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Must there always be an interpreter?

Submitted: 10/22/2012
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Question: Will God give someone a message to speak out in church if there is no interpreter present? The reason I ask is because you stated in your article about tongues in church, how will a person know if there is an interpreter present if they donít speak out. It seems to me that if God is involved in it, He will know beforehand if there is an interpreter there for His message. God is all knowing and would not have someone speak in tongues if He did not have someone present to interpret. When someone speaks out in tongues in church and no one interprets, it causes confusion which is not God (1 Cor. 14:33). Some may say that God had someone ready to interpret but they got scared and did not interpret, which happened to me, but God had someone else to interpret so as not to cause confusion. If God is in it he is in it all the way. He will not go against His Word.

Answer: We agree with your statement that God would not move upon a person to speak a message in tongues to the church unless He also has someone available to give the interpretation. The problem is never with God. And in our experience, it was been very unusual for someone to give a message in tongues and there be no interpretation. But, it has happened. So the questions is, what is the explanation? We can think of several possible explanations:

1. That the person giving the message in tongues was speaking out of his own flesh and it was not the Spirit of God.

2. That the person who was supposed to give the interpretation froze and would not yield to the Spirit.

3. That the person who gave the tongues jumped the gun and spoke before the time was right.

You may not agree with these last two explanations, but I think we need to keep in mind that operating in spiritual gifts requires sensitivity to the Spirit and sometimes people just make mistakes. Paul made a very significant statement in 1 Corinthians 14:32 when he said, 'And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets.' This is a reminder that God has placed His power in our hands, which means that we have the ability to yield to His Spirit or to resist it. The operation of His power is subject to us. Sometimes sincere godly people whom God is desiring to speak through simply fail to yield to Him. It doesn't mean they are in rebellion; it may just mean that they are human. Not saying this is good, but I believe it does happen.