B. Childress
Jun 15 2007 08:00AM

Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant...Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same
Spirit.  And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord, And there are diversities of operations, but it is
the same God which worketh all in all.  
 I Corinthians 12:1-6

But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. 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;
worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.
 1Corinthians 12:7-11

The gifts of the Holy  Spirit (or manifestations as identified by Paul) are manifested through individual believers as the
Spirit of God wills.  Spiritual gifts are not given to the individual for personal benefit, but to 'profit' a whole assembly or
body of believers.  When the gifts of the Spirit are in manifestation, they will always exalt the Lordship of Jesus Christ.
TRY THE SPIRITS:  "Hereby know ye the Spirit of God:  Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the
flesh is of God: And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that
spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that should come... "
1John 4:2-3    

First Corinthians 12:3 states,
"Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth
Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost"  
(When the Holy Spirit is in

The Gift of Interpretation of Tongues

The gift of divers kinds of tongues and interpretation of tongues edify, inspire, and blesses the local church.

  • The Bible plainly tells us that tongues with interpretation is equal to prophecy, "...greater is he that prophesieth
    than he that speaketh with tongues except he interpret..." 1Corinthians 14:5

A review of this class of gifts:

  1. Prophecy is supernatural utterance in a known tongue.
  2. Divers kinds and Unknown tongues is supernatural utterance in an unknown tongues.  It could be the
    language of angels or a foreign language (a language spoken by people in a certain region of the world but
    unknown to the speaker.
  3. The interpretation of tongues is the supernatural showing forth by the Spirit the meaning of an utterance in
    unknown tongues (interpretation - not translation).


  • The gift of the interpretation of tongues is the least of all spiritual gifts because it depends upon another gift -
    divers kinds of tongues.
  • All of these three gifts operate by faith, but it takes more faith to operate in the gift of prophecy than tongues or
    interpretation of tongues, because those who operate in the gift of tongues and interpretation have another
    person to lean on to complete the utterance: the person with the gift of tongues can lean on the one with the gift
    of interpretation of tongues and vice versa.
  • The interpretation of tongues requires a measure of faith because the interpreter normally receives only one or
    two words at a time; he does not receive the complete message at once.  By faith, he must give those words.  As
    he speaks, the messages will continue to come a few words at a time until he is finished regardless of how long it
    may take. (LS p. 126)
  • The interpretation of tongues can manifest itself in a couple of ways.  The interpreter speaks the words
    inspirationally, he sees what he is speaking about in a vision, or if the person is used in prophesy, he may finish
    that interpretation and go into prophesy.  Where prophesy is in operation, there is a little higher authority that
    can come with it; the words in prophesy can sometimes take on more authority and have a greater anointing.

The Gift of Interpretation of Tongues in Our Private Prayer Life

  • In private prayer, it is not necessary that everything we utter in other tongues be clear to our understanding
    because we are talking to God, For he that speaketh in an unknown tongue speaketh not unto me, but, unto
    God: for no man understandeth him; howbeit in the spirit he speaketh mysteries. 1Corinthians 14:2

  • God may desire we interpret what we are praying about in tongues in our personal devotions and God, as His
    Spirit wills, may automatically give us the interpretation.  

Kenneth E. Hagin describes his experience of interpreting tongues in his prayer life.  This experience happened prior
to him getting married, he says that he wasn't even thinking about marriage, "I had been praying two or three hours in
the Spirit when suddenly I began to interpret part of my prayer.  I realized then that I was talking to God about a wife,
although from the natural standpoint, I hadn't been thinking or praying with my understanding along that line...I prayed
I prayed in English, interpreting what I had been praying in tongues.  As I did, by interpretation of tongues I knew in the
Spirit that I would be married.  I knew who the girl was...I also knew by interpretation that we would have two children."
(KH p. 138)  There is a private side to the gift of the interpretation of tongues that is of great importance to us

According to 1Corinthians 14:13, those who speak in tongues are instructed to pray for the gift of interpretation of their
own prayers privately, Wherefore let him that speaketh in an unknown tongue pray that he may interpret. Once you
are able to interpret your own prayers this opens the door for God to use you publicly, as you would be equipped to
operate in that realm as well.

The Gift of Interpretation of Tongues in Public Ministry

(Please also refer to the rules of public ministry in tongues and interpretation of tongues under the Gift of Divers Kinds
of Tongues.)

  • First Corinthians 14:27 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."  This particular verse is talking about people (not messages or
    utterances).  Paul didn't actually say how much they were to speak or not to speak.  This verse implies that they
    should not all speak at once and that the same person might speak more than once: a fourth should not join in
    and give out an utterance in tongues.  If something else needs to be said, one of those who has already spoken
    should say it.  This maintains good order and is consistent with the passage of scripture indicated above, where
    Paul was laying down principals of proper order for supernatural utterances in the local assembly.
  • Paul said," ...let ONE interpret." 1Corinthians 14:27.  The person giving the message can (if the Spirit wills)
    interpret the message; but only one person should interpret supernatural utterances in the local assembly.  Paul
    was admonishing us not to have competitive interpretations; that is two or three people trying to outdo one
    another by interpreting utterance.  Not adhering to the order set forth in the Word also causes confusion to the
    congregation, "...God is not the author of confusion... Let all things be done decently and in order." 1Corinthians
  • When someone is speaking with tongues, a person who is used often in the gift of interpretation of tongues
    should immediately begin to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit's moving.  He should make himself available and be
    ready for the Lord to move upon him in the operation of that gift.  Kenneth Hagin says, "Sometimes I have waited
    on someone else to interpret, but they were waiting on me.  Either one of us could have interpreted the
    message given in tongues, but we lost it because we did not tune in to the Holy Spirit; we were waiting for the
    other one to do it." (KH p. 139)
  • If there is no interpreter and the speaker does not possess the gift of interpretation, then he should keep silence
    in the church and speak only to himself and to God, but not to where it disrupts the service.

The Gift of Interpretation of Tongues is not...

  • A translation of what has been spoken in tongues; it is an interpretation.  Sometimes a person will speak in
    tongues at length, and only a short message will be given or a short utterance in tongues and a lengthy
    interpretation.  Interpretations are not word for word translations:  they are interpretations that contain the
    "essence" or you could say "summarizes" the supernatural utterance which came forth in tongues - what God
    wants us to know.
  • An operation of the human mind.  It is the functioning of the Holy Spirit through the mind of the interpreter.  The
    interpreter does not understand the language or the tongue that he is interpreting.  His mental faculties are not
    part of the message, so he has no thought in his mind as to what the Spirit is going to say. Lester Sumrall gives
    an example, "I have been in foreign countries and heard a person speak.  Though I did know the language, I
    knew supernaturally that it was a message in tongues, so I stood up and interpreted it in English.  Since no one
    present understood English, my interpreter had to interpret what I said into their native language.  If I had not
    interpreted the message, it could have been lost." (LS p. 126)  He also notes that in Great Britain, a moderator
    will stand at the opening session and announce who will interpret during that session.
  • A gift you can operation without the unction of the Holy Spirit.

Tongues and interpretation of tongues are regulated by the Scriptures.  If a fellowship of believers
does not function properly in the gifts of the Spirit, those gifts will cease to function.  If believers try
to operate the gifts outside the bounds of the Word, they will cease.  There are literally thousands
of churches in our generation that at one time possessed the gifts of the Spirit to some extent; but
because the people did not understand them correctly, the gifts ceased. (LS p. 127)

We need to be very careful how we regard the gifts of the Holy Spirit in walking before the Lord.  
We need to stay open to the Spirit of God and to the move of God as we walk meekly, honorably,
and reverently before the Lord.  We do not want to grieve the Holy Spirit by misusing the gifts of
the Spirit bringing confusion to others.  (KH p. 140)


The Holy Spirit and His Gifts, Kenneth E. Hagin, Copyright 1991, RHEMA Bible Church.

The Gifts and Ministries of the Holy Spirit, Lester Sumrall, Copyright 1982, Lester Sumrall Evangelical Association