But isn't Tongues one of the 9 Gifts of the Spirit?

Rev Gary L Evensen



This study addresses the question of whether tongues is simply one of the 9 Gifts of a spirit mentioned in 1 Corinthians 12, and when you receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit you may get tongues as your gift while another gets faith, and another miracles or any other of the 9 Gifts of the spirit God chooses for them


Many are concerned with this question and for the answer to this question let us delve into the Greek definitions of the word Gift of the Holy Spirit in Acts 2:38 and Gifts of the Spirit in 1 Corinthians 12:4


The word for Gift as in gift of the holy spirit is the Greek Dorea which come from doron which implies to us a sacrifice


G1431: gift as in gift of the Holy Spirit


From G1435; a gratuity:—gift.


This word dorea comes from the Greek Doron



present; specifically a sacrifice:—gift, offering


Now lets look at the word for gift of the Spirit which comes from the Greek word for charisma in 1 Corinthians 12:4


G5486 : gift as in gift of the spirit


From G5483; a (divine) gratuity, that is, deliverance (from danger or passion); (specifically) a (spiritual) endowment, that is, (subjectively) religious qualification, or (objectively) miraculous faculty:—(free) gift.


The Greek definitions for Gift of the Holy Spirit, the dorea does not denote a working of miraculous powers, but rather a working of a new spirit in men, and that new spirit is from God


The Greek definition for Gift of the Spirit, or charisma, does denotes the working of miraculous powers, a spiritual endowment, a miraculous facility and is not speaking of the first time a person is filled with the baptism of the Holy Spirit.


The Greek here denotes 2 separate applications of the spirit, not 1 common spiritual experience, and this is where the disconcertion comes in.


When you talk about receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit and receiving the Gifts of the Spirit you are talking about 2 completely separate applications or administration of the same experience.

You may say that’s not possible but the same distinction is apparent in regards to faith!

To be saved, everyone must have faith and without faith you cannot be saved but 1 Corinthians 12:9 reveals that there is a special, supernatural gift of faith that can operate in a Spirit-filled person's life over and beyond the faith necessary for salvation. Saving faith and the spiritual gift of faith are the same in essence but different in application or operation.

That gift of faith falls under the charisma, the spiritual endowment which is above and beyond the normal realm of faith, and so it is with tongues as the evidence of receiving the spirit and the tongues used miraculously to deliver a message directly from the spirit of God

Paul said  in 1 Cor 12:27


29Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Are all workers of miracles? 30 Do all have gifts of healings? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret?


But the tongues he is speaking of here is those used miraculously to receive a message from God to be interpreted, those tongues fall under the miraculous endowment for service or the charisma.


In the book of Acts we find in the 2nd chapter of Acts all 120 believers in the upper room spoke with tongues but they received the Gift, the sacrifice, the doron of the Holy Spirit not the charisma or Gift pf the Spirit which is above and beyond the normal experience like the gift of faith is above and beyond the realm of normal faith.


When Jesus spoke of the Born again experience in John chapter 3:1-8 in the latter part of the reading in verses 7-8 he explains something to further add to our understanding of this question


7Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ 8The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

John 3:7-8


Jesus relates the birth of the spirit to the wind


The wind blows where it will


You hear the sound of it


You don’t know where its coming from


You don’t know where its going


And SO is everyone that is born of the spirit


Jesus let us know, that just as a baby is born in the natural and there is the sound of that baby’s cry at birth


So there will be a sound that accompanies every person that is born of the spirit!

Just like the newborn who cries and the cry becomes the sign to all that are present that the breath of life has entered into the new born child, that sound he spoke of is the sign that the breath of the spirit has come into the believers life which also is that witness to those present.


But at this point Jesus did not reveal to us what this sound would be and for that we have to go to the place where the Holy Spirit was poured out for the first time in Acts chapter 2


1When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. 2And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. 4And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

Acts 2:1-4


The wind blew, there were cloven tongues as of fire and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with tongues as the spirit gave the utterance


So we see 2 possibilities here for the sound Jesus talked about, the rushing mighty wind and speaking with tongues.


Lets move on further in Acts to see which one was the sound.


44While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the word. 

45And those of the circumcision who believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also. 

46For they heard them speak with tongues and magnify God.

Acts 10:44-46


We find the sound here was speaking with tongues


Lets go to a third witness in Acts 19


5When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 6And when Paul had laid hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke with tongues and prophesied.

Acts 19:5-6


The 3rd witness of the scripture says the spoke with tongues when they received the Baptism of the Holy Spirit.


Neither Acts 10 nor Acts 19 gave a witness of the wind being the sound so evidently the sound Jesus spoke of in John 3:8 was speaking with tongues and it fits the description


You hear the sound of ityou hear yourself or others speak with tongues


You don’t know where its coming fromyou don’t know where it came from because a person speaks with tongues as the spirit gives the utterance.


You don’t know where its goingYou don’t understand what is being said.  It may sound like nonsense to the unbeliever but so does Chinese to those who cannot understand the language.


You see the speaking with tongues when a person is filled with the baptism of the Holy Spirit is a separate and distinct operation of the spirit from someone receiving tongues as a gift of the spirit.


The tongues of the charisma, or the gift of the spirit is to bring a message to the church from the spirit of God and is meant to be interpreted to edify or build up the church and Paul said in that instance if no interpreter in present for them one speaking with tongues to remain silent because there is that difference in operation.


But as we find in the 3 witnesses in the book of Acts No such prohibition was put upon those who spoke with tongues as the spirit gave the utterance when they were filled with the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Research suggests that the letters to the Corinthians were written around 57 AD and the Book of Acts was written around 62 AD. Surely if the Apostles had meant for there to be a prohibition of speaking in tongues by more than 2 or 3 when they received the baptism of the Spirit they would have written it in to the book of Acts but its simply not there.


Paul did not forbid speaking with tongues, while the scripture is silent about his new birth experience we find in 1 Corinthians 14:18 Paul said:


18I thank my God I speak with tongues more than you all;

1 Corinthians 14:18


Please understand that when you are seeking the baptism of the Holy Spirit you are not seeking a tongues experience, you are seeking an experience with the spirit of God filling you and your Biblical evidence that that has happened is when you begin to speak with other tongues.


In conclusion, in order for a person to receive a Gift of the Spirit they must first be born again of the spirit and Jesus said there would be a sound that accompanied all believers who were born again of the spirit. That sound is speaking with tongues.


I pray this study has given some clarification of this issue of speaking with tongues as a evidence of receiving the baptism of the Holy Spirit and Speaking with tongues as a gift of the spirit.



How about you, Have you received the holy ghost since you believed?