, and hearing. Nothing else is real to them.
    5. But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life (Jude 1:20, 21).
      1. Faith responds to what grace has made available.
      2. We keep ourselves in the love of God by praying in the Holy Spirit.
      3. We can speak in tongues and then release most holy faith that we have received what we prayed for without understanding what we prayed.
      4. Although we do not understand what we just released, we know it must be good because we prayed according to the Holy Spirit.

Scripture References

1 Corinthians 13:8-12
Daniel 12:4
Romans 8:26
Romans 8:26, AMPC
1 Corinthians 14:1-21
1 Corinthians 14:2, AMPC
Luke 11:11-13
Acts 2:4-13
1 Corinthians 2:14
June 1:20, 21