When we are asked by leaders in our congregations to do something or to believe something in regards to Scripture, we should always be like the Bereans and test everything against Scripture itself (Acts 17:11)... the whole of Scripture (2 Timothy 3:16-17). If a person feels "led by the spirit" to speak, behave, or believe a certain way, they should test that spirit (1 John 4:1) and see whether what that spirit is telling them to do is in agreement or disagreement with Scripture.
Let us take a journey together through Scripture and see what it says about the matter of speaking in tongues... a "walk in the Word" so to speak. As we take this walk, may we say, believe, and do what is right, be merciful in our speech and actions, and walk humbly with the Lord (Micah 6:8).
The topic of speaking in tongues is as controversial as it is misunderstood. It is the intent of this article to examine Scripture as it relates to speaking in tongues and develop an understanding based upon Scripture in its historical and cultural context.
Scriptural quotations are from the New American Standard Bible unless otherwise noted. Bolded text or other emphases in the Scriptural references are the author's.
There are 20 verses in the writings of the Apostles that have some statement to make regarding "speaking in tongues". We will examine those and build a list of facts that will guide our understanding of the topic. The most common place in Scripture where believers go when asked about the first mention of "speaking in tongues" is the second chapter of the book of Acts. Let's begin there...