We have now come to
the third and final Utterance Gift. This Gift is called the Interpretation of
By definition the
Interpretation of Tongues is a supernatural utterance inspired by the Holy
Spirit, which interprets an unknown Tongue.
“Wherefore let him
that speaketh in an unknown tongue pray that he may
interpret.” (1Corinthians 14:13)
Here the Apostle Paul
tells us that we should pray, asking the Holy Spirit to enable us to interpret
our Tongues. He’s referring to the Believer interpreting what they pray out in other
Tongues during their private or corporate prayer times.
There is another type
of Interpretation of Tongues as well. This is the public Interpretation of
Tongues for use in public services. Everyone can pray and interpret their own Tongues in private. However, not everyone can pray
and interpret their own Tongues or another’s Tongues in
public services. This is a separate and a unique form of the Gift that is not
possessed by every Believer.
Let’s read what the
Apostle Paul said.“Have all the gifts
of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret?” (1Corinthians )
Here Paul could only
be referring to the public Gift of Tongues and Interpretation because the
Baptism with the Holy Spirit and the speaking with other Tongues is promised to every Believer. (Acts 1:8) The public Gift of
Interpretation of Tongues is not promised to every Believer. It is the public
Gift of Tongues and Interpretation that Paul referred to when he said, “Do all
speak with tongues? Do all interpret?” Of course, all do not possess the public
Gift of Tongues and Interpretation. Therefore, the implied answer to Paul’s
question is “No. All do not possess the public Gift of Tongues and
So we see that there
are indeed two separate manifestations of the Gift of Tongues and
Interpretation. Whether you possess the public Gift as well as the private Gift
or only the private Gift, interpretation basically operates the same way. Let’s
look at how that happens.
It is not the easiest
job in the world to explain how Spiritual Gifts operate but it is doable.
Although the Interpretation of Tongues is the ability to translate into a known
tongue something that has been spoken in an unknown Tongue, it doesn’t just end
there. There are different ways for interpretations to come. I will describe
my experiences, which are similar to the experiences of many.
I’ve had times when I
or someone else would speak forth in an unknown Tongue, publicly or privately.
I would then see something, on the inside
of my spirit. Something like a still picture, possibly even a moving
picture. In pre-DVD days, one Prophetess of God referred to this as, “Video
prophecies.” I would simply describe out loud what I was seeing in my spirit in
a way that would honor God and edify the hearing congregation. This is one way
an interpretation can come.
Sometimes, one or two
words will come to me. As I am obedient to speak those words forth by faith,
not knowing where they are leading me, the rest of the interpretation will
follow. This took a little getting used to, but after a time or two I realized
that the Holy Spirit will always be there to meet me if I’ll just step out and
speak the few words I already have by faith. It sounds a little scary, but the Holy Spirit will never
leave you hanging. He won’t embarrass you.
Then there are times
when I actually just know down in my spirit what the “gist” of the
interpretation is. Sometimes it’s a Scripture verse. Sometimes it’s a subject
or a theme. I’ll begin to explain aloud that which I am
knowing inwardly and the Holy Spirit always helps me to present it in a
Scriptural and in an encouraging way.
Just keep this in
mind. Interpreting Tongues, publicly or privately, is a whole lot simpler than
describing how to interpret Tongues, publicly or privately.
Some individuals are
gifted to both speak and interpret Tongues publicly. Some individuals are
gifted only to speak Tongues out publicly but they are unable to interpret
publicly. These individuals should always be sure that there is an interpreter
present before they speak in a public Tongue. If no interpreter is present, the
Tongue should not be given.
“But if there be no
interpreter, let him keep silence in the church; and let him speak to himself,
and to God.” (1 Corinthians 14:28)
If one speaks
publicly in Tongues and no one interprets it for them, there is no condemnation
for making a mistake. However, it is best to not speak again until an
interpreter is present.
However, speaking in
Tongues in your private prayer time is quite another matter altogether. One may
speak at will and ask the Lord for the interpretation. (1 Corinthians 14:13) If
it is His will at that time, He will surely give it to you. If it is not, He
simply will not.
Interestingly, I have
discovered that whatever or whomever continues to come to mind while I’m
privately praying in Tongues is usually for what or for whom I am praying. I
then simply focus in on that. Interpretation of Tongues can indeed come in the
form of what consistently comes into your mind while you are praying. Once you
get settled down in prayer and get into the Spirit, this becomes a common
Keep in mind, just
like the Gift of
Prophecy, there are two kinds of Tongues and
Interpretation. One can simply be for edification, exhortation and comfort of
the Saints, containing no revelation or prediction. The other can contain
revelation or prediction, pointing towards things that will happen in the
By picking up your
Bible and simply reading First Corinthians chapter fourteen, you can learn much
about both kinds of Tongues and Interpretation.
Interpretation of Tongues is equivalent to the Gift of Prophecy. This is
because an interpreted Tongue has now become inspired utterance in a known
It has been often
stated, “Tongues plus Interpretation equals Prophecy.” Think of it this way.
Two five-dollar bills are equivalent to -dollar bill.
Although they’re totally different, the end result is identical!
We have come to the
end of our abbreviated study on the nine Gifts of the Holy Spirit and their
three categories. In closing this series, I would like to remind you of
something that I said to you way back in the Introduction.
It would be good for
you to memorize the name of each Gift as well as its definition. This was the
first thing I did when I discovered them nearly 25 years ago. The Holy Spirit’s
Gifts operate best through those who recognize and understand them
Please keep in mind
that each of these Gifts is a Supernatural Gift. They operate by the
Supernatural power of God. They have nothing to do with man’s natural
Soon you will
recognize which of the Gifts the Holy Spirit has imparted to you. Please keep
in mind that you cannot turn your Gifts on and off at will. The Holy Spirit
decides when and how your Gifts will operate. The best thing you can do is to
spend time worshipping God
and reading His Word. This always leads to greater manifestations of your
Be Blessed …joyalministries
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