Gifts of the Spirit: Speaking in Tongues and Prophecy

We are discussing various spiritual gifts.  Last week, we discussed pastors, teachers and evangelist.

This week, we are delving deeper into the spiritual gifts.  This weeks spiritual gifts are the ones that are often misunderstood and misconstrued by modern society.

1 Corinthians 12:10 says, “and to another prophecy; and to another discerning of spirits: to another divers kinds of tongues; and to another the interpretation of tongues”

Tongues—Speaking in tongues is “the supernatural ability of speaking an unlearned language…Paul seems to have distinguished between the public use of the gift (which must always be interpreted) and the private use which was for the spiritual strengthening of

interpreting and speaking in terms is not for everyone


Interpretation of Tongues—“This gift always follows the public exercise of the gift of tongues. In 1 Corinthians 14, the Apostle Paul required that all speech in Christian worship should be intelligible. This required that speech given in an unknown tongue be interpreted in the common language of the gathered Christians.”  Barnes Notes on the New Testament says, “This was evidently a faculty different from the power of speaking a foreign language; and yet it might be equally useful. It would appear possible that some might have had the power of speaking foreign languages who were not themselves apprized of the meaning, and that interpreters were needful in order to express the sense to the hearers.”

Interpreting Dreams—Acts 2:17 says, “And your young men shall see visions,
And your old men shall dream dreams”. Barnes Notes on the New Testament says, “As this was one way in which the will of God was made known formerly to men, so the expression here denotes simply that his will should be made known; that it should be one characteristic of the times of the gospel that God would reveal himself to man. The

Joseph interpreted dreams and had visions

ancients probably had some mode of determining whether their dreams were Divine communications, or whether they were, as they are now, the mere erratic wanderings of the mind when unrestrained and unchecked by the will.”

The Old Testament shows how this is a gift through the stories of Joseph {who made his brothers mad, but provided through famine} and Daniel {who also interpreted a king’s dream}.

Visions—“An outpouring of this gift is prophesied in Joel 2:28, and Acts 2:17 shows that early Christians believed this prophecy was fulfilled on the day of Pentecost. Visions tend to be more private experiences than the other gifts. Some researchers expand the definition of visions to include a strongly felt presence.”   Some visions came in dreams {such as Joseph and Daniel}, but not all visions are received as dreams.  Barnes Notes on the New Testament says, “The will of God in former times was communicated to the prophets in various ways. One was by visions; and hence one of the most usual names of the prophets was seers. The name seer was first given to that class of men, and was superseded by the name

Joseph interpreted Pharaoh’s dreams

prophet. {1 Samuel 9:9} “He that is now called a Prophet was beforetime called a Seer. This name was given from the manner in which the Divine will was communicated, which seems to have been by throwing the prophet into an ecstasy, and then by causing the vision, or the appearance of the objects or events to pass before the mind. The prophet looked upon the passing scene, the often-splendid diorama as it actually occurred, and recorded it as it appeared to his mind. Hence, he recorded rather the succession of images than the times in which they would occur. These visions occurred sometimes when they were asleep, and sometimes during a prophetic ecstasy.”

Prophecy—Last week, we discussed prophets.  A prophet’s corresponding gift is

Elijah was a prophet of God

prophecy.  Prophecy is “reporting something that God spontaneously brings to your mind”.   Isaiah provided a prophecy when he described the coming Messiah.  One of his prophecies we are familiar with is “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given and the government shall be upon his shoulders and his name shall be called wonderful, counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.”  {Isaiah 9:6}

These are gifts we do not see or hear about as much today.  If we do, then we are more likely to call the person crazy or faking.  However, these gifts were very real in both the Old Testament and New Testament.

So, who am I to say that there is not believers today that possess these abilities.  Sometimes, we wake up from a dream and are surprised when it happens later.   This is not a Biblical example of visions or interpreting dreams, but it shows that dreams still exist today and someone could possess that gift.

Today’s theme is primarily about speaking in other languages or seeing dreams or visions of what is to come or could happen in the future.   There are also individuals who can interpret these dreams or visions, even though they may not be able to speak or have these dreams.

Do any of these spiritual gifts relate to you?


Gifts of the Spirit, understanding speaking in tongues and visions Share on X

*Definitions taken from the Foundations of Pentecostal Theology

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