God, through the apostle Paul, tells us that He doesn’t want us to be ignorant of spiritual things: “Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I do not want you to be ignorant” (1 Corinthians 12:1). Yet, so many of us are completely in the dark about the gifts and manifestations of the Holy Spirit. What a hinderance this has been in our personal lives and in the life and development of the Church.
“The manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit, 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. But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills” (1 Corinthians 12:7–11; Emphasis mine).
First, I want us to notice that it says interpretation and not translation. If it was a translation, it would be word for word. But it’s an interpretation indicating that we’re getting the essence of what was said.
What is “interpretation of tongues”? It is the supernatural speaking forth of the meaning of a tongue. Tongues are supernatural speaking forth in an unknown tongue, and the interpretation of tongues is the supernatural speaking forth of the meaning of the tongue.
As we said before, if one of the gifts of the Spirit is spiritual, then all of them are. The interpretation of tongues is a spiritual gift that interprets what someone gave in a tongue. What it’s not is an educational learning of another language and then being a interpreter.
Probably the biggest reason for church ignorance of spiritual gifts is we don’t see them being used in the church. People don’t even know they’re available. The next big issue is Church leadership “poo-poos” the idea of the gifts being available today. Again, this is an ignorance problem. The only way to overcome ignorance is to find out and study out that which we’re ignorant of. Burying our heads in the sand only produces more ignorance and gives place for the devil to get in.
The Equivalent of Prophecy
Tongues and interpretation of tongues it equals prophecy: “He who prophesies is greater than he who speaks with tongues, unless indeed he interprets, that the church may receive edification” (1 Corinthians 14:5).
Prophecy is to bring edification, exhortation, and comfort to the hearers (1 Corinthians 14:3). Therefore, tongues and interpretation of tongues will do the same.
We can compare tongues and the interpretation of tongues like a nickel compares to a dime. It takes two nickels to equal a dime, just so, it takes tongues and interpretation of tongues to equal prophecy.
A message given in a different language (tongues) can be interpreted by someone else or by the person who delivered the message in tongues. We can also do this in our own prayer time, but I’m mostly dealing with the public service of the gifts. Nonetheless, probably the best place to develop these two gifts is to start in our own private time with God.
Stay strong and prepared!