24th September 2023

'Jeff Carver offers'



"Spiritual Gifts of Tongues and Interpretation"

The spiritual gift of tongues is more accurately called the gift of languages.

Speaking in tongues is the utterance of prayer or of a message glorifying God, typically spoken to God (1 Corinthians 14:2), in a language that is unknown to the one speaking it.

Mankind had one language up until Genesis 11 where God confused their language and people were dispersed throughout the earth.

He did this because they had united together in one language and conspired to build a tower at Babel.
Their intention was to "make a name" for themselves and thus replace God in their hearts.

Pride is the birthplace of sin and regrettably fallen man has decided to use every advantage, including language, to usurp God's authority and place himself upon a throne which is not rightfully his.

Eventually, through the nation of Israel, the Hebrew language would be used to communicate God's Word to the nations.
However, the rest of the world did not speak or understand this language and for the most part continued to remain ignorant of God's plan of redemption.

Fast forward to Pentecost and the pouring out of the Holy Spirit on the people of God.

Here we see a glimpse of God's reversal of the curse of divided languages.
In Acts 2 people from all over the world hear God's people proclaiming His mighty works in their own languages.

This is the beginning of the redemption of language for its intended purpose: to glorify God and draw all people to Himself.

In heaven an innumerable group from every nation, tribe, people and tongue will join together to praise God with one language.
The intention of the spiritual gift of tongues is to glorify God now, but also to prepare ourselves as His church to glorify Him forever in heaven.

The gift however is only partial, in that it is not given to all believers, and in the context of the church requires an interpreter in order for it to be edifying.

There is much more to be said about the spiritual gift of tongues, but we will summarize a few points here:
● Not every believer receives this gift. The gift of tongues is not a requirement or a necessary sign of salvation.
● Tongues can be human languages such as those heard in Acts 2, but often may be languages no one understands.
● Tongues are not "ecstatic speech" but are always orderly and are able to be controlled by the one speaking.
● No tongues should be spoken in the church gathering without interpretation.
● Tongues should not be forbidden.

The Holy Spirit gives some believers the spiritual gift of tongues to glorify God and, with the help of an interpreter, to edify the church.

This gift is dealt with extensively in the Scriptures and its use should be encouraged.

That said, it should be used properly with pure motives and intentions, of course in the power and prompting of the Holy Spirit.

The spiritual gift of interpretation of tongues is found alongside the gift of speaking in tongues
The Greek word for interpretation is 'hermeneia' and simply means to interpret, explain, or expound some message that is not able to be understood in a natural way.

Thus, this spiritual gift is the supernatural ability to understand and explain messages uttered in an unknown language.

This is a revelatory gift, meaning that God "reveals" the meaning of the words or message being spoken and allows the interpreter to communicate its meaning to those who need to hear it.

When this happens in the church two things happen: the church is edified and God is glorified.

The spiritual gift of interpretation is given by the Holy Spirit to certain individuals to reveal messages spoken in an unknown tongue to God for the building up of the church.
Like the gift of prophecy, tongues that are interpreted have the effect of encouraging and blessing the church to love and serve God more deeply and effectively.

Un-edited version and Bible references avaiable, on request

Jeff Carver
is a pastor in Southern California.
In 2003, soon after we began to serve, the Lord placed on my heart the desire to create and freely distribute a spiritual gifts test online.
So I decided to teach myself enough HTML to be dangerous and put the test on our original website -
The name Eleven Talents came to me from the parable that Jesus taught in the Matthew 25:14-30 about the talents was founded in 2004 and basically became a clone of the Eleven Talents website.
As of today, we can see upwards of 4,000 visitors a day from all around the world!

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