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Paul declares that Tongues must be Interpreted in the Church Part 1
1 Corinthians 14:6 Now, brethren, if I come unto you speaking with tongues, what shall I profit you, except I shall speak to you either by revelation, or by knowledge, or by prophesying, or by doctrine? KJV
Paul so far in this part of his letter to these Corinthian believers has clearly given them his position (as he was moved or inspired by God the Holy Spirit) in regards to speaking in tongues and where it ranks among the spiritual gifts given to believers by the Holy Spirit. Paul never denies their receiving this gift, but now wants them to understand that it is not to be exercised “in the church” without the person speaking in tongues being able to interpret what he has just said or someone else in the congregation with the spiritual gift of interpretation making known to all present what is being communicated by the person. Paul says to them that coming to them speaking in tongues will profit them nothing in their spiritual life or in any way brings them closer to Christ-likeness. This English word profit is translated by the Greek word opheleo which means exactly what we would see in our English dictionaries which is to benefit or to be helpful, serviceable, advantageous, or useful. Paul in his use of words here in 1 Corinthians 14:6 is not being deep doctrinally or spiritually, but his choice of words is designed to convey to them a very practical truth, for if he were to come to them speaking in tongues or speaking a language none of them knew or could understand, what good would it be for those group of believers in Corinth.
Paul is not denying the reality of them speaking in tongues, but what he is denying the purpose, practicality, or the profit of them doing so “in the church” when no one is able to interpret what had been spoken. It appears that some of the Corinthian believers wanted to be free to exercise their gift of tongues with or without interpretation because it made them feel more spiritual or superior to some of the others and we already know that there was much division, dissension, and distasteful practices taking place among them, even to the point of them taking one another to the court of law among the Gentiles (1 Corinthians 6:1-8). Paul declares to them now in no uncertain terms that this gift must not be exercised in the collective assembly of the saints together to worship our Lord Jesus Christ unless it can be interpreted. Paul declares that “in the church” he or anyone else that has been ordained by God the Father to speak for Him “in the church” must do it by revelation, knowledge, prophesying, or doctrine. The English word revelation is translated by the Greek word apokalupsis which means to take off the cover or to disclose or to make naked a disclosure of truth. Paul declares to them and us that God the Holy Spirit does not want the gift of tongues being exercised “in the church” without Him giving the understanding of what was spoken, but in contrast when He imparts revelation or apokalupsis meaning in this case a disclosure of truth from Him to a believer it is to be spoken “in the church” so that all can understand, Note: Today God the Holy Spirit is not disclosing new eternal truth that has not already been disclosed by Him in His Holy Word.
Paul also declares that he or any representative of God must speak by knowledge and this English word is translated by the Greek word gnosis which means to know or to understand the general knowledge of Christianity and the deeper more perfect and enlarged knowledge of Christianity, such as belongs to the more advanced especially of things lawful and unlawful for Christians moral wisdom, such as is seen in right living. Paul declares that to speak in a language that the speaker, nor his listeners understands does nothing for the church to gain the knowledge from God of how a follower of Christ should behave and conduct himself down here on the earth and therefore it must not be exercised “in the church” absent interpretation. Paul declares thirdly that he or any of God’s Ambassadors are to speak not in tongues “in the church”, but by prophesying and this English word Paul uses here is translated by the Greek word propheteia which means predictions or to foretell from divine inspiration declaring the purposes of God, whether by reproving and admonishing the wicked, or comforting the afflicted, or revealing things hidden; especially by foretelling future events Used in the NT of the utterance of OT prophets of the prediction of events relating to Christ’s kingdom and its speedy triumph, together with the consolations and admonitions pertaining to it, the spirit of prophecy, and the divine mind.
The gift to speak for God “in the church” was to make known to the other believers God’s mind on matters of living down here on the earth and to reveal the things given by Him to Paul or others at that time that were hidden that would eventually make up the New Testament we have in our hands today. This could not have been done then by Paul or others if they went around in every church speaking in tongues that most, if not all were unable to interpret. The Scripture is clear that no new hidden truth is being revealed or made known to believers that are outside of the Word of God today. Paul lastly declares that he and all of God’s Ambassadors must speak doctrine to other fellow believers and this English word doctrine is translated by the Greek word didache which means the act of teaching, instruction in assemblies of Christians, to speak in the way of teaching, in distinction from other modes of speaking in public. Paul declares that no one in the assembly will be taught by him or any other person if they are speaking in tongues and no one has any clue what they are saying. The purpose of the speaking gifts are to edify, reveal, inform, admonish, comfort, predict (as God the Holy Spirit informs John 16:13), and to instruct and equip the saints for the work of the ministry and that cannot be done “in the church” that is filled with men and women speaking in tongues with no one interpreting what is being spoken.
“Speaking in tongues can become so misused by believers just as the other gifts can. The gift is no longer being exercised ‘in love’, but through pride someone can become self-exalted or elevated into a place that is not God the Father’s Will for that person. It appears that this is what was happening in the Corinthian church and instead of men and women being edified, admonished, comforted, and instructed by the men God called to such positions, everyone was wanting to be seen by speaking in tongues with no interpretation and this benefited no one.” Clifford D. Tate, Sr.
If you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ and His amazing healing power, pray this from your heart to the Lord Jesus Christ (you speaking directly to Him), Dear Lord Jesus, I confess to You that I am a sinner and I need Your forgiveness. I believe You shed Your Blood and died for my sins. I believe that You rose from the dead proving that You alone are God. I repent of my sins. I want to turn from my sins. I ask You Dear Lord Jesus to come into my heart and take control of my life. I want You to be my Lord, Savior, and my God. Amen...
Sincerely in Christ,
Clifford D. Tate, Sr.
Author of “Silent Assassins of the Soul - Are you Broken by Pornography and Masturbation? You can be Restored by the Lord Jesus Christ and brought into Deliverance, Freedom, and Victory! A Guide for Men and Women in the Enemy’s Crosshairs” e-book available now @ Amazon Kindle, @ Apple I Bookstore for IPod, Barnes and Noble for Nook, Reader Store for Sony Reade, Kobo, Copia, Gardners, Baker and Taylor, and eBookPie…
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