Last Sunday I had to teach/learn about the baptism of the Holy Spirit twice. And in both classes someone asked if speaking in tongues was compulsory part of being baptised with the Holy Spirit.

I said NO. One of my students vehemently disagreed and that led to this post.

If you’ve been in the Pentecostal church long enough, you’ll probably disagree with me too but that’s fine.

Let’s go to the scriptures that are usually used to justify this teaching and see exactly what it says.

Acts 2:4 is the scripture that is usually used to justify the teaching that speaking in tongues is a compulsory part of the Holy Spirit Baptism.  It reads: ‘All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages as the Spirit enabled them’

This begs the question, why was the Holy Spirit given? The answer is found in Acts 1:8 which reads ‘And you shall receive power after the Holy Spirit has come upon you and you shall be my witnesses…’

The Holy Spirit is given to believers for effective Christian service i.e. to do the primary work of Jesus which is to witness to others, not primarily to speak in other tongues.

Follow me to Acts 2:17-21 and you’ll see that peter attributed the coming of the Holy Spirit to the fulfilment of the prophecy by Joel. A careful reading of that list will show that ‘speaking in tongues was not one of the evidence of the manifestations of the Holy Spirit being poured out.

Then do we have incidences of speaking in tongues related to the baptism of the Holy Spirit in scripture?

The gift of tongues is one of the 9 gifts of the spirit which the Holy Spirit gives as He pleases to enhance effective Christian service. It is not a compulsory part of the ‘Holy Spirit Baptism. They are eight other gifts. – 1 Corinthians 12:7-10

Why did the disciples and Cornelius speak in tongues when they were baptised in the Holy Spirit?

The gift of tongues was going to be the most effective ministry tool for them at the time.

Read with me: ‘Now there were staying in Jerusalem at that time, God fearing Jews from every nation under heaven’-Acts 2:5’

Evangelism is effective when we speak the same language. That was the essence of the gift of tongues in Acts 2:4

In the case of Cornelius in Acts 10, the gift of tongues was needed to convince the Jews that Christ was given for the whole world.

Summary: The gift of tongues is just that-a gift that is at the discretion of the Holy Spirit to give. It does not prove or disprove the baptism of the Holy Spirit.

The only thing that shows that you’ve been baptised by the Holy Spirit is the fruit you bear not how tongues you speak.

So child of God, speaking in tongues as fantastic as it is has no direct impact on your salvation. It is the   fruit you bear that matters

Do not focus on the gifts at the expense of the fruit. You may never speak in tongues and make it to heaven and you may speak PHD level tongues and end in hell.

I’m focusing on the fruit the Holy Spirit enables me to bear rather than the gift(s) he has to give.

Who’s with me?




  1. Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.
    Thanks for sharing

  2. Babes Tobiloba, every believer should desire the gift of tongues. Holy Ghost Baptism should be evidenced by speaking in new tongues! I am not saying one should just desire to speak in tongues and feel like one has arrived, but lack of expectation brings lack of experience. Many believers don’t want to do anything extra! Jesus our perfect example was always going a little bit further! Praying in Spirit and in tongues helps our Spirit man.
    It is good we learn to be balanced! Desiring both the gifts and the fruits!

    1. Babes Ifedayo, I do not have anything against believers desiring to speak in tongues. I however disagree that the evidence of the Holy Spirit in the life of a believer is the speaking in tongues. Thank you so much for taking times to comment, I really appreciate your time and your views.

  3. Thanks for the inspiring post Tobiloba.Indeed fruits before gift. The bible says “Ye shall know them by their fruits?Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?
    However Tobi. I believe if there is no original, there won’t be fake. I believe speaking in tongues is a manifestation of the Holy Spirit, not an evidence.I agree, the Holy Spirit’s presence shouldn’t be boxed in ‘speaking in tongues’. But the Spirit might choose to manifest through tongues right? One thing I like about this post and ‘Fruits before gift’ is that it makes us self-examine and return to the hallmark of true Christianity in absolute surrender where we have drifted. God deliver me from bareness and help me bear fruits worthy of repentance.Amen

    1. Tee,

      I totally agree that the Holy Spirit does give the gift of tongues to men. I just needed to point out that it is not the ‘evidence’ of the presence of the Holy Spirit, it is a gift the Holy Spirit gives at His own discretion.

      Thanks for reading. Do come back for more.

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