Tongues: The Initial Evidence

Rhema TeamJanuary 2020 WOFLeave a Comment


In studying the Book of Acts, we see that when people were filled with the Holy Spirit, they began to speak with other tongues. From this we can conclude that tongues are the initial evidence of the baptism in the Holy Spirit. Other signs follow, but speaking in tongues is the first sign that someone has received the infilling of the Spirit.

The Initial Outpouring

The New Testament records several instances where people were baptized in the Holy Spirit. The Day of Pentecost is when the Holy Spirit was first poured out on the Church. The Bible says on that day, “They were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance” (Acts 2:4).

Notice at the very moment they were filled with the Holy Spirit, they spoke in tongues. If it had happened only once, we might think it was a phenomenon that occurred when the Holy Spirit was first poured out on the Church. But it happened repeatedly, not just on the Day of Pentecost.

Philip and the Samaritans

In Acts chapter 8, Philip the evangelist went to the city of Samaria and preached Christ. When the apostles heard the Samaritans had received the Word of God, Peter and John went there and prayed that they would receive the Holy Spirit.

ACTS 8:17

17 Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost.

Someone might say, “Well, it doesn’t say the Samaritans spoke in tongues. That must mean a person can receive the infilling of the Holy Spirit without speaking in tongues.”

If you read on in chapter 8, you will learn something significant about a fellow named Simon. Once called “Simon the sorcerer,” he supposedly had come to believe in Jesus under Philip’s ministry in Samaria. Let’s find out what happened next.

ACTS 8:18–19

18 And when Simon saw that through laying on of the apostles’ hands the Holy Ghost was given, he offered them money,

19 Saying, Give me also this power, that on whomsoever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy Ghost.

If speaking in tongues did not accompany the baptism in the Holy Spirit, how would Simon know the Samaritans received the Holy Ghost? No, Simon saw something. There had to be outward evidence for him to know the people were filled with the Holy Spirit.

Any person today who desires to be filled with the Holy Spirit will speak with other tongues.Kenneth E. Hagin

Cornelius and His Household

Ten years after the Day of Pentecost, Cornelius, a devout Roman centurion, and his household were saved and filled with the Holy Spirit.

As Cornelius prayed one day, an angel appeared to him and told him to send someone to Joppa to inquire at the house of Simon the tanner for a man named Peter. Meanwhile in Joppa, Peter was on the housetop praying. He fell into a trance and had a vision.

The Jews looked on the Gentiles as being unclean and wouldn’t have anything to do with them. But God was preparing Peter for what he would soon witness: the Gospel being preached to the Gentiles.

After Peter went to Cornelius’ house, he preached the Gospel to them. As he spoke, the Holy Spirit fell on the entire household, and they spoke with tongues and magnified God (Acts 10:44–46).

The believing Jews were astonished that the Holy Spirit was poured out on the Gentiles. Up to that moment, it had been strictly a Jewish church. These Jewish believers didn’t think anyone could get in on the new covenant except for the Jews.

So what convinced the Jewish brethren that the door of salvation had opened to the Gentiles? How did they know the Gentiles received the Holy Spirit? Acts 10:46 tells us: “For they heard them speak with tongues and magnify God.” Hearing Cornelius and his household speak with tongues convinced the Jewish believers they had received the Holy Spirit.

The Disciples at Ephesus

This incident happened about 20 years after the Day of Pentecost. These believers were walking in all the light they had. Before they met Paul, they only knew of John’s baptism—a baptism of repentance. They did not know there was a Holy Spirit. These believers lived in Ephesus, which was located in Asia Minor. They weren’t aware of what happened in Israel.

When they met Paul, he laid hands on them and “the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues and prophesied” (Acts 19:6).

From these examples and other instances recorded in Acts, it’s safe to say the evidence is conclusive. Believers who were filled with the Spirit experienced the initial evidence of speaking with other tongues. This leads us to expect that any person today who wants to be filled with the Holy Spirit will speak with other tongues as well!


How to Receive the Baptism in the Holy Spirit

Once you have accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior, ask Him to baptize you in the Holy Spirit. Jesus said, “If you sinful people 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” (Luke 11:13 NLT). Believe that when you ask, you will receive.

Pray this prayer if you want the baptism in the Holy Spirit:

Heavenly Father, thank You that Jesus saved me. I ask for the infilling of the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in an unknown tongue. I receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit. May I be empowered for service from this day forward. Thank You for filling me to overflowing. Amen.

After asking God to be filled with the Holy Spirit, know that He will not force you to speak in tongues. You must open your mouth and say aloud the words and syllables you sense in your heart—words that are not your native language. Pray in tongues every day. Your spirit language may be small at first, but the more you pray, the more it will develop.

Don’t let the devil or anyone else—including yourself—talk you out of what God has given you. There is a new dimension in God to explore after receiving the Holy Spirit!

[Editor’s Note: This article was adapted from Tongues: Beyond the Upper Room by Kenneth E. Hagin.]



Kenneth E. Hagin

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