Baptism by the Holy Spirit in the New Testament

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11. The difference between “interpretation”, “prophecy” and “tongues”

"...have zeal for spiritual things, rather than to prophesy (προφητεύητε); for, the one who speaks (λαλών) a tongue speaks (λαλεί) not to people, but to God, because no-one hears; for his spirit speaks (λαλεί) mysteries. However, one who prophesies (προφητεύων) to people speaks (λαλεί) constructively... whereas the one who speaks (λαλεί) in tongues edifies himself only. And though I want all of you to speak (λαλείν) in tongues, I would rather that you prophesied (προφητεύητε); for he is greater who prophesies (προφητεύων), rather than the one who speaks (λαλών) tongues; unless he is interpreting so that the Church may receive edification΄΄.  [1 Corinthians 14:1-5]

The above passage discerns between "speaking in tongues" and "prophesying".  Prophesying is mentioned as something more significant than speaking in tongues, unless the one who is speaking in tongues also has the gift of interpreting them, so that the Church may be edified by what is being said.

This also agrees with what we have observed earlier on: that the one who speaks in tongues "speaks for his own sake" and not for the edification of the Church.

"...Firstly apostles, secondly prophets, thirdly teachers, then powers, then charismas of healing, perceptions, governments, species of tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all have powers? Do all have charismas of healings? Do all speak in tongues (γλώσσαις λαλούσι)? Do all interpret? Therefore, have zeal for the superior charismas..."  [1 Corinthians 12:28-31]

"...for, to another is (the gift of) prophecy (προφητεία), to another is the discernment of spirits, to another the species of tongues (γένη γλωσσών), to another the interpretation of tongues (ερμηνεία γλωσσών)."   [1 Corinthians 12:10]

The details mentioned above however, lead us to only one conclusion:  That it is one thing to "speak in tongues" and another thing to "utter in tongues", through verbal speech.  We shall examine this further along, in more detail.


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Article published in English on: 24-5-2010.

Last update: 24-5-2010.