“Tongues” and the Baptism of the Holy Spirit
Before delving into our detailed study of “tongues” and the baptism of the Holy Spirit, it would first be appropriate to cover a few other important things about the Holy Spirit. To begin with, who or what is the Holy Spirit?
The Holy Spirit is not a “thing” or an “it”. The Holy Spirit is a “person”. The Holy Spirit is repeatedly referred to throughout the New Testament with personal pronouns. Numerous scriptures call the Holy Spirit “He”, “Him”, “His” or “Himself” (John 14:16-17; John 14:26; John 15:26; John 16:7-8; John 16:13-14; Romans 8:26-27; 1st Corinthians 12:11). Other texts refer to the Holy Spirit as “I” or “Me” (Acts 10:19-20; Acts 13:2; Revelation 2:7; Revelation 2:17). The Holy Spirit is also given attributes of “personhood” in the Bible. Many scriptures reveal that the Holy Spirit “speaks”, by stating that the Spirit “said” or “says” (Acts 10:19-20; Acts 13:2; Revelation 2:7, 11, 17 and 29; Revelation 3:6, 13 and 22). Romans 8:26-27 says that the Holy Spirit “prays” and has a “mind”. 1st Corinthians 12:11 reveals that the Spirit has a “will”. In Ephesians 4:30, we’re told that the Holy Spirit can be “grieved”. Furthermore, Acts 5:3-4 states that the Holy Spirit can be “lied to”. And, 1st John 5:6 tells us that the Spirit can “bear witness”.
According to the Bible, the Holy Spirit is not just a person; He is a “divine” person. Several New Testament passages reveal that the Holy Spirit is God. The Scriptures state that the Holy Spirit can be “blasphemed”, and only God can be blasphemed (Matthew 12:31-32; Mark 3:29; Luke 12:10). Jesus’ “great commission” to His followers, in Matthew 28:18-20, tells us to not only baptize in the name of the Father and the Son, but also in the name of the Holy Spirit, and only “divine” beings are listed in this passage. The Bible says that Jesus, the divine Son of God, was “conceived” of the Holy Spirit, and that He was the “child” of the Holy Spirit (Matthew 1:18-20). If Jesus is the Son of God, and He is the “child” of the Holy Spirit, then the Holy Spirit has to be God. Likewise, in Luke 1:35, the Scriptures reveal that the Holy Spirit “came upon” Mary, thus producing the “Holy One”, the Son of God, Jesus Christ. And, in Acts 5:3-4, we’re told that when Ananias led to the Holy Spirit, He lied to “God”.
At this point, and before moving on to discuss the baptism of the Holy Spirit and “tongues”, it would be appropriate to mention a few important things. The Bible is clear that there are three members in the Godhead: God the Father, God the Son (Jesus Christ), and the Holy Spirit. The God of Christianity is “One God” manifest in three distinct divine beings. Several scriptures refer to God by using the “plural” pronouns of “us” or “our”, such as Genesis 1:26, Genesis 3:22 and Genesis 11:7. And, several scriptures refer to all three members of the Godhead in the same passage, such as Matthew 28:19, Luke 3:22, John 14:16-17, John 15:26 and 2nd Corinthians 13:14. Also, in John 8:17-18, Jesus refers to the Father and Himself as being two distinct and separate witnesses. Furthermore, in John 1:1-2, the Bible states that Jesus was “with” God, and yet that Jesus Himself was also God; this would require a “plural” Godhead.
The baptism of the Holy Spirit is one of the many “works” done by the Spirit. Some other important works of the Holy Spirit are listed in this paragraph. He is alcolici salerno our Comforter, Helper or Counselor (John 14:16-17). He teaches us and brings the things Jesus said back to our remembrance (John 14:26). He testifies of Jesus (John 15:26). He convicts of sin, of righteousness and of judgment (John 16:7-11). He guides us into truth and tells us “things to come” (John 16:13). He glorifies Jesus (John 16:14). He “dwells” in us (Ephesians 2:19-22; John 14:16-17). He “seals” us, and He is the deposit, earnest or guarantee of our inheritance (Ephesians 1:13-14; 2nd Corinthians 1:22). He produces the “fruit” of the Spirit in our lives, which is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). And, He gives us the following “spiritual gifts”: the word of wisdom, the word of knowledge, faith, gifts of healings, working of miracles, prophecy, discerning of spirits, tongues, interpretation of tongues, apostles, teachers, “helps”, administrations, evangelists, pastors, ministry, exhortation or encouragement, liberality or contributing to the needs of others, leadership and mercy (1st Corinthians 12:7-11; 1st Corinthians 12:28-31; Ephesians 4:8-13; Romans 12:6-8).
Having laid a biblical foundation regarding the Holy Spirit, we will now delve into a detailed study of “tongues” and the baptism of the Holy Spirit, which is a different baptism than our water baptism. It is important to understand that the baptism of the Holy Spirit comes from Jesus; He is the “Baptizer” (Matthew 3:11; John 1:29-33; Luke 24:49), and, as the passages in Matthew and John also reveal, the baptism of the Holy Spirit is a different and separate baptism, which is in addition to our water baptism. And, the purpose of this baptism is to bring us power to “be” witnesses (Acts 1:4-5; Acts 1:8).
The Bible lists “evidences” of having received the baptism of the Holy Spirit. To begin with, as stated in the previous paragraph, one evidence of having been baptized with the Spirit is the presence of a “new power” in our lives making us into “fulltime” witnesses for Christ, no longer just occasionally “doing” witnessing, but now “being” witnesses, with our entire lives reflecting the power and character of Christ (Acts 1:4-5; Acts 1:8).
The Bible reveals that another evidence of receiving the baptism of the Holy Spirit was the gift of “tongues” (speaking other languages), which is one of the “spiritual gifts” mentioned in 1st Corinthians chapter twelve (Acts 2:1-11; Acts 10:44-48; Acts 11:15-17). All of the scriptures I just listed mentioned a gift of tongues that gave the disciples the supernatural ability to speak in other “human languages”. In Acts chapter 2, it specifically states that the disciples were speaking in the people’s own various “tongues” or dialects, so the “tongues” referred to in this text were obviously “understandable” human languages. And, in the incident regarding tongues in Acts chapter 10, and which Peter recounts in the Acts chapter 11 passage, Peter states that the gentiles received the “same gift” as the disciples had received (Acts 11:17); that gift, as previously stated, was speaking “understandable” human languages. There is another scripture, Acts 19:1-7, which also mentions “tongues” being spoken by 12 men after the Holy Spirit came upon them. However, this text does not specifically state that these tongues were “understandable” human languages. And, the Scriptures do reveal another “type” of tongues in 1st Corinthians chapter 14 that we will discuss later, which is stated to be a “non-understandable” language; moreover, this type of tongues is repeatedly compared to the gift of prophecy in that chapter, as though it was also a “spiritual gift”. Thus, this type of tongues, a “non-understandable” language, could also be another evidence of the baptism of the Holy Spirit.