1 Corinthians14:26

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Then what is it,

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brothers? Whenever you come together, each one has a psalm, has a teaching, has a revelation, has a tongue, has an interpretation. All [of it] must be done to build up!


What should we conclude then, brothers? Here it is: whenever you come together for worship, each of you is given something different to bring to the gathering; one may be given a spontaneous song by the Holy Spirit, another may be given a depth of understanding for teaching and the insight to know what the congregation needs at that time, another may be given a special revelation from God specifically for the people present at that time, another may be given a message in a language he does not know for unbelieving foreigners who need God to show Himself to them, another may be given the gift of telling the congregation what the message for the unbelievers was and how that fits God’s great plan. The main point is that all of these must be done for the edification of others.



This phrase can also be rendered, “what then takes place? How then does the matter stand in the context of what preceded it? What should follow”?


My idea of interpretation is this – God sometimes gives people the ability to understand what was being communicated through the unknown language, even if none of the locals know that language and even if none of the foreigners can communicate well enough with the locals to explain the message to them. I think that in most of the cases in which this was done, it was for the Jews present who didn’t believe in Jesus as Messiah, or did not believe that the Gentiles should be allowed into the fellowship of His followers.

Therefore, in this verse, the tongue is to convince foreigners to follow Jesus, and the interpretation is to convince Jews to accept the foreigners.

I have come to believe that, in the case of Acts chapter 2 (Pentecost), Peter’s sermon was the interpretation. The sermon he preached was very similar to what the other disciples were preaching, but his was directed at the local Jews who had crucified Jesus. In the meeting at Cornelius’ house, a verbal interpretation was not needed because the way they were praising the Lord made clear that they had experienced a heart change.