Speaking in tongues?

I have been having some disagreements with a colleague of mine regarding the gift of tounges.

I believe speaking in tounges is the ability to speak different languages. To be able to spread the Word of God without the barrier of language, as is the original use during the Pentecost.

My colleague on the other hand sees it as an angelic or a sort of heavenly language unknown to men. He is mostly influenced by Paul when he speaks of the gift in Corinthians. While he looks at it through the lens of some unknown heavenly language, I see it through the lense of speaking a different earthly language.

If any of you could help clear this up, to either bolster or disprove either side of the disagreement would be greatly appreciated. God bless.


I think we can agree to disagree without hurting or offending someone. I believe speaking or not, in an earthly or heavenly tongues cannot give us extra points to enter in heaven. I find it very hard to convey this point to my speaker friends. I agree with your interpretation of speaking in tongues. I believe it is an earthly language given for the advancement of the gospel. It has nothing to do with our gifts and abilities. As far as Paul concern, I believe he is talking here metaphorically. In the Old and New testament every time a prophet had an encounter with Angel they spoke in prophet’s language, even in the Revelation where God is seating on His throne Angels are shouting Holy Holy Holy in the language of John. In eastern cultures a holy/kind/gentle/generous/loving person is often metaphorically referred to as an angel from God but is he/she really an angel? I think what Paul meant is the language of extreme love, the extreme saintly, sacrificial, and loving action of a person as a language of angels. This is how I see as Language of Angels. May be???

1 Like

@Luke While I personally agree with you that tongues were other earthly languages, I do not think that this is an issue where we must agree in order to love one another in Christ. If you think about it in terms of ‘levels of doctrine’ (see article below), this is an opinion or a conviction - not an absolute. I think the main thing we must do, no matter our opinion about tongues, is to do all things ‘decently and in order’ as Paul says in 1 Cor 14.

So I think that you and your colleague can share your reasons for your position without feeling the need to prove one another wrong. This doctrine is not essential.

The below article points out that when Paul mentions ‘tongues of angels’ in 1 Corinthians 13:1 he was not necessarily implying people could actually speak the languages of angels, but rather saying that even if you could, without love it would mean nothing. Paul was trying to emphasize the importance of love in relation to spiritual gifts and not speaking literally. At least that is one interpretation.

Also, in 1 Cor 14, Paul expects that if someone speaks a tongue it could be interpreted. I think that strongly suggests that these are actual languages, or else how could anyone interpret without having the gift of interpreting, which is never mentioned? If they were angelic languages, they would not be able to be interpreted except by someone who spoke such an angelic language.

I Cor 14:26-40 - What then, brothers? When you come together, each one has a hymn, a lesson, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation. Let all things be done for building up. 27 If any speak in a tongue, let there be only two or at most three, and each in turn, and let someone interpret. 28 But if there is no one to interpret, let each of them keep silent in church and speak to himself and to God. 29 Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others weigh what is said. 30 If a revelation is made to another sitting there, let the first be silent. 31 For you can all prophesy one by one, so that all may learn and all be encouraged, 32 and the spirits of prophets are subject to prophets. 33 For God is not a God of confusion but of peace.

As in all the churches of the saints, 34 the women should keep silent in the churches. For they are not permitted to speak, but should be in submission, as the Law also says. 35 If there is anything they desire to learn, let them ask their husbands at home. For it is shameful for a woman to speak in church.

36 Or was it from you that the word of God came? Or are you the only ones it has reached? 37 If anyone thinks that he is a prophet, or spiritual, he should acknowledge that the things I am writing to you are a command of the Lord. 38 If anyone does not recognize this, he is not recognized. 39 So, my brothers, earnestly desire to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in tongues. 40 But all things should be done decently and in order.

Connect Thread on Whether Spiritual Gifts Ceased or Still Continue

Levels of Doctrine

Not all doctrine is equally important. Some beliefs are at the very center of our Christian faith and to deny them is to deny Christ. Other beliefs are important to how we practice our faith and are therefore the cause of disagreement between many denominations, but these beliefs do not place us outside of Christ. Still other doctrines, such as eschatology, are difficult even for very learned and godly people to understand clearly and are therefore a matter of opinion.

The below article offers a fuller explanation of levels of doctrine and gives a helpful summary list of 4 levels of doctrine.

  1. absolutes define the core beliefs of the Christian faith;
  2. convictions , while not core beliefs, may have significant impact on the health and effectiveness of the church;
  3. opinions are less-clear issues that generally are not worth dividing over; and
  4. questions are currently unsettled issues.

Where an issue falls within these categories should be determined by weighing the cumulative force of at least seven considerations:

  1. biblical clarity;
  2. relevance to the character of God;
  3. relevance to the essence of the gospel;
  4. biblical frequency and significance (how often in Scripture it is taught, and what weight Scripture places upon it);
  5. effect on other doctrines;
  6. consensus among Christians (past and present); and
  7. effect on personal and church life.

Heys @Luke, great question! :slight_smile:


Personally, I do believe that it is actually both a heavenly language (the language of angels) and also an earthly language, both of which is unknown to the individual activating this gift.

To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. (1 Corinthians 12:8-10)

This passage clearly outlines the 9 gifts of the Spirit that can be exhibited.

When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them. Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard their own language being spoken. Utterly amazed, they asked: “Aren’t all these who are speaking Galileans? Then how is it that each of us hears them in our native language? (Acts 2:1-8)

For anyone who speaks in a tongue does not speak to people but to God. Indeed, no one understands them; they utter mysteries by the Spirit. (1 Corinthians 14:2)

It is clear that in the first paragraph, when they spoke in tongues, others understood what has been said. This only stands to reason that it has to be an earthly language.

On the other hand, Paul also explained that when speaking in tongues it is a conversation with God and that “no one understands them”.

Assuming that the bible must be true, the only way to reconcile both of these would be that they both exist.


To add on to @SeanO 's sharing about interpretation, therein lies the last gift of the Spirit - Interpretation of Tongues.

Therefore, I don’t think it necessary is a language that is known to man, plus if it is an earthly language, then it defeats the purpose requiring the Holy Spirit to interpret.

Some may claim that it the Interpretation of Tongues, can also be to interpret an earthly language, but then I feel that there should be an exhibition of this on the day of Pentecost rather than people immediately recognising it as their own language.


Hope that helps add an additional perspective on the gift of tongues. :slight_smile:


@Kyrie If no one else was in the room who spoke that particular language that would explain why no one understood them and why an interpreter was required. Also, for someone who had never spoken a language to interpret it would indeed be the work of God’s Spirit, even if the language was an earthly one. So this text does not show definitively that there were actual spoken angelic languages - it could be explained in terms of earthly languages.

However, as we said earlier, it is not an essential of the faith and I respect both positions. Jesus be with you :slight_smile:


@Luke @Kyrie. As it has been said, this debate does not hold an emphasis in the redemption plan. We will all get to Heaven despite these conclusions. However, I must agree with Kyrie; I believe there is scripture that alludes to both types of tongues.

In Acts 2:4 kjv, it speaks of other tongues. Tongues recognized by others who spoke those languages.
In I Corinthians 14:1-4 kjv, it speaks of unknown tongues. But we are told this is a tongue spoken between the individual and the Lord. It offers no benefit for anyone listening, therefore we should desire to prophesy instead.

**"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. 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 imagine conclusions could be debated of what is meant in Romans 8:26 kjv. “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.”

I probably would not be concerned with whether speaking in other tongues or unknown tongues are possible. There are far too many examples of when the Spirit of the Lord steps into the norm and alters reality to meet a need or prove a point. Just as He did when calling little Samuel in the night. When He spoke to Moses from a burning bush. When He sounded the call to war in the tops of Mulberry trees to King David. Or through the mouth of a donkey to the Prophet Balaam. And in Joseph’s dreams.

How GOD says it to me I want to found guilty of saying "yes Lord yes!


@cer7 The term other tongues in Acts 2:4 may simply refer to other languages - seeing as how when the apostles received the Spirit at Pentecost the languages they spoke were intelligible to people in the city. They were indeed speaking in ‘other tongues’ - but not angelic tongues.

The phrase ‘unknown’ before tongue was actually added to text in order to emphasize that these were not angelic languages, but actually earthly languages that were simply not known (if I am reading this commentary correctly). So that word would actually argue in the other direction - the translators of this version of the Bible understood this passage to refer to existing human languages unknown to the audience.

For he that speaketh in an unknown tongue.–Better, For he that speaketh in a tongue. The word “unknown” is not in the original, but it has been inserted in connection with the word tongue "all through this chapter, so as to make the various passages seem to be consistent with the theory that the gift of tongues was a gift of languages.


We find the phrase unknown absent in the NET Bible translation:

I Cor 14:1-4 - Pursue love and be eager for the spiritual gifts, especially that you may prophesy. 2 For the one speaking in a tongue does not speak to people but to God, for no one understands; he is speaking mysteries by the Spirit. 3 But the one who prophesies speaks to people for their strengthening, encouragement, and consolation. 4 The one who speaks in a tongue builds himself up, but the one who prophesies builds up the church.

And I certainly agree we should always be open to whatever God desires to do in our lives - let us say ‘Yes!’ to Jesus :slight_smile:


@SeanO The commentary seems to be invested in asserting that unknown means unknown to the audience. That supports their original idea that tongues are indicative of human languages. Perhaps that’s why many churches begin to believe that the common language is what the prophecy would be spoken in. And so begin the practice of stammering tongues followed by social English explanation of the stammering tongues. To some, it became the sign of the presence of the Holy Spirit within. But it is like you said, the debate over tongues is not a deterrent to the redemptive plan.

1 Like

@cer7 I think the commentator is saying that the KJV translators were the ones who held to the theory that it was human languages, if I understand their point correctly. So I don’t think I would say they are biased, as long as they have a reason for holding that view of history.

I firmly believe the Lord honors all worship and prayer offered from a sincere heart, in whatever language - known or unknown.


@Luke, I think the Bible does give room to interpret speaking in tongues as being manifested as both foreign languages and heavenly languages.

Tongues as foreign language
This interpretation of the gift of tongues is very clearly presented in Acts 2. As the book of Acts is a narrative, one can only deduce from this occurance that foreign language is one way that the gift of tongues manifests but it certainly does not exclude heavenly language. I recently heard a testimony of Hindu Brahmin coming to Christ because of gift of tongues as foreign language. Here’s a link to that testimony and Dr. Sarma discusses the tongues incident at about 19:20 mins.

Tongues as heavenly language:

Few arguments from Sam Storms:

(1) To begin, if tongues-speech is always in a foreign language intended as a sign for unbelievers, why are the tongues in Acts 10 and Acts 19 spoken in the presence of only believers?

(2) Note also that Paul describes various kinds [or “species”] of tongues ( gene glosson ) in 1 Corinthians 12:10. It is unlikely that he means a variety of different human languages, for who would ever have argued that all tongues were only one human language, such as Greek or Hebrew or German? His words suggest that there are differing categories of tongues-speech, perhaps human languages and heavenly languages.

(3) Paul asserted that whoever speaks in a tongue “does not speak to men, but to God” (1 Cor. 14:2). But if tongues are always human languages, Paul is mistaken, for “speaking to men” is precisely what a human language does!

(4) If tongues-speech is always a human language, how could Paul say that “no one understands” (1 Cor. 14:2)? If tongues are human languages, many could potentially understand, as they did on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:8-11). This would especially be true in Corinth, a multilingual cosmopolitan port city that was frequented by people of numerous dialects.

(5) Moreover, if tongues-speech always is in a human language, then the gift of interpretation would be one for which no special work or enablement or manifestation of the Spirit would be required. Anyone who was multilingual, such as Paul, could interpret tongues-speech simply by virtue of education.

(6) Furthermore, Paul referred to “tongues of men and of angels” (1 Cor. 13:1). While he may have been using hyperbole, he just as likely may have been referring to heavenly or angelic dialects for which the Holy Spirit gives utterance. Gordon Fee cited evidence in certain ancient Jewish sources that the angels were believed to have their own heavenly languages or dialects and that by means of the Spirit one could speak them ( Commentary on First Corinthians , 630-31). In particular, we take note of the Testament of Job , where Job’s three daughters put on heavenly sashes given to them as an inheritance from their father, by which they are transformed and enabled to praise God with hymns in angelic languages (see chapters 48 to 50). Some have questioned this account, however, pointing out that this section of the Testament may have been the work of a later Christian author. Yet, as Christopher Forbes points out, “What the Testament does provide … is clear evidence that the concept of angelic languages as a mode of praise to God was an acceptable one within certain circles. As such it is our nearest parallel to glossolalia” ( Prophecy and Inspired Speech in Early Christianity and Its Hellinistic Environment , 185-86).

(7) Some say the reference in 1 Corinthians 14:10-11 to earthly, foreign languages proves that all tongues-speech is also human languages. But the point of the analogy is that tongues function like foreign languages, not that tongues are foreign languages. Paul’s point is that the hearer cannot understand uninterpreted tongues any more than he can understand the one speaking a foreign language. If tongues were a foreign language, there would be no need for an analogy.

(8) Paul’s statement in 1 Corinthians 14:18 that he “speaks in tongues more than you all” is evidence that tongues are not foreign languages. As Wayne Grudem noted, “If they were known foreign languages that foreigners could understand, as at Pentecost, why would Paul speak more than all the Corinthians in private, where no one would understand, rather than in church where foreign visitors could understand?” ( Systematic Theology , 1072).

Finally, a practical reason I see for edifying oneself in an unknown tongue of angels is because our battle is not against flesh and blood but against principalities and powers. Couldn’t someone pray in the Spirit as in Eph 6:18 using gift of tongues of angels to be strengthened in the inner man to fight the battles of the enemy even without understanding? Human language is probably unneccessary in the spiritual realm as even groans of the Spirit intercede according to the will of God, Rom 8:26. Perhaps, something similar happened to Dr.Sarma after he sought to pray in tongues.

Eph 6:18 With all prayer and petition, pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints.

I hope this information will be helpful as you work through your understanding of the gift of tongues. God bless!


@Lakshmismehta Good resources! I don’t agree with Storm’s interpretations in this particular case, but I do respect him as a godly man and teacher. I think Paul’s boasting about speaking ‘more than you all’ in private was just a way of setting an example for them because they were not behaving wisely in the way they were expressing their gifts and it was causing chaos. Most of Storm’s arguments here rely on extrapolation or inference - the Bible never actually says ‘they spoke in angelic languages’. I think that is an important point to bear in mind.

Someone could make the counterargument that the Bible never says ‘they did not speak in angelic languages’ - claiming that an argument from silence is not sufficient. And I would agree it is not sufficient to rule out the possibility of tongues as angelic languages. But, think about this, how would you know if someone was speaking an angelic language versus just making something up? You wouldn’t - because we don’t know what angelic languages sound like… We would be relying completely on those who claim to have the gift of tongues and those who claim to be able to interpret. I am not sure I see much wisdom in that… That is a very circuitous way for God to communicate if all He wants to do is provide some wisdom for the Body.

However, as Paul said, let us not despise prophecy or forbid speaking tongues, but test everything and hold onto that which is good.


@SeanO, I really appreciate your questions because every question gives us an opportunity to dig deeper, to question our assumptions and understand our faith better. I have some thoughts on the concerns you raised. It’s a long post but I just thought its better to have all scripture references in one place.

You say -

But, think about this, how would you know if someone was speaking an angelic language versus just making something up? You wouldn’t - because we don’t know what angelic languages sound like… We would be relying completely on those who claim to have the gift of tongues and those who claim to be able to interpret.

Firstly, though Holy Spirit used gift of tongues as a foreign language as a tool to convict hearts to come to Christ, scripture does not support the idea that the test for a genuine gift of tongues is utterance in a foreign human language. This may be because both supernatural utterance of a known foreign language and tongues of an unknown language/angels can both be misused by evil spirits.

I don’t think we should assume that only the Holy Spirit can enable someone to speak in a foreign language. Evil spirits for example could know Latin too as they have been hanging out on earth for a long time! Here’s an article in Washington Post from a psychiatrist from New York Medical College, trained in Yale and Columbia, who says about a Satanist – “Six people later vouched to me that, during her exorcisms, they heard her speaking multiple languages, including Latin, completely unfamiliar to her outside of her trances…… A possessed individual may suddenly, in a type of trance, voice statements of astonishing venom and contempt for religion, while understanding and speaking various foreign languages previously unknown to them”. https://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2016/07/01/as-a-psychiatrist-i-diagnose-mental-illness-and-sometimes-demonic-possession/?utm_term=.5bb7dfd79d9e

Despite that scope of evil misusing the gift of tongues, clearly God still chose to use that mechanism in the early church to draw men to Him. I don’t understand the wisdom of God but I trust the Bible.

Second, you are right that relying on the interpretation of an unknown language requires some degree of faith in the interpreter. But I don’t think we have to completely rely on them, we rely on its consistency with God’s Word and what Holy Spirit may be revealing to us also personally. We should exercise a high amount of caution and look out for false prophets (1 Thess 5:21).

One might feel, why bother with the gifts of the Holy Spirit when there can be such great misuse but I think this argument can be said against many good things in this fallen world, including Christ! Yet, we live in this fallen world and try to make wise choices by faith in Christ as Christians. The Bible says that in the end times, there will be signs and wonders by the devil to even deceive the elect (Matt 24). So, I think there may be times when there is a greater need than rational thinking and the gifts of the Holy Spirit would be needed to counter those schemes of the enemy. Many a times, God has used gifts of the Spirit and signs and wonders to convict hearts toward Him in foreign countries as they don’t have the same access as we in the West have to information or education.

As I keep reading 1 Cor 14, I just see how different the purpose of tongues is as compared to the purpose of prophecy/interpretation of tongues.

1 Cor 14:2 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.

1 Cor 14:4 One who speaks in a tongue edifies himself

1 Cor 14:5 Now I wish that you all spoke in tongues, but even more that you would prophesy

1 Cor 14:18 I thank God, I speak in tongues more than you all

1Cor 14:39 Therefore, my brethren, desire earnestly to prophesy, and do not forbid to speak in tongues

Paul doesn’t think that interpretation is necessary for someone to be edified by tongues in private. Otherwise, He would have forbidden speaking in tongues but instead he encourages it in private time of prayer. These private tongues don’t have to be tongues of angels, they could even be a forgotten language.

Coming back to discerning the gifts, here’s what I have relied on to know if the gifts of tongues/prophecy are genuine:

It needs to be a gift enabled by the Holy Spirit. One who speaks in tongues in private and edified by it can’t be edified by pretension / deception. A warning sign of a faked gift would be if someone tries to mimic another’s gift of tongues. If we sincerely ask God for the Holy Spirit, he will not give us a false spirit.

1 Cor 12:11 But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills.

Luke 11: 13 If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?

Gifts of tongues or prophecy are under the control of a person and are decently done in order . So, when people say they couldn’t control themselves and they start screaming or laughing and are out of order, I would question the gift.

1 Cor 14:32 The spirits of prophets are subject to the control of prophets.

Those who are guided by false spirits to operate in supernatural gifts will not be able to proclaim Christ as the incarnate God and may also preach false doctrines. Some heresies that I have seen are – rejection of the divinity of Jesus, a belief of deification of humans, recently belief in eastern concept of subtle energies, frequencies and vibrations, a new age style positive thinking etc.

2 Cor 11: 4 For if one comes and preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted, you bear this beautifully (Similar exhortation in Gal 1:8)

2Cor 11:13 For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. 14 No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.

2Peter 2: 1 But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves.

1 Cor 12:3 Therefore I make known to you that no one speaking by the Spirit of God says, “Jesus is accursed”; and no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit

1 John 4:2-3 2 By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God; 3 and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world.

A test of prophet is if his prophecy comes true.

Deu 18:22 When a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if the thing does not come about or come true, that is the thing which the Lord has not spoken. The prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him.

Obedience by faith in Jesus even when it costs us a lot is an objective sign of the fruit of the Holy Spirit and agape love. No person led by a demon will serve Christ at the peril of their lives.

1 John 3:10 By this the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious: anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor the one who does not love his brother.

1 John 5:2 2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and observe His commandments.

1 John 3:16 We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.

While I believe that gifts have not ceased, I totally understand when you say we need a great degree of caution. I myself don’t attend a church that believes in the gifts of the Holy Spirit. I know a few people who are not famous but genuine servants of Christ who have operated in the gifts of the Holy Spirit. They love Christ more than the gifts and more than their lives! I hope this helps you understand my perspective better.


@Lakshmismehta Whew! A lot of good thoughts to digest.

First, I think that God using foreign tongues, even though evil spirits could use them, is not circuitous in the same way angelic languages would be… Foreign languages helped spread the Gospel to foreign people. Angelic languages would literally serve no purpose but self-edification unless translated. So I do think there is a distinction.

I would never advocate to avoid spiritual gifts simply because they can be misused. If I did, I would have to avoid the Bible, because it gets misused a lot :wink: So simply because something can be misused is not a valid reason for avoiding it. We must understand at a deeper level first.

Ironically enough, I attend a Church that is more continuationist - though there is not much speaking in tongues. The Church talks about the ‘two rivers’ of the Spirit and the Word. We should stay rooted in the Word while also seeking to walk in the Spirit and exercise the gifts God provides. People raise their hands, cry out to the Lord and even wave flags. And I love it :slight_smile: I would much rather be somewhere people are trying to cry out for Jesus than somewhere people avoid passionate pursuit of Christ in peoples’ heart language of worship just because they are afraid of things they do not understand. My Church does do everything decently and in order.

Of course, I also enjoy my brothers and sisters who would never even raise a finger and prefer traditional hymns / quietness / solitude. I think we all have a heart language of worship and I am a big fan of Churches that provide space for each person to pursue God in the way they can understand best (assuming it is in keeping with Scripture).

I’m not sure I agree with what some people say that evil spirits can’t say ‘Jesus is Lord’. I think that might mean more that they will never teach the true Gospel and always insert some form of lie in with the truth. But then, I could be wrong on that… I agree that a divergence from the truth Christ has given is an indicator that something is amiss, whether it is the ignorance / greed of men or evil spirits.

Good stuff :slight_smile:


Hi @SeanO, Glad you went through that long post :grinning: Thank you! Yes, tongues spoken in a congregation with interpretation is more of a circuitous way of God reaching a person than tongues spoken in the foreign language of the person. However, I do see beauty in the circuitous method if the word is truly and timely as it involves more people to be in tune with the Spirit of God about the person. It can increase the confidence in the word of knowledge/prophecy given.

Glad we are on the same page about not avoiding something just because of misuse. I discussed it as it seems to be a common reason given by many against the usage of gifts of the Spirit. I like what you say “We should stay rooted in the Word while also seeking to walk in the Spirit and exercise the gifts God provides”. God providing is key! When men try to re-create what only the Spirit of God can do, even while verbally glorifying Him, they actually end up dishonoring Him by misrepresentation.

About evil spirits saying “Jesus is Lord” I agree with you on that as well. I think an evil spirit may make a verbal assertion but not mean it in the same way a believer does as only the Holy Spirit can convict one of sin, righteousness and judgment. An evil spirit may mean, “Jesus is a Lord” rather than “Jesus is the Lord” as the latter would carry a sense of conviction for obedience.

Your question led me to search the scriptures more and I am thankful for that. Appreciate your insights!


Brother watchman Nee wrote with great inspiration, I believe, on this topic. He said that the work of HS is twofold:
The manifestation of the Spirit outpoured and of the Spirit indwelt. What many are referring to as speaking in tongues is not the outpouring of the Spirit, but a prayer language out of the indwelt Spirit.

1 Like

@manbooks I don’t think that either side would disagree that the Spirit both dwells within us and works through us. To say that the Spirit dwelling in us means that tongues is an angelic language would be a circular argument. You may want to be careful with the word ‘inspiration’ - technically that word only applies to Scripture and not to any human’s interpretation of it. I agree Nee was a very devout man, but I still think it wisest to be cautious with that particular word.

What are some specific Biblical evidences that Nee gives for the existence of a prayer language?

1 Like

**NEE did not mention prayer language as far as I know. I was citing his argument from memory, don’t even recall which book it was in. **I was not aware that’s what “inspiration” meant. Anyway, what I believe speaking in tongues is is that expression of the indwelling Spirit that Paul was mentioning when he wrote “I will pray in my mind, but I will also pray with my spirit”. Acts 2 is something from the outpoured Spirit.


@manbooks Thanks for the clarification. I am not sure that tongues is required to pray ‘with our spirit’ - I think that is more along the lines of what Jesus taught - that we must worship in spirit and truth. But I do agree that if we are going to pray, whether in tongues or not in tongues, let us do so in spirit and truth!


@manbooks, I think one can pray in tongues both during initial outpouring of the Holy Spirit as in Acts 2 or later as described in 1Cor 14. However, not all receive tongues as 1 Cor 12:29-31 suggests. Also, the outpouring with some visible manifestation doesn’t need to be limited to one occurrence as can be seen from Acts 4. The initial salvation when indwelling of Holy Spirit is received and the outpouring can co-incide or not as can be seen from Acts 2 and Acts 11. Just thought I’d share a few verses related to the topic. I too agree that one can pray in Spirit with or without tongues or a spiritual manifestation as it relates to praying in God’s will and we can do that through God’s revealed word.


Really enjoyed the different sharings and perspective. But seriously, tongues is a supernatural gift that many find quite controversial because if its angelic tongue, there is going to be quite a problem in verifying its authencity. Also, when we speak in tongues, we speak in “mysteries” as described by the bible. How mysterious can it get if its a known tongue?

I believe you will get perspectives from both sides, but it will really be helpful if one can state one’s presuppositions up front. For example, do you yourself speak in tongues and actively pray (successfully) for others to receive the same gift? That will really lend credence to one’s theology since it is solidified through personal experience. Those who don’t speak or actively use it will obviously be apprehensive on its use.

1 Like