1 Corinthians 12:10e
To another the interpretation of tongues.
The gift of the Interpretation of Tongues (hermeneia glosson) is the third of the three Vocal Gifts, so named because they all say something. We know that the others are the gifts of Speaking in Tongues and Prophecy. By way of definition, the gift of the Interpretation of Tongues refers to utterance through the Spirit in a known language in response to utterance in an unknown language (tongues).
Note that to interpret is to explain or tell the meaning of a message, and is not necessarily a word-for-word or sentence by sentence translation. Now the Bible teaches that other believers can be edified when we interpret the tongues we speak (1 Cor. 14:5). In fact, everyone who speaks in tongues is encouraged to pray for the ability to interpret. (1 Cor. 14:13).
Without belabouring the point, suffice it to say that the operation of the gifts of Tongues and Interpretation together has tremendous value and power in personal and corporate worship. By way of illustration, consider the idea that “a picture speaks more than a thousand words”. That also is the power of dreams and visions. The interpretation brings greater meaning, clarity and conviction when it follows an initial expression.
Likewise, the operation of two successive manifestations of the Spirit (Tongues plus Interpretation) is in itself wonderful. At any rate, God in His superior wisdom knows why we need these related spiritual gifts. Let us embrace and exercise them faithfully for our and others’ edification.