Tongues & Interpretation of Tongues

Basically, there is a division between Christians. Some think all spiritual gifts remain today, they are known as Continualists, and others think the apostlostic spirits (tongues/interpretation of tongues, healing, prophecy, and miracles) have ceased, they are known as Cessionalists.

The way I look at it, dreams were used by God in both the Old and New Testament, and I believe, as I have shared, that God continues to use dreams. There were periods of silence and then we see God use dreams to speak to people again. I have recanted this statement please see post: Why I Took Down My Dream Posts & Series | Recant

Needless to say…

We must do what we can to have Jesus minister to us before we listen to anyone else and their understanding of scripture. Just because someone is well learned or godly does not mean we take their word for it. We must always take it to God first, regardless, even if it is a trustworthy source. I’m convicted as I write this, praise Jesus!

Scripture says we will know them by their fruits. So we are not only looking at the gift, in this regard but everything. What is being said, whether gift related or not? If it is a person we know, what is their walk with Jesus? If it is a church body what is the fruit of the congregation? What is the pastor preaching?


All of these things and prayer to God will help us discern what it is actually going on because if the spiritual gift is not of God we will be seeing fruit that is also not of God. Jesus promises us this.

(NLT) Matthew 7:20, “Yes, just as you can identify a tree by its fruit, so you can identify people by their actions.”

There are a lot of churches and false believers who speak in tongues, interpret or heal and it is NOT of God. Again, the way to discern this is not to only look at one thing being said or done but EVERYTHING!

As with the other spiritual gifts, I want to go over what scripture says so that you can see what the Bible says on these topics. I’m trying my best not to add anything. This study on the gifts of the Holy Spirit is to encourage you to examine yourselves in Jesus. To see Him, to know Him, and to ask Him for direction in where He is leading you.

Tongues– Speaking in a language

Interpret– To convey the meaning of, to explain

Speaking in tongues is first shown in the Bible in the book of Acts, right after the disciples received the Holy Spirit. These tongues were not the same language they were many languages.

(NIV) Acts 2:04, “All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.”

Then we get a crowd of people, from all different nations, who hear their language being spoken from the disciples. The Jews were confused because they knew these men of Galilee would not be able to speak their language.

(NIV) Acts 2:06, “When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard their own language being spoken.”


Later on in 1 Corinthians Paul shares that there is a tongue of men and a tongue of angels (this just points out there are languages). He also discusses having many spiritual gifts and how if we do not have love those gifts do not matter.

(NIV) 1 Corinthians 13:01, “If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.”

When we see Paul speaking of the spiritual gift of tongues it needs an interpretation. In fact, he gives very clear instructions on tongues and how they are to be used.

Speaking In Tongues:

  • Speaking in tongues is directly for God. We speak to God in tongues, not to men.

(NIV) 1 Corinthians 14:02, “For anyone who speaks in a tongue does not speak to people but to God. Indeed, no one understands them; they utter mysteries by the Spirit.”

  • Speaking in tongues edifies self.

(NIV) 1 Corinthians 14:04, “Anyone who speaks in a tongue edifies themselves, but the one who prophesies edifies the church.”

  • Speaking in tongues needs to be interpreted if others are involved.

(NIV) 1 Corinthians 14:06 & 09, “Now, brothers and sisters, if I come to you and speak in tongues, what good will I be to you, unless I bring you some revelation or knowledge or prophecy or word of instruction?”… “So it is with you. Unless you speak intelligible words with your tongue, how will anyone know what you are saying? You will just be speaking into the air.”

  • We can pray in tongues by ourselves, but we should also pray for understanding of our tongues. We should not only pray by means of tongues but pray using words we also understand.

(NLT) 1 Corinthians 14:14-15, “For if I pray in tongues, my spirit is praying, but I don’t understand what I am saying. Well then, what shall I do? I will pray in the spirit, and I will also pray in words I understand. I will sing in the spirit, and I will also sing in words I understand.”


Tongues In A Church Body Setting: 1 Corinthians 14:20-28

  • Speaking in tongues is a sign to unbelievers. 
  • Two to three people can speak in tongues, and each has a turn speaking.
  • One person is to interpret. 
  • If there is no interpreter the person who speaks in tongues is to keep silent. But he can speak to himself and to God in tongues. 

The Holy Spirit Can Speak Through You Without Tongues

It’s important to note you do not have to have the gift of tongues in order for the Holy Spirit to speak through you and to you. I know on my blog God has helped me in formating the right sentences, giving the right understanding, and inspiring new connections within seconds. That’s all Him. It’s not in a language that is not known but it is still the Lord speaking. God is all but silent in today’s world. 

(NIV) 2 Samuel 23:02, “The Spirit of the LORD spoke through me; His word was on my tongue.” Referring to David and how God used him. 

(NIV) 2 Peter 1:21, “For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.”

(NIV) Proverbs 16:01, “To humans belong the plans of the heart, but from the LORD comes the proper answer of the tongue.”

Just like when we talked about wisdom it is only through the Holy Spirit true understanding comes.


A Misconception About The Holy Spirit Interceding

DO NOT MISUNDERSTAND! I had been misinformed in the past that the Holy Spirit interceding for us is speaking in tongues. Now, tongues does come from the Holy Spirit, but this scripture is NOT the same. Please do not misunderstand.

(NIV) Romans 8:26, “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And He who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.” Please notice “wordless groans.” To speak in tongues is… to speak. You do not have to have the gift of tongues for the Holy Spirit to intercede on your behalf. 

Paul says these things about spiritual gifts.

  • The manifestation of the Spirit is given for the profit of all. (1 Corinthians 12:07)
  • Paul also says that God distributes these gifts to each person individually and as God wills it. (1 Corinthians 12:11)

Spiritual gifts, including tongues and interpretation, must come from God and they are only given when He wills it. Just because someone leads you to pray for the gift of tongues and encourages you to start speaking in tongues does not mean God has willed you the gift. But from what I see if the Lord God willed someone to truly receive the gift of tongues, then I believe that to be true as God is the same as He was, is, and will be. God will manifest Himself. 

Discern with the wisdom of the Holy Spirit and seek Him throughout each day. If you are unsure about a church or even a person, seek the Lord in prayer, discern the fruit of the person, Jesus will guide!

If you are unsure about your own experiences, seek the Lord Jesus and dive into the word of God!

Monthly Scripture – (NLT) Psalm 90:02, “Before the mountains were born, before You gave birth to the earth and the world, from beginning to end, You are God.”

Community Prayer Requests | November ’19– Join us in requesting prayer, praying for each other and lifting each other up. 

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17 thoughts on “Tongues & Interpretation of Tongues

  1. Context often helps clarify confusing concepts- If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.
    1 Corinthians 13:1‭-‬3 ESV

    Paul wasn’t saying he could actually speak in the tongues of angels any more than he did any of the other things in these verses…

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Context is important you’re right. I didn’t say if Paul himself spoke in tongues of angels or men, but that he mentioned both kinds and that tongues needs interpreting.

      Later on in chapter 14 he does share he has the gift of tongues. “I thank God that I speak in tongues more than all of you.” 1 Corinthians 14:18 But he later adds it’s not so much the gift of tongues but the gift of interpretation that is important to the church body.

      You’re right he isn’t saying whether or not he speaks with the tongues of angels or men. I didn’t mean to make it sound like I assume he did, only that he mentioned two different forms of tongues and scripture says speaking in tongues is used for unbelievers.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. What an excellent overview on speaking in tongues. I’m glad that you pointed out that God gives the gifts to each person. It might not be his will for you to speak in tongues or prophesy,etc. I think sometimes we miss that point.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. I commend you on your bravery T.R. You’ve engaged a powder keg topic for Christians and done it well. I grew up in the Assemblies of God and speaking in tongues was VERY important to the AG. Tongues was a “thing” you could say. I’ve encountered what I’m convinced were legitimate expressions/utterances and also what was bizarre nonsense. The bottom line is that Christ gives good gifts to His followers, He’s intent on leading us. I’m persuaded that a part of our personal growth can come from a private prayer life with tongues, but if you pray without tongues that works too. God is faithful.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes, I know when I wanted to cover spiritual gifts that meant I couldn’t leave any out just because people vary in views. I tried to focus mainly on scripture and God really ministered to me through it. I’m grateful for the time He guided me. Tongues can be genuine and they can be a special time with the Lord. I’m so glad that the Holy Spirit as well as Christ also intercede on our behalf with or without tongues. Thanks for the encouragement!!!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Interpretation is very imperative. Love how God allowed you to break this down. For many think that if you have never spoken in tongues means you’re not Holy Ghost filled! That’s a lie and one shouldn’t be defined by their relationship with Christ by speaking in tongues. As you rightfully stated, it’s who He gives that gift to. I remembered the first time I spoke in tongues wasn’t at service, but actually at home in deep communion with the Lord on my knee’s. Keep this series going cause I’m learning a lot from it. Blessings!

    Liked by 1 person

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