Originally posted by freedish
my understanding is that tongues are useless unless someone can interpret them
Publicly, no; privately, no. Allow me to explain
In public, speaking tongues without an interpreter present serves a purpose. That purpose, however, is not a good one. It causes folks to think the
speaker, and thereby the church, fools, or perhaps just drunkards. (see 1 Cor 14, and perhaps Acts 2). So it serves a purpose to do so in public, just
not a purpose towards God's plan. It tends to turn people away from the church.
Yet, in private, in the very same chapter from 1 Corinthians, Paul speaks of tongues in a very positive light, without the emphasis on interpretation.
Indeed, the second verse states, "For anyone who speaks in a tongue does not speak to people but to God..."
Obviously, you don't think speaking to God is useless. That's evident by your post. Speaking in tongues in private, or silently, even, seems to be
petitioning God via the Holy Spirit living in you. God's word says ask and it will be given you. It also says that whatsoever you pray in Christ's
name, so long as it is in His will, will be given you. I don't know about you, but I don't always know (in fact, typically I don't) what God's
will is in a situation. The Holy Spirit, on the other hand, I'm confident does. That gift some are given to surrender their will, their prayers, to
the Holy Spirit to petition God on some matter they are unaware of or only have vague understanding of, that His will be done in a situation,
according to God's Word, will be answered. That is certainly not useless!
In my understanding, it seems there are two elements of the gift of tongues. The one which takes place publicly, correctly, tends to be more
prophetic, edifying the church, than petitioning. The private, on the other hand, I've seen give rise to God's moves. Prophesy is more accurate,
preaching more poignant and anointed, healing takes place, encouragement and joy pour forth. Even prayer gets more specific. They seem to have two
radically different functions, and, unfortunately for many, the private tends to require far more humility than the public. When someone is praying in
tongues privately, God is operating through them, but no one this side of Heaven will ever know. When in public, there's no question, typically, that
God was operating through you.
Now if we could get past that misunderstanding and realize God's gifts do not denote maturity in the faith, that humility would come a lot more