The Relevance of Speaking in Tongues and Giving Interpretation
Welcome to the concluding part of the on-line bible study in which we have been prayerfully considering 1 Corinthians 12:7-11. In this final installment we will explore gifts of tongues and interpretation. Verse 10 of 1 Corinthians 12 reads, ‘to another, different kinds of languages, to another, interpretation of languages’. When you speak in a tongue it is in a language different than your own. Strongs defines the Greek word translated language in this way: ‘The Greek word glossa has traditionally been translated as “tongue” because the Greek word is used for the organ of speech as well as for a language. Some see glossolalia as having a specialized meaning: either ecstatic speech or heavenly languages.’ When interpreting the tongue it is utilizing the ability given by the Spirit to give the meaning of the words previously spoken in the unknown language. The interpretation does not have to come as an exact translation. How do you know if you are to give an interpretation after someone speaks in an unknown language or ‘tongue’? Perhaps you will have a ‘fluttery’ sense in your abdomen or words of Scripture that ‘must be spoken’. Maybe you will perceive words or even a picture. Go ahead and provide the interpretation you were given and see what else shall follow. Even though these two gifts are supplied by the Spirit, it is always under your control whether or not you will speak them.
One point I think is particularly important to take note of is the different kind of tongues. One is for personal spiritual edification (1 Corinthians 14:5, 26-27) and the other is for public ministry. As stated in 1 Corinthians 12:28, not all believers have a public ministry of tongues (A language or ‘tongue’ for personal spiritual edification is not what is spoken about here in this verse) as is true for gifts of healing, miracles, or teachers. All yielded baptized-in-the-Spirit believers have the ability to operate in tongues for personal spiritual edification. Have you ever wondered what would be the purpose of speaking in another language or ‘tongue’? I think of 1 Corinthians 2:13-15. ‘We also speak these things, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual things to spiritual people. But the unbeliever does not welcome what comes from God’s Spirit, because it is foolishness to him; he is not able to understand it since it is evaluated spiritually’. If the Spirit is speaking to us it will be communicated for our understanding. Do you think He will at times speak to us in a heavenly language? His Spirit to our spirit. When we are filled and yielded to the Spirit then we are influenced by the Spirit. Have you ever pondered the idea that if we speak things taught by the Spirit then we can also use the Spirit’s language at times? Praise God.
According to the Linguistic Society of America, “much pioneering work in documenting the languages of the world has been done by missionary organizations (such as the Summer Institute of Linguistics, now known as SIL International) with an interest in translating the Christian Bible. As of 2009, at least a portion of the bible had been translated into 2,508 different languages, still a long way short of full coverage”. How amazing! Did you know there are about 6800 to 6900 distinct languages in the modern world? Have you ever thought of the Spirit’s ability to speak intimately to believers in these vast number of languages? Through the Spirit, we are able to manifest what is beneficial to His people such as a message of wisdom and knowledge, faith, gifts of healing, working of miracles, prophecy, distinguishing between spirits, different kinds of languages and interpretation of languages. Would you be willing to be yielded to the Spirit if He desired to reach someone in our midst by a word spoken through us in an unknown language? How incredible! Lord, I desire to look beyond my present understanding and set my eyes on things that have eternal purposes.
♥Prayer: Father, I repent of beliefs I have held that do not line up with Your word and demolish barriers that have kept me from Your best. Forgive me Lord if I have held steadfast to notions that has caused my mind to think less than what you really are. Give me spiritual eyes so I can see things that have eternal purposes instead of my main focus being rooted in things of this earth. I hunger for my spiritual awareness to be weightier than the common awareness of things my senses reveal. I desire to yield to Your Spirit and to be Your instrument to reach Your people in whatever way You choose. I ask the Spirit to teach me things of Himself and I will be open to learning Spiritual things that my intellect may have rejected in the past. My desire is to live in-step with the Spirit, however that may look. I ask and receive in the name of Jesus in which all things are possible.
Praise God for time in prayer and worship!
♥1 Corinthians 14:2 For the person who speaks in another _______________________ is _________ speaking to men but to ____________, since no one ___________________________ him; however, he speaks __________________ in the ___________________. This verse is describing a time when man is speaking to God and is a (devotional) language for personal edification and therefore needs no interpretation. It is for private communion with God and is for the purpose of edification of your own spiritual life. I remember a season I was praying intensely with my understanding and I stopped and began praying in the Spirit without a mindful direction of the prayer. A peace came over me and I had such joy with the revelation of knowing God knew my situation and I had allowed Him full control. My joy did not come from the knowledge of any outcome but solely from the knowledge of His presence! Don’t you just know that when He is present in a situation it will be perfect! More than we could ever ask or think! Hallelujah!
The gift of tongues (1 Corinthians 12:28) is manifested when a believer, baptized in the Spirit is inspired to speak in tongues while assembled with others. The interpretation of the tongue should follow. ♥1 Corinthians 14:27-28 If _______ person speaks in another ___________________, there should be _________ two, or at the _________ three, each in __________, and someone must ______________. But if there is _____ _________________, that person should __________ ___________ in the ______________ and speak to ____________ and to _________. If believers are assembled with unbelievers or an uninstructed believer, this should not be used unless an explanation is given. 1 Corinthians 12:23 explains: Therefore, if the whole church assembles together and all are speaking in other languages and people who are uninformed or unbelievers come in, will they not say that you are out of your minds?
♥1 Corinthians 12:28, 30 And God has _________________ these in the church. Do ________ speak in other ________________? Do all ________________? Paul is speaking of ministering gifts that God has set in the church. Since believers operate as a body (Each with different functions that are meant to work together effectively. Not everyone needs to operate in every gift.) If everyone ministered to the assembly in a different tongue who would be present to manifest God’s healing? If everyone taught then who would listen? And why would everyone be used to manifest God’s miracles all at once? God is one of order not disorder. As His child we are to act in the exact manner. We do not do anything impulsively. If you sense the Spirit giving a witness to your spirit, pray quietly and ask if you are to share. If you are, then by all means do so! Never speak out by interrupting or steamrolling but mention the Lord has brought something to you and you would like to share.
♥1 Corinthians 14:22 It follows that speaking in other _____________________ is ___________________ as a _____________, not for believers but for _________________. This is a language spoken that needs interpretation. If an unbeliever hears a tongue and the interpretation convicts them of sin, it is meant as a sign inspiring them to turn to Jesus.
♥1 Corinthians 14:13-17 Therefore the person who speaks in another language should _________________ that he can ________________. For if I _____________ in another __________________________, my spirit ___________, but my understanding is ____________________. What then? I will ____________ with the ____________, and I will also _____________ with my __________________. I will _________ with the ____________, and I will also __________ with my _____________________. Otherwise, if you praise with the spirit, how will the uninformed person say “ Amen” at your giving of thanks, since he does not know what you are saying? For you may very well be giving thanks, but the other person is not being built up. Amen! The sole intention of gifts is for edification, comfort, and encouragement. If you have been given a gift of the Spirit and it is meant for your edification, keep it for a private time. If, however, it is meant for edification, comfort, or encouragement of other believers then it should be brought forth. In these verses, Paul is speaking of the importance of edification of others. In the preceding verses, He explains how we should desire to be close to each other and not be so distinct that we cause a separation between believers. If someone speaks in a tongue and there is no interpretation no one benefits and the result is fruitless. Verse 13 says the person who speaks in another language should pray that he can interpret. If Scripture instructs us to pray for something, why not do it? Let us all pray to interpret.
♥Acts 2:1-8 When the day of Pentecost had arrived, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a __________________ like that of a violent rushing _____________ came from _____________, and it ___________ the whole house where they were staying. And ______________, like flames of _________ that were divided, appeared to them and ___________ on each one of them. Then they were all ___________ with the ________ __________ and began to ____________ in different _________________, as the Spirit gave them ______________ for speech. There were Jews living in Jerusalem, devout men from every nation under heaven. When this sound occurred, a crowd came together and was confused because each one heard them speaking in his own language. And they were astounded and amazed, saying, “Look, aren’t all these who are speaking Galileans? How is it that each of us can hear in our own native language? In Jewish tradition there were three signs of the Spirit’s coming – wind, fire, and inspired speech. (This alone could justify an entire study) What were they speaking? The magnificent acts of God! Shall we be so filled with the Spirit that there is nothing more to say? Glory to God that it be so! May our lives be so filled with the Spirit that what impacts our heart and therefore overflows from our mouths are the magnificent acts of God.
♥Mark 16:17 And these ____________ will accompany those who _______________: In My ______________ they will drive out demons; they will speak in ________ ____________________. Acts 2:1-8 demonstrates the new tongues that Christ told them they would speak with in this verse. Jesus spoke with the Eleven and gave them instructions to go into all the world and preach the gospel. He informed them that one of the signs that accompanied believers would be speaking in new languages (tongues).
♥1 Corinthians 14:4a The person who ________ in another ___________ _________ himself up. This is speaking of personal spiritual edification. There is no indication here that the person understand the language or tongue. The word ‘builds up’ is interesting. The Greek word refers to a house builder, embolden, to build from the foundation, to restore by building, to rebuild or repair. Metaphorically it speaks of promoting growth in Christian wisdom, affection, grace, virtue, holiness, and blessedness. So a person who speaks in another language or tongue for personal spiritual edification is like a person building a house beginning with a solid foundation of impeccable Christian values. Does it get any better?
♥1 Corinthians 14:18-19 I thank God that I speak in other _____________ more than all of you; yet in the ________________ I would rather speak five words with my understanding, in order to ______________ others also, than 10,000 words in another language. Paul could responsibly speak in other languages more than the others. Here he is speaking not of tongues for personal edification but for ministry in the church. If a tongue is brought forth but no interpretation is offered than the tongue does not bring edification to the church and is therefore not helpful.
~The next three verses are not directly related to tongues or the interpretation but are beneficial for maturity and deserve notice.
♥Ephesians 4:29 No __________ language is to come from your mouth, but only what is good for _________________ up someone in need, so that it gives _____________ to those who hear. If we are to be so graced by God’s words He desires to come forth from us, why would we ever want to pollute our mouth with foul language? We should avoid this type of behavior and go on to maturity! Lay aside the behaviors and thoughts of unbelievers and stand out from among them. Let us move on to maturity!
♥James 3:10-12 _______________ and _______________ come out of the __________ mouth. My brothers, these things _____________ ________ ___________ this way. Does a ___________ pour out _______ and __________ water from the same opening? Can a fig tree produce olives, my brothers, or a grapevine produce figs? Neither can a saltwater spring yield fresh water. Let us move on to maturity!
♥Colossians 3:8 But now you must also ______ ___________ all the following: _________, ____________, malice, slander, and filthy ________________________ from your mouth. (Also consider James 3:4-6) If the words of the Spirit of God shall come forth from our mouths why would we ever expect such holy things to pass through such pollution? What union can there be between God’s sanctuary (which is what you are) and things we allow to pollute that sanctuary? From the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks. What are we allowing to penetrate our hearts? It is wrong for believers to join in the ways of the wicked and profane. Let us move on to maturity!
Thank you Lord for the exhortation from 1 Peter 4:7-11. Now the end of all things is near; therefore, be serious and disciplined for prayer. Above all, maintain an intense love for each other, since love covers a multitude of sins. Be hospitable to one another without complaining. Based on the gift each one has received, use it to serve others, as good managers of the varied grace of God. If anyone speaks, it should be as one who speaks God’s words; if anyone serves, it should be from the strength God provides, so that God may be glorified through Jesus Christ in everything. To Him belong the glory and the power forever and ever. Amen.
If God’s love can conquer you whereby leading you to submit yourself completely to God, you can serve Him in ways you never imagined. Peace results when your will is dethroned in your heart and the Lord is allowed to reign. If this has not been settled, inner turmoil is created as a result of your desires relentlessly devising ways to usurp the King. Shall we cast aside immaturity once and for all and demand our will pledge its loyalty to the King? Bow your heart not just your knees at the throne of grace. Now stand alongside the Darling of heaven wearing your new Kingdom clothing, the robe of righteousness. Grieving the Sprit of God by lessening His ability to manifest Himself through you is a thing of the past. Rise purchased child, and live your remaining days on this earth fully yielded to the Spirit and thereby fulfilling your calling.
Please indicate in the comment section any spiritual growth you have received – my heart desires to know! If you have received knowledge of your gift in the Spirit and desire to see manifestations of the Spirit you must get out there and serve. May the Lord bless you as you go in faith and expect magnificent demonstrations of His Spirit as you minister to His people. May the Lord’s face shine upon you and give you peace as you go forth “good and faithful servant” of the living God!
Remember: (1) Pray the prayer throughout the week (or your own specific prayer relating to tongues and interpretation) asking the Lord to reveal insight to you. *Try not to take your prayer time lightly as you seek the Lord regarding insight into these gifts of the Spirit. (2) Fast as you are able on Tuesday. (3) Complete the Scripture blanks for further study. And (4) if you have not already done so, add your name in the comment section indicating your intent to participate – it is never too late!
In His grace,