Posts Tagged ‘interpretation of tongues’


Under Gods Command
(Gifts of Prophecy and Tongues)

1 Corinthians 14: 22-25 Tongues, then, are a sign, not for believers but for unbelievers; prophecy, however, is not for unbelievers but for believers. So if the whole church comes together and everyone speaks in tongues, and inquirers or unbelievers come in, will they not say that you are out of your mind? But if an unbeliever or an inquirer comes in while everyone is prophesying, they are convicted of sin and are brought under judgment by all, as the secrets of their hearts are laid bare. So they will fall down and worship God, exclaiming, “God is really among you!”

The way the Corinthians were speaking in tongues was helping no one because believers did not understand what was being said, and unbelievers thought that the people speaking in tongues were crazy. Speaking in tongues was supposed to be a sign to unbelievers (as it was in Acts 2). After speaking in tongues, believers were supposed to explain what was said and give the credit to God. The unsaved people would then be convinced of a spiritual reality and motivated to look further into the Christian faith. While this is one way to reach unbelievers, Paul says that clear preaching is usually better.

Lets Bring it Home: When someone is Speaking In Tongues during Church service, is there, or should there by an interpreter present?


Under Gods Command

(Gifts of Prophecy and Tongues)

1 Corinthians 14:10-20 Undoubtedly there are all sorts of languages in the world, yet none of them is without meaning. If then I do not grasp the meaning of what someone is saying, I am a foreigner to the speaker, and the speaker is a foreigner to me. So it is with you. Since you are eager for gifts of the Spirit, try to excel in those that build up the church. For this reason the one who speaks in a tongue should pray that they may interpret what they say. For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my mind is unfruitful. So what shall I do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will also pray with my understanding; I will sing with my spirit, but I will also sing with my understanding. Otherwise when you are praising God in the Spirit, how can someone else, who is now put in the position of an inquirer, say “Amen” to your thanksgiving, since they do not know what you are saying? 1You are giving thanks well enough, but no one else is edified. I thank God that I speak in tongues more than all of you. But in the church I would rather speak five intelligible words to instruct others than ten thousand words in a tongue. Brothers and sisters, stop thinking like children. In regard to evil be infants, but in your thinking be adults. In the Laws it is written:  

 “Through men of strange tongues and through the lips of foreigners I will speak to this people, but even then they will not listen to me,”

Up to this point, Paul has been explaining that the gift of speaking in tongues was of no value to the congregation as a whole, only to the person who speaks to God in the unknown language. But if the person also has the gift of interpretation, the tongue could be used in public worship if the one praying (or someone else with the gift of interpretation) would then interpret what has been said. That way, the entire church would be edified by this gift.

Lets Bring it Home: There is a proper place for the intellect in Christianity. In praying and singing, both the mind and the spirit are to be fully engaged. When we sing, we should also think about the meaning of the words. When we pour out our feelings to God in prayer, we should not turn off our capacity to think. True Christianity is neither barren intellectualism nor thoughtless emotionalism. See also Ephesians 1:17, 18; Philippians 1:9–11; Colossians


Under Gods Command
(Gifts of Prophecy and Tongues)

1 Corinthians 14:6-12 Now, brothers and sisters, if I come to you and speak in tongues, what good will I be to you, unless I bring you some revelation or knowledge or prophecy or word of instruction? Even in the case of lifeless things that make sounds, such as the pipe or harp, how will anyone know what tune is being played unless there is a distinction in the notes? Again, if the trumpet does not sound a clear call, who will get ready for battle? So it is with you. Unless you speak intelligible words with your tongue, how will anyone know what you are saying? You will just be speaking into the air. Undoubtedly there are all sorts of languages in the world, yet none of them is without meaning. If then I do not grasp the meaning of what someone is saying, I am a foreigner to the speaker, and the speaker is a foreigner to me. So it is with you. Since you are eager for gifts of the Spirit, try to excel in those that build up the church. 

As musical instruments must play each note in order for the music to be clear, so Paul says words preached in the hearers’ language are more clear and helpful. There are many languages in the world (14:10), and people who speak different languages can rarely understand each other. It is the same with speaking in tongues. Although this gift is helpful to many people in private worship, and helpful in public worship with interpretation, Paul says he would rather speak five words that his hearers can understand than 10,000 that they cannot.

Lets Bring it Home: Paul confronted the self-oriented use of the gift of tongues. Spiritual people must be careful not to pursue self-development at the expense of broken, lost people. When we give too much attention to our own needs, ideas, and spiritual expression, we may push aside the Spirit’s true desire and abandon those who need encouragement. Follow Paul’s advice and make encouraging and edifying others the highest goal.


Under Gods Command 

1 Corinthians 14:1-5 Follow the way of love and eagerly desire gifts of the Spirit, especially prophecy. For anyone who speaks in a tongue does not speak to people but to God. Indeed, no one understands them; they utter mysteries by the Spirit. But the one who prophesies speaks to people for their strengthening, encouraging and comfort. Anyone who speaks in a tongue edifies themselves, but the one who prophesies edifies the church. I would like every one of you to speak in tongues, but I would rather have you prophesy. The one who prophesies is greater than the one who speaks in tongues, unless someone interprets, so that the church may be edified.

Prophecy may involve predicting future events, but its main purpose is to communicate God’s message to people, providing insight, warning, correction, and encouragement.

The gift of speaking in a tongue was a concern of the Corinthian church because the use of the gift had caused disorder in worship. Speaking in tongues is a legitimate gift of the Holy Spirit, but the Corinthian believers were using it as a sign of spiritual superiority rather than as a means to spiritual unity. Spiritual gifts are beneficial only when they are properly used to help everyone in the church. We should not exercise them only to make ourselves feel good.

Paul’s words to the Corinthians about tongues and prophecy have much to say to our generation. Many Christians struggle with the discussion of tongues. Paul would clearly say that no one should put down those Christians who speak in tongues, and those who speak in tongues should not disparage those who do not. Paul makes several points about speaking in tongues: (1) It is a spiritual gift from God (14:2); (2) it is a desirable gift even though it isn’t a requirement of faith (12:28–31); (3) it is less important than prophecy and teaching (14:4). Believers need unity and love. The enemy is not each other but the sinful world, Satan, and our selfish, sinful desires. But Paul would have another word for today: “I would like every one of you to speak in tongues.” Although Paul himself spoke in tongues, he stresses prophecy (preaching) because it benefits the whole church, while speaking in tongues primarily benefits the speaker. Paul would encourage us to be so in tune with the Spirit that his messages of comfort, encouragement, and edification would be heard in our congregations today.

Lets Bring it Home: Make sure your actions are encouraging and edifying.

 


Under Gods Command

1 Corinthians 12: 27-31 Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is part of it. And in the church God has appointed first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then workers of miracles, also those having gifts of healing, those able to help others, those with gifts of administration, and those speaking in different kinds of tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret? But eagerly desire the great gifts.

The greater gifts are those that are more beneficial to the body of Christ, Paul has already made it clear that one gift is not superior to another, but he urges the believers to discover how they can serve Christ’s body with the gifts God has given them.

Lets Bring it Home: Your spiritual gifts are not for your own self-advancement. They were given to you for serving God and enhancing the spiritual growth of the body of believers.


Under Gods Command

1 Corinthians 12:7-11 7 Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.

All Christians have faith. Some, however, have the spiritual gift of faith, which is an unusual measure of trust in the Holy Spirit’s power.

“Prophecy” does not just refer to predicting the future; it can also mean giving a message received from God to the community of believers: “The one who prophesies speaks to people for their strengthening, encouraging and comfort” (14:3). The prophet Joel had written the words of the Lord, “I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy” (Joel 2:28). As with the gift of faith, the ability to share one’s faith with power is available to everyone (see 14:1–5), but to some the Spirit gives a special measure of this gift. Paul wrote in Romans, “We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith” (Romans 12:6). Some have interpreted “prophecy” to be fulfilled in various sermons throughout church history. Others, however, say that prophecy is not a sermon, but a spontaneous, Spirit-inspired message that is orally delivered in the congregation for the edification and encouragement of the body of Christ.

Opinions differ over exactly what Paul meant by “tongues.” Some believe that this refers to speaking in earthly languages that a person did not say that this refers to an “ecstatic” language, a “heavenly” language. Most likely the second view is correct. Probably the only time that the word “tongues” refers to other earthly languages is when describing Pentecost. The rest of the time in the New Testament, the word refers to ecstatic languages unknown to anyone—languages of angels (13:1). Speaking in tongues is a legitimate gift of the Spirit. The exercise of the gift demands some guidelines (as noted in chapter 14) so that the purpose of the gift—to help the body of Christ—is not lost. Those who speak in tongues should follow the guidelines; those who do not speak in tongues ought not seek the gift as a sign of salvation or of special closeness with God, for it is neither. It is a gift of God, given only to whomever God chooses. If a person has not experienced the gift of tongues, he or she ought not seek it but seek what gifts God has given. For more, see the notes in chapter 14.

Lets Bring it Home: No matter what gift(s) a person has, all spiritual gifts are distributed by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit decides which gifts each believer should have. We are responsible to use and sharpen our gifts, but we can take no credit for what God has freely given us. Note that discussions about spiritual gifts usually create difficulties when two central points are overlooked: (1) Properly used, spiritual gifts are not self-serving but serve the whole body of Christ (12:7); (2) each gift becomes practically useless when used without love (chapter 13). As you seek to identify and utilize the gifts God has given you, make loving God and loving fellow Christians your highest motives.