Summary: In the second of this two part series on " Tongues - Theory and Experience" we will touch also on the interpretation of tongues.
The main purpose the Holy Spirit came down at Pentecost was to find, equip and adorn the bride of Christ – the Church and to escort her safely through this world and present her to Jesus – a pure and spotless bride (1).
In Genesis chapter 24 there is a beautiful illustration of how Abraham went about obtaining a bride for his son Isaac. The types in this account are as follows:-
Abraham … a type of God the Father
Isaac … a type of Son
Servant … a type of Holy Spirit
Rebecca … a type of Church
When the servant went to seek a bride for Isaac, he loaded ten camels to take with him. Included in these loads were precious gifts of jewellery.
In the New Testament, nine beautiful gifts of the Holy Spirit are listed in 1 Cor. 12: 8 - 10.
For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit;
To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit;
To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues:
Two words are used commonly in speaking of the gifts (2). One is charisma (or plural, charismata), gift of God’s love; the other is phanerosis, manifestation.
The word gift serves to remind us that these blessings cannot be earned but that they are freely given by God to His children.
In my own experience shortly after being born again I started to speak in tongues but they sounded repetitive. At this time I was living in Calgary, Canada.
Several months later a lady told me there were two people in my life that I should forgive. I did this right away and about one week later felt led to drive from my abode in Calgary out into the country side to a small town called Okotoks … about one hour drive away.
I spoke in tongues all the way there. Once in the Okotoks area I began to get a sudden release in my heavenly language in that I started to have more variety in tongues and also sing in tongues. I remember the tremendous joy associated with this experience.
It is significant to note that a friend of mine was consistently able to interpret my tongues after the Okotoks trip.
In 1 Cor. 14 Apostle Paul teaches on tongues and interpretation of tongues. Points that are pertinent here include:-
1. He that speaketh in an unknown tongue edifieth himself ( v.4a ).
According to The Hebrew - Greek Key Study Bible (3) the word edify here means to build, build up, rebuild, strengthen and benefit.
2. Tongues and interpretation of tongues together have the same benefit as prophesy (v.5).
3.Wherefore let him that speaketh in an unknown tongue pray that he may interpret. ( v.13)
It is obvious that there is a private side of speaking in tongues and interpretation of tongues as well as a public side.
On one occasion I was walking down a road by myself speaking in tongues and at a certain point the language suddenly changed. With the change in utterance the interpretation became manifest. To this day I can remember the approximate location of this phenomena and also the gist of the interpretation.
In public have also received interpretation of tongues spoken by others. One early example involved an invitation to a person’s flat ( apartment ) for dinner together with others. After the meal one of the men present spoke in tongues and suddenly without warning I realised I had the interpretation of the tongues uttered.
1. Prince, Derek, Teaching Letter No. 21
2. Bennett, Dennis and Rita, “ The Holy Spirit and You “, Logos (1971).
3. Zodhiates, Spiros,” The Hebrew - Greek Key Study Bible”, AMG Publishers (1996).