BIBLE READING: 1CORINTHIANS 12:8-10; 1CORINTHIANS 14; ACTS 21:8-9; ISAIAH 28:10-12
“In the Law, it is written: “With men of other tongues and other lips I will speak to this people; and yet, for all that, they will not hear Me,” says the Lord. Therefore, tongues are for a sign, not for those who believe but to unbelievers; but prophesying is not for unbelievers but for those who believe.” (1Corinthians 14:21-22)
A wise man once said that “Talk is cheap depending on who is talking and for Whom he is talking.” One of the most honourable privileges in life is to be deemed worthy of being the Mouthpiece of the Lord. The Bible tells us that “if anyone speaks, let him speak as the Oracles of God…” (1Peter 4:11).
Today, we shall examine the Third and Final Group of the Gifts of the Spirit namely the Utterance Gifts. Also known as the Gifts of Inspiration or “the Gifts that say something”, they consist of the Gift of Prophecy, Diverse Tongues and Interpretation of Tongues.
(1.) The Gift of Prophecy: This is actually inspired utterance in a known tongue or language. In other words, one is said to be prophesying when speaking spontaneously under the anointing in a language known to the speaker. (see Ezekiel 37:1-10) The simple Gift of Prophecy carries no element of prediction, contrary to popular opinion, as seen in the Scripture: “But he who prophesies speaks edification, exhortation and comfort to men.” (1Corinthians 14:3) This means that Prophecy in itself conveys messages which edify (to build up), exhort (to urge, encourage or persuade) and/or comfort (to reassure, console or give relief in the midst of affliction). As we can see, this Gift carries no inherent predictive or prognostic features but can be used as a vehicle to convey predictive Gifts like the Word of Wisdom i.e. the difference between foretelling and forthtelling. (see Psalm 109:6-28)
The Bible is replete with examples of the Gift of Prophecy in action e.g Ezekiel prophesying in the valley of dry bones (see Ezekiel 37:1-10) as well as Judas and Silas as seen in Acts 15:32: “Now Judas and Silas, themselves being prophets also, exhorted and strengthened the brethren with many words.”
(2.) Diverse Tongues: This is simply inspired utterance in an unknown tongue or language i.e. unknown to the speaker. The languages within this context are either tongues of men or tongues of Angels (see 1Corinthians 13:1a) and must be articulated under the anointing. The most glaring example of this Gift being manifested in the Scriptures was on the Day of Pentecost during the Upper Room Experience when the early disciples spoke in no less than fifteen different languages under the anointing, leading to the salvation of three thousand souls. (see Acts 2:6-11)
(3.) Interpretation of Tongues: This is the explanation or showing forth of any message delivered in unknown tongues under the anointing. This Gift is required to complement the Gift of Diverse Tongues because a Divinely Inspired message left unexplained to the recipients is valueless. No wonder Paul said “For if the trumpet makes an uncertain sound, who will prepare for battle? So likewise you, unless you utter by the tongue words easy to understand, how will it be known what is spoken? For you will be speaking into the air.” (1Corinthians 14:8-9) In other words, a combination of the Gift of Diverse Tongues and the Gift of Interpretation of Tongues is equivalent to the Gift of Prophecy.
May the Lord open our eyes to the Magnitude of the Treasure in these Gifts of the Spirit and cause us to “earnestly desire the most helpful Gifts.” (1Corinthians 12:31a New Living Translation)
Heavenly Father, we honour You for the privilege of being Your Mouthpiece. We receive, O Lord, the Utterance Gifts that we may constantly speak as Your Oracles in Jesus’ Name. Amen.