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Can Satan understand tongues?

Submitted: 5/31/2006
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Question: I have been taught that one of the reasons it is essential to be baptized with the gift of the Holy Ghost and speak in tongues is for spiritual warfare,specifically that the devil cannot understand tongues. So that when one prays in the spirit the devil is 'blinded' as to what is being said between man's spirit and God's. I am not disputing this. My question is how can this be efficiently explained to someone. A recommended book perhaps as well would help.

Answer: In 1 Corinthians 14:2 Paul wrote, '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.' This is the only verse we know of that suggests that perhaps the devil cannot understand when a believer is speaking in tongues. On the other hand, this may be reading too much into this verse.

We do not know where the teaching you have described orginated, and we do not know of any verses that explicitly support it. We also do not know of any books that make the case for it. Maybe the devil can understand tongues and maybe he can't. Frankly, we don't really care. The only thing that matters to us is that God can understand.

Concerning spiritual warfare, Ephesians 6:17-18 says, 'And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit....' We believe that the phrase 'in the Spirit' encompasses the idea of praying in tongues, although it may not mean that exclusively. This tells us that praying in tongues is an important part of spiritual warfare. But whether or not the devil understands us is, in our opinion, irrelevant.