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The Blue Letter Bible

Don Stewart :: Must a Person Speak in Tongues to Be Saved?

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Don Stewart

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Is it necessary for a person to speak in tongues to be saved? Those who say so usually refer to a statement by the Apostle Paul:

I wish that you all spoke with tongues (1 Corinthians 14:5).

Also cited are examples in the Book of Acts where people exhibited the gift of tongues when they were saved (Acts 10:19). Yet the Bible nowhere equates the gift of tongues with salvation.

Demands No Answer

The Apostle Paul asked the question, "Do all speak with tongues?" (1 Corinthians 12:30). The way the sentence is structured in the Greek demands that the answer be no. All believers do not speak in tongues.

When the Apostle Paul said to the Corinthians that he wished all of them spoke in tongues, he was not advocating that they do this. The remainder of the verse reads, "but even more that you prophesied" (1 Corinthians 14:5). Furthermore, tongues are not a sign to the believer but to the unbeliever:

Therefore tongues are for a sign, not to those who believe, but to unbelievers (1 Corinthians 14:22).

With two exceptions, new believers in the Book of Acts did not speak in tongues. For example, there is no record that the three thousand who believed on the Day of Pentecost spoke in tongues when they believed.

The Bible teaches that salvation is a free gift from God. It is accepted by faith, and no visible sign must accompany it.

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast (Ephesians 2:8,9).

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