Contributor: Alex Alajiki
Last week we focused on another gift of the Holy Spirit; divers kinds of tonques. The emphasis was being able to separate our prayer language from the operation of divers kinds of tongues. We can pray in our prayer language at will but we can’t operate the gift of divers kinds of tongue whenever we want. It was also noted that this is the only gift that was not in operation until the day of penticost according to Acts 2.
This week, we shall examine the gift of the Spirit that works with the gift of divers kinds of Tongues; Interpretation of Tongues
1) Prophecy, Tongues and Interpretation of Tongues ; 1 Cor. 14:5
". . . greater is he that prophesieth than he that speaketh with tongues, except he interpret. . ."
The three utterance gifts — prophecy, divers kinds of tongues, and interpretation of tongues —are very closely associated. The Bible plainly tells us that tongues with interpretation is equal to prophecy. By definition;
• Prophecy is supernatural utterance in a known tongue.
• Divers kinds of tongues is supernatural utterance in an unknown tongue
• Interpretation of tongues is the supernatural showing forth by the Spirit the meaning of an utterance in other tongues. It is not translation of tongues; it is the interpretation of tongues.
2) The Gift of Interpretation of Tongues; 1 Corinthians 12: 7-11
“But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; TO ANOTHER THE INTERPRETATION OF TONGUES: But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.”
The gift of interpretation of tongues is the only gifts of the Spirit that depends upon another gift — divers kinds of tongues — in order to operate. It does not operate unless divers kinds of tongues have been in operation.
The purpose of the gift of interpretation of tongues is to render the gift of tongues understandable to the hearers so that the whole church congregation, as well as the one who gave the utterance in an unknown tongue, may know what has been said and may be edified thereby. Paul said,". . . greater is he that prophesieth than he that speaketh with tongues, except he interpret, THAT THE CHURCH MAY RECEIVE EDIFYING" (1 Cor. 14:5). Another way of delivering supernatural message is by the manifestation of the gift of prophecy. For example, psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs are also given by the Holy Spirit through the gift of prophecy.
3) The Gift of Interpretation of Tongues In Our Private Prayer Life; 1Corinthians 14:13 "Wherefore let him that speaketh in an unknown tongue pray that he may interpret."
In private prayer, it is not necessary that everything we utter in other tongues be clear to our understanding, because Paul said, "For if I pray in an unknown tongue, my spirit prayeth, but my understanding is unfruitful" (1 Cor. 14:14).
Therefore, it isn't necessary that everything we pray in tongues be clear to our understanding or be interpreted because we are not talking to ourselves, we are talking to God. What we pray in tongues is clear to God and that is sufficient: "For he that speaketh in an unknown tongue speaketh not unto men, BUT UNTO GOD: for no man understandeth him; how-beit in the spirit HE SPEAKETH MYSTERIES" (1Cor. 14:2).
On some occasions God may desire that we interpret our prayers. Paul suggests this in 1 Corinthians 14:13 "Wherefore let him that speaketh in an unknown tongue pray that he may interpret."
There may be times, if it is as the Spirit of God wills, that we know what we are praying about in tongues in our personal devotions, and God will give us the interpretation.
4) The Gift of Interpretation of Tongues In Public Ministry; 1CORINTHIANS 14:27 ” If anyone speaks in a tongue, two — or at the most three — should speak, one at a time, and someone must interpret.” NIV
“If any man speak in an unknown tongue, let it be by two, or at the most by three, and that by course; and let one interpret.” KJV
Based on these scriptures, if three people have already spoken publicly in tongues, a fourth one should not join in and give out an utterance in tongues. If something else needs to be said, one of those who has already spoken should say it. That maintains good order and is consistent with this passage of Scripture where Paul was laying down principles of proper order for supernatural utterances in the local assembly. Notice that Paul said, " . . let one interpret" (1 Cor. 14:27). There is nothing in the Scriptures that would negate the thought that a person may speak with tongues and interpret the utterance himself. In fact, one of those who is giving the message in tongues may certainly interpret it himself. Or there may be more than one person who could interpret it. According to 1 Corinthians 14:13, those who speak in other tongues are instructed to pray for the gift of interpretation: "Wherefore let him that speaketh in an unknown tongue pray that he may interpret."
What Paul was saying here was that the reason a person is to seek for the gift of interpretation is not necessarily so that he can interpret publicly, but so that he can interpret his own prayers privately if God so wills. That would mean a great deal to his spiritual edification. Then if God did will to use him publicly, he would be equipped to operate in that realm as well. Actually, in First Corinthians 14:27 when Paul said, ". . . let ONE interpret," he was admonishing us not to have competitive interpretations; that is, two or three people trying to
Outdo one another by interpreting an utterance.
When someone is speaking with tongues, a person who is used often in the gift of interpretation of tongues should immediately begin to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit's moving, if he is not already in tune with what the Holy Ghost is doing in the service. He should make himself available and be ready for the Lord to use him in the operation of that gift.
The interpretation of tongues is not a translation. Interpretation is simply showing forth supernaturally by the Spirit of God the meaning of what was said in tongues, and it may not take as many words to declare what was said.
A final point about tongues and interpretation of tongues is that Paul said, ". . . Let all things be done unto edifying" (1 Cor. 14:26). When the gift of tongues and interpretation of tongues is manifested by the Spirit of God (and this is one way to judge if it is by the Holy Spirit or not), the utterance will be edifying, inspiring, and a blessing. Of course, if we ourselves are out of tune with the Spirit, we will not always be in a position to judge.
This study was extracted from Kenneth E. Hagin’s book; The Spirit and His Gifts.