MEMORY VERSE: 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. But if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the church; and let him speak to himself, and to God. 1 Corinthians 14:27-28
BIBLE IN ONE YEAR: Proverbs 16
There are two ways speaking in tongues may be manifested. Firstly, as a devotional language for private edification, needing no interpretation (1 Corinthians 14:2). This is the general speaking in tongues, and most of us are familiar with it. Secondly, there is the public manifestation of tongues, which should be interpreted. When a baptized-in-the-Holy-Spirit Christian is inspired to speak in tongues in the presence of others, with interpretation of tongues usually following, this is the Gift of Tongues. 1 Corinthians 14:27-28 says, “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. But if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the church; and let him speak to himself, and to God.” The gift of tongues is delivered or given to the listeners, and they are edified by the gift of Interpretation which follows.
There are two main ways the gift of tongues may be expressed in the gathered church. Firstly, through the gift of tongues and interpretation God may be speaking to the unbeliever and / or to believers. Although God does not speak in tongues, yet, He does guide yielded Christians to do so, and through tongues and interpretation He does speak to His people today. Isaiah 28:11 says, “For with stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to this people.” The gift of tongues is not a sign to the believer since he doesn’t need a sign, but it may be a sign to the unbeliever (usually unsought for), causing him to accept the Lord Jesus Christ. How can the gift of tongues be a sign to the unbeliever? Firstly, it may be a known language to the unbeliever with God speaking directly to him. Secondly, it may not be a known language, but the powerful impact of the message in tongues, normally accompanied by interpretation, may speak to the unbeliever, and be a sign to him. All these are a sign to the unbeliever that God is real, alive, and concerned about him. Several years back, a sister was sharing her experience with me. As she prayed in tongues, someone who spoke Japanese heard her speak fluent Japanese. Meanwhile, this particular sister only speaks Yoruba language and English! The gifts of tongues may also be a message from God to bless and exhort faithful people. Secondly, the gifts of tongues may also be a public prayer, praise, or thanksgiving to God. Though all baptized-in-the-Holy-Spirit believers can and should speak in tongues daily in their prayers, not all will minister the gift of tongues in a public meeting (1 Corinthians 12:30). If you believe that God wants you to manifest the gift of tongues, be prepared to pray also for the gift of interpretation in case there is no other person present yielded enough to do so ( 1 Corinthians 14:13). The interpretation of tongues is bringing the meaning of what has been said through the gift of tongues at a public meeting. The Holy Spirit could give the interpretation of what has been said to the fellow who spoke in tongues or another fellow in the congregation. Interpretation may come into one’s mind, in toto, or just a few beginning words may be given, and as the interpreter trusts the Lord and begins to speak, the rest of the message comes. Interpretation may also come in pictures or symbols, or by an inspired thought, or the interpreter may hear the speaking in tongues, or part of it, as though the person were speaking directly in English. Please note that speaking in tongues can be counterfeited as such the gift of discerning spirits is needed.
NOTE: The gift of tongues and interpretation of tongues is first of all a sign to unbelievers when manifested according to scriptural instructions.
Bro Samuel | Reaching the world