Speaking in tongues and the interpretation of tongues has been an issue of contention since the Day of Pentecost. I love to speak in tongues. Yet even I think it is weird. I guess I can understand why so many throughout the ages have struggled with the idea of glossolalia (the Greek word for speaking in tongues) even to the point of saying it is not for today.
Yet tongues makes both lists of spiritual gifts in I Corinthians 12-14. Nowhere in Scripture does it indicate that the gift of tongues will cease before any of the other gifts cease and those gifts are clearly given for the entirety of the church age. If we are to deny tongues then we also have to stop praying for the sick. For when tongues leave the time of healing has likewise passed us by. The fact is the time of tongues has not passed for the time of the Holy Spirit has not passed from the Earth. 2 Thessalonians indicates that His influence shall remain and restrain until the time of the tribulation spoken of in Daniel and Revelation.
The gift of tongues stated simply is the ability to speak in a language you do not know. Interpretation of tongues stated simply is the ability to understand and interpret a tongue you do not know.
Paul indicates in his teachings in I Corinthians 12-14 and also in Romans 8 that tongues has both a public and a private manifestation. The public manifestation of tongues is to cause unbelievers in the church to come to the realization that we serve a real and a supernatural God. The public display of the gift (a loud utterance in tongues that grabs the attention of the congregation), is always to be accompanied by an interpretation. Paul says: “So anyone who has the gift of speaking in tongues should pray also for the gift of interpretation in order to tell people plainly what has been said.” I Corinthians 14:31 NLT
The private manifestation of tongues is for use in prayer and for the encouragement of the believer praying. Again Paul says: “A person who speaks in tongues is strengthened personally in the Lord,” I Corinthians 14:4
” the Holy Spirit helps us in our distress. For we don’t even know what we should pray for, nor how we should pray. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words.” Romans 8:26
During the most difficult times of my Christian walk it has been the Holy Spirit, praying through me in tongues, who has helped me not to give up the fight. In tongues and by the interpretation of tongues I have prayed through many dark circumstances I did not understand in my flesh. It is the Spirit who revealed to me how I should pray while I was interceding in tongues!
The Book of Acts indicates that tongues is the initial evidence of the baptism in the Holy Spirit. For those who would disagree I do not need to argue. God the Holy Spirit is perfectly capable of defending His own doctrine. I only point you to the Word and ask you to tell me what you see as the initial evidence mentioned.
I will tell you that receiving the gift is much simpler than most people make it. The baptism in the Holy Spirit is a gift, like salvation. Everyone who asks in faith receives. The only prerequisite is salvation. The Lord Jesus does not baptize the unredeemed in His Holy Spirit.
Once you ask believe and receive. The Holy Spirit will come upon you. He will grab your senses. You will feel a stirring, an inner heat, an expectation, an energy. You may begin to shake or weep or laugh. Do not stop at these physical reactions. Listen in your heart for a word, a syllable, a sound. It will not be your native language. You must speak it out against all the fear, and feelings of foolishness. Speak it loud or soft but speak it and don’t stop speaking until the energy, the heat, the feeling of the Holy Spirit recedes. People have been known to speak for hours in tongues at the altar their first time.
Just a warning the next morning, perhaps even the next hour, Satan will tempt you. He will say “Give up this foolishness. That was not the Holy Spirit. That was you.”
Refuse this temptation. Accept the truth. It was you and the Holy Spirit. Speak in tongues and pray for the interpretation.