Archive for the ‘Holy Spirit’ Category

The Gift of the Interpretation of Tongues

This gift is the final one recorded in 1 Corinthians.

1 Corinthians chapter 12 verse 10 to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues.

The gift of tongues and interpretation of tongues are dependent on each other.  If nobody has the gift of tongues there is no need for anybody to have the gift of interpretation either.  Some Christians do indeed believe that there is no longer a gift of tongues so there is certainly no gift of interpretation.

1 Corinthians says that it is possible for a person with the gift of tongues to also have the gift of interpretation:-

1 Corinthians chapter 14 verse 13 Therefore, one who speaks in a tongue should pray for the power to interpret.

The apostle Paul who wrote the letter of Corinthians put guidelines in for the use of tongues.  If a tongue is used in public it should be interpreted.  If there is no one to interpret then a tongue alien to the common everyday language should not be spoken in a public meeting:-

1 Corinthians chapter 14 verses 27 & 28 If any speak in a tongue, let there be only two or at most three, and each in turn, and let someone interpret.  But if there is no one to interpret, let each of them keep silent in church and speak to himself and to God.

All gifts are for the common good and edification of the believers not purely for the individual exercising the gift.  They are certainly not for self exhortation.  If a tongue is spoken in public and there is no interpretation then nobody will benefit from it as they will not understand what has been said.

This gift has nothing to do with a person having any kind of training or insight.  It is a supernatural manifestation of the Holy Spirit.  The interpretation of tongues does not necessarily mean a direct translation of tongues.  A word for word translation of a tongue might not initially make any sense to the hearer.  But an interpretation of a tongue informs the people of what God is saying in words and sentences that they understand.  The writer of this point to ponder has had the privilege of publicly speaking in churches whose congregations were not English speakers.  My English words were interpreted in a way that was understandable to the hearers.  Sometimes sentences spoken by me became much shorter or longer when the interpreter relayed them to the hearers.  This interpretation process rather than a word for word translation allowed what I was saying to be fully understood.

All Bible quotes taken from the English Standard Version