One Spirit Many Superpowers – Part Four

Jul 9, 2023

1 Corinthians 12:10 – spiritual languages and interpretation

The Holy Spirit gives us special abilities that help us strengthen our spiritual family and participate in the cause of Jesus Christ.

We can all find fulfillment and growth as we better understand the gifts given by the Holy Spirit.
Unpacking 1 Corinthians 12-14, for the purpose of increasing our understanding of the Spirit-given gifts mentioned, their motivation, purpose, function, and fulfillment within the church.
List: Wisdom, Knowledge, Faith, Healing, Miracles, Prophecy, Discernment, Languages, Interpretations

“we were all baptized into one body through one Spirit.” – 1 Corinthians 12:13 NCV

“The Spirit gives one person the ability to speak in different kinds of languages and to another the ability to interpret those languages.” – 1 Corinthians 12:10b NCV

Intro – languages streaming entertainment made in another language, in need of subtitles.

Language – a system of communication used by a particular community

Language – the principle method of human communication, consisting of words used in a structured and conventional way and conveyed by speech, writing, or gesture.

People talk like this_.

Interpretation – the action of explaining the meaning of something, translation, or the communication of the general sense

“I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you. He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth.” – John 14:16-17 “I will send the Holy Spirit, just as my Father promised. But stay here in the city until the Holy Spirit comes and fills you with power from Heaven.” – Luke 24:49 “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you.” – Acts 1:8 “Everyone present was filled with the Holy Spirit,” – Acts 2:4

Today Jesus-followers should be interacting with God the Holy Spirit, receiving from the Holy Spirit: guidance, comfort, and ability.

Jesus’ followers shared the Good News of salvation with as many people as they could. When they shared Jesus’ teaching, they also shared a view of God in three persons. This included an introduction to God the Holy Spirit and an invitation for new believers to receive this Spirit.

The Spirit Gifts of Tongues and Interpretation of Tongues

1. Spiritual Languages

God the Holy Spirit gives some people the gift of an ability to speak new spiritual languages.

“The Spirit gives one person the ability to speak in different kinds of languages and to another the ability to interpret those languages.” – 1 Corinthians 12:10b NCV

14 When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that the people of Samaria had accepted God’s message, they sent Peter and John there. 15 As soon as they arrived, they prayed for these new believers to receive the Holy Spirit. 16 The Holy Spirit had not yet come upon any of them, for they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 17 Then Peter and John laid their hands upon these believers, and they received the Holy Spirit” – Acts 8:14-17 NLT

While Apollos was in Corinth, Paul traveled through the interior regions until he reached Ephesus, on the coast, where he found several believers. 2 “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” he asked them. “No,” they replied, “we haven’t even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.” 3 “Then what baptism did you experience?” he asked. And they replied, “The baptism of John.” 4 Paul said, “John’s baptism called for repentance from sin. But John himself told the people to believe in the one who would come later, meaning Jesus.” 5 As soon as they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 6 Then when Paul laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in other tongues and prophesied.” – Acts 19:1-6 NLT

(Note: the role of the Holy Spirit in each believer’s life is a priority, awareness/learning/teaching helps, not all who received spoke in other tongues)

“The Spirit gives one person the ability to speak in different kinds of languages and to another the ability to interpret those languages.” – 1 Corinthians 12:10b NCV

“to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues.” – 1 Corinthians 12:10b ESV

“And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.” – Acts 2:4 ESV

“Now there were dwelling in Jerusalem, Jews, devout men from every nation under heaven. And at this sound the multitude came together, and they were bewildered, because each on was hearing them speak in his own language.” – Acts 2:5-6 ESV

“Not all speak in different languages. Not all interpret those languages.” – 1 Corinthians 12:30 NCV

Those who have the gift of speaking in different languages are not speaking to people; they are speaking to God. No one understands them; they are speaking secret things through the Spirit.” – 1 Corinthians 14:2 NCV

The early Christians held praying in the Spirit as a value, Ephesians 6:18, Jude 1:20, Romans 8:26.

3 modes of Spirit-given languages:

1. Ability to speak a yet unlearned human language. – Acts 2:5-6

2. Ability to speak a yet unlearned language to be interpreted for God’s purpose. – 1 Corinthians 12:10b

3. Ability to speak a yet unlearned language as a personal prayer language. – 1 Corinthians 14:2 NCV

Desire, ask for, receive the gifts:

4 The ones who speak in different languages are helping only themselves, but those who prophesy are helping the whole church. 5 I wish all of you had the gift of speaking in different kinds of languages, but more, I wish you would prophesy. Those who prophesy are greater than those who can only speak in different languages—unless someone is there who can explain what is said so that the whole church can be helped.” – 1 Corinthians 14:4-5 NCV

13 The one who has the gift of speaking in a different language should pray for the gift to interpret what is spoken. 14 If I pray in a different language, my spirit is praying, but my mind does nothing. 15 So what should I do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will also pray with my mind. I will sing with my spirit, but I will also sing with my mind. 16 If you praise God with your spirit, those persons there without understanding cannot say amen to your prayer of thanks, because they do not know what you are saying. 17 You may be thanking God in a good way, but the other person is not helped.

18 I thank God that I speak in different kinds of languages more than all of you. 19 But in the church meetings I would rather speak five words I understand in order to teach others than thousands of words in a different language.” – 1 Corinthians 14:13-19 NCV

2. Interpretation – Ability to Interpret Spiritual Languages

God the Holy Spirit gives some people the gift of an ability to interpret new spiritual languages.

“The Spirit gives one person the ability to speak in different kinds of languages and to another the ability to interpret those languages.” – 1 Corinthians 12:10b NCV

“to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues.” – 1 Corinthians 12:10b ESV

“Not all speak in different languages. Not all interpret those languages.” – 1 Corinthians 12:30 NCV

Here and now we should desire the gifts, receive the gifts, and activate the gifts according to God’s purpose.

8 Love never ends. But as for prophecies, they will come to an end; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will come to an end. 9 For we know in part, and we prophesy in part, 10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will come to an end.” – 1 Corinthians 13:8-10 CSB

When Jesus Christ returns, in the culmination of human history, such spiritual gifts will be fulfilled, complete, and no longer necessary. We will then be in perfect harmony with our God, in three persons, and enjoying eternal limitless access to God’s presence.

Want to understand more about why we believe that these spiritual gifts did not end with the New Testament believers? A well reasoned chapter of Systematic Theology by Wayne Grudem gives coverage and fair treatment of opposing views.

26 So, brothers and sisters, what should you do? When you meet together, one person has a song, and another has a teaching. Another has a new truth from God. Another speaks in a different language, and another person interprets that language. The purpose of all these things should be to help the church grow strong. 27 When you meet together, if anyone speaks in a different language, it should be only two, or not more than three, who speak. They should speak one after the other, and someone should interpret. 28 But if there is no interpreter, then those who speak in a different language should be quiet in the church meeting. They should speak only to themselves and to God.” – 1 Corinthians 14:26-28 NCV

39 “So my brothers and sisters, you should truly want to prophesy. But do not stop people from using the gift of speaking in different kinds of languages. 40 But let everything be done in a right and orderly way.” – 1 Corinthians 14:39-40 NCV

What do we learn?

God is alive today and at work through us.

We value the power and presence of the Holy Spirit for ministry today.

Jesus taught his followers to receive a strengthening, “filled to overflowing”, ability-giving, life-changing relationship with the God the Holy Spirit.

Some will receive the gift of spiritual languages.

Some will receive the ability to interpret spiritual languages.

What should we do?

Read 1 Corinthians 12-14. Pray. Listen. Ask questions. Share the journey.

Notes on women in church meetings, from 1 Corinthians 14:34-38:

“’The same Spirit is active in all these,’ – 1 Corinthians 12:11 refers to the Spirit’s supernatural working through a diversity of gifted people to produce one cohesive relationship, ‘for the common good,’” – CSB Holman Study Bible Notes

Here are some thoughts from Lanny Hubbard and Ben Malmin, two of our elders.

The Bible teaches that Jesus Christ came to redeem women as well as men. Jesus favored many women with personal revelations of himself, as seen in Mark 15:40-41, 16:1-7; Luke 8:1-3; John 20:10-18. Through faith in Christ, we all become children of God, one in Christ, and heirs to the blessings of salvation without reference to racial, social, or gender distinctives, seen in Galatians 3:28.

The Bible teaches that the Holy Spirit came on men and women alike. Without distinction, the Holy Spirit indwells men and women, sovereignly distributes gifts without preference as to gender, as seen in Acts 1:14, 2:1-4, 18.

The Bible teaches that both men and women are to develop their spiritual gifts and to use them as stewards of the grace of God, 1 Peter 4:10-11. Both men and women are divinely gifted and empowered to minister to the whole Body of Christ, under His authority, Acts 18:26, 21:9; Romans 16:1-7 (“servant” = “deacon”), 12-13, 15; Philippians 4:2-3; Colossians 4:15. (1 Timothy 3:11 “deaconess”) In the New Testament church, “deacon/deaconess” held positions of significant leadership responsibility along with the elders.

The Bible teaches that, in the New Testament economy, women as well as men exercise the leadership functions, Acts 2:17-18; 21:9; 1 Corinthians 11:5. Therefore the few isolated texts that appear to restrict the full redemptive freedom of women must be interpreted so as not to contradict the rest of Scripture, but their interpretation must take into account their relation to the broader teaching of Scripture and their total context, such as 1 Corinthians 11:2-16, 14:33-36; 1 Timothy 2:9-15.

The Bible clearly refers to the ministry of women deacons in the New Testament church, Romans 16:1; 1 Timothy 3:11. Since the Biblical leadership qualities are the same for both elders and deacons, 1 Timothy 3:1-13, if a woman can be a deacon, she can also lead as an elder.

The “restoration” of the church to its full authority and glory will necessitate the release of all of God’s gifts to all of God’s people in the church, Acts 3:21; Ephesians 3:20-21.

If Jesus Christ, the Risen Lord of the Church, would gift, call, and anoint a woman for ministry and leadership in the local church, the church should not prohibit her from doing so just because of her gender.

All epistles are “occasional statements”, i.e. they were written to address a specific occasion or issue (s). Paul writes to Timothy, an elder in the Ephesian church. In Ephesus the worship of the goddess Diana, whom they believed to be the creator of life, had a significant impact on all aspects of culture. The Epistle to the Ephesians records that there was a group of wealthy women in the church. They were allowed to function independently of any man. In 1 Timothy 2:11-12, Paul writes that women should learn in “quietness and full submission”. This “quietness” translates as inward calm tranquility, giving calm attention. It refers to a demeanor of life free from anxiety or conflict. We also understand this because Paul uses the same word in other passages in ways that shows it’s not meant as just refraining from speaking. Just as the men, in 1 Timothy 2:9, were not to fight and create doubts, so the women were not to create conflicts that give rise to the questioning of the things of God. The point being made is that the teaching and authority that is prohibited are those not having this character quality. It appears not to be a prohibition of all teaching, but to that which is wrongly done. A woman should not teach anything contrary to the good doctrine that had been given to them by the Lord or actively involved in overthrowing someone in authority, in the church.

In 1 Corinthians 11:5, Paul makes clear that women can pray and prophesy in public. However, their public ministry could be done in an appropriate or inappropriate manner. (The same was true of men, 1 Corinthians 11:4). Women were exhorted to prophesy with their “head covered”. This is an apparent reference to “headship” and must be read in the context of 1 Corinthians 11:3. Those who prophesied or engaged in public ministry were to do so with an attitude of humility and respect and motivated by love. Since this is also true of men ministering in public, we must assume that Paul is dealing with a specific problem in the Corinthian church.

In 1 Corinthians 14:34, note the use of the terms “all”, “each”, and “anyone”. Throughout the context of chapter 14 these three terms are used in regard to people functioning in various public speaking giftings. The implication of the passage is that every member of the group that gathers has something to offer the group. The term “brethren” can refer to other Christians and not just males. Women don’t appear to be restricted in this area. This could be consistent with 1 Corinthians 11. So, to see women as part of the “all” in these other verses and yet bind them to a strict silence rule in verse 34 seems to be contradictory. The silence of women is, therefore, situational. Earlier in chapter 14, people are told that under certain conditions they are to be silent in the corporate gathering. One, in verse 29, is if there is a message in tongues that is given with no interpretation, then that person is to keep silent. This is the same Greek word used for women in verse 34. Also, second, in verse 30, if a person is prophesying, and another person gets a word from God, then the first person that was speaking is to be silent. This is so one person does not dominate the ministry time and that all the various giftings can be used. Both of these prohibitions to speaking were given for the same reason. Paul wanted the whole group to be blessed by the ministry that was taking place. He in no way was banning tongues or prophecy in the meetings. He was only restricting their use when it was being detrimental to the group by how the gifts were functioning. Therefore, this passage does not prohibit women from speaking in the church worship service. Instead, it means that any interruption or misuse of a verbal gift was to be stopped, whether by man or woman, in order to preserve the edification of the whole group. When a woman was gifted by God, had the proper motive, and resulted in edifying the people; this passage does not limit her from speaking.

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