Gift of Tongues Project

Welcome to the Gift of Tongues Project.

The Purpose of the Gift of Tongues Project:

  1. Locate source literature on the subject
  2. digitize the original texts
  3. translate into English with critical notes
  4. trace the perception of tongues in the church from inception until modern times.

Introduction and Summaries

A woman full of questions

Speaking in tongues quiz

How much do you know about speaking in tongues? Take this quiz and find out.


Graphic introducing the Gift of Tongues Project.

Introductory Notes to the Gift of Tongues Project

The nature and purpose behind the Gift of Tongues Project and its methodology.


Graphic representing the impact of Pentecostalism on the modern definition of tongues

The Worldwide impact of the Pentecostal movement and speaking in tongues

This article shows how Renewalism (Pentecostals, Charismatics, and Third-Wavers) is the fastest growing movement in Christianity. This widespread influence requires more careful attention to their tongues doctrine.


A sample portion of the Catholic tongues infographic

A Catholic History of Tongues: 30 to 1748 AD.

Early, Medieval and pre-Reformation Christianity is full of references to tongues speaking or doctrinal addresses about Pentecost. See the infographic for more information.


a small thumbnail of a  much larger infographic on unknown tongues

A History of Unknown Tongues in the English Bible.

The term unknown tongues is an English Bible tradition that traces back to the Reformation. See the infographic on how this transpired.


A graphic showing historical portraits of the cessationist doctrine through the centuries

Cessationism, Miracles, and Tongues Infographic

Theologians and thinkers throughout history have vacillated on the idea that miracles, including tongues, have ceased. This infographic follows the theory throughout its courses.


a web interactive page on the Jewish background to the tongues of Corinth

The Tongues of Corinth infographic

The emphasis here is the connection of speaking in tongues with the ancient Jewish liturgy and the later evolution of this function in the Church. A web-interactive page. However, it takes a long time to load. Best viewed on a desktop computer.


Graphic showing contrast between language and tongues

Language or Tongues? The semantic battleground

Struggling with the terms language and tongues and which one is the most suitable to use for the Gift of Tongues Project


A snippet of the 7 Facts web article

7 Facts about Speaking in Tongues

The results so far. A short, snappy, 7 pointer.


Cartoon man shouting a loud noise

The Renewalist Response to the Gift of Tongues Project

The various responses and lack thereof by the Pentecostal, Charismatic, and Third Wave Communities to the Gift of Tongues Project.


Graphic says more as in more to come but not done yet.

Glossolalia and Pentecostal Tongues Infographics

These are on the radar but have not been started.


Catholic Tongues

The Christian Doctrine of Tongues from 100 to 300 AD

As you will see, there are only a few but important references during this time. This lack of literature during this period is a problem in every realm of Christian studies. The literature available on the subject greatly increases shortly after.

The Christian Doctrine of Tongues from 301 to 476 AD

These centuries bring a wealth of information and commentary about the doctrine of tongues. Almost everyone who comes to this page is amazed at the amount available. This section stops at the iconic year when the Roman empire falls.

The Christian Doctrine of Tongues: 477–999 AD

The authors during this period wrote some carefully thought-out pieces on the doctrine of tongues.

The Christian Doctrine of Tongues: 1000–1259+ AD

1260–1700+ AD

The Catholic Church really had a thing for speaking in tongues during the late Medieval Age. The following examples show the popularity of this doctrine. Some accounts refer to persons all the way back to the New Testament. I think these early references are doubtful but accurately describe Late Medieval perceptions.

A history of tongues in the Protestant Movement

The doctrine of tongues from 1500 to 1830 AD

How the Protestant Movement started redefining speaking in tongues and pushed it into a new direction.

  • The unknown tongues controversy

    The idea of speaking in unknown tongues, and more specifically, unknown tongues is a tradition linked to European, and especially English Bible translation tradition. The following examines how this phrase first began and then dominated our English Bibles.

  • Jean Calvin

    Luther may have started the Protestant movement but Calvin gave structure to it. This early Protestant leader clarified what speaking in tongues meant in his age.

  • Conyers Middleton

    Middleton railed against the mystical excesses of his age and popularized the notion that miracles had ceased. Not only this but first connected the Montanists with contemporary hyper-supernaturalism.

    Free Inquiry

    — a masterpiece on the arguments outlining miracles and why the supernatural gifts displayed by early Christians have ceased. Therefore, the christian doctrine of tongues is a moot point in contemporary practice.

  • John Lightfoot

    This seventeenth century English churchman and scholar had the unusual gift of reading and researching Jewish literature—unheard of in that geographic area at the time. His coverage of the Corinthian speaking in tongues takes both Church and Jewish literature into account. He produced a commentary on the subject unrivalled for almost 300 years.

  • The Camisards (18th century France)

    The Camisards were a Huguenot (French Protestant) group in the south-central reaches of France. There was heavy persecution against the Camisards and one of the reactions was the perception that many were divinely inspired to speak in tongues.

  • The Irvingites

    The Irvingite movement and its universal impact

    How an early 19th century group led by Edward Irving renewed interest in this gift. This event is the primary source of all Protestant theologies later developed on the subject.

1831-1900: The Doctrine of Glossolalia

Tongues as glossolalia is by far the most popular definition of speaking in tongues today. However, it is a recent addition to the christian doctrine of tongues. It is only 200 years old. This section deals entirely with the birth and rise of the Doctrine of Glossolalia and its effect on modern interpretation.

The Doctrine of Cessationism – a doctrine that reappears throughout Christian history

Cessationism: the idea that the supernatural age of miracles died out after the establishment of the church. It is an old doctrine but reappears with a more rigorous and structured framework within the early Protestant movement.


Note: other early Church writers push for partial cessationism where miracles such as tongues ceased while others perpetuated. This doctrine is an important part of Christian history that no one should easily dismiss. Cessationism is entirely rejected by Pentecostals and Charismatics. Catholics largely ignore the modern version because it is a debate largely confined to the Protestant communities.

1901 onwards: Pentecostal Tongues

The Gift of Tongues Project ends determining how the christian doctrine of tongues shifted from the supernatural ability to speak or hear a foreign language to glossolalia, ecstasy, or a private prayer language. The goal is not to detail every Pentecostal or Charismatic movement, only why the change occurred. There may occur many more meanings or slight modifications in either the Pentecostal or Charismatic movements since the 1930s. The GOT Project is unconcerned about these as the goals of the project are met.

Corinth from Jewish liturgical Perspectives

Defining and understanding the tongues of Corinth through ancient literature.

Tongues as a Prayer Language Series

OK, Paul does mention praying in tongues too. Pentecostal readers want more evidence on this subject, so this series is dedicated to answering this question.This series is currently in active development.

Other Related Articles/Videos/Publications

Miscellaneous notes on the GOT Project. Important websites and videos by people active inside either the Pentecostal or Charismatic movements. High content publications relating to speaking in tongues.