What is the gift of the tongues?

The gift of different kinds of tongues is another vocal/inspirational gift of the Spirit, as it cannot be authentically imparted outside the Spirit of God. In God, this gift can only be inspired by the Holy Ghost.

“to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues” (1 Corinthians 12:10 NKJV)

The gift of different kinds of tongues was first manifested on the day of Pentecost, when the believers were gathered in the upper room to pray.

“And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.” (Acts 2:1-4 NKJV)

Notice the Bible says that they “began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance”. This signifies that they were not speaking based on their own human intuition, but by the leading of the Holy Spirit. Ordinarily, none of them would have imagined it before then, but when the Holy Ghost came upon them, the gift of different kinds of tongues became the proof of His presence on them.

It has been argued repeatedly as to whether it is compulsory for a believer to speak in tongues since it is a gift and not the only gift of the Spirit. The truth is, although, speaking in tongues is not the only gift of the Spirit, hence, it is the first gift that is consistently showing up as a proof anytime people get imparted in the Bible.

In Acts 10, the account of Peter visiting the house of Cornelius is captured. Cornelius and his household are not Jews but Gentiles. After Peter had been convinced to visit them, he was surprised to see that while he was still speaking, the Holy Ghost had come upon them (vs 44). How then was it known that He had come upon them? They must have spoken in tongues like it happened at Pentecost.

“And when Paul had laid hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke with tongues and prophesied” (Acts 19:6 NKJV).

The above scripture confirms again that the gifts of the Spirit as interwoven. Speaking in tongues can be for edification, yet, it can also be expressed in prophecy, which is then understood via the manifestation of the gift of interpretation of tongues.

In 1 Corinthian 13 verse one, Apostle Paul writes: “Though I speak with the tongues of men, and of angels…”. This signifies that, the tongues that are being uttered can either be that of men or that of angels. On the day of Pentecost, those who heard the apostle speaking in tongues heard their various languages.

“And when this sound occurred, the multitude came together, and were confused, because everyone heard them speak in his own language” (Acts 2:6 NKJV).

It won’t be erroneous to conclude that the people heard them speak their language because of that which the Holy Ghost had in mind to do. Them hearing their language brought them together even as their curiosity was aroused and while they were contemplating on what must have happened to the Apostles, the Holy Spirit moved Peter to answer their questions, even as thousands of them turned to Christ after his sermon.

The gift of different kinds of tongues can be said to be for;

• The edification of the Saint;
• The edification of the Body of Christ.

“He who speaks in an unknown tongue edifies himself, but he who prophesies edifies the church” (1 Corinthian 14:4 NKJV).

Prophecies sometimes come in form of an unknown tongue, which is then understood through the manifestation of the gift of the interpretation of tongues.

“Therefore tongues are for a sign, not to those who believe but to unbelievers; but prophesying is not for unbelievers but for those who believe” (1 Corinthians 14:22 NKJV).

Any believer that has been given the gift of different kinds of tongues finds it much easier to pray and to witness to others. The word of God does not look like a novel to such a fellow, because through the operations of the gift of tongues, the individual is able to edify his spirit, even as the mystery of God’s Word is unravelled, and the fellow is able to capture the revelations embedded in the written word.

Apostle Paul writes in 1 Corinthian 14:18(NKJV); “I thank my God I speak with tongues more than you all”. Speaking in tongues, therefore, is not over-zealousness as many had been made to believe, it is proof of the Holy Spirit upon a believer. For edification purposes, one is expected to always speak in tongues during personal prayers, and according to the 14th chapter of 1 Corinthians, it shouldn’t be spoken to the church congregation if there won’t be an interpretation of what is said.

[bctt tweet=”Prophesies should build up faith in God. #prayer #prophesy” username=”AngelaLowe20″]

How to Activate or Develop this Gift

While we understand that not everyone will manifest a gift, as it is the Spirit of God who determines as He wills, we can also prepare and align ourselves to activate and develop this gift. The Bible says,

“But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills.” (1 Corinthians 12:11 NKJV)

Earnestly Desire

Apostle Paul, after addressing the gifts, the distribution across the body of Christ and the individual uniqueness of different part of the body, said, “But earnestly desire the best gifts” (1 Corinthians 12:31 NKJV). This implies that we can desire the gifts. Desire is the beginning of any significant thing. Desire is a form of hunger, and if we give ourselves to sincere hunger, we can get to receive the gifts.

Ask in Prayer

“And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.” (Matthew 21:22 NKJV)

Prayer gives us a direct communication and access to God. Jesus had told us that we can receive whatever we ask in prayer. Do you desire this gift of different kinds of tongues? Clear your heart and be sure it is not for a selfish purpose. Then ask.


“And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.” (Matthew 21:22 NKJV)

Now asking in prayer is not enough, you must also believe that you have it already. Praying does not end at asking; you should also ensure you believe after asking.

[bctt tweet=”God promises to help us develop the Gifts he has given us. #Hispromise #HisSpirit” username=”AngelaLowe20″]

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Angela Lowe, MS. Ed., LPC
Angela Lowe is a licensed Professional Counselor, trained Biblical Counselor and certified Holistic Health Coach. Her kingdom mandate is to restore God’s counsel to transform lives, marriages, and churches worldwide.