The Gospel of Mark chapter 16, verses 15 to 20
And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.
So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God. And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen.
On the day of Pentecost, when they all received the Holy spirit, they spoke in tongues. In Acts 10, when Cornelius and his family received the Holy Spirit, they spoke in tongues. In Acts 19, when the 12 received the Holy Spirit, they spoke in tongues.
When verses are used as proof texts they must contain a common thread. The common thread in all these examples is that they spoke in tongues. Whatever else happened is not proof that it should happen to anyone else, or that it should happen every time. The fact that speaking in tongues happened every time is proof of the concept that people speak in tongues when they receive the Holy Spirit. This was never the “Gift of Tongues”.
A little bit of technical information. Below is the definition of the word signs in the Greek language.
STRONG’S NUMBER: g4592
Dictionary Definition g4592. σημεῖον sēmeion; neuter of a presumed derivative of the base of 4591; an indication, especially ceremonially or supernaturally: — miracle, sign, token, wonder.
AV (77) – sign 50, miracle 23, wonder 3, token 1;
a sign, mark, token that by which a person or a thing is distinguished from others and is known, a sign, prodigy, portent, i.e. an unusual occurrence, transcending the common course of nature, of signs portending remarkable events soon to happen, of miracles and wonders by which God authenticates the men sent by him, or by which men prove that the cause they are pleading is God’s
Mark 16, 15-20 is as much a part of the Word of God as any other. There is no doubt about the verses that many claim are doubtful, belonging exactly where they are. That is a story for another page.
We see above in the definition of signs that they to identify the believer. This serves two purposes. To be able to identify ourselves amongst ourselves so that we know who the true believers are. God does not expect us just to take someone’s word that they are a true believer. The sign also proves to others that we are in fact pleading God’s cause, which is salvation and eternal life. Why would God do this weird thing? Because many we have met have said that they believe in God and Jesus, but are unsure about their eternal salvation and even fear death.
Whe a person receives the Holy Spirit, they speak in tongues, there is not a choice, it just happens. Why? because God said he confirms His word with signs following (or accompanying)
βεβαιόω bebaioō; from 949; to stabilitate (figuratively): — confirm, (e-)stablish.
AV – confirm 5, establish 2, stablish 1, 8
to make firm, establish, confirm, make sure