What is the Gift of Tongues and Interpretation of Tongues?

If you want to stir up controversy in the body of Christ, it seems like teaching on speaking in tongues is the ticket to do it!  If you aren’t familiar with this gift or if it is still for today, check out this teaching I recently did on the Heavenly Language!  In this message, I teach on praying in the Holy Spirit or the personal prayer language.  

Speaking in tongues is a gift the Bible teaches still exists today.  For the purpose of this article, I’m not going to defend that position further here, but would refer anyone who has questions back to the video teaching.  In this article, I want to teach about the public gift of speaking in tongues and the interpretation of tongues which is discussed in 1 Corinthians 12:10:

10 to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. 

According to1 Corinthians 12:7 each of the nine manifestation gifts of the spirit are given to benefit the body.  This brings up the question, how does someone beginning to speak in an unknown language during a church service benefit the body?  

1 Corinthians 14:2 says that when a person prays in tongues they aren’t speaking to men, but to God.  It goes on to say that person is speaking mysteries in the spirit.  They are effectively praying in a heavenly spiritual language that comes from God.  According to 1 Peter 1:12 the Holy Spirit comes from heaven so when a person prays in the spirit, God in heaven is doing the praying for them; He’s just using their vocal cords to do it. 

Think about how awesome that is for a minute.  We all have had times we don’t know what to pray or how to pray.  Isn’t it awesome that God gave us a way to have the Holy Spirit pray for us in those situations?  That’s what happens when we pray in tongues.

What’s even more awesome is God gives us the ability or grace to interpret the tongue so we can understand what we are praying. The gift of interpretation of tongues is when the Holy Spirit gives us the ability to understand the tongue that is being spoken.  After the words are spoken, God then releases the wisdom He wants to give us through the interpretation of the tongue.

Many times during church, I will begin to pray in tongues to myself during worship and then all of a sudden I have a knowing that God wants to heal someone.  This is me interpreting my own tongue to benefit the body.  According to 1 Corinthians 14:5 when we interpret our own tongue we are prophesying (speaking under divine influence).  For more on the gift of prophecy, click here.

Other times God will have someone give a public tongue that everyone in the worship service can hear.  When a person does this someone in the church should interpret the tongue  according to 1 Corinthians 14:28.  In my own experience, if no one is able to interpret the tongue, the speaker should seek God for the interpretation so the rest of the body is blessed!

The gist of 1 Corinthians 14 is Paul explaining how to maintain church order while having the gifts of the spirit in operation.  Paul said when a person is speaking publicly they are better to say 5 words in a known language than 10,000 words in an unknown tongue (unless there is an interpretation) so the entire church is built up.  Paul says in verse 23 speaking in the known language especially helps unbelievers who attend church because if everyone speaks in unknown tongues they will think everyone at church is crazy!  At his heart, God is a practical God!  Even when He gives a rather unusual gift, His heart is always to bless people!

I hope this article and the video teaching from last weekend have helped clear up some confusion about speaking in tongues.  If you have more questions, please send us an email at https://gracelifetriad.com/contact/.  I do know this is a very controversial topic and there is a variety of teaching about it so you may have additional questions I didn’t address in this article or the video please don’t hesitate to email me.

As I close I do want to share one last verse out of 1 Corinthians 14:

39 Therefore, brethren, desire earnestly to prophesy, and do not forbid to speak with tongues.

Paul wrote that we should never forbid to speak with tongues.  I believe it is because it’s a heavenly language that is the key to unlocking breakthrough!  If you have never spoken in tongues before, I’d encourage you to ask the Holy Spirit to feel your mouth with His words and then begin to speak them out as He gives them to you!  If you do already pray in tongues, I’d encourage you to continue to pray in the spirit so God can speak His wisdom through you and build you up on your most Holy faith!  

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