The Gifts Part 94
Interpretation of Tongues
Last on the list of the gifts of the Holy Spirit as detailed by Paul the Apostle in his first epistle to the Corinthians, is the gift of interpretation of tongues. This is by far the most self-explanatory gift, since it works in concert with the gift of speaking in tongues, and allows for an individual to interpret unknown tongues, into a discernible and understandable message.
Beyond the ability to interpret tongues, the purpose of the gift of interpretation of tongues is the edification of the fellowship.
If when we speak in tongues we are speaking mysteries to God, then logic would dictate that when tongues is interpreted, by their interpretation we are hearing and understanding the mysteries of God.
Before we can begin to operate in the gift of interpretation of tongues, we must first understand what the gift is. Too often, we confuse interpretation of tongues, with translation, and though the two words might be similar in their meaning, they are also very different in their intent.
To translate is to render verbatim in another language. If I speak six words in German, and someone who speaks both German and English is acting as my translator, then that person will speak the selfsame six words in English that I spoke in German. When someone repeats the words I spoke in another language, they are not interpreting what I said; they are translating what I said.
I was my grandfather’s translator for ten years while he traveled throughout America giving his testimony. He would speak a sentence, or a fragment in Romanian, and then I would diligently translate what he said into English. I was not interpreting what he was saying; I was translating what he was saying.
Since it is something I used to do for a very long time, I am still fascinated by translators, and the liberties some take in becoming interpreters of what someone was saying rather than the translators they were hired to be. There is nothing more cringe worthy than seeing someone speak two words, and one who ought to have translated those two words and been silent, goes into a three minute monologue. One need not be the most astute of individuals to realize that something is amiss when someone speaks two words, and their intended translator speaks fifty. At this point, they are no longer translating; they are interpreting what they believed the individual had intended to say.
The gift of interpretation of tongues is just that. It is not the gift of translation of tongues; it is the gift of interpretation of tongues. As such, you will often see someone speak a handful of words in tongues, then when the interpretation comes it will be far longer or far shorter depending on what the interpretation is.
I mention this only because some dismiss certain interpretation of tongues, because the length of the interpretation seems shorter or longer than the tongues itself. As such they conclude that it could not be accurate or of divine origins due to the length of the message, rather the content.
It is not translation, it is interpretation!
You don’t translate tongues, you interpret them, just as you don’t you don’t translate hieroglyphs, but rather interpret them. Within the span of three or four crude drawings, one can interpret an entire battle, the outcome of a war, or even the life of a Pharaoh. The gift of interpretation of tongues works in much the same way, wherein a few words spoken in tongues can be interpreted into a lengthy message.
Once again, we must tread this ground, and accurately define what the gift of interpretation of tongues is, just as we have with all the other gifts, because it is important, and knowledge of any given thing will keep you from being confused or apprehensive about it.
Few things are sadder within the church when certain individuals react to the work of the Holy Spirit out of ignorance, or a pre-established idea. I have seen whole congregations ripped asunder due to ignorance, because no one took the time to delve into the word of God and discover the truth within its pages.
If God’s people are destroyed for lack of knowledge, then logic itself would dictate that we ought to seek after knowledge, and be in complete understanding of something before we start passing judgment, and before we plant our feet firmly into the soil unwilling to give an inch.
Hosea 4:6, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I will also reject you from being priests for Me; Because you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children.”
It’s not that knowledge is unavailable, it’s not that it is difficult to find, it’s that men willfully reject knowledge, and that compels God to reject them in turn.
We possess more knowledge today than any other generation before us. We have the word of God at our disposal, and thankfully we have it in abundance. If one desires knowledge, it is at their fingertips. Sincerity of heart and an honest desire for knowledge however, dictate that we acquiesce and submit to the knowledge we discover within the pages of scripture, and not reject it as so many have throughout the ages.
In His goodness God has provided us with knowledge, that we might understand deeper and more profound spiritual truths, but what we do with this knowledge is entirely up to us as individuals.
I can but tell you what the Bible says, I can but teach what the Bible teaches, what you do with it, how you utilize it, receive it, and apply it, is something you will have to decide for yourself. One thing is certain. Today, just as in the days of Hosea God’s people are destroyed for lack of knowledge, because they choose to reject it, dismiss it, or altogether ignore it.
Psalm 119:11-12, “Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You. Blessed are You, O Lord! Teach me Your statutes.”
With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.