The greatest need of the Church when it assembles is to be fed, spiritually!! IF the speaking in tongues edified only the one who spoke it would nullify the purpose of speaking at all. The intent of tongue-speaking is shown in the fact that the moment, in the first century, when it occurred and it was translated by the interpreter, it became prophecy!! “Greater is he that prophesied than he that speaketh in with tongues.” 1 Corinthians 14:5 It is also interesting to note that the brother who spoke in tongues was told by inspiration to “pray that he may interpret.” 1 Corinthians 14:13 If the speaker translates, one wonders WHY the need for the other language being used!! Verse 5 of chapter 14 backs up the idea the brother speaking in tongues needed to interpret.
Talk without understanding does not benefit the hearer. When Paul says, “If I come to you speaking in tongues,” he is not suggesting that he will do this (see verses 18 and 19). but if he did, it would profit them nothing. The fact that it came from the mouth of an apostle would not change that. This reinforces the latter point in verse 5, “our talk in the church is to edify others.” Otherwise, it is like the random notes which come out of instruments. The meaningful distinctions of the tones and compositions are lost. A bugle is intended to communicate a message (taps, reveille, charge, retreat), but if people know not the sound, it will communicate nothing. But, if the sound DOES follow the patterns or composition people know, it will communicate a message, verses 7-8. You do not want soldiers on a battle field thinking a child has gotten hold of the bugle!! Untranslatable languages, like the bugle sound which no one has learned, do not communicate ANYTHING. Foreign languages are indeed just that—foreign!! They serve no purpose. They may even aid in separation rather than uniting people, for the speaker becomes a barbarian to the hearer (see verses 10-11). Today’s falsely so-called tongue-speaker aids nothing to any service where he or she is allowed audience!!
In verses 13-19 the apostle illustrates the idea of the uselessness of un-translated utterances in a worship service. “Languages”, says the Spirit, “not known by the hearers, do not communicate, and because the manifestations of the Spirit were for the ministry to others, a tongue-speaker must pray that he himself would translate.” The verb pray is in the imperative mood (the mood of command). The literal translation is “therefore, the one who is speaking in the language must pray that he might translate.” This means that if the speaker does not know what he is saying, he is to keep silent—even IF he is just praying!! For years I have had many take a stab at verse 14 of 1 Corinthians 14. They have come up with some pretty weird stuff. Under the circumstances, studying about the demand of the Holy Spirit for the speaker to communicate so as to teach, it seems the only explanation (staying in the thought of the chapter) would be the same. Any act of worship MUJST involve the total person. Is our understanding to be “left at home” while we worship? It is taught that preachers will be judged for every word, in fact, every Christian will be judged for every idle word! Does it not behoove us to KNOW the words we use?? Does a Methodist-pentecostal form of worship have a place in Christian worship? Does yoga aid our worship? Has not God made Himself known in understandable words?? He IS REAL!! To put our thoughts into meaningful words is to be responsible for them, to offer them to God is indeed a meaningful act of praise coming from the depths of the whole person is what we do in worship to Him. If I am being led by the Spirit (which Spirit is it?) to speak, pray, or sing and know not what I am saying; may I not be calling Jesus Christ accursed, as did the Corinthians, 1 Corinthians 12:2??