Paul says in 1 Cor. 13 that speaking in tongues is speaking either an earthly or heavenly language:

“If I speak with the languages of men and of angels….”

Talbot mentions xenoalia, xenoglossy and glossolalia, explained here:

The difference between glossolalia, xenoglossia, and xenolalia has been a subject-matter of many studies and still remains non-conclusive.

The term glossolalia is derived from the Greek phrase glōssais lalein, which literally means “in tongues to speak.” It comes from two Greek words, glōssa, “tongue,” and lalia “speaking,” “language.”

Similarly, the term xenolalia comes from the Greek words xenos “foreign” and lalia “language,” and means “a foreign language.” Xenolalia occurs whenever a person speaks or prays in tongues that express an actual human language, which was previously unknown to the individual.

The term xenoglossy also comes from two Greek words, xenos, “strange”, “foreign” and glōssa, “tongue.” Xenoglossy too is speaking in a language unknown to the person. Here a person is able to speak or write a language he or she could not have acquired by natural means. It is speaking a real language entirely unknown to the speaker in his ordinary state.

glossolalia refers to speech like sounds considered to be a spiritual charism of the Holy Spirit for use in private or public prayer in a non-existent [heavenly or unknown earthly (1 Cor. 13:1) – ed.] language, xenoglossia is the ability to speak fluently a language the speaker has never learned.

Talbot says missionaries were able to supernaturally speak in native languages in the early 1900s, which also happened in Acts 2. I’ve heard of contemporary examples.

Chances are that both work the same way from the point of view of the Christian speaking, who just says the words the Holy Spirit gives him or her to say. God decides what words to speak and in what language, earthly or heavenly.

Why do many Christians not want to pray in tongues? JMT:

25:00 “Why is it troubling? People don’t want to babble like babies. They have college educations. Especially seminarians.”

“If you kind of do this [sits rigidly with hands clenched in fists], you’re no longer in a pliable attitude. You’re in a belligerent attitude, a proud attitude. So the Holy Spirit can’t work in your life fully.”

“If you say ‘I’ll do anything except….’ As soon as ‘except’ is acceptable you’ve just stifled the full work of the Holy Spirit in your life.”

Gifts of the Holy Spirit – Tongues and Interpretations – John Michael Talbot

Jan 16, 2019


1-15-2019 – John Michael Talbot leading teaching and singing from St. Clare Monastery in Houston, TX on the Gifts of the Holy Spirit.

Learn more about John Michael Talbot’s community “The Brothers and Sisters of Charity at Little Portion Hermitage and Monastery” at:

Official John Michael Talbot website: