Speaking in tongues means speaking miraculously in a language unknown to the speaker, as the Spirit gives utterance. Tongues can be classified in two ways, according to function: (1) speaking in other tongues as the initial evidence of the baptism of the Holy Ghost and (2) the gift of tongues as mentioned in I Corinthians.
1. Speaking in other tongues as the Spirit of God gives utterance is the manifestation God has given as the definite, indisputable, supernatural witness or sign of the baptism of the Holy Ghost (Acts 2:4; 10:46; 19:6). It was prophesied by the prophet Isaiah as the rest and the refreshing (Isaiah 28:11-12), foretold by Jesus as a sign that would follow believers of the gospel (Mark 16:17), and experienced by Jews and Gentiles alike.
2. The gift of “divers kinds of tongues,” mentioned by Paul in I Corinthians 12:1-10 and concerning which he gave regulations in I Corinthians 14:1-40, is given both for self-edification (I Corinthians 14:4) and for the edification of the church (I Corinthians 14:27-28).
In church meetings the gift of tongues is used to give a public message, and it is to be interpreted. Since this gift can be misused in public, it needs proper regulation (I Corinthians 14:23-28). Not all believers exercise the gift of tongues, which is different in function from tongues given by God as the initial witness of the baptism of the Holy Ghost. Paul said, “Forbid not to speak with tongues” (I Corinthians 14:39 and “I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than ye all” (I Corinthians 14:18). Who dares to teach or preach to the contrary?