Holy Ghost

The baptism of the Holy Ghost is the birth of the Spirit (John 3:5). This spiritual baptism is necessary to put someone into the kingdom of God (God's church, the bride of Christ) and is evidenced by speaking in other tongues (other languages) as the Spirit of God gives utterance.

It was prophesied by Joel (Joel 2:28-29) and Isaiah (Isaiah 28:11), foretold by John the Baptist (Matthew 3:11), purchased by the blood of Jesus, and promised by Him to His disciples (John 14:26; 15:16). The Holy Ghost was first poured out on the Day of Pentecost upon the Jews (Acts 2:1-4), then upon the Samaritans (Acts 8:17), and later upon the Gentiles (Acts 10:44-46; 19:6). "The promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call" (Acts 2:39).


Speaking in other tongues as the Spirit of God gives utterance is the manifestation God has given as the definite, indisputable, supernatural witness or sign of the baptism of the Holy Ghost (Acts 2:4; 10:46; 19:6).

It was prophesied by the prophet Isaiah as the rest and the refreshing (Isaiah 28:11-12), foretold by Jesus as a sign that would follow believers of the gospel (Mark 16:17), and experienced by Jews and Gentiles alike.

The gift of "divers kinds of tongues," mentioned by Paul in I Corinthians 12:1-12 and concerning which he gave regulations in I Corinthians 14:1-40, is given by both for self-edification (I Corinthians 14:4) and for the edification of the church (I Corinthians 14:27-28).

In church meetings the gift of tongues is used to give a public message, and it is to be interpreted. Since this gift can be misused in public, it needs proper regulation (I Corinthians 14:23-28). Not all believers exercise the gift of tongues, which is different in function from tongues given by God as the initial witness of the baptism of the Holy Ghost.

Paul said, "Forbid not to speak with tongues" (I Corinthians 14:39) and "I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than ye all" (I Corinthians 14:8). Who dares to teach or preach to the contrary?

Speaking in tongues means speaking miraculously in a language unknown to the speaker, as the Spirit gives utterance.

Tongues can be classified in two ways, according to function:

  1. speaking in other tongues as the initial evidence of the baptism of the Holy Ghost and
  2. the gift of tongues as mentioned in I Corinthians.

The following references show plainly that speaking in tongues as the evidence of the Holy Ghost has been given by God to earnest, God-fearing people down through the years.

Scaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge, vol. 3, page 2369, "Tongues, Gift of": "A phenomenon of the Apostolic age, technically known as the 'glossolalia.' In later time analogies have been found for it in the 'speaking in tongues' of the Camisards, Prophets of the Cevennes, Early Quakers and Methodists, 'Lasare' in Sweden (1841-1843), converts in the Irish revival of 1859, and particularly in the Catholic Apostolic (Irvingite) Church."

Scaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge, vol. 2, page 1119, "Irving, Edward": "In 1830 the news was spread abroad of the strange speaking with tongues which occurred in widely separated parts of Scotland. In 1831 prophecy and tongues appeared in Irving's church and Irving fell in with the movement, heartily convinced of its spiritual basis and divine authority."

Scaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge, vol. 1, page 422, "Catholic Apostolic Church": "Pious Presbyterian men and women believed that their organs of speech were used by the Holy Spirit for the utterance of His thoughts and attentions."

Encyclopaedia Britannica, New Werner Edition, vol. 4, page 749, "Camisards": "Speaking in tongues, accompanied by all kinds of miracles, was common among the Camisards and Cevennes of Southern France in the 18th century. Children, under the influence of supernatural power, spoke and prophesied in languages unknown to them."

Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics, edited by James Hastings, vol. 7, page 424: "In 1831 the gift of tongues and prophecy appeared, it was believed in answer to fervent prayer, among the members of Irving's congregation."

Butler, Christian Denominations of the World, "Edward Irving (1792-1834)": "He proclaimed his conviction that the gifts of the Holy Ghost, such as tongues, healing, etc., were withheld only because of the want of faith, and ere long there were several persons in his church who claimed the gift of tongues."

Abingdon Bible Commentary, page 1190: "Scottish peasants spoke in tongues."

Webster's New International Dictionary, 2nd edition, page 1056, "Gift of Tongues": "A phenomenon experienced by some of the Christian of New Testament times, the nature of which seems to have been a kind of ecstatic utterance usually unintelligible to the hearers and even to the speakers, therefore requiring interpretation; glossolalia. Similar phenomena have in modern times been experienced by some of the early Friends, Jansenists, Methodists, etc."

  • Pastor’s note – Some have argued that 1Cor. 13:8:10 indicates that tongues are not for today as they “shall cease” when “that which is perfect is come”.  According to the same text, if we follow this reasoning, knowledge is also not for today!  Clearly the context of the “perfect” and  “face to face” in the following verse indicate that the writer is speaking of when the Lord appears the second time without sin unto salvation.

    It is interesting to note that the sign of unity at the tower of Babel was a common tongue.  In order to disrupt their ungodly pursuit Jehovah divided their tongues.  Contrast this to the day of Pentecost when the Lord inaugurated His church.  The sign of the spirit was a heavenly tongue and all present heard Galileans speaking in their native dialects. 

    James tells us that no man can tame the tongue, but one who offends not in word is a perfect man and able to bridle the whole body.  In short, only God can tame the tongue and when He has your tongue, He has you!  Thanks be to God that we can point to a day and an hour when God filled us with His Spirit and we spoke in other tongues as the Spirit gave the utterance.  The same Pentecostal experience is for you and me today!
   November 2018   
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