What is the purpose of speaking in tongues in the Bible?

Speaking in tongues is commonly associated with prayer. So, understanding tongues biblically is as important as understanding prayer. Not only that, but tongues also has implications for how we view church, scripture, our worldview, and our place in the world. In this video, we consider what scripture teaches about the purpose of tongues.


Here’s the question I was asked:

Why does the Bible associate speaking in tongues with receiving the Holy Spirit?

In my answer I survey each occurrence of speaking in tongues in the book of Acts, and explain its purpose. I also consider a couple of key points about tongues in 1 Corinthians. 

At the end of the video, I point out that tongues

  • are a sign to unbelievers
  • are not a sign to the speaker
  • are not for devotional use, but public use (as seen in Acts)
  • are not given to overcome a language barrier
  • are not a sign of spiritual maturity
  • are not intended for the edification of the church

Don’t just take my word for it though, take a look at what the word of God says. In this week’s video I also give you all the verses so you can look up the verse in your Bible.


To find out more, I highly recommend Satisfied by the Promise of the Spirit: Affirming the Fullness of God’s Provision for Spiritual Living by Thomas R. Edgar. This book is currently out of print, but you can purchase it at the links below.

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