Speaking in tongues scares me

Question:

I need to ask about receiving the Holy Spirit and the speaking in tongues? I was in church and people were being prayed over so they could speak in tongues, it scared me and I ran away. I have been deeply troubled since then and cannot read my Bible.

Answer:

You were right to run!  But don’t let anything stop you from reading your Bible, for that is where you will find the correct way of receiving the spiritual gifts of the Holy Spirit.

There are a number of passages that speak about the gifts that the Holy Spirit gives to those who surrender themselves to God: Romans 12, 1 Corinthians 12, 1 Peter 4: 10-11 and Ephesians 4.  We’ll just look at two passages:

Romans 12: 6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; 7 or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching;  8 he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerful-ness.

1 Corinthians 12: 4 There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. 5 There are differen-ces of ministries, but the same Lord. 6 And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all. 7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: 8 for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit, 10 to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the inter-pretation of tongues. 11 But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills.
27 Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually. 28 And God has appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, varieties of tongues. 29Are all apostles?  Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Are all workers of miracles? 30Do all have gifts of healings? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret?

From these passages we see that gifts are given to each member according to the will of the Holy Spirit.  All do not receive the same gifts, but the gifts are there to benefit all, and to build up the church.  Getting the ability to speak different tongues (languages) is just one of the gifts, and is only given in the Bible where someone needed to speak another language in order to spread the Gospel.  Let’s look at a couple of examples:

Acts 2: 1 When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord  in one place. 2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 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.
And there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men, from every nation under heaven.  6 And when this sound occurred, the multitude came together, and were confused, because everyone heard them speak in his own language. 7 Then they were all amazed and marveled, saying to one another, “Look, are not all these who speak Galileans? 8 And how is it that we hear, each in our own language in which we were born?

Acts 10: 45 And those of the circumcision who believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also. 46 For they heard them speak with tongues and magnify God.

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

From the above examples we can see clearly that when people spoke with tongues (other languages) they were understood by those who spoke that particular language, as they praised God and preached in the language.

The problem is that some churches have declared that everyone must “speak in tongues” in order to prove that they have received the Holy Spirit.  This speaking is not understandable, in fact it is usually gibberish.  And so people feel under pressure to start doing the same as the others so they can fit in, even when it is totally nonsensical.  This is totally un-Biblical.  Another thing that is usually done to prove that they are correct, is to use 1 Corinthians 14 to try and prove their point.  But when the total chapter is read, it becomes clear that they are wrong.  Look at some of the texts:

1 Corinthians 14: 5 I wish you all spoke with tongues, but even more that you prophesied; for he who prophesies is greater than he who speaks with tongues, unless indeed he inter-prets, that the church may receive edification.
10 There are, it may be, so many kinds of languages in the world, and none of them is with-out significance. 11 Therefore, if I do not know the meaning of the language, I shall be a foreigner to him who speaks, and he who speaks will be a foreigner to me.
18 I thank my God I speak with tongues more than you all; 19 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.
27 If anyone speaks in a tongue, let there be two or at the most three, each in turn, and let one interpret.

Here we can see that Paul himself (the author of this letter to the Corinthians) spoke many languages, because he was a missionary to the world.  But he says that a prophet is greater than those who speak other languages, and also that if someone speaks in a foreign language there should be interpreters.

So please stay away from churches who try and tell you that you have to “speak in tongues”, or else you will not have the Holy Spirit.  This is not from the Bible!  Instead, pray for the Holy Spirit, as Jesus told us, and ask that you receive whatever God has for you.

Luke 11: 13   If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!”

God bless as you study these passages of Scripture, and find the true spiritual gifts, as the Holy Spirit blesses you!

Acts 2:8

And how is it that we hear, each in our own language in which we were born?

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