Ministries, Charisms, Fruits – 12 Tongues
St Paul was a witness to the operation of the same, or a related, gift at Ephesus. He directs the Corinthians to employ nothing but articulate and plain speech in their use of the gift of tongues, and also to refrain from its use in Church unless what is said can be grasped by the unlearned (cf. 1 Cor 14). No tongue is genuine without the voice of interpretation and to use tongues in this way Paul considers to be the act of a barbarian. He considers that the impulse to praise God in one or more strange tongues should come from the Holy Spirit and counts it as an inferior gift, granting it a penultimate place in a list of eight charismata. In effect Paul teaches that it is a mere sign, meant not for believers but only for unbelievers.