Answering an objection to speaking in tongues

Some object to speaking in tongues because they say that when the disciples spoke in tongues on the Day of Pentecost that others could understand what was said, because it was in known languages.

Yet in 1 Corinthians 14 Paul writes that when people speak in tongues no one understands it: neither the speaker or the audience, unless an interpretation is given:

“For he who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God, for no one understands him; however, in the spirit he speaks mysteries.” (Vs. 2)

Note: On the Day of Pentecost the tongues were spoken to men who could understand that language. But here in verse 2 Paul says that the speaker in tongues is speaking to God, not man.


“Therefore let him who speaks in a tongue pray that he may interpret.” (Vs. 13)

This means that interpretation is indeed a gift. An interpreter wouldn’t be someone present who happens to know that particular language.

Another verse which plainly explains that the gift of speaking in tongues is different to what happened at Pentecost is this:

“Therefore if the whole church comes together in one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in those who are uninformed or unbelievers, will they not say that you are out of your mind?” (Vs.23)

At Pentecost they all spoke with tongues and many marvelled when they heard the message in their own language, but here in verse 23 Paul explains that if all spoke in tongues it would be bedlam, for no one would understand it.

Yet Paul doesn’t discourage praying in tongues privately, because he says:

“I thank my God I speak with tongues more than you all; yet in the church I would rather speak five words with my understanding, that I may teach others also, than ten thousand words in a tongue.” (Vs 18-19)

So, he is praying in tongues frequently, but not in the church, which means he prays in tongues in private.

This leads to answering another objection: that tongues were supposed to be a “sign gift”, which ceased once the Scriptures were complete, but as Paul was praying in tongues in private, then it was not a sign to anyone, and therefore not a “sign gift”.

So, there are some very highly respected Bible teachers who twist the Scriptures when it comes to this subject.

One Response to “Answering an objection to speaking in tongues”

  1. ian vincent Says:

    As to twisting Scripture:

    It’s no shame to admit you don’t understand a passage of Scripture, but it is a shame when you don’t understand it to twist it around to make it sound like you do understand it.

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