"Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth."
2 Timothy 2:15 (KJV)
2 Timothy 2:15 (KJV)
“Speaking in tongues”! Just utter that phrase among Christians, and you elicit a wide variety of reactions, sometimes very strong reactions. Bible studies by the thousands have been written for it ... and against it. Many ask a legitimate question: “Is speaking in tongues for today?”
Historically, speaking in a tongue (glossolalia) by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit was common among Christians in the first-century Church, then seemed to fade out gradually in succeeding centuries. In the very early twentieth century there came a resurgence of this biblical practice, most notably in Topeka, Kansas, and in revival meetings on Azusa Street in Los Angeles.
From those and other places of spiritual renewal came many of today’s leading Pentecostal denominations. Subsequent movements in which speaking in tongues was a prominent feature included the Latter Rain revival, the mid-20th-century healing ministries, the Full Gospel Businessmen’s Fellowship, and the Charismatic Renewal. In this latter movement especially, the biblical doctrine of the baptism with the Holy Spirit, with the initial evidence of speaking in tongues, spread broadly into both the Roman Catholic Church and many Protestant denominations.
By the early 21st century, speaking in tongues (the theological term is glossolalia) — that is, languages unknown to the speaker, given by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit — had become broadly if not universally accepted within worldwide Christianity. Many portions of the worldwide Church today have once again come to embrace one of the historical ancient landmarks of the Church that Jesus created.
But historical and anecdotal testimonies, as interesting as they may be, are still secondary. The Bible must be the source of primary importance in establishing the present-day validity of speaking in tongues. So to that treasure trove, the Bible, we will now turn to answer the question: “Why should we speak in tongues?”
Mark 16:15-17 He [Jesus] said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues.
The verses above are from Mark’s account of Jesus’ Great Commission. It was Jesus Himself who initiated the subject of speaking in tongues in the New Testament. He said that it would be a “sign” that would accompany believers as they went into all the world and preached the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
• So our first reply to the question “Why speak in tongues?” is that Jesus endorsed the practice. In fact, Jesus said that speaking in tongues is one of the signs that “will accompany those who believe.”
At this point, it will be helpful to examine several portions of Scripture in the book of Acts (see the three quotes below) that speak of being “baptized with” or “filled with” the Holy Spirit. As we will see, on all three occasions believers who were said to be filled/baptized with the Spirit immediately spoke in tongues. This is the biblical pattern. When believers are baptized with the Holy Spirit, they begin to speak in tongues.
Acts 1:4-5; 2:1-4, KJV And, being assembled together with them, [Jesus] commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me. For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.... [2:1] And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
The sound of a mighty wind ... tongues of fire ... all 120 speaking in tongues! This was the first New Testament day of Pentecost after Jesus’ resurrection. He had prophesied to His followers that they would be “baptized with the Holy Ghost” (1:5). This occurred some few days later on “the day of Pentecost” (2:1), when it is said that “they were all filled with the Holy Ghost” (2:4) and manifested this by the evidence of speaking in tongues (2:4). As a point of interest, because this happened on “the day of Pentecost” (2:1), those who have received this baptism with the Spirit, with the evidence of speaking in tongues, have often in modern times been called “Pentecostals”.
Compare verses 1:5 and 2:4. We see that the Bible uses the terms “baptized with the Holy Ghost” and “filled with the Holy Ghost” as synonyms for the same biblical experience. And the discernible evidence of that baptism with the Holy Spirit was their speaking in tongues. This same evidence will be seen again in Acts, chapters 10 and 19 (below).
But before looking at Acts 10, let’s take one more look at Acts 1:5 (KJV) — “John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.” Jesus made a clear distinction between water baptism and baptism with the Holy Spirit. They are not one and the same. Now on to Acts, chapter 10.
Acts 10:44-47 While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message. The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the Gentiles. For they heard them speaking in tongues and praising God. Then Peter said, “Can anyone keep these people from being baptized with water? They have received the Holy Spirit just as we have.”
Some Gentiles had assembled in Cornelius’s house to hear Peter preach. While Peter was still speaking, the listeners received the Holy Spirit and began to speak in tongues. And how did Peter and his companions know that they had received “the gift of the Holy Spirit”? The answer is in verse 46: “For they heard them speaking in tongues.” Again, as in Acts 2, the evidence of their having received the gift of the Holy Spirit was their speaking in tongues.
In Act 1 and 2 we saw the first group in Jerusalem being “baptized with ... filled with the Holy Spirit.” Peter certified that these Gentiles in Acts 10 had received the identical experience — “They have received the Holy Spirit just as we have.” So Acts 2, the first New Testament day of Pentecost, was not a one-time occurrence. To the contrary, Peter asserts that these Gentiles had received the identical gift of the Holy Spirit.
Peter recounts this again in Acts 11:15-17 — “As I began to speak, the Holy Spirit came on them as he had come on us at the beginning. Then I remembered what the Lord had said: ‘John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ So if God gave them the same gift as he gave us, who believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I to think that I could oppose God?” The Gentiles in Acts 10 received the “same gift,” the same baptism with the Holy Spirit, that the 120 had received in Jerusalem (in Acts 2). And in both instances they manifested the identical evidence — they immediately spoke in tongues.
And notice once more (vss. 10:47-48 above) that Peter made a clear distinction between water baptism and their having received the Holy Spirit.
Acts 19:1-6 While Apollos was at Corinth, Paul took the road through the interior and arrived at Ephesus. There he found some disciples and asked them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” They answered, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.” So Paul asked, “Then what baptism did you receive?” “John’s baptism,” they replied. Paul said, “John’s baptism was a baptism of repentance. He told the people to believe in the one coming after him, that is, in Jesus.” On hearing this, they were baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus. When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied.
Here is a third clear instance in the book of Acts — along with Acts 2 and Acts 10 just studied above — where believers received the baptism with the Spirit and spoke in tongues. So we have a consistent bible pattern — believers who are baptized with/filled with the Holy Spirit will immediately speak in tongues.
• These three clear instances in Acts 2, 10, and 19 illustrate that speaking in tongues is the Scriptural evidence of the baptism with the Holy Spirit.
Acts 19:1-6 (quoted just above) brings us another important insight. Notice that the apostle Paul considered these believers to be baptized disciples. Paul’s question establishes the fact that it is perfectly appropriate to ask a water-baptized Christian, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” There is a clear difference between being “born of the Spirit” (John 3:5) and “baptized with the Holy Spirit.” They are entirely different Greek words. The context — they spoke in tongues in verse 6 — shows that Paul’s question “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” was asked in the sense of “Have you water-baptized disciples been baptized with the Holy Spirit yet?” That is a valid question to ask any believer.
In sum, our Scripture texts in Acts 2, 10, and 19 reveal a consistent pattern:
• There is a baptism in water, and there is a distinct baptism in the Holy Spirit.
• Those who receive the baptism with the Holy Spirit give evidence to this by speaking in tongues.
Acts 2:4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.
KJV: ...as the Spirit gave them utterance.
• Why speak in tongues? — It gives us an ever-present opportunity to submit to the leading, the direction, the enablement of the Holy Spirit. We do the speaking, but the Holy Spirit actually enables us to do so by prompting us with the words to speak in a language not known to us. This humble, willing submission of our vocal organs to the Holy Spirit’s leading will stand us in good stead as we open ourselves to other facets of the Holy Spirit’s direction and guidance and to His spiritual gifts.
Acts 11:15-18, KJV And as I began to speak, the Holy Ghost fell on them, as on us at the beginning. Then remembered I the word of the Lord, how that he said, John indeed baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost. Forasmuch then as God gave them the like gift as he did unto us, who believed on the Lord Jesus Christ; what was I, that I could withstand God? When they heard these things, they held their peace, and glorified God, saying, Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life.
• Why speak in tongues? — It demonstrates the reality of God in the life of the one speaking in tongues. At this early stage of the New Testament Church, the original Jewish Christians in Jerusalem were still doubtful that the Gospel should even be preached to the Gentiles! Peter corrected their error by telling the account of his preaching to the Gentiles at Cornelius’s house, and of those Gentiles receiving the Holy Spirit and speaking in tongues. This dramatic event convinced the skeptics in Jerusalem, and they acknowledged that God had indeed “granted repentance unto life” (18) to the Gentiles. The fact that the Gentiles spoke with tongues was sufficient evidence for the Jewish Christians to discard centuries of anti-Gentile sentiment and to embrace them as fellow Christians.
Acts 19:2a, 6 [Paul] asked them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” ...  When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied.
• The baptism with the Holy Spirit opens the door to other spiritual gifts from the Holy Spirit — here, “they...prophesied.”
Jesus Himself was conceived by the Holy Spirit (Matthew 1:20). But at about age 30 at River Jordan, Jesus was anointed and empowered by the Holy Spirit (John 1:32-33 with Acts 10:38). Only after this distinct experience of the Spirit did Jesus do his first miracle, at the wedding feast of Cana (John 2:11).
It is the Holy Spirit anointing, which comes in the baptism with the Spirit, that tends to release in the recipients a greater flow in the gifts of the Spirit.
1 Corinthians 12:7, 10 Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good...  to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues.
• The companion gifts of the Spirit — tongues and interpretation of tongues — are manifested in church services “for the [church’s] common good.” We will look at the subject of tongues in church services in greater depth in chapter 14 of this epistle (below).
1 Corinthians 14:2 For anyone who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God. Indeed, no one understands him; he utters mysteries with his spirit.
There is an ability to speak in tongues (glossolalia) that is given to all who receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit, as shown in our earlier discussions of Acts chapters 2, 10, and 19. 1 Corinthians 14:2 gives us an additional reason why Spirit-baptized believers should speak in tongues — “Anyone who speaks in a tongue ... speak[s] ... to God.”
• That is, speaking in tongues is a God-given way for believers to “speak to God.” As such, it is a valuable asset in our prayer life, along with speaking to God in our own native language (which is English for me).
1 Corinthians 14:2, 14-15a For anyone who speaks in a tongue ... utters mysteries with his spirit [KJV: ‘in the spirit’]....  For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my mind is unfruitful. So what shall I do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will also pray with my mind.
• Praying in tongues is praying “in” or “with the spirit.” There is a praying in the known language, comprehended by our minds. And there is also a “praying in the spirit” — that is, praying in tongues — inspired by the Holy Spirit and not understood by our minds.
1 Corinthians 14:4 He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself, but he who prophesies edifies the church.
• Why speak in tongues? — The one speaking in tongues is edified, built up. Some have wrongly read this as Paul minimizing the importance of tongues. But Paul is making two positive comments here: (1) speaking in tongues edifies the individual, and (2) prophecy spoken in the church edifies the church. It is a good thing for both individuals and the church to be edified.
1 Corinthians 14:5a, 39 I would like every one of you to speak in tongues....  Therefore, my brothers, be eager to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in tongues.
• Why speak in tongues? — The great apostle Paul spoke very favorably of the practice: “I would like every one of you to speak in tongues.” Even further, Paul gave an admonition that, sadly, is disobeyed in many churches of our day: “Do not forbid speaking in tongues.” Yet many pastors in our day do exactly this, contradicting the Scriptures by telling their congregations that tongues are not for them or not for this day and age.
1 Corinthians 14:5, 12-13 I would like every one of you to speak in tongues, but I would rather have you prophesy. He who prophesies is greater than one who speaks in tongues, unless he interprets, so that the church may be edified....  So it is with you. Since you are eager to have spiritual gifts, try to excel in gifts that build up the church. For this reason anyone who speaks in a tongue should pray that he may interpret what he says.
• Why speak in tongues? — The spiritual gift of tongues (1 Corinthians 12:10), when coupled with the companion spiritual gift of interpretation of tongues (1 Corinthians 12:10), edifies and builds up the church.
On many occasions and in various congregations I have heard someone bring forth a message in tongues in church. This was followed by the gift of interpretation. And the net result in each case was that the people present were edified and built up.
In the Scripture just above, the apostle Paul declares that “He who prophesies is greater than one who speaks in tongues, unless he interprets.” So if there is a tongue with interpretation, Paul is saying that the value is roughly equivalent to prophecy.
1 Corinthians 14:14-15, KJV For if I pray in an unknown tongue, my spirit prayeth, but my understanding is unfruitful. What is it then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also: I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also.
• Why speak in tongues? — It helps us to have a balanced prayer life and a balanced worship experience. Paul endorses both “pray[ing] with the spirit and ... pray[ing] with the understanding.” Interestingly, in this direct context of tongues, the apostle also encourages singing with both the spirit and the understanding.
1 Corinthians 14:16-17 If you are praising God with your spirit, how can one who finds himself among those who do not understand say “Amen” to your thanksgiving, since he does not know what you are saying? You may be giving thanks well enough, but the other man is not edified.
• Why speak in tongues? — When speaking in tongues, “you may be giving thanks well.” As we have seen (Acts 2:4), tongues are a language inspired by the Holy Spirit. The speaker does not know the content of what is being spoken. But God does! And the Spirit of God can inspire a wide variety of content in the tongue spoken — including “giving thanks well.”
1 Corinthians 14:18 I thank God that I speak in tongues more than all of you.
• Why speak in tongues? — It was apostolic practice. Paul spoke in tongues. On the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1-4), the original apostles of Jesus (less the traitor Judas, Acts 1:13-15) were part of the group that received the first outpouring of the Spirit, with the immediate evidence of speaking in tongues.
Paul thanked God for the God-given ability to speak in tongues. And he desired the same experience for all believers — (14:5) “I would like every one of you to speak in tongues.”
1 Corinthians 14:26 What then shall we say, brothers? When you come together, everyone has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. All of these must be done for the strengthening of the church.
• Why speak in tongues? — Tongues with interpretation are an appropriate part of an edifying New Testament church service. Verse 26 lists the most important parts of a church service — praise/worship (“a hymn”), the ministry of the word (“a word of instruction”), and the gifts of the Spirit (“a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation”).
And Paul declares that “all of these must be done for the strengthening of the church.” Sadly, in our day the typical church accepts some of these — praise/worship and the ministry of the word — and rejects the various gifts of the Spirit, including tongues and interpretation. If we want “strengthened” churches, we will include the word, worship, and gifts of the Spirit in our church services.
In conclusion, it will be informative to see that there are a variety of manifestations of tongues in the bible. Remember that, although the language may or may not be understood by listeners, in all instances recorded in Scripture, the tongue being spoken was supernaturally given to the speaker by the Holy Spirit and was not understood by the one speaking. Listed below are a variety of bible terms for the practice of glossolalia, or speaking in tongues:
• “new tongues” (Mark 16:17)
• “other tongues” (Acts 2:4)
• “different kinds of tongues” (1 Corinthians 12:10, 28)
• “diversities of tongues” (1 Corinthians 12:28, KJV)
• “tongues of men and of angels” (1 Corinthians 13:1), that is, human languages and angelic, heavenly languages ("tongues of angels")
• unknown tongues — “an unknown tongue ... no man understandeth” (1 Corinthians 14:2, KJV)
To summarize, why then should we encourage speaking in tongues today, in the 21st century?
• Jesus said that believers would speak in tongues (Mark 16:17).
• Tongues certify and give evidence that the person is baptized with the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:5; 2:1-4; 10:44-46; 11:15-17; 19:1-6).
• Speaking in tongues is a good opportunity to submit to the Holy Spirit’s leading (Acts 2:4).
• Tongues demonstrate the reality of God in the speaker’s life (Acts 11:15-18).
• The baptism with the Holy Spirit, evidenced by speaking in tongues, opens the door to other gifts of the Spirit (Acts 19:2,6).
• Tongues with interpretation are “for the [church’s] common good” (1 Corinthians 12:7, 10).
• Speaking in tongues is speaking to God (1 Corinthians 14:2a).
• Praying in tongues is praying “in” or “with the spirit” (1 Corinthians 14:2, 14-15).
• The speaker in tongues is edified (1 Corinthians 14:4).
• The apostle Paul expressly approved of tongues (1 Corinthians 14:5a, 39).
• A tongue followed by an interpretation edifies the church (1 Corinthians 14:5, 12-13).
• Tongues allow us a balanced prayer and worship life, both with the spirit and with the understanding (1 Corinthians 14:14-15).
• When speaking in tongues, you may be giving thanks well to God (1 Corinthians 14:16-17).
• Speaking in tongues was apostolic practice (1 Corinthians 14:18 and at Pentecost).
• Tongues with interpretation are an appropriate, strengthening part of an edifying church service (1 Corinthians 14:26).
In closing, I mention the often-asked question: "Is speaking in tongues biblical?" The bible itself answers that clearly. Jesus Himself, in Mark 16:17, said that speaking in tongues would characterize Great Commission believers. And more than 15 other New Testament verses refer to speaking in tongues in a favorable light. From the bottom of my heart I commend to you the words of the apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 14:5: “I would like every one of you to speak in tongues.”
Written By: Jim Feeney, Ph.D.
More Information and Bible Studies Including This One Can Be Found by Dr. Feeney at:
Summary: There is a source of Holy Ghost “power from on high” that too many Christians have either overlooked or rejected to their own loss. Come and read about the mightybaptism of the Holy Spirit — a gift that is for you and for today. It will change your life!Subscribe
After spending 3-1/2 years with Jesus, Peter denied the Lord three times. The third time he even went so far as to “call down curses on himself, and he swore to them, 'I don’t know this manyou’re talking about.' ” (Mark 14:71)
Fast forward about seven weeks. Now we see this same Peter preaching an anointed message to crowds of thousands in Jerusalem. It is a virtual certainty that the crowds contained many of those who, seven weeks earlier, had been screaming in the direction of Jesus: “Crucify him! Crucify him!” But now we see Peter, the former Christ-denier, preaching boldly and openly about the crucified and now-resurrected Savior. The result of Peter’s now-courageous testimony was 3,000 of his audience believing in the Lord and being water baptized.
What made the difference? The answer is simple and is right there in Scripture for us to see. Between his denial of Christ at Passover and his mighty, soulwinning sermon less than two months later, Peter experienced the first New Testament Day of Pentecost. Peter was among the 120 who had received the heaven-sent baptism in the Holy Spirit.
Let’s examine this great biblical truth — the mighty Holy Spirit anointing known as the baptism with the Holy Spirit. It was vitally important to Jesus that His disciples be full of the Holy Spirit. In fact, just before His ascension back to heaven, He forbade the disciples from going forth to minister until they had received this Holy Ghost power from on high.
Luke 24:47-53 “...repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high” ...  and [Jesus] was taken up into heaven. Then they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy. And they stayed continually at the temple, praising God.
•• Just think of it! Peter, James, John, and the other disciples had just finished 3-1/2 yearsof intensive, daily training by Jesus Himself. They had been with Him “24-7”. He gave them on-the-job-training ministry assignments and debriefed them afterwards. He explained the Word of God to them. He modeled godly behavior and effective ministry. Surely no men on earth, before or since, had been better trained. Yet to these same men Jesus said (my paraphrase), “Don’t go out yet to minister. Stay in Jerusalem. You are not fully readyfor New Testament ministry. You still need something for effective ministry that you now lack, and that is Holy Ghost power from on high.”
•• These men had the Word of God. They had been personally trained by Jesus. And yet they were not considered ready for ministry! Why? They didn’t yet have the spiritual “powerfrom on high” that they needed to accomplish their ministries. Let’s step forward to the Book of Acts and see how they received this promised spiritual power. It is the pattern for the Church then and now.Acts 1:4,5,8 On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Donot leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about.  For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit ...  you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
•• Luke (the author of Acts) continued to record Jesus’ parting words to the disciples. Key elements in Christ’s message were:
• (As in Luke 24:49) Don’t leave Jerusalem. Wait. Wait for what? For the fulfillment of Jesus' promise: "You shall receive power" (vs. 8, Ampl.). And that power came in the baptism in the Holy Spirit that they were soon to receive.
• They knew about water baptism, but they needed to be “baptized in the Holy Spirit”.
• That mighty Holy Spirit baptism would give them the promised power for ministry.
• It would make them effective witnesses in the global Great Commission.
•• A brief digression to a related subject is in order here. Contrary to the teaching in some circles, water baptism and the baptism with the Holy Spirit are two entirely different biblical experiences. In verse 5 above, Jesus said, “John baptized with water, but ... you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” Water baptism and Holy Spirit baptism are two distinctexperiences, according to Jesus Christ.Acts 2:1-4 When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place.  Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting.  They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them.  All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.
•• In Acts 1:5 Jesus had promised that they would be “baptized with the Holy Spirit”. Here in Acts 2:4 they were “filled with the Holy Spirit”, in fulfillment of Jesus’ promise.
• Note: it is clear from the promise-then-fulfillment context that these two expressions — baptized with the Holy Spirit and filled with the Holy Spirit — mean one and the same thing (Acts 1:5 with Acts 2:4).
•• Their baptism in the Holy Spirit was the promised source of the “power from on high”that they needed for effective ministry.
•• It is vitally important to note here that the immediate, observable, initial evidence of their Holy Spirit baptism was their speaking in tongues.
•• The results of their being filled with the Holy Spirit were immediate and astounding.
• The formerly Christ-denying, but now Spirit-filled, apostle Peter in Acts 2 preached a bold and anointed sermon that led to the conversion of 3,000 souls that day (Acts 2:41).
• In Acts 3:1-10, Peter and John, fresh from the mighty outpouring of Pentecost, healed a paralytic man near the temple, and another 2,000 were added to the Lord (Acts 4:4).
• The Spirit-baptized apostles “performed many miraculous signs and wonders” (Acts 5:12), resulting in many more conversions to the Lord (vs. 14). Supernatural spiritual gifts were being manifested in their ministries.
• Spirit-filled Stephen (Acts 6:5) “a man full of God’s grace and power, did great wonders and miraculous signs” (6:8).
• Spirit-filled Philip (Acts 6:5) preached in Samaria with miracles, healings, the casting out of demons, and numerous conversions (Acts 8:5-14).
• Spirit-baptized Peter was used by God to heal lame Aeneas, and two entire towns turned to the Lord (Acts 9:34-35).
• The same Spirit-filled Peter raised the dead woman Dorcas, with the result that “many people [in her city] believed in the Lord” (Acts 9:40-42).
• And the rest of the Book of Acts shows many more instances of believers, filled with the Holy Ghost, ministering God’s word with power, resulting in many coming to the Lord.
• The record of Acts subsequent to Pentecost certainly proves Jesus’ promise in Acts 1:8 that this Pentecostal baptism would give His followers “power ... [to] be [His] witnesses”.
• Before Pentecost, when Jesus had been taken prisoner in the garden of Gethsemane, “...all the disciples deserted him and fled” (Matthew 26:56). After Pentecost, the same disciples were bold witnesses for Jesus with power (Acts 4:29-31 and many other post-Pentecostal Scriptures).
•• Acts 2:1-4, of course, was the first and great New Testament Day of Pentecost. But this outpouring of Holy Ghost “power from on high” was never intended to stop there. The baptism of the Holy Ghost (King James terminology) that Peter and the others received that day was, in Peter’s words, for all believers. Let’s see Peter’s declaration of this in the inspired Scripture account:Acts 2:37-39 When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?”  Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.  The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off — for all whom the Lord our God will call.”
•• Newly Spirit-filled Peter stood up in the crowd at Pentecost and preached. When many came under conviction and asked what they should do, Peter replied that they should repent and be baptized and they would receive this same Pentecostal, Holy Spirit baptism that Peter and the 120 had received.
• “The promise [of being filled with/baptized in the Holy Spirit] is for you.”
• “The promise is ... for your children.”
• “The promise is ... for all who are far off.”
• I write this from Anchorage, Alaska. It would be difficult to get more “far off” from Jerusalem than where I sit today! But the promise of the baptism of the Spirit was for me ... for you ... for all of us who are “far off” and choose to believe for this great blessing.
• Note: believing in simple faith is a key to receiving the baptism with the Holy Spirit, with the evidence of speaking in tongues. In the Great Commission, Jesus said, “These signs will accompany those who believe ... they will speak in new tongues”(Mark 16:17). It is not a mystery why those who don’t believe in the biblical baptism with the Spirit don’t receive it. It is, said Jesus, for “those who believe”.
• This mighty Pentecostal baptism being “for all who are far off” is consistent with the global Great Commission, which believers understand is for the entire Church Age, not just for the first century. As noted just above, Jesus said in that worldwide commission that certain signs would accompany and confirm the preaching of the Gospel, including that “those who believe ... will speak in new tongues” (Mark 16:17). This initial evidence of the Pentecostal baptism with the Spirit is part of the Great Commission command to “go and make disciples of all nations ... teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:19-20). And one of those things that Jesus had imparted to His first disciples, to be shared among “all nations”throughout the centuries, is the importance of being “baptized in the Holy Spirit” (Acts 1:5).
•• Now let’s proceed to some more Scriptures in the Book of Acts showing believers being filled with the Spirit — remembering from Acts 1:5 with Acts 2:4 that being “filled with”and being “baptized with” the Holy Spirit are two expressions for the same, identical experience.Acts 10:43-49 “All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”  While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message.  The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the Gentiles.  For they heard them speaking in tongues and praising God. Then Peter said,  “Can anyone keep these people from being baptized with water? They have received the Holy Spirit just as we have.”
•• Some anti-Pentecostal preachers have tried to convince their listeners that the Acts 2 Pentecost was a one-time experience, never to be repeated. But this portion of Scripture clearly disproves that false teaching. Here in Acts 10, as at Pentecost in Acts 2, the “gift of the Holy Spirit ... came on all” the listeners to Peter’s sermon.
• How did Peter and his companions know that these Gentiles at Cornelius’s house had received their Pentecost? The text tells us: “...FOR they heard them speaking in tongues” (vs. 46). That is how they knew then; that is how we know today that someone has been filled with the Holy Spirit. They speak in tongues.
• Peter understood correctly that this was another occurrence, another reception, of the blessing of that first Pentecost, which was intended, as we have seen, “for all” (Acts 2:39), not just for the 120 at Pentecost. He declared, “They have received the Holy Spirit JUST AS WE have” — power from on high ... speaking in tongues.
• When Peter later shared this testimony with the Jerusalem Christians, he said: “As I began to speak, the Holy Spirit came on them as he had come on us at the beginning. Then I remembered what the Lord had said: ‘John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ So if God gave them the same gift as he gave us, who believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I to think that I could oppose God?” (Acts 11:15-17). Those Gentiles received “the same gift”, the same experience of being “baptized with the Holy Spirit” that the Jewish Christians had received at Pentecost.Acts 19:1-6 While Apollos was at Corinth, Paul took the road through the interior and arrived at Ephesus. There he found some disciples  and asked them, “Did you receive the Holy Spiritwhen you believed?” They answered, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.”  So Paul asked, “Then what baptism did you receive?” “John’s baptism,” they replied.  Paul said, “John’s baptism was a baptism of repentance. He told the people to believe in the one coming after him, that is, in Jesus.”  On hearing this, they were baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus.  When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied.
•• As in the Acts 2 Pentecost at Jerusalem, and as in the Acts 10 “Pentecost” among the Gentiles, when these Ephesian believers “receive[d] the Holy Spirit”, they too “spoke in tongues”. And in this instance they also prophesied. The baptism in the Holy Spirit opens the door to your being used in other gifts of the Holy Spirit, such as prophecy in this instance.
•• By now we have seen a recurring theme. When believers are baptized with the Holy Spirit, there is an immediate evidence of that experience — they speak in tongues (Acts 2:4; Acts 10:46; Acts 19:6).
• The apostle Paul likewise was a Spirit-filled believer (Acts 9:17), and he, like the others who had been baptized with the Spirit, spoke in tongues (1 Corinthians 14:18) — “I thank God that I [Paul] speak in tongues...” Like Paul, I am personally thankful for this Holy Spirit baptism in my life since 1971, and for the God-given, edifying ability (1 Corinthians 14:4) to speak in tongues every day as the Spirit gives utterance (Acts 2:4).What, then, should believers do to receive this mighty baptism with the Holy Spirit?
1. First, believe that it is “for you ... for all” (Acts 2:39), not just for a select few.
2. “Repent and be baptized, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38). The baptism in the Holy Spirit is for Christian believers. Be sure that you are “right” with God, that you are born again by repentance and faith in Jesus Christ. It is also important to be baptized in water (vs. 38), although it is certainly possible, as at Cornelius’s house, to be filled with the Spirit before water baptism (Acts 10:47-48).
3. Remember who the Source of the baptism with the Spirit is — that is, Jesus Christ. In all four Gospels Jesus is called the One who “will baptize you with the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 3:16. See also Mark 1:8, Luke 3:16, and John 1:33). Look with faith to Jesus, the Baptizer with the Holy Spirit.
4. Hunger and thirst for this Holy Spirit anointing of “power from on high”. Let Paul’s command — “be filled with the Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18) — be the cry of your heart. From a repentant and faith-filled heart that is forgiven and “right” before God, look to Jesus for the baptism with the Holy Spirit, expecting Him to grant it as a free gift. You can’t earn it; that’s why it is called “thegift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38). It is yours to receive. Remember the Ephesian disciples of Acts 19:1-6. They knew the Lord, yet Paul asked them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when youbelieved?” They had not, so Paul instructed them further in the things of the Lord, then laid hands on them, and they “received” and spoke in tongues (vs. 6). You too can receive.
5. There are many ways to receive the baptism with the Holy Spirit. Be open to God to fill you with the Holy Spirit in any context which He places before you.
• At the first Pentecost (see Acts 1:14 with Acts 2:1), those who received were gathered together, apparently in prayer. It was a group setting into which the Lord sovereignly poured out His Spirit.
• At Cornelius’s house (Acts 10:44), right in the midst of Peter’s anointed sermon they were all baptized with the Spirit.
• In Ephesus (Acts 19:6), they received the baptism with the Holy Spirit through the laying on of Paul’s hands.
• The variety is obvious. You can receive the baptism with the Holy Spirit in any of a number of ways:
• Another believer lays hands on you and prays for you to receive. This is how the apostle Paul was filled with the Spirit (Acts 9:17).
• You may be all alone in your room, or even alone driving your car down the road. I know several people who were filled with the Spirit in one of those ways.
• You can be in a church meeting, where preaching and prayer and worship bring faith to a high level, and you receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit after responding to the preacher's invitation. This is how I received in 1971.
• In sum, anywhere that you find yourself, in an atmosphere of love and worship and seeking after all that the Lord has for you, you can receive!The Pentecostal baptism of the Holy Spirit is for today! It is “for you”! Like those in Jerusalem, in Ephesus, and at Cornelius’s home, like the apostles Peter and Paul and the other disciples, you too can be filled with the Spirit, speak in tongues, and receive that “power from on high” to be Christ’s witnesses wherever you go.
If this message has stirred your heart today, find a quiet place before the Lord. Allow worship of Him to spring up within your heart. And ask Him, “Lord, pour out upon me today that mighty Holy Spirit baptism.” He is faithful. Expect Him to fill you with His Spirit. Expect to speak forth in tongues as the Holy Spirit enables you. Or if you prefer, go and ask one or more other Spirit-filled believers to pray for you to receive. And you will, because it is “for you”!