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The baptism of the Holy Spirit
as distinct from speaking in tongues

Word RTF

Question:  

I have prayed for the baptism in the holy spirit with evident speaking in tongues but it has never come to me. I know I'm saved, but my question is how can I get this experience?

Response:  

The truth is that everyone who puts their faith in Jesus Christ receives the baptism of the Spirit at the point when they believe (just as that was true in the time of the apostles: cf. the Spirit falling upon Cornelius' household before Peter had even stopped speaking in Acts 10:44). However, there are many things that were true of apostolic times that are in some respects no longer true today. The apostles are departed, for example, and the Bible has been completed. We no longer witness today the same sort of overt miracles given to be performed by hands-on and direct contact with such apostles and their associates. In a similar way, the baptism of the Spirit is no longer accompanied by the miraculous speaking in tongues that occurred at Pentecost. These "tongues" were actual languages and the scripture is quite clear about the fact that those who heard these early believers speaking heard the gospel in their own native languages (Acts 2:11).

It is possible for people under the influence of emotion to generate a certain unintelligible "chanting" that today often passes for the biblical gift of tongues. But just because that claim is made does not make it so. I have never ever seen or heard of a clear case of a person truly speaking in tongues, that is, proclaiming the gospel in a genuine human language which that person has never learned and does not understand. What I have seen is not biblical tongues.

I think it is to your very great credit that you are waiting on God for the truth and are seeking the truth rather than giving yourself over to anything false. I too would dearly love to speak in tongues - to truly do so, just as I and no doubt most Christians would desire to have the miraculous gifts of hands-on healing and etc. that are recorded in the book of Acts. But the apostle Paul who had great experience and knowledge of all these things told us to "deeply desire the greater gifts" (1Cor.12:31), by which he meant, as is clear from the context, not tongues or the other spectacular gifts, but those gifts which are concerned with teaching and receiving the Word of God. Simply put, the gift of the Bible and the opportunity we have to drink in its truth as never before under the guidance of the Spirit is superior to anything else to which we might aspire in this regard.

I have written extensively about this issue and would invite you to have a look at the following files:

The Gift of Tongues: Part 2

The Gift of Tongues: Part 1

Baptism:  Water and Spirit

Is "speaking in tongues" a sin?

An Extended Conversation about the Baptism of the Holy Spirit

Is "speaking in tongues" biblical?

"The baptism which now saves you": 1st Peter 3:21

Confession of Sin, Fellowship, and the Filling of the Holy Spirit

Is water baptism required for Christians today?

How does being "slain in the Spirit" relate to being baptized in the Spirit?

Sin, Baptism, Resurrection and the Book of Revelation

Being Born Again and Baptism

Baptism and Salvation

Here is a part of something recently posted which will give you some pertinent scripture references (from Bible Basics Part 3A: Anthropology):

As believers, we have been baptized by the Holy Spirit "into" Jesus Christ, so that we are now "in" Him (1Cor.12:13; 2Cor.5:17; Rom.6:3-4; Gal.3:27; Col.2:12; 1Pet.3:21) and "in" the Father and the Spirit as well (cf. Matt.28:19; Eph.4:5). We are all sons of God in Jesus Christ (Jn.1:12-13; Rom.8:14; 8:19; Gal.3:26; 4:4-7; 1Jn.3:1), part of His bride and His Body, the Church (Rom.12:5; 1Cor.12:27; Eph.5:25-32; Rev.19:7-9; 21:9; 22:17). In addition to being baptized into Christ by the Spirit, all Christians have also been baptized with the Spirit, that is, we have all been given that spiritual unction which Christ promised us (Jn.4:13-14; 7:37-39; 14:16-17; 15:26; 16:13-15; Acts 1:4-5), and we have this special empowering presence of the Spirit as a pledge, a guarantee of our salvation to come (Eph.1:13-14; 4:30; 2Cor.1:22; 5:5). As long as this Holy Seed remains in us, we are incapable of continuing in the life of sin which leads to death (1Jn.3:9; cf.  Is.6:13; Rom.8:9; 1Jn.5:16-18). Instead, we have been born again into a new, eternal life by responding in faith to the water of the word of God, the gospel message about Jesus, and by the leading of the Spirit of God (Jn.3:5-8). All who believe in Jesus Christ have this victory over sin and death through faith by the grace of God (1Jn.5:4; Eph.2:8-9). All who believe in Jesus Christ have their names written in God the Father's book of life (Ex.32:32-35; Ps.69:28; Dan.12:1; Phil.4:3; Rev.3:5). All who continue faithfully in their belief in Jesus Christ have this sure and certain hope of eternal life and resurrection, like an anchor entering into heaven itself (Heb.6:18-20). In Jesus we are certain of our blessed eternal destiny - as long as we maintain our position in Him with unwavering faith (Jn.15:1-8; Rom.11:17-24). For He is the only way back to paradise.

Hope this is helpful to you in your quest for the truth in Jesus Christ.

In our Lord,

Bob Luginbill


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