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Speaking in Tongues

Definition of Speaking in Tongues

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Speaking in Tongues
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Definition: "Speaking in Tongues" is one of the supernatural gifts of the Holy Spirit referred to in 1 Corinthians 12:4-10.

"Glossolalia" is the most commonly accepted term for "speaking in tongues." It comes from the Greek words meaning "tongues" or "languages," and "to speak." Although not exclusively, "speaking in tongues" is primarily practiced by Pentecostal Christians. Glossolalia is the "prayer language" of Pentecostal churches. Some Christians who speak in tongues believe they are speaking in an existing language. Most believe they are uttering a heavenly tongue. Some Pentecostal denominations teach that speaking in tongues is the initial evidence of the Baptism in the Holy Spirit.

Although confusing even for some believers who practice speaking in tongues, many Pentecostal denominations teach three distinctions or types of "speaking in tongues:"

  • Tongues as a supernatural outpouring and sign to unbelievers (Acts 2:11).
  • Tongues for the strengthening of the church - requires an interpretation (1 Corinthians 14:27).
  • Tongues as a private prayer language (Romans 8:26).

The following verses in the Bible reference "speaking in tongues" - Mark 16:17; Acts 2:4; Acts 2:11; Acts 10:46; Acts 19:6; 1 Corinthians 12:10; 1 Corinthians 12:28; 1 Corinthians 12:30; 1 Corinthians 13:1; 1 Corinthians 13:8; 1 Corinthians 14:5-29.

Also Known As: Tongues; Prayer Language; Praying in Tongues.

Examples: In the book of Acts on the Day of Pentecost, Peter witnessed both Jews and Gentiles being filled with the Holy Spirit and speaking in tongues.

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