Summary: The gift of interpretation of tongues is the least gift of all the utterance gifts because it has to depend upon another gift in order for it to operate. It cannot function unless the gift of tongues has been in operation.
By: Donna J. Kazenske
1 Cor. 12:7-10 - "But 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 the gift of 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."
The gift of interpretation of tongues is the least gift of all the utterance gifts because it has to depend upon another gift in order for it to operate. It cannot function unless the gift of tongues has been in operation.
The gift of interpretation of tongues is the supernatural showing forth, by the Spirit, the meaning of an utterance given in tongues. It’s not a translation of tongues; it’s an interpretation of tongues.
The word translate means: word for word, or as near to exact meaning as is spoken.
The word interpret means: to paraphrase the meaning; to give the sum and substance of; or to bring out the gist (main theme or central idea of a matter) of the meaning of what is being said.
Have you ever heard someone give a very short message in tongues, and when the interpretation was given it seemed to be so much longer? Your mind probably began to work overtime trying to figure out if the person giving the interpretation "missed it". We must remember that an interpretation is a paraphrased meaning of what has been spoken forth. It’s not a word for word translation.
We must also realize that our personalities and character traits will be manifested through us as we bring forth prophetic words. Those who are very intelligent and use big fancy words when they speak will more than likely do the same when they are bringing forth a word from God. Those of us who are more “country type” folk, will tend to keep the messages simple, brief and to the point. That’s one thing I enjoy so much about the ministry of Jesus. He kept His message simple, clear and to the point. As a result, multitudes followed Him just to hear what He had to say.
Have you ever been around someone who is a "detail" person? I mean they give you every single detail of their grocery shopping experience, and it usually takes them about 30 minutes just to get you inside the store. Other people are very quick, brief and to the point. They don’t mess around with details; they get straight to the point. I like these kinds of people.
God has supernaturally formed every one of us with different personalities, qualities and character traits that make up who we are. Our personality and character will be both seen and heard when we interpret a message from the Lord. If we are very demonstrative when we talk, we will be demonstrative when we give the word of the Lord. If we are very loud and fired up for Jesus, this will also come forth in the message. If we are a detail type person, the interpretation that we give might be longer than the tongue that was given because we are giving the nitty gritty details that will help the listeners understand more fully. So, the final interpretation of the message given will depend upon who interprets the message. It won’t change the meaning of the message, because it’s the Lord who is giving it, but it will come forth through each interpreter in different ways according to their personality type and makeup.
If you are used quite frequently to give messages in tongues, you should also ask the Lord to give you the gift of interpretation of tongues because you never know when God will give you a message in tongues, and you will be the only one in the church service who has the capability to interpret. If there’s no one available who can interpret, then you are responsible to bring forth the interpretation.
1 Cor. 14:13 - Therefore let him who speaks in a tongue pray that he may interpret.
1 Cor. 14:27-28 - If anyone speaks in a tongue, let there be two or at the most three, each in turn, and let one interpret. But if there is no interpreter, let him keep silent in church, and let him speak to himself and to God.
In the Scripture passage above, Paul was speaking some needed instruction to the believers at Corinth. The Corinthian church was misusing and abusing the gifts of the Holy Spirit, and as a result, this was bringing much confusion and strife into their midst. Paul was writing this letter to give them clear instructions regarding the proper use and function of these gifts. In verse 33 of this same chapter, Paul says, "For God is not the author of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints." He was explaining to them that their misuse and abuse of the gifts was creating confusion instead of peace. There are times when we all need to be corrected and instructed by those who are more knowledgeable regarding spiritual things. We shouldn’t allow their words to offend us, but we should receive their instruction with a teachable heart and a right attitude. What they speak could have the capability to change our lives for eternity.