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Interpretation of Tongues in Private Prayer
Empahsis on the word Understand in 1 Corinthians Ch 13 & 14
13.2 Understand all mysteries
13.11 Understood as a child
14.2 No man understandeth him
14.9 Easy to be understood
14.15 Pray with the understanding
14.15 Sing with the understanding
14.16 He understandeth not what thou sayest
14.19 Five words with my understanding
14.20 Be not children in understanding
14.21 In understanding be men
Tongues are connected to the following verses in 1 Corinthians 14
- Speak mysteries 14.2
- Edification 14.4
- Speaks to God 14.2
- Profits 14.6
- Revelation 14.6, 26, 30
- Knowledge 14.6
- Prophesying 14.6
- Doctrine 14.6, 26
- Preparation for battle 14.8
- Teaching 14.19
- God speaking to his people 14.21
- Secrets made manifest 14.25
- Psalms 14.26
- Tongue- that is to be interpreted 14.26 referring to chapter 12
- Interpretation of a tongue- 14.26 referring to chapter 12
some Greek words defined in this chapter in connection to tongues
Prophecy From G4396; to foretell events, divine, speak under inspiration, exercise the prophetic office: - prophesy.
Mysteries-v 14. 2 From a derivative of μύω muō (to shut the mouth); a secret or "mystery".
Luke 8:10 And he said, Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God
Revelation - v 14.6 From G601; disclosure: - appearing, coming, lighten, manifestation, be revealed, revelation.
Knowledge - v 14.6 From G1097; knowing (the act), that is, (by implication) knowledge: - knowledge, science
Doctrine - v 14.6 From G1321; instruction (the act or the matter): - doctrine, hath been taught.
Interpret -v 14. 13 From G1223 and G2059; to explain thoroughly; by implication to translate: - expound, interpret (-ation)
Bless - v 14.16 From a compound of G2095 and G3056; to speak well of, that is, (religiously) to bless (thank or invoke a benediction upon, prosper): - bless, praise.
Give thanks - 14.17 From G2170; to be grateful, that is, (actually) to express gratitude (towards); specifically to say grace at a meal: - (give) thank (-ful, -s).
Manifest - 14.25 From G5316; shining, that is, apparent (literally or figuratively); neuter (as adverb) publicly, externally: - abroad, + appear, known, manifest, open [+ -ly], outward ([+ -ly]).
Psalm -14.26 From G5567; a set piece of music, that is, a sacred ode (accompanied with the voice, harp or other instrument; a "psalm"); collectively the book of the Psalms: - psalm. Compare G5603
Revealed - 14.30 From G575 and G2572; to take off the cover, that is, disclose: - reveal.
all 3 are the same Greek word
From G2205; to have warmth of feeling for or against: - affect, covet (earnestly), (have) desire, (move with) envy, be jealous over, (be) zealous (-ly affect).
Pray with the spirit 14.15
Sing with the spirit 14.15
Bless with the spirit 14.16
In the spirit he speaks mysteries 14.2
My spirit prayeth 14.14 (human spirit)
spirit of the phophets 14.32 (human spirit)
1 Thessalonians 5:23- spirit and soul and body
John 7:37 In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.
John 7:38 He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.
John 7:39 (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)
Acts 2:4 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
Mark 16:17 And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name, they shall speak with new tongues.
Praying in Tongues not just Tongues for Public Interpretation.
a. 1 Corinthians v-2 "speaking unto God" that's prayer
b. 1 Corinthians v-14 "If I pray in an unknown tongue"
c. 1 Corinthians v-15 "I will pray with the spirit"
d. 1 Corinthians v-18 "I thank God I speak in tongues more than you all". this must be prayer.
e. Jude 1:20 Praying in the Holy Ghost. this verse doesn't say directly that praying in the holy ghost is the same as praying in tongues in Jude but in comparison with 1 corn Ch 14, its clear to me, that it is, praying in tongues or this could be prayer in English under the influence of the Holy Spirit .
I intend to show the following throughout the 14 chapter of 1st Corinthians, but not in the order listed.
- That there is a praying in tongues.
- That every believer may prophecy.
- That praying in tongues is the springboard of prophecy.-acts 19.6
- The great need for the gift of prophecy.
- That you can interpret your tongues in private as the Holy Spirit wills.
Chapter 12, 13, and 14 of 1st Corinthians, all go together, in one setting. now chapter 12 tells us that we all have different gifts, and no one can say to the other members of the body that one is better than the other. Some members are in position of much higher prominence and seemingly more spiritual power, but the fact is all are greatly needed and if one part is missing, the whole body feels the pain of it somehow. Something to note at the end of this chapter in verse 31- that says..
1 Corinthians 12:31 But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way. then he goes on into 13.1 to explain that love is the best way to enter into the gifts and seemingly give the impression that the most important and the only important thing in the christian faith is love, but this is wrong. Love is what causes us to enter into the gifts of the Spirit. When you see someone in pain and you cant do anything about it, then you need power to get the job done, right?
1 Corinthians 14:1 Follow after charity, and desire spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may prophesy.
Now isn't this strange. I thought he was trying to say that love was the most important, but now he corrects our impression by telling us, hey "I'm not telling you to stop pursuing the power of god in your life, just that love is the best way". The word desire is the same word used in other places to mean lust. That's pretty strong. But then he makes another strange statement. But rather that ye may prophesy! He just got through in chapter 15 saying we all have different gifts by the Holy Spirit, one is given this and one is give that, etc, and now he says to all of us to desire prophecy. Strange or is it? Here's why.
1 Corinthians 14:2 For he that speaketh in an unknown tongue speaketh not unto men, but unto God: for no man understandeth him; howbeit in the spirit he speaketh mysteries.
Well now I'm lost. What in the world does desiring prophecy have to do with me speaking in tongues and why does he want all of us to desire prophecy regardless of what other gifts god has called us to? We need to camp out in verse 2 for awhile, OK. This verse about speaking in tongues cant be talking about a tongue to be interpreted in a public assembly for it says this kind of tongues is "speaking to god". Next it says you don't understand it and you speak mysteries. From what I can gather and I'll show you as we get deeper into the chapter, it can be assumed that the Corinthian church was well established in speaking in tongues in a public assembly for edification and some were giving an utterance in tongues for the purpose of interpretation, but not many and their seems to be a chaos the apostle is setting in order and a direction coupled with a new step of faith in desiring prophecy. So some would give an tongue and one would interpret and then another and then the same person interpret and then another and some would speak out loud in a tongue that was just their "private prayer language" as its come to be known, and sinners were watching all this and their was mess. No problem, it was a good problem. The part of the verse-no man understands him, because he speaks mysteries, stands out now doesn't it! I don't understand it and neither does the sinner, hence the great need for prophecy or the interpretation of the tongue that was spoken.
1 Corinthians 14:3 But he that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort.
Well first of all to speak to men it has to be in their language and second of all if it wasn't, it shur would be hard for it to edifying. Now concerning the gift of prophecy, we need to examine shortly, its great power. Look at what it can do. it can edify or build up, exhort and comfort...wow, that's pretty good. let me give an example of its power, because later in the chapter it explains how it can convince a sinner to yield to god. Imagine some in a church service walking up to and saying this..."young lady, can i talk to you...I believe the lord told me you have a grandmother that died 3 years ago and she had cancer for 13 years and you've been mad at god because he didn't heal her and you've wondered if she made it heaven..is everything i said true? if it was true...wow! what a shocker..that would be something you would never forget for the rest of you life. I guarantee you would sleep like a baby that night for sure..lol, and if you were sinner, you would be convinced that the Christians god is the true god for he "answers by fire", so to speak. right! well you cant do this with tongues, unless the person hearing it, understands that language, otherwise, its of no value to the hearer, therefor in v3 he proclaims prophecy, speaks unto men. now he in no wise is putting down the practice of speaking in tongues. look at verse 4.
1 Corinthians 14:4 He that speaketh in an unknown tongue edifieth himself; but he that prophesieth edifieth the church.
well he says you edify yourself when you speak or pray in tongues. this must be referring to the tongues that is not to be interrupted but, just for personal edification. well edifying yourself with the tongues of the Holy Spirit is good thing, right! so he is not putting it down, but he goes on the say, but he that prophesieth edifieth the church. well we see now that edifying the church in of a higher benefit that just to yourself, but forget not this fact. You cant edify someone else unless your edified yourself, right? For sure. Hence in this verse is implied the foundation of a life of praying in tongues for, 1. your personal edification, 2. preparation for edification of the church; apparently the Corinthian church was well founded in praying in tongues and in the utterance of the gift of tongues for that was supposed to be interpreted, as described in chapter 12, but that was generally speaking, as far as they got. Later in the chapter he calls them babes for this condition. God help us all to grow up. Now just assure them further that he is not condemning them for speaking in tongues, he goes on in the following,
1 Corinthians 14:5 I would that ye all spake with tongues but rather that ye prophesied: for greater is he that prophesieth than he that speaketh with tongues, except he interpret, that the church may receive edifying.
So this apostle Paul, who just through giving so much importance to the value of Love, now is saying that he wish that we all speak in tongues. So we have no excuse to use chapter 13 against chapter 14. As i said before, love is the way into the gifts not out them. but then again he pulls back to his original goal of the importance of prophecy in the life of the individual believer with, "but rather that ye prophesied", why, well, that the church may receive edifying. So over and over he keeps hammering this one point home, the great importance of this gift, and its seeming foundation into the others. I show this later on in the chapter. Now we see some really great things that tongues does for the believer, if he can learn to be a "man in understanding", by getting the interpretation of what he just spoke in tongues. Let look at the next verse.
1 Corinthians 14:6 Now, brethren, if I come unto you speaking with tongues, what shall I profit you.
Stop right there. Hes now saying that speaking in tongues can somehow profit people. Well that's good news, right? Already we see that when we speak in tongues, that we speak unto God, and also that we in the spirit speak mysteries- verse 2. Now we see that it profits us and apparently can somehow profit other people through us...hmm I wonder how that works? Well he is fixing to tell us, but first, he tells how tongues profits us. Look at this.
1 Corinthians 14:6b Except I shall speak to you either by revelation, or by knowledge, or by prophesying, or by doctrine?
well now we go further. speaking in tongues, can produce
Wow, that's a good thing, right? So apparently these mysteries, your praying out, that you don't understand, can somehow come to you, so you can understand them, and verse 6 says this is profitable. Now he continually pressing the issue that if you come up to me and speak in tongues, its not going to help me out at all, because I just understand what your saying, but if you can get the understanding of some of those things, and tell me that, well that would be to my profit, because it would produce, revelation, knowledge, prophecy, and doctrine. Hmmm this all sounds good, but how for crying out loud do you get the understanding of something you don't understand? Well were coming up to that, so hold on, but in verse 7 he further explains how useless it is to speak in tongues to me even though, its help you. Look.
1 Corinthians 14:7 And even things without life giving sound, whether pipe or harp, except they give a distinction in the sounds, how shall it be known what is piped or harped?
Well that's what hes been trying to say all along that if you speak in tongues to me, there is no distinction in the sound of it and he apply s the same idea to a song that you don't know. You just don't know what their playing and therefore you cant get into it and enjoy it. What does a song do to you? Its power can carry your soul to bliss right? Tongues must be the equivalent power in the spirit realm to that a song has here on earth. Words read but the same words sung, carry a great effect. Our earthly language, English, spoken to a foreigner is a type of Tongues, not interpreted, but revealed (translated), its a beautiful song for all the hear, that can carry the soul to heaven.
1 Corinthians 14:8 For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle?
Well so far, it doesn't look to good for tongues. He says tongues by itself spoken to me from you, is unknown, with no distinction, unprofitable, that its mysterious, and now he says its an uncertain sound and it doesn't prepare anyone. Wait, did I miss something. did he just imply that if I get the understanding of what I just spoke in tongues and tell you about it that it could prepare you for an upcoming battle? Wow, that's super cool. I wonder how you do that. That's coming up, but first he needs to slam speaking in tongues to your neighbor some more, so hang on.
1 Corinthians 14:9 So likewise ye, except ye utter by the tongue words easy to be understood, how shall it be known what is spoken? for ye shall speak into the air.
so tongues is not easy to understand and no one knows what is spoken and I'm speaking into the air...thanks alot.
1 Corinthians 14:10 There are, it may be, so many kinds of voices in the world, and none of them is without signification.
1 Corinthians 14:11 Therefore if I know not the meaning of the voice, I shall be unto him that speaketh a barbarian, and he that speaketh shall be a barbarian unto me.
Oh that's just great. Now he saying I'm a barbarian. Well I guess I better find out how to get the understanding of the mysteries that I pray out in tongues, so I don't look like a blithering idiot, in front of the rest of the world. In verse 12 he begins to unfold this process of entering into prophecy or the interpretation of tongues. Let me divert here for a minute. What do we do with language? It involves everyday life, all of life, every movie, your daily dealing with friends, work, the public, private life, family etc.. Any thing and everything is done with language in one way or another. Its importance is overwhelming. Solitary confinement for only 30 days can harm you mentally, not being able to speak to another. Tongues will only be spoken in this life. There is no evidence that it will be needed in heaven. It must be a special gift given to deal with this world in the special circumstances we have found ourselves in. Many time in prayer we must seem like a barbarian to God since we speak not from our heart under the Holy Spirit influence but out of our head, just rambling on and on. No doubt we could sense, if we placed ourselves in that position, the words properly chosen by the Holy Spirit, to pray in English, but many times we fail and we need to pray in his will nonetheless. This spirit language, tongues, is our perfect prayer, most evidently understood by our Father, for it proceeds from the Holy Spirit. I see a comparison in this verse to your native language with tongues and its this. Just as english is needed in our language to function in all areas of life, (name one that its not in some way connected), so tongues the language of the spirit is needed for all areas of our spirit life. Every voice or language is important in the world. Why? Because every person uses it to communicate with. Your crippled in life if you don't speak some language or understand whats being said. Why is language important, because people are important? The Holy Spirit has given a spirit language to his people and it has a purpose.
1 Corinthians 14:12 Even so ye, forasmuch as ye are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek that ye may excel to the edifying of the church.
well hes saying that these guys are so zealous for gifts and its evident by their practice of praying in tongues, but he instruct them to seek for the edifying of the church..verse 3 says that's prophecy is what edifies the church. notice also he says that they need to seek that ye may excel, at it. well how do you do that..verse 13 tells us
1 Corinthians 14:13 Wherefore let him that speaketh in an unknown tongue pray that he may interpret.
what..do you mean i can ask God for the interpretation of the tongues i pray out in private? yes that's exactly what I'm saying. some have thought Paul was exhorting the church to seek the interpretation of a gift of tongues in a public assembly as describe in chapter 12, but this is not so because Paul in the next verse says what he is referring to here is a prayer. look.
1 Corinthians 14:14 For if I pray in an unknown tongue. stop ...did he just say that not only is there a tongue to be interpreted for a public assembly, but also their is a praying in tongues...wow.
1 Corinthians 14:14b my spirit prayeth, but my understanding is unfruitful.
now we just keep finding more things about praying in tongues...he says my spirit prayeth. better stated, your spirit by the Holy Spirit, prays. the Holy Spirit gives your human spirit his words to pray for your life and your human spirit prays it out..wow...i think i want to stop here and go pray in tongues.. but it still is only helping me when i do that, for hes says my understanding is unfruitful, so what do we do about this? well, he already told us, in verse 13 Wherefore let him that speaketh in an unknown tongue pray that he may interpret. notice in this verse he says to pray for it..that means god gives he answer to that prayer...that means you don't control it, so its in his hand but if you don't ask, he wont give it to you. this is something you have to seek-v12. now he already has pressed home, too well, the idea, that tongues spoken to another, without being intrepreted, is
- Unprofitable-v6 implied
- Without life-v7
- Barbaric-v11 implied
- Just speaking into the air-v9
- Unedifying-v3,v4,v5,v12,v17,v26 implied
man alive, take it easy Paul, sheesh, lol, but, now he goes on to explain, that if we can interpret, then all this changes greatly, to help another person, in the great call to the edification of the church. so he says:
1 Corinthians 14:15 What is it then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also: I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also.
He brings home the idea again to say yes you can do this..you can interpret as the lord wills you private tongues, so you can have to something to give to another. but look at the last part of this verse, he tells more that tongues does for you and therefore for another person. he says I will sing with the spirit, wow..so I can pray in tongues and then pray with the understanding..what understanding? the understanding of what i just prayed in tongues because I ask the lord for the interpretation of it. then he goes on to singing. so I can sing in tongues?..Have you ever done that? why not. you may find the lord give you the interpretation of that which you sang, so you can sing it out in english. ask him. Seek for this!
1 Corinthians 14:16 Else when thou shalt bless with the spirit, how shall he that occupieth the room of the unlearned say amen at thy giving of thanks, seeing he understandeth not what thou sayest?
What! Did he just say I can bless with the spirit, too? Wow, but he goes on to say if I don't get the understanding of it then no one can say amen to it since no one understands it.
1 Corinthians 14:17 For thou verily givest thanks well, but the other is not edified.
That's something you should hammer home in your thinking. when you worship and praise god in tongues, the apostle says you verily givest thanks well, but then again the others don't know what you said so he wants you to grow some and get the understanding of it because then you can speak it out for everyone else benefit.
1 Corinthians 14:18 I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than ye all.
1 Corinthians 14:19 Yet in the church I had rather speak five words with my understanding, that by my voice I might teach others also, than ten thousand words in an unknown tongue.
That was close,I had thought Paul, as much as he was putting down praying in tongues, was really getting to me, but you know all these things come from praying out those mysteries when you speak in the unknown tongue. Paul says he is thankful. hey. I just saw something. Did Paul say that by my voice I might teach others.My teaching can come from the mysteries prayed out in the interpretation of tongues that I spoke? Praying in tongues does that too? Wow but you know I could spend two or three hours in front of you and speak in tongues the whole time and dupe myself that I'm doing something real spiritual, but I'm not, but if I cant get the understanding of what I pray in tongues, even just 5 words, that would change a life forever. they would never forget it. Well why haven't we been able to interpret out tongues and get the understanding of them? He explains in the next verse.
1 Corinthians 14:20 Brethren, be not children in understanding: howbeit in malice be ye children, but in understanding be men.
Tongues comes from your spirit by the Holy Spirit and at times he want you to get the understanding of it and if you cant, its because your children in understanding. to be a man or mature in understanding in the context of what this chapter is talking about is the acquired ability over time of getting the understanding of what you prays in tongues. Why does he want you to do this? Well the next verse say why, because God wants to speak to people through you, but they cant because true spiritual men follow after love not malice. The Holy Spirit has nothing to do with a state of heart that has malice. Spiritual maturity is determined by the condition of your inward heart towards God and man, but I can choose to follow after love and ask for grace from God to walk in love towards others day by day. All these graces come from God.
1 Corinthians 14:21 In the law it is written, With men of other tongues and other lips will I speak unto this people. this is a quote from Isaiah 28.11.
Isaiah 28:9 Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine? them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts.
Isaiah 28:10 For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little:
Isaiah 28:11 For with stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to this people.
Isaiah 28:12 To whom he said, This is the rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest; and this is the refreshing: yet they would not hear.
So tongues is a medium that God has chosen to speak things into the lives of others concerning his will and he says in Isaiah, that this is the rest that you man cause weary people to enter a refreshing.
1 Corinthians 14:22 Wherefore tongues are for a sign, to them that believe not: but prophesying serveth, but for them which believe.
Have you ever seen the operation of tongues as a sign, to the unbeliever? I will state an example. a man with the gift of tongues (1 corn 12.10), walks near a restaurant, and the Spirit of God, speaks to him to so speak to a certain man sitting inside. He obeys and speaks to the man, in tongues. It came out in perfect German, so they chat back and forth and the man, becomes convicted that something supernatural is happening, seeing that someone is speaking perfect German in a particular dialect. He got saved. Prophecy on the other hand, serves primarily the believer.
1 Corinthians 14:23 If therefore the whole church be come together into one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in those that are unlearned, or unbelievers, will they not say that ye are mad?
1 Corinthians 14:24 But if all prophesy, and there come in one that believeth not, or one unlearned, he is convinced of all, he is judged of all:
he clarifies further, that all Christians can be used in prophesy and the result is that he is
"convinced"=Of uncertain affinity; to confute, admonish: - convict, convince, tell a fault, rebuke, reprove.
"judged"=From G303 and G2919; properly to scrutinize, that is, (by implication) investigate, interrogate, determine: - ask, question, discern, examine, judge, search.
1 Corinthians 14:25 And thus are the secrets of his heart made manifest; and so falling down on his face he will worship God, and report that God is in you of a truth.
Here we see clearly that tongues interpreted or prophecy produced a Word of Knowledge that revealed secrets that only that person knows. This proves the gift of prophecy can win a soul to God. but isn't this what its about? are we not expected to prove (a sign), that our message, is from God?
1 Corinthians 14:26 How is it then, brethren? when ye come together, every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying.
This is a wonderful verse. Look, every believer, through the practice of hearing from God, through the process of the interpretation of tongues in our private life, can receive, either a psalm, a doctrine, a tongue, a revelation, or a interpretation. Imagine a church service where a large portion of the members have grown into this process and can hear from the lord, so we have something to contribute to the service. Lets skip down to the 30th verse, to just the first part.
1 Corinthians 14:30 If any thing be revealed to another.
That's what this is, a revelation. God shows someone something and they tell another person and the Holy Spirit helps them.
1 Corinthians 14:31 For ye may all prophesy one by one, that all may learn, and all may be comforted.
Again he assures us that every believer has the capacity to hear from God and be used in prophecy, but he describes it as a learning process. Well that comforting, since most of us have such a hard time doing this. All may learn. Gods voice originates only in him and we cant control that, but we can learn how to hear him. That's good news to me. Finally at the end of the chapter Paul wants to send it home real strong, just to make sure where he stands on tongues. look at this.
1 Corinthians 14:39 Wherefore, brethren, covet to prophesy, and forbid not to speak with tongues.
John G Lake
© 2009 scottyb1