Holy Spirit Series #12 tongues & Interpretations


12:1  Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I do not want you to be ignorant: Don’t Ignore / Don’t be Unaware



  V.4 Diversity of Gifts – Same spirit / v.5 Diversity of functions … same Lord !


2nd PURPOSE OF GIFTS V. 7   But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all:


3rd THE SOVERNIGNITY OF THE SPIRIT IN THE DISTRUBUTING OF THE GIFTS V.11  But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills.


We have looked at all of the gifts mentioned here but 2 Tongues & the Interpretation of Tongues

A)Define : 1st TONGUES 1st what it is not. It is NOT the ability to pick up a language quickly.


B)There are those that have the ability to pick up a language with great ease. This is NOT the gift of tongues.


What It Is

A)Speaking in tongues is speaking in a language, through the ability of the Holy Spirit, that you did not NATURALLY acquire.


B)It is the ability to WORSHIP God and PRAY in a language that you have not naturally learned.


C) Now we see examples of People speaking in tongues throughout the book of Acts – Lets consider the first place it occurs – Acts 2



2:1  When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.

2  And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting.

3  Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them.

4  And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.-   KEY


5  And there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men, from every nation under heaven. And when this sound occurred, the multitude came together, and were confused, because everyone heard them speak in his own language.

7  Then they were all amazed and marveled, saying to one another, "Look, are not all these who speak Galileans?

8       "And how is it that we hear, each in our own language in which we were born?


He gives a list of each background & language represented there & then says in v. 11 we hear them speaking in our own tongues the wonderful works of God."


So here we see that the tongues being uttered were directed to God in the form of PRAISE  speaking  forth the wonderful works of God."

A)   Now I believe that this is the nature of tongues – praise & worship oriented – in the spirit – proclaiming the goodness of God


B)   Primarily it is used in Praise






Now in 1Cor 14 Paul tells us of the Uniqueness of & the Purpose of this Gift – Note ____ Things

1Pursue love, and desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy. 2For he who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God, for no one understands him; however, in the spirit he speaks mysteries. 3But he who prophesies speaks edification and exhortation and comfort to men. 4He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself, but he who prophesies edifies the church. 5I wish you all spoke with tongues,  but even more that you prophesied; for he who prophesies is greater than he who speaks with tongues, unless indeed he interprets, that the church may receive edification.


A)Uniqueness of the gift – Not speaking to Men – But to God – where as the other gifts Prophecy /Wisdom / Knowledge – to men


B) 2nd the Person who speaks w/ Tongues edifies himself – the other gifts Edify the Church

1)   So in  Light of the Church – this would make tongues the least of the gifts because unless interpretation – there is no edification to the Body


18I thank my God I speak with tongues more than you all; 19yet in the church I would rather speak five words with my understanding, that I may teach others also, than ten thousand words in a tongue.


C)   So in the Context of the Body it is the least of the gifts but in the context of the individual believer it can be the Best

1) It edifies or Builds up the Believer


The Purpose Of The Gift

1.) It is given by God to AID the believer in his expression of praise and thanksgiving.


Paul said 1 Cor 14:15 I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also.


2.) It is given by God to AID us in prayer.

1 Cor 14:15  What is it then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also:


Rom 8: 26Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.


A)Prayer is NOT an instrument whereby our will is accomplished. The purpose of prayer is to see GOD’S WILL accomplished on earth.


B)The problem is that we do NOT always KNOW what HIS WILL is on every matter. That is a weakness.


EXAMPLE: You might have a friend and he has experienced a horrible reversal in his financial matters. He loses everything. Then he totals his car the day after his insurance had expired and his house falls into foreclosure.


Do I pray: ‘God, let him win the lottery..... Get him out of this mess?”


C) Or is it possible that God is doing something in his life? Perhaps he had become reliant upon his finances

1) or proud about the kind of car he was driving.


D)   Perhaps, because of his possessions, he is drifting further from God and thus God is seeking to pull him back into a deep commitment to Christ.

              1) Do I pray: “Turn up the heat” or “Turn off the heat”?



Paul said in those cases that the Spirit will make intercession for me at those times.

A)What a comfort to know that the Spirit is there to help me when I do  NOT know how to pray, because He KNOWS the perfect will of God.


B) Caution: There are plenty of Models of Prayer that we have in the scriptures to follow when we don’t know how to pray for folks

 1)This gift is not meant for us to Check out mentally babble in tongues in praying for people


C) But used in this way when you just don’t know how to pray / words just won’t come


So it is used for Praise to the Lord – Used in Prayer for intercession when I don’t know how to Pray / Also used as a Weapon


2 Cor 10:3-5  For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;


A)According to Eph. 6 our two primary offensive weapons are the word of God ( the sword of the Spirit & Prayer – Specifically Praying in the Spirit

1)  ( Last thing mentioned)


B) Now praying in the spirit can mean – Praying according to the Spirit – but I believe that it also has reference to speaking in tongues

1)   Use it as a tool in combating the attack of the enemy in my life


C) So the Uniqueness of the gift is that it EDIFIES ME – BUILDS ME UP

1)   Purpose : To aid the Believer in his Praise of God / His Prayer to God & his intercession for others / Help him battle in Spiritual warfare


Now lets consider the Use of this gift in the Body of Christ – See how it is to be accompanied by the Gift of the interpretation of tongues /1 Cor. 14

A) Now one of the first things that we are reminded of is that the gifts are for the Building up of the Body – Paul’s says prefers Prophecy



V. 5  I wish you all spoke with tongues,( great for you )  but even more that you prophesied;( great for the church )  for he who prophesies is greater than he who speaks with tongues, unless indeed he interprets, that the church may receive edification.


B) Because the Purpose of the gifts in the Context of the Church is so the Body can be built up / understanding & order are a Key 

1)   So tongues if it is going to benefit the body needs to be accompanied w/ interpretation


C) The gift of the Interpretation of tongues is a supernatural ability by the

     H.S. to be able to give an interpretation of a tongue that was spoken

1)   Thus the interpreter is interpreting a Language that He or she doesn’t     know & has possibly never even heard before.


Note V.6-12

Paul uses 3 simple illustrations To make  his point. That there needs to be understanding if there is to be edifying spiritual ministry taking place

A)  Musical instruments / trumpet calls to battle / & daily conversation !


B) If the Musical instrument does not give a clear distinct sound nobody will recognize the music being played ( what is that )

1)  Trumpet in battle - not clear charge or retreat !


A)  And there are many  Languages in world / but if I can not understand who cares it is no use to me !    ( Interpreters in Yugoslavia / Hungary )


D) Paul in using these 3 illustrations Is basically stating that Tongues are great but   if there is no one who can interpret it is like being in a foreign country !     Very frustrating


E) No one is going to be built up


So w/ that Paul gives these guidelines v.26-33


v.26 One has Psalm / a teaching / a tongue / and an Interpretation

A)Note on this – Tongues speaking to God & not man – the interpretation is going to be to God & not to man


B) Too often – Thus says the Lord – Oh my people –

1)   That might be a Prophecy but it is not an Interpretation Of tongues


C)  Interpretation Is going to be Addressed to God most likely in the form of Praise


V.27 – Two or at the most 3 w/ an Interpretation

V.28 No Interpretation let him keep silent – I have Control -


D) How does that work practically – Waiting on the Lord – tongue – I would say lets wait see if someone w/ the gift of Interpretation is here

1)   If not remain silent – No more tongues


Courson at the Bible College


v.33 Order in what God does he is not the Author of Confusion

V.40 Let all things be done decently & in order


The Consequence of Unrestricted Speaking in Tongues

1 Cor 14: 23Therefore if the whole church comes together in one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in those who are uninformed or unbelievers, will they not say that you are out of your mind?


24But if all prophesy, and an unbeliever or an uninformed person comes in, he is convinced by all, he is convicted by all. 25And thus the secrets of his heart are revealed; and so, falling down on his face, he will worship God and report that God is truly among you.



V.22 Contradiction 22Therefore tongues are for a sign, not to those who believe but to unbelievers; but prophesying is not for unbelievers but for those who believe   Context tongues w/ Interpretation are sign


A)So Do all speak in tongues ? No – why God is Sovereign


B) How Receive it – like the others ask