Is it essential to speak in tongues when receiving Baptism with the Holy Spirit?

The Baptism of the Holy Spirit, or with the Holy Spirit, has only one purpose: To be God’s witnesses on earth. The biblical basis is found in Jesus’ last instructions to his disciples before ascending to heaven.

But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. Acts 1:8

If we look at it, the text is clear in establishing the relationship between the Baptism with the Holy Spirit and the witness to the world of God given by his people. Notice the relationship: ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost, which in the same text is defined as “promise of the Father” (Acts 1:4), and just then concludes: and ye shall be witnesses unto me. The Baptism with the Holy Spirit has as its only purpose to be God’s witness on earth.

But this statement of Jesus was not really a statement coined by Him at that precise moment, it was a statement referring to God’s decision to dwell among His people, described in the Law of Moses:

And let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them. Exodus 25:8

And I will dwell among the children of Israel, and will be their God. Exodus 29:45

This decision of God, from David onward, was confirmed to each of the kings of both Israel and Judah,

12Concerning this house which thou art in building, if thou wilt walk in my statutes, and execute my judgments, and keep all my commandments to walk in them; then will I perform my word with thee, which I spake unto David thy father: 13and I will dwell among the children of Israel, and will not forsake my people Israel. 14So Solomon built the house, and finished it. 1 Kings 6:12-14

The prophets years later, because of the apostasy of the people, established prophetically in each of their Writings that there would come a time when the Lord would dwell among His people in a more intense way,

but this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. Jeremiah 31:33

27And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them. 28And ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and ye shall be my people, and I will be your God. 29 I will also save you from all your uncleannesses: and I will call for the corn, and will increase it, and lay no famine upon you. Ezekiel 36:27-29

In this context, ye shall be my people, it means “to be God’s witnesses” to all the nations of the earth, as was the case with Solomon in his time, when many people came before him to “see and hear” Solomon’s wisdom,

And there came of all people to hear the wisdom of Solomon, from all kings of the earth, which had heard of his wisdom. 1 Kings 4:34

So, returning to the theme of Baptism with the Holy Spirit, Baptism is not an isolated act; Baptism is the spiritual empowerment by the recognition of the Lordship of Jesus, not only to be transformed into chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people, but much more, to BE WITNESS BEFORE THE WORLD of the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light (1st. Peter 2:9)

Unfortunately, the religious and philosophical concepts that infiltrated the church and that have been preached as doctrine (what an abomination!), have given it a “miraculous” value as if it were something extraordinary and additional to salvation and to the Gospel, which requires extraordinary requirements to be able to receive it.

The “speaking in tongues ” was the testimony for an unbelieving people, according to the prophetic writings,

10For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little: 11for with stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to this people. 12To whom he said,
This is the rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest; and this is the refreshing: yet they would not hear. Isaiah 28:10-12

If we review the cases where it appears the Baptism with the Holy Spirit and the “speaking in tongues”, we will see that by that act, speaking in tongues, the apostles determined that those in whom that action was manifested were because they had believed in Jesus; speaking in tongues is in accordance with faith in Jesus, as evidence that those who “spoke in other tongues” had believed in Jesus. Jesus proposed it as a “sign” of faith in his name,

And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; Mark 16:17

This text is poorly written by Bible translators, the punctuation marks are misplaced; it must be read:

And these signs shall follow them that believe in my name, shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; Mark 16:17

In the Acts of the Apostles, we read that “speaking in tongues” was reliable proof that the disciples were speaking because the Lord had baptized them with His Holy Spirit,

7And they were all amazed and marveled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galilæans? 8And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born? 9Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia, Acts 2:7-9

Remember that at the beginning of this manifestation, the unbelievers claimed that they, the disciples, were “drunk” (Acts 2:13-15).

In the case of Cornelius’ conversion, if Cornelius and his household had not received the Holy Spirit and spoken in other tongues as evidence of it, Peter and his companions, who were all Orthodox Jews, would never have allowed Cornelius to embrace the faith, nor to be baptized in water,

44While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word. 45And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost. 46For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter, 47Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we? Acts 10:44-47

And so, in every case, the “speaking in tongues” was the sign that those who did it were because they had “believed” in Jesus; speaking in tongues became the evident proof of their faith in Jesus. It is worth noting here, however, that the writer of Acts of the Apostles always adds in his accounts an additional explanation, that they spoke in tongues, and heard them magnify God; for example, in the case of the Baptism of the apostles: Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God (Acts 2:11). In the case of Cornelius’ conversion: For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God (Acts 10:46). In the case of the disciples of Ephesus whom Paul rebaptized: And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied (Acts 19:6).

What is the point of the writer adding this explanatory note if “speaking in tongues” is in itself a sign of conversion? The answer is simple, “speaking in tongues” was for the testimony of unbelievers, but as soon as the sign was confirmed that it was a legitimate conversion, the newly converted returned to speak in their original language, and to magnify God by their faith in Jesus. Paul years later would have to explain that tongues should no longer be the proof of the legitimacy of the new converts’ faith in Jesus,

Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost. 1st. Corinthians 12:3

The Baptism with the Holy Spirit is not accompanied by “speaking in tongues”, it was the demonstration that the act was a divine action on those who had believed, but we must judge no more than it is the evidence that a child of faith has been baptized with the Holy Spirit; the apostle Paul classified it as a sign for unbelievers,

Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not: but prophesying serveth not for them that believe not, but for them which believe. 1st. Corinthians 14:22

Tongues remain in force, yes, but manifested as a gift of the Spirit,

to another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues: 1st. Corinthians 12:10

And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues. 1st. Corinthians 12:28

have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret? 1st. Corinthians 12:30

As far as we are concerned, WE SHOULD NOT establish the religious dogma that the Baptism with the Holy Spirit is accompanied by “speaking in tongues”, for not only would we be adding to an apostate and heretical doctrine, but we would also be “forcing” the congregation to lie, as has happened, because people begin to babble meaningless expressions without spiritual value, because they are forced to do so, because unfortunately those who “do not speak in tongues” have been classified as “second class” believers.

The processes for imparting the Baptism of the Holy Spirit are still in place, and should be applied in the same way as we read in the New Testament, but not necessarily expecting to see “tongues” as evidence that the person received the Baptism with the Holy Spirit; the testimony that the person received the Baptism of the Holy Spirit will be seen in the “testimony” of his faith before the community in which he moves.

The prophet stated that the work of the Spirit is to “speak with meaning” about the wonders of the Lord,

3And the eyes of them that see shall not be dim, and the ears of them that hear shall hearken. The heart also of the rash shall understand knowledge, and the tongue of the stammers shall be ready to speak plainly. The vile person shall be no more called liberal, nor the churl said to be bountiful. Isaiah 32:3-5

The apostle Paul also established it as sound doctrine, that it is better to speak one word with meaning, for edification, than a thousand that produce no edification at all,

yet in the church I had rather speak five words with my understanding, that by my voice I might teach others also, than ten thousand words in an unknown tongue. 1st. Corinthians 14:19

For the edification of the saints in Jesus.





All biblical quotations are taken from the King James Version.


Pastor Pedro Montoya

Twitter: @pastormontoya

About the ministry

Treasure in earthen vessels is a ministry of doctrinal instruction and training, according to the teachings of Jesus set forth in the Gospel of the Kingdom of Heaven.

We proclaim that Jesus the Christ is God incarnate, so that, through faith in His Name, and in repentance before Him, men and women may attain forgiveness of sins, and be reconciled to the Father.

Our work is to instruct and train men and women who seek to develop in the life of Faith, and to prepare in ministerial work those who have a call to ministry in the proclamation of the Gospel.

Our ministerial emphasis is on deliverance and spiritual warfare.


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