“For he that speaketh in an unknown tongue speaketh not unto men, but unto God: for no man understandeth him; howbeit in the spirit he speaketh mysteries.” – 1 Cor 14:2

The tongues speaker is only speaking to God? Then what the purpose of tongues? When I say the statement is confounding, it is mostly so to those who don’t read it in context of the entire chapter.

Paul explains such a person is “only speaking to God” when done without regard for the hearers. Tongues are real languages as in Acts 2 when the Apostles were speaking in tongues and the people were hearing the things of God in their own language, Acts 2:6.

Tongues serve a purpose to teach the Gospel to those in other languages. But if the tongue is being spoken to those not of that language is it is just chatter. This is why Paul said to be quiet or else have an interpreter of the tongue.

“Wherefore let him that speaketh in a tongue pray that he may interpret.” 1 Cor. 14:3

The problem in Corinth was the problem of tongue speakers being puffed up to use their gift without regard for the hearers.

In this age when the gift of tongues as well as the gift of interpreting have ceased, congregations today with multiple languages represented will have the preachers take turns speaking in one tongue, and then another person gives interpretation to the rest of the audience. The ability to interpret today is gained by studying languages for sharing the Gospel spoken in one tongue to another tongue.

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