Why is speaking in tongues so important? The best book for reference for this topic is the Bible.
Lets Take a look at John Chapter 3. Here we see a man called Nicodemus who came to Jesus to talk to Him. See John chapter 3.
Its important to note special attention to the words of Jesus that He replied with.
Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” John 3:3
Now we understand the born again experience is salvation. Romans 10
But what about the other two required experiences that Jesus mentions here?
Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. John 3:5
So here is a total of 3 things mentioned. We have identified the one 1 Born again(salvation) 2 Born of water(?) 3 Born of the Spirit(?)
Remember Peter? lets take a look at what Jesus told Him in Matthew.
And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”
Now what are these keys that Jesus told Peter He was going to give him?
Lets back up. The apostles who followed Jesus and were with Him and believed Him left and decided to go back to life as usual after Jesus left.
Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.”
They said to him, “We are going with you also.” They went out and immediately got into the boat, and that night they caught nothing. John 21.
Back to the same old grind, life as usual, (which happens to so many believers after they get born again.)
So what was the single experience that we can see and note in scripture that changed there hearts, minds and attitudes from going back to fishing to being men of God who preached with signs wonders and miracles?
PENTECOST! There they received the the infilling of the Holy Spirit that empowered them to live a life for Jesus Christ and be HIS witnesses!
Okay so right after the infilling of the Holy Spirit we see an attitude change in Peter, He went from "I'm going fishing" to preaching with power! So what about those keys to the kingdom that Jesus said He was going to give him? He proclaims them boldly!
Lets take a look! Lets tune in to right after peter preaches Jesus Christ in a wonderfully powerful message! What was the crowds reaction?
“Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.”
Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?”
Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.”
Did you catch that? He mentioned three things that they are to do! Number one Repent! Number two! Be baptised in the name of Jesus Christ! Number three receive the gift of the Holy Spirit! Three keys to the christian life!
1“Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” -Jesus
2"unless one is born of water" -Jesus
2"be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ"-peter
3"and the Spirit"-Jesus
3"you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit"-peter
So here we see it!
So what about this whole tongues deal being evidence of the Holy Spirit? Lets stick with Peter's experience on the issue. We all know the bible said they spoke with tongues when the Holy Spirit came and filled them at the first.
And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. Acts 2.
So lets take a look at the event of when the gentiles received the Holy Spirit!
We know in Acts 10 that Peter needed a little working over to be able to prepare his heart to preach to the gentiles. (visions of the sheet being let down from heaven clean and unlcean)
So near the end of acts 10 we see Peter, who Jesus told that He was going to give the keys of the Kingdom, preaching to the gentiles. Let read and see what happens and how this ties in!
He was preaching Jesus to them explaining the gospel :
While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the word. And 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. For they heard them speak with tongues and magnify God. Then Peter answered, “Can anyone forbid water, that these should not be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?” And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then they asked him to stay a few days.
Look at that! The evidence that they got it was speaking in tongues! Are we greater then those of the bible that our experience does not have to match?
More evidence and exhortation needed that tongues are a valid and initial sign of the baptism?
Lets take a look at PAUL! In Acts 19 we find that he has found some believers and begins to talk with them. We all should agree that believers are ones who have gotten the salvation experience under their belt.
here goes :
And it happened, while Apollos was at Corinth, that Paul, having passed through the upper regions, came to Ephesus. And finding some disciples he said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?”So they said to him, “We have not so much as heard whether there is a Holy Spirit.”
And he said to them, “Into what then were you baptized?”
So they said, “Into John’s baptism.” Then Paul said, “John indeed baptized with a baptism of repentance, saying to the people that they should believe on Him who would come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.”
When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke with tongues and prophesied.
WOW look at that! They had not yet even been baptized in the name of JESUS CHRIST! So what did they do? They got re- baptized. I lay it to you that many! in Christianity have not gotten baptized correctly and need to do so to complete key number 2! But wait? what happened? the first initial evidence recorded there? THEY SPOKE IN TONGUES!
What does Jude 1:20 give the command of?
But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit,
Tongues explained :
For he who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God, for no one understands him; however, in the spirit he speaks mysteries.
I wish you all spoke with tongues, but even more that you prophesied; for he who prophesies is greater than he who speaks with tongues, unless indeed he interprets, that the church may receive edification.
For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my understanding is unfruitful. (your mind can't grasp it for the carnal mind is enmity with God)
What is the conclusion then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will also pray with the understanding. I will sing with the spirit, and I will also sing with the understanding.
Therefore tongues are for a sign, not to those who believe but to unbelievers; but prophesying is not for unbelievers but for those who believe.
How is it then, brethren? Whenever you come together, each of you has a psalm, has a teaching, has a tongue, has a revelation, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification. ( just some of them?) no each of them!)
All above found in 1 Corinthians 14
And I will close with this! If this is not reason enough and your faith is not quickened well....
here it is :
"and these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues;.." Mark 16:17
There is a difference between the gift of tongues mentioned in the bible as a listed Gifting and your regular prayer language of tongues"
I hope this helped.