...to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues.
Thoughts for Today:A few Sundays ago we had a husband and wife missionary team from Wycliffe (the Bible translators) speak with us about their work translating the Gospel into various dialects in Indonesia. As critically important as this work is to the spreading of the message of Jesus Christ, it is not what Paul speaks of in our passage today. So what is speaking in, and interpretation of, "tongues"?
1 Corinthians 13:1 tells us: "If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal." Therefore, based upon the audience, there are two different types of speaking in tongues: men or angels. One example of the "tongues of men" is the speaking of a known language (although unknown by the speaker). This took place on the Day of Pentecost as recorded in Acts 2:4-6: "All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them. Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard them speaking in his own language."
There is also the gift of using heavenly language ("tongues of angels"). This is speaking words that are unknown to the believer (or anyone else), but which allows communication with the Lord through the Spirit. (1 Corinthian 14:2: "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.")
The key to understanding our passage today is to look closely at the words Paul used. He said: "interpretation of tongues". He did not mean -- a word for word translation. Therefore, interpretation of "tongues" is a gift of the Spirit, the same as well as speaking in tongues. Interpreting involves conveying the thought of what was said into words everyone is able to understand. It can be longer, shorter or different in style. Just remember one thing: tongues are not to be used in the assembly, unless there is someone present to interpret.
Questions to Ponder:Have you wondered which gift the Spirit has given you? Be patient and the Lord will reveal Himself to you at just the right time. In His time, not yours.