Speaking in tongues

Today it really would not be that strange to ask someone, “What is your mother tongue?” Of course, you would be asking the person what their native language was. Despite the fact that we use this terminology even to this day, Pentecostal churches teach that speaking in tongues refers to speaking in gibberish that only the Holy Spirit can understand and not to an actually existing human language. I’ve had the pleasure to read two interesting takes on the subject recently:

Coming Out of a Pentecostal Church

Speaking in Tongues

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8 Responses to “Speaking in tongues”

  1. Sicarii says:

    Thank you for your kind comment on my article being interesting and linking to it.

  2. Hannah says:

    Thank you so much for linking to my post! I’ve been so involved with back to school activities that I apologize for not recognizing it sooner!

    God bless you and yours. :)

  3. casey says:

    My pleasure, both of you. You both have expressed my objections to the Pentecostal interpretation better than I could myself. Thank you both for such great insights!

  4. Kansas Bob says:

    Have you seen the Nightline piece on Tongues at:


  5. casey says:

    Interesting. I notice there is never anyone interpreting (at least in the video), and the pastor himself says, “It’s something personal between you and God.” I wonder what scripture he is basing that statement on.

    “Now, brothers, if I come to you and speak in tongues, what good will I be to you, unless I bring you some revelation or knowledge or prophecy or word of instruction?” (1 Corinthians 14:6)

    “For this reason anyone who speaks in a tongue should pray that he may interpret what he says” (1 Corinthians 14:13).

    “But in the church I would rather speak five intelligible words to instruct others than ten thousand words in a tongue” (1 Corinthians 14:19).

    “If anyone speaks in a tongue, two ? or at the most three ? should speak, one at a time, and someone must interpret. If there is no interpreter, the speaker should keep quiet in the church and speak to himself and God” (1 Corinthians 14:27-28).

  6. HM says:

    After last night’s study we discovered during our discussions that we had a fundamental difference in our understanding of the subject. Therefore, I have “boiled” the subject down to what I believe is the most basic question in order to avoid ancillary matters and I will phrase that question in a manner that avoids revealing the position of the interested parties in order to minimize interjected bias.

    There are two positions regarding speaking in tongues:
    1. The tongue speaker does not understand what praise he/she is giving either verbally or mentally.
    2. The tongue speaker understands mentally the praise they are giving but listeners cannot understand the verbalization’s.

    Will you clarify these points of view as being correct or incorrect?


  7. casey says:

    I don’t know, HM, but I would imagine that the speaker does understand. Even at Pentecost, I think the speakers were given understanding of what they were saying although that is not specifically stated. I think it is safe to assume, however, that they were speaking what they wanted to say and the listeners were hearing them in their own language. Whether they continued to be able to speak those languages after Pentecost, I don’t know. The listeners will only understand if what is being spoken is their language.

  8. HM says:

    Thanks again, but the quest continues, I feel the need to continue reaching out for more information and information I will receive.