Interpretation of Spiritual Tongues

How to Interpret Spiritual Tongues

Do you have the spiritual gift of tongues? Perhaps you don't, but know someone who does. Did you know you can ask God for any gift He offers and when you trust Him to give you this gift, He will do it? A list of the Spiritual gifts is shown in 1 Corinthians 12. These differ from the fruit of the Spirit shown in Galatians 5:22-23.

You might wonder how or why God would give such a holy gift to an unholy person. We are all sinful. But when we get "saved" or "born again", our sin is washed away. By His death and resurrection, we receive His Spirit when we ask Him into our hearts and yield to His baptism (see hub John and Jesus: About BAPTISM). The Spirit can only dwell in a holy place. We are not holy of ourselves, but Jesus is. Because of Him, the Spirit can now dwell in us, even while we are yet stuggling with sin. That's why Jesus says in John 14:6 that He is the way, the truth and the life; no man can come to the Father except through Him. 1 Corinthians 5:21 states that He [God] made Him [Jesus/God in the flesh - 1 Tim 3:16 KJV] who knew no sin to become sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.

Acts 19:2 “'Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?' And they said to him, 'No, we have not even heard whether there is a Holy Spirit." Verse 6 “And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they began speaking with tongues and prophesying.”

I prayed for the gift of tongues years ago, and shortly after a couple came up to me and asked, "Have you asked God for the baptism of the Holy Spirit; for the gift of tongues?" I was ever so glad! They explained the laying on of hands and after they laid hands on me in prayer, I experienced releasing my innermost soul by praying in a new language given by God. It's a perfect and spiritual prayer. There are no rules to the syllables or usage; I just let my spirit flow. But how in the world did I know what I was saying?

What about when another prays over YOU in tongues? How do you know what is being said? How can you trust such a supernatural thing? It can seem very frightening (as in awe)!

I Corinthians 13:1 states that Paul spoke with tongues of men and of angels. Both need interpreting when speaking to another person. However, we can pray in the Spirit and trust His Spirit (who is Jesus interceding for us) to pray His perfect will.

Romans 8:26 states "In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words;". This is what is meant by 1 Corinthians 14:4a "He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself"

The Bible states in 1 Corinthians 14:13: Therefore let one who speaks in a tongue pray that he may interpret. How is this possible? You must pray for this gift first. I tested this when I first asked God for the gift of interpretation. In a Christian meeting, a woman spoke out to the group in a tongue. I meditated on the Lord while she spoke and spiritually "heard" with my own understanding. I dared not "interpret" to the group until I had confirmation that what I thought of was accurate. I listened to another person interpret. Indeed, a pastor gave the same interpretation, except in his own words!

Before we go any further, it is important to note that 'translation' and 'interpretation' are two different things. Anyone can translate a human language; spiritual tongues cannot be translated; they are interpreted.

  • Translate - to reproduce a written or spoken text in a different language while retaining the original meaning (i.e. toda / eucharisteó soi = thank you). The Hebrew and Greek text was translated into many languages.

  • Interpret - to establish or explain the meaning or significance of something. For instance, the Angel gave the interpretation of the dream to Daniel: Dan 7:17 "The four great beasts (dream) are four kingdoms that will rise from the earth (interpretation)."

This is how interpretation works. Imagine you are looking at a painting. Perhaps you are standing next to a blind person or talking on the phone with someone who can't see the painting. You need to describe what you see to the blind person or the one on the phone using your own words. Someone else viewing the same painting may describe it a bit differently. Both of you speak English, but both of you may choose different words to describe the same painting to others.

Likewise, when you pray in tongues or hear a tongue given to the church, don't listen to the spiritual language as though you can piece it together like an earthly language. Instead, meditate as you pray or hear the spiritual tongue to "see the painting", then describe what you see. It should be confirmed by others as accurate.

What if no one else confirms? How do you know the message is from God? One answer: it has to agree with the Bible. If it is contradictory to the Bible, it is not of God. Remember that when Moses went before Pharaoh to set the Israelites free, God gifted Moses with miraculous signs to prove to the King he was sent by God. Pharaoh also had magicians that could do the very same things! Remember this: signs and wonders FOLLOW THEM that believe (Mark 16:17-20). We are not necessarily to FOLLOW AFTER signs and wonders, but to know that the Word (Bible) is confirmed by them.

This brings us to the responsibility you must carry when yielding to the gift of tongues and interpretation. You need to KNOW the Bible. Know how to study it to test whether the interpretation is truly in alignment with God's Word. If you look up Precepts Ministries online, Kay Arthur is an excellent instructor with study tools to help you. Many churches offer Precepts studies or "inductive" Bible study classes. They will teach you how to use a concordance, a Bible dictionary, and how to cross-reference. You can learn how to study just a word, a verse, a chapter, a character, theme or doctrine thoroughly. I have also written a hub to give you a good example of how to do inductive Bible study. The link is below.

I recommend reading my hub Healed of Spinal Meningitis! to see the miraculous knowledge and power that comes when yielding to speaking in tongues and receiving the revelation of the truth of God. AMAZING.

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Comments 30 comments

Gicky Soriano profile image

Gicky Soriano 7 years ago from California

Great illustration, sound interpretation. Your experience is telling, your hub is edifying. How the body of believers need all the spiritual gifts in operation to be built up into Christ the head.


Judah's Daughter profile image

Judah's Daughter 7 years ago from Roseville, CA Author

I love the sound of the word "sound" ~~ praise the Lord! I just write from my own experience, because it was and is so real. It's awesome to see others experience the exact same thing, so it is truly confirmed! This is so exciting! I am thankful for the gift of tongues because I truly have seen "mountains moved" in even minutes (i.e. a boulder of a phonecall; I pray and then I receive a call within minutes that the boulder is removed). That's what I'm talking about! lol ~ God is so good!


mikeq107 7 years ago

Very well written...simple and to the point :0)


Judah's Daughter profile image

Judah's Daughter 7 years ago from Roseville, CA Author

Hi brother Mike, I'm thankful you found me and I you! The Spirit of God is moving here on HubPages and thus, all over the world! I appreciate your hubs very much and am thankful for your support, confirmation and love in our Lord!


bellawritter23 profile image

bellawritter23 7 years ago from California

Amazing. your writing is so powerful yet passive and calm very soft spoken.


Judah's Daughter profile image

Judah's Daughter 7 years ago from Roseville, CA Author

Thank you, bella (the beautiful little white, soft kitten with the very astudious glasses and thinking cap) ;) You're right that whenever we read something, it has a "voice" ~ I've never known how my writing is perceived or "heard", and it is a great compliment to know. God's voice is much like this, in that it is calm, soft-spoken, still and small, yet is the most powerful of all. Thank you so much, and God bless you!


scottyb1 profile image

scottyb1 6 years ago from New York

hey i really liked your article..im going to save it..look at mine and tell me what you think.

C:\Users\Scott Bentley\Downloads\Interpretation of Tongues in Private Prayer - a knol by Scott Bentley.mh


Loves To Read profile image

Loves To Read 6 years ago

Hi JD What a beautiful hub. As the Bible says "we will know them by their fruits" When we are truly walking with The Lord we don't need to "Bash people about the Bible" Our lives are our greatest example. I can see that you are a true child of God. May you be greatly blessed. Hugs dear sister in Christ.


Judah's Daughter profile image

Judah's Daughter 6 years ago from Roseville, CA Author

Praise God, Loves To Read! There are those who "hold to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power [the Holy Spirit]" (2 Tim 3:5). I was raised in a church that taught all the gifts had ceased at the completion of the Bible canon (using 1 Cor 13:12-13). "Face to face" means face to face with Christ because no one yet knows fully even as they are known (in the same verse). If they think they do, they most certainly fall into 2 Tim 3:5 and 1 Cor 8:1. While 13:13 says these three remain: "faith, hope and love", chapter 14:1 tells us we should desire earnestly spiritual gifts, especially to prophesy (and the same churches believe prophecy has been done away).

In 14:5 Paul states he wished we all spoke with tongues. Surely not all will speak with tongues; some have the gift to interpret them ~ as for me, I looked at 14:13, and prayed that I may interpret my own tongues as well as others'. I am so thankful He was faithful to open the windows of heaven.

While the hearing/reading of the Bible does cause "conviction", those who are merely puffed up with knowledge without the Spirit cause divisions and strife. In fact, some of them "know" so much they learn to manipulate the Word and lie to the flock.

I pray more Christians will grow in the understanding that God wants to bless them today, just as He did when the Church was established ~ on the Day of Pentecost! For on that day, His Holy Spirit came to dwell IN us. Hallelujah!! God bless you, brother!!


BDazzler profile image

BDazzler 6 years ago from Gulf Coast, USA

When a friend of mine was praying alone and asked for guidance he spoke in Tongues.

He called me and asked what it meant. Normally I "know" in my spirit. This time, not, so I actually pulled up some pre-proto-hebrew phonetics (this would have been from before the time of Abraham) and mapped the sounds to the meanings.

He gave me no contextual clues. All I had was the language. And that God told him to ask me what it meant.

The answer I found was exactly right for his prayer. I realized he had spoken in "the tongues of angels".

Blew me away.


Judah's Daughter profile image

Judah's Daughter 6 years ago from Roseville, CA Author

BDazzler :-) That's so cool!! My first words were tongues of men (Aramaic and Hebrew), which I figured out after two months, by looking up the words. When I then yeilded to speaking in this unknown tongue and listening to the tongues of others I realized I was not to focus on the actual words/sounds spoken, but to turn my spiritual attention to the Lord and listen. That's when the revelation comes ~ the vision ~ the understanding ~ the way to specifically pray. Beautiful, beautiful....AND, the confirmation is immediate change (at least what I've experienced). Awesome!!! The Lord is so good. I've heard that Satan doesn't understand God's heavenly language, thus our prayers are not hindered. Love you, brother!!


Harlan Colt profile image

Harlan Colt 6 years ago from the Rocky Mountains

Good hub JD,

I tend to shy away from churches where people go up the alter and just moan and chatter away and make a bunch of noise. The Bible is clear:

There are, it may be so, so many kinds of voices in the world, and none of them without signification.

Therefore if I know not the meaning of the voice, I shall be unto him that speaketh a barbarian, and he that speaketh a barbarian unto me.

Even so ye, forasmuch as ye are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek that ye may excel to the edifying of the church.

Wherefore let him that speaketh in an unknown tongue pray that he may interpret.

For if I pray in an unknown tongue, my spirit prayeth, but my understanding is unfruitful.

What is it then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with hte understanding also: I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also.

Else when thou shalt bless with the psirit, how shall he that occupieth the room of the unlearned say Amen at they giving of thanks, seeing he understandth not what thou sayest? 1.Cor. 10-16

There is no value to the body of the church with a bunch of barbaric noise, but you find churches all over doing this without any reserve. Well, praise the Lord.

Good clarification on this subject.

- Harlan


Judah's Daughter profile image

Judah's Daughter 6 years ago from Roseville, CA Author

Amen, Harlan. I think the "error" of the matter is that the Lord meant to salt each body with the varying gifts to be used for the edification of His body. While so many churches do not allow or believe the gifts are in use today, they almost force those with the gift of tongues, interpretation, prophecy, etc. to congregate together. While it's wonderful to fellowship, pray and minister to those of like faith and gifts, these MUST consider anyone coming into their church that is unlearned. Disorder will most assuredly frighten them away. I am so glad the Apostle Paul gave the order of use for the gifts within the congregation. Any congregation that disobeys his ordinances should surely repent. God bless you, brother. Thanks for sharing.


Justcallmeleroy 6 years ago

Hey My Sister, With love I speak of these gifts that are dear to my heart. Because I was raised in the Church of Christ and was saved in a Southern Baptist Church you know how much I was given the Love and Joy. Now many years later and many changes within my life. I have now been given the gifts of the Spirit. I speak in tongues only as the Spirit gives me utterance. I cannot just Speak in tongues anytime I want. The Spirit comes and it seems like it comes from deep within me. What Joy was when I sang in tongues it was amazing. God gave me the interpretation once and it was a Praising Worship unto God. I believe that He has also given me the Spirit of a Shepard. One time at work I was alone in a room and had been Thanking and Praising Him all morning. And then boom I was singing in Tongues it was just Amazing. You see all my life I was told that this Gifts are not for today. I thank God for the Blessing of His Spiritual Gifts in my life at age 53. All I can tell anyone is when you get serious with the Lord and Seek His Face. He will show up Big Time and Bless you like never before. We can have Heaven on Earth. With Jesus anything is possible. Just listen to this no good for nothing man that finally realized He Loves me and wants to give me my hearts desires. Set your Hearts Desires on Him and Hold on. Its Wonderful Amen


Judah's Daughter profile image

Judah's Daughter 6 years ago from Roseville, CA Author

And why am I not surprised, brother? I have a big smile of joy on my face. Yes, yes YES and AMEN!! I feel the joy of the Lord in me; my spirit has the peace and....just JOY, brother Leroy! Hallelujah!


ladyt11 profile image

ladyt11 6 years ago

Awesome Hub and receiving the indwelling of The Holy Spirit is Incredible! I am also a spirit filled believer. I believe his spirit is necessary to have because it is the enpowerment to witness and carry the gospel throughout the world. The spirit teaches us what to pray for, it feels in the gap when we don't know what to pray. The bibles says we know not what to pray for but the spirit gives utterance and leads us to pray the will of God. Also the bible says in Acts 1:8 Jesus tells the disciples to do nothing until The Holy Spirit has come. Then he promises that they will be enpowered to witness of Him and their witness spread the Gospel throughout the world! Also some good scriptures are Joel 2:28,29 and Titus 3:5,6. Also John 3:3-5 is a good scripture to read. When God talks to us he does not talk to our unregenerated minds because the flesh is always at war with God, He talks to his Spirit within us, John 3:6 says that which is born of the flesh is flesh and that which is born of the spirit is spirit. The Holy Spirit is the renewing and trasforming power of God! I guess I got carried away, LOL! I love to talk about the things of God and that's why I love your hubs so much. They are always so interesting and well studied. I love that you do word studies also. God bless and keep you, your light truly shines!!!


Judah's Daughter profile image

Judah's Daughter 6 years ago from Roseville, CA Author

That's a pretty sobering point, ladyt11 ~ that Jesus told His disciples to wait for His Spirit!! Surely, they waited in Jerusalem, for God wanted His gospel first preached to the Jews, and so it was!! And, it causes me to think how unfruitful we are when we go through the motions without the anointed power of God!

For me, I ministered to others for a year before God broke me to the point of yeilding to the baptism of the Holy Spirit (as I had never understood there was such a thing, having been raised in the Baptist/Southern Baptist denominations). I had been doing the ministry in my own 'power' and 'will' (my heart was in the right place), yet not one person came forward in those churches.

No sooner had I been broken and yeilded, received the baptism of the Spirit, I had one more ministry engagement on the calendar (the next day). I did not feel worthy to be in the pulpit and wished I could have just cancelled. However, I can tell you, God told me what to speak to those people. When the ministry was completed, every person in that congregation was up at the altar and didn't want to go home! WOW ~ what a difference and what power!! The LORD does it, and until we realize this, we will not bear much, if any, fruit. Hallelujah ~ may people cry out to God to baptize them with fire and the Holy Ghost!!

God bless you, and thank you so much for your anointed message ~ keep on preachin' till He's done, sister!!!


sherrylou57 profile image

sherrylou57 6 years ago from Riverside

Well done, my sister in Christ, and I am one filled with the Holy Spirt and Blessed with speaking in tongues. I believe when I lay hands on the sick, they will recover. This is another gift, that we all have.


Judah's Daughter profile image

Judah's Daughter 6 years ago from Roseville, CA Author

Hi sister, sherrylou57!! I am thrilled you are baptized in the Holy Spirit and that God has gifted you with His holy language and healing. The couple who laid hands on me to receive the gift of tongues also did the same for the gift of healing. I have experienced both, yet also prayed to interpret, which God so graciously bestowed. I've experienced His gift of healing, as testifed in my hub "Healed of Spinal Meningitis" and at least two others times that I am aware of. When God gives a gift it is irrevocable (Rom 11:29). Truly, it is by His will and power the gifts are made manifest; we do not have control over His Spirit, but His Spirit over us; amen!

1 Cor 12:8-11 "For to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, and to another the word of knowledge according to the same Spirit; to another faith by the same Spirit, and to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, and to another the effecting of miracles, and to another prophecy, and to another the distinguishing of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, and to another the interpretation of tongues. But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills." Hallelujah!!


faith03 profile image

faith03 5 years ago

Great hub! The gift of tounges is for everyone, that allows himself to open up and allow God into their lives.

It is a gift of the Holy Ghost that dwells within us.

God has given everyone a gift and its sad when people don't use what God has given them.

Thanks for the post.


Judah's Daughter profile image

Judah's Daughter 5 years ago from Roseville, CA Author

Hi sister faith03! Tongues are a beautiful gift, as is each of them ~ some believers have more gifts than others, based on what the Lord would have each utilize for His glory.

There are churches that believe ALL will speak in tongues, if they are truly baptized in the Holy Spirit; however, 1 Cor 12:11, 28-30 tell us differently (KJV): 11 "But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will." 28-30 "And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues. [Are] all apostles? [are] all prophets? [are] all teachers? [are] all workers of miracles? Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret?"

Some churches teach there will be the evidence of tongues when one is initially baptized in the Spirit, but they may not have an ongoing gift. Rom 11:29 tells us "the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable." Therefore, we know that teaching is contrary to the Bible.

We can certainly ask God for any gift, and if He gives it He will expect us to use it ~ so, be careful what we ask for!! God bless you!!


Momma Mia profile image

Momma Mia 5 years ago from North Carolina

Great Hub here!! About 8 months ago a friend prayed over me , as I have become very sick within my illness. He prayed in tongues and I was amazed That I understood what he was saying. However I have never asked God for the gift of interpretation or the other gifts That I have received fro God..............All in all..God is amazing and so interesting to me......

Hope you are having a great start to a fantastic year!!

wishingUwell

Mia


Judah's Daughter profile image

Judah's Daughter 5 years ago from Roseville, CA Author

Hi Mia! That is amazing! So, how is your illness? I pray you are receiving healing from the Lord Jesus Christ. My hub, "Healed of Spinal Meningitis" is a true testimony of a miraculous healing through the anointing of oil, laying on of hands, praying in tongues and word of knowledge, which led to the revival of three churches. Praise God!! The link is given in the last paragraph of this hub. Continued blessings to you, in Jesus!!


momma mia 5 years ago

Thank you for your prayer.........my illness took a bad turn for the worst....but I am feeling blessed with the sun and 64 degree weather here at the beach. I am planning on moving here and let Gods water world sooth me ...my soul feels at peace here.

take care and Happy New year to you and yours!

as always

wishingUwell

Mia


wba108@yahoo.com profile image

wba108@yahoo.com 5 years ago from upstate, NY

Great Hub! I believe that praying in Tongues for edification is the gateway to all other spiritual gifts because it edifies or build up our inner man and allows us to receive greater revelation! You'll notice that those who don't speak in tongues seldom operate at a high level in the other spiritual gifts. And tongues are for everyone!


Judah's Daughter profile image

Judah's Daughter 5 years ago from Roseville, CA Author

Hi wba108@yahoo.com!! Yes, in my hub "Healed of Spinal Meningitis" the obedience to the Lord of anointing with oil, laying on of hands and praying in tongues led to the gifts of knowledge and healing as well. From there, the tesimony and evidence of this miracle transformed the pastors and congregations of three churches that had always believed that 'tongues were of the devil and had ceased'. I asked God for the gift and He led a couple to come up to me, ask me if I had asked God for the gift (knowledge/miracle), then laid hands on me a prayed that I receive. And I did. Praise God! God will not prevent any good gift of the Spirit for His kids (Mat 7:11; Luke 11:13)! Nor, does He ever take them back!! (Rom 11:29) Hallelujah!! Thank you so much for reading and for the blessing! God bless you!


Seldon Taylor 5 years ago

I am very glad to see others pursueing God and His Spirit. My question is that I have read nowhere in the scripture where Tongues is a message from God to man and I wonder if I have missed it somewhere. Paul is pretty definite that tonues are man speaking to God. Just as we read at the first Gentile believers being filled. They Magnified God. Thank You Seldon taylor


Judah's Daughter profile image

Judah's Daughter 5 years ago from Roseville, CA Author

Hi Seldon Taylor!! God BLESS you! If we start in Acts 2 on the Day of Pentecost, the Apostles and all with them in that upper room (including women) received the baptism of the Holy Spirit (the baptism of Jesus/of fire) and spoke with tongues. From there the Apostles were led by the Spirit to preach the gospel in the words as recorded in scripture. The Spirit gave them utterance in the heavenly language and holy utterance in the language all tribes present understood.

In 1 Cor 14 we see how tongues are to be used in the church. They must be interpreted, in order for the congregation to understand what God brings forth. Likewise, it is so in our prayer life, to be most edifying. Let's look at verses 13-15 "Therefore let one who speaks in a tongue pray that he may interpret. For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my mind [understanding] is unfruitful. What is the outcome then? I will pray with the spirit and I will pray with the mind [understanding] also; I will sing with the spirit and I will sing with the mind [understanding] also."

This is why I prayed to have the gift of interpretation, for it is the will of God for one who has the gift of tongues. Ask God and He will do it. For this reason, I wrote this hub about what it is to interpret ~ what it's like. Does God speak to us when we pray in tongues? He gives us understanding of what it is His Spirit is praying. He may give us knowledge, as shown in my hub "Healed of Spinal Meningitis" or prophecy.

There are times I've just prayed in the spirit, trusting God with all my heart, not needing to have the understanding at the time (i.e. while driving). I'm telling you, I will see blessings throughout the day ~ like that barrier of the Adversary is bound. I've seen 10-year-old "mountains" of oppression be removed within 10 minutes (miraculous)! There is warfare going on when we pray, and this is why we pray. There is worship while singing in the Spirit ~ oh, so beautiful. We receive a fresh infilling, anointing ~ power. We FEEL the beautiful presence of Jesus and melt in His love...my eyes always water when I feel the presence of God.

I could go on and on, but I hope I have given you insight to a little more of my personal experience. Others will testify of theirs and may God bring the confirmation to your heart and spirit. God bless you!


Cheni289 5 years ago

Can you just speaking in tounges and how do you know they are right? Love your hub by the way awesome God bless


Judah's Daughter profile image

Judah's Daughter 5 years ago from Roseville, CA Author

Hi Cheni289 ~ First and foremost, you need to know Who you put your faith in. Who do you love? Who is your God and Savior? Are you submitted/humble to His will? Do you believe that the Word was God Who came in the flesh to shed His holy blood for your sins and rose from the grave on the third day? Hallelujah! No other god did this for us! Once you know your faith is right, then ask that the LORD fill you, even anoint you with His Holy Spirit. As you yeild in prayer to Him, He will give you the utterance (the words, the language) that He creates in you. There is no 'right' wording ~ only a right heart.

1 Corinthians 13:1 states that we speak with tongues of men (earthly language) and tongues of angels (heavenly language). God may give you the tongues of men, but you wouldn't know what you were saying any more than if you spoke with tongues of angels. This is why you also ask God to give you the interpretation. When you speak in tongues of angels, no human language expert will be able to interpret! Interpretation is a gift, just as tongues is a gift of the Holy Spirit. He will give you the understanding, while you are praying or after you pray.

God sent a husband and wife to lay hands on me and pray that I receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit (being filled) and with that, I received the gift of speaking in tongues. I later prayed that I could interpret (1 Cor 14:13), then tested what I received as interpretation alongside others who had the gift and interpreted instead of me. It's a beautiful, spiritual plane that I wish all Christians experience (1 Cor 14:5). God bless you!!

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