Interpretation of tongues
In Christian theology, interpretation of tongues is one of the spiritual gifts listed in 1 Corinthians 12. This gift is used in conjunction with that of the gift of tongues—the supernatural ability to speak in a language (tongue) unknown to the speaker. The gift of interpretation is the supernatural enablement to express in an intelligible language an utterance spoken in an unknown tongue. This is not learned but imparted by the Holy Spirit; therefore, it should not be confused with the acquired skill of language interpretation. While cessationist Christians believe this miraculous charism has ceased, Pentecostal and charismatic Christians believe this gift continues to operate within the church.
Much of what is known about this gift was recorded by St. Paul in 1 Corinthians 14. In this passage, guidelines for the proper use of the gift of tongues were given. In order for the gift of tongues to be beneficial for the edification of the church, such supernatural utterances were to be interpreted into the language of the gathered Christians. If no one among the gathered Christians possessed the gift of interpretation, then the gift of tongues was not to be publicly exercised. Those possessing the gift of tongues were encouraged to pray for the ability to interpret.
- Glossolalia ("speaking in tongues")
- Guy P. Duffield and Nathaniel M. Van Cleave, Foundations of Pentecostal Theology, 1983, (Los Angeles: Foursquare Media, 2008), pp. 342-343.