Click to Change

Return to Top

Return to Top

Printer Icon


The Blue Letter Bible

Don Stewart :: Does Speaking in Tongues Have a Devotional Purpose?

Choose a new font size and typeface
Don Stewart

[A new version of this page can be found here]

The gift of tongues was given for the purpose of edifying the body of Christ. Is it permissible, then, for the believer to pray by himself to God in tongues?

The Bible says tongues can be a personal edification of the speaker.
He who speaks in tongues edifies himself, but he who prophesies edifies the church (1 Corinthians 14:4).

This could be what the apostle had in mind when he talked about praying in the Spirit.
Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit (Ephesians 6:18).

Only God understands when someone prays in this manner.

For he who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men, but to God, for no one understands him . . . For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my understanding is unfruitful (1 Corinthians 14:2,14).

Sometimes a believer doesnt know how to pray. He perhaps cannot express himself in prayer, and words seem inadequate. He may use the gift of tongues then as a private prayer language between himself and God.

Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered (Romans 8:26).

Some Christians do not see a devotional purpose for tongues. They argue that 1 Corinthians 14:4 does not deal with the purpose of the gift, but speaks of the by-product of the gift. Therefore, self-edification is not a valid goal. The gifts of the Spirit have been given for the edification of the body, not the individual.

But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all (1 Corinthians 12:7).

BLB Searches
Search the Bible

Advanced Options

Other Searches

Multi-Verse Retrieval

Daily Devotionals

Blue Letter Bible offers several daily devotional readings in order to help you refocus on Christ and the Gospel of His peace and righteousness.

Daily Bible Reading Plans

Recognizing the value of consistent reflection upon the Word of God in order to refocus one's mind and heart upon Christ and His Gospel of peace, we provide several reading plans designed to cover the entire Bible in a year.

One-Year Plans

Two-Year Plan


The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.