"There Is One God And One Mediator Between God And Men, The Man Christ Jesus" 
1 Timothy (2:5)

Speaking In Unknown Tongues


What Is Speaking In Unknown Tongues?


Spiritual Tounges or Man-made “Jibberish”?

Every biblical reference, concerning a “true” spiritual experience, of speaking in tongues or speaking in an unknown tongue only occurs when God takes “complete control” of your vocal activities. Although you are fully aware of this supernatural move of God taking place from within your body, you do not have any controlling decisions over the type of words coming out of your mouth, nor do you have the physical ability to stop this experience once it begins (unless, of course, you are possibly more powerful than God himself). You cannot stop this vocal activity until God has completed that which he wants you to experience, and what a life-changing experience it is indeed. It is God who chooses who, when, where, and how to provide this miraculous tongue experience.

This God-given experience was not intended for you (or others) to go around and try to imitate this supernatural experience by making “unintelligible babbling” sounds or “stammering lip” sounds or any other type of “indistinguishable vocal activity” sounds that you physically control (which is the major difference).




The Supernatural Phenomenon


Speaking in Unknown Tongues


I must reiterate once again; that I am a living witness that speaking in unknown tongues, when it is caused by a move of God (the Holy Ghost), exists and is a real supernatural phenomenon. However, many of the teachings, currently being embraced, are based on man-made doctrines and not the word of God. It is not the goal of this author to deny the validity of or minimize the importance of speaking in “unknown” tongues but to embrace what the Bible says about this specific phenomenon.

Just because someone may generate an “indistinguishable vocal activity” during a church service, or anywhere, does not necessarily mean they are under the influence of God speaking in “unknown tongues.”  If that were the only criteria ( as if  Gal 5:22-23 didn’t exist) then any “unintelligible babbling” (even baby goo-goo) could be called “speaking in tongues” or speaking in an “unknown tongue” that however does not necessarily mean that this type of vocal activity is always stemming from the hand of God.

This manner of “stammering lips” or “indistinguishable vocal activity” can be (and often is) a learned behavior or it may indeed be brought on by God but unfortunately, it can also be easily faked or imitated. God never intended for, nor instructed, any of us to judge who has the Holy Ghost based on someone speaking in an unknown tongue as the determining criteria.

No man can truthfully verify the source of any unknown manner of speaking (for lack of better wording) if he cannot interpret that part of the vocal activity that is unintelligible. That is the recipient’s place and testimony to give witness to that specific experience! Not You!



You cannot “truthfully” testify about this supernatural experience


you actually had this supernatural experience!



(For Example:) If you cannot tell me what a man is saying; 

“Indistinguishable vocal activity” or “unintelligible babbling”

Spiritual (Unknown) Tongues or Man-made “Jibberish”?

Spiritual (Unknown) Tounges or Man-made Jibberish


then you cannot truthfully make that claim as fact for another man. Random murmuring coming from anyone’s mouth is obviously an unknown tongue but it is not necessarily a language, let alone a “spiritual or supernatural” language, nor is it necessarily from God.

Many may find themselves crossing God’s line, pretending as if they have the God-given ability to distinguish who is “truly” speaking in “unknown” tongues caused by a move of God in comparison to random murmuring (or sounds) made by a man “faking it.”




Making a “joyful noisedoes NOT equate to “speaking in tongues.”


♦  When at work, in public, or in court, I know of no one who just starts blurting out “indistinguishable vocal activity” as if they were “speaking in tongues” under the prompting of God.

♦  When God moves you that is not something you control or can stop! (unless, of course, you are possibly more powerful than God himself)

♦  The purpose of speaking in tongues was to demonstrate God’s power to the non-believers, not for believers to go around trying to imitate this experience by blurting out “jibberish” or unintelligible babbling” that neither you nor the audience understands. God didn’t send Jesus out, and Jesus didn’t send the apostles out, to speak jibberish to his people. There are no records of individuals speaking in this unique manner in public (NoteSpeaking In “Other” Tongues is not the same as speaking in “unknown tongues”).

♦  When this type of “indistinguishable vocal activity” occurs there is no true edification for those witnesses to this behavior ( 1Cor 14:2, 4-5, 11).  Giving many the benefit of the doubt, this type of ecstatic speech can be a learned behavior, as it is not difficult to imitate (mimic) anyone who is vocalizing unintelligible random non-structured sounds from their mouths.

♦  I am not disputing that the feeling we experience inside (especially during a good message, frequently enhanced by some good foot-stomping church music) may indeed be a real move of God and may move many to start making a “joyful noise” (for lack of better wording) but the noise does not equate to “speaking in tongues.” The Bible indicates when the HOLY SPIRIT acted upon a mass of people it produced understandable HUMAN WORDS thus edification and God’s purpose were demonstrated.


Remember, the gift of the Holy Ghost, mentioned in (Acts 2:38), is a promise (“you SHALL receive the Holy Ghost“), which is capable (not promised) of generating one of many gifting abilities and experiences. Speaking in tongues is just one of these experiences (supernatural gifting or abilities) a Christian may receive.



What The Church Experienced & Practiced


From the few scripture examples that we have before us, it is apparent that speaking in tongues meant speaking in a way, or in a language, that is not normally understood by (or native to) the speaker or the listeners. The Bible mentions two types of speaking in tongues:


• On the day of Pentecost, Jesus’ apostles were filled with the Holy Spirit and began speaking in other tongues (other languages – “plural”). Those who heard this speech each heard it in his language, even though they were from many different countries (Acts 2:1-13). Even though the apostles were speaking in a different language, the listeners were able to understand, each in his own language.

• There is no scripture indicating unknown tongues were spoken during Pentecost, however, it becomes clear that at times speaking in an unknown tongue (singular) did occur among some members of the early Christian churches, but no one could understand this form of speaking (1 Corinthians 14:2). At times, however, it appears that there were some who were able to interpret the meaning.


Both cases were the work of the Holy Spirit. The apostle Paul classified speaking in tongues as just one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:6-11) not the “initial sign.” Paul was thankful for his own gifting of speaking in tongues, or many different languages (1 Corinthians 14:18-19) not “unknown tongues.” Nonetheless, we can assume Paul had that type of experience since he is speaking as one with authority on the matter.

But Paul also told his churches that it was better practiced in private than in church unless someone could interpret the ecstatic speech (1 Corinthians 14:23, 27-28).

The gift of speaking in tongues was less important than the gifts of prophecy (1 Corinthians 14:2-5) and love (1 Corinthians 13:1). Nevertheless, speaking in tongues should not be forbidden (1 Corinthians 14:39).



See Also:

(Part 3) Speaking In Tongues: Understanding The Difference

(Part 4) Speaking In Tongues: Several Reasons For Their Error