I have a question. It has to do with I Corinthians 14. We are studying the various spiritual gifts bestowed upon the church members and how this gift was abused. The gifts we are focusing our study on is prophecy and tongues. My question, are there several versions of prophecy?
Also, my understanding of tongues is that it aided teaching, speaking in another language that was not taught to the individual talking in tongues. What purpose would the interpreter serve, if the members present would hear in their own language? I'm not quite clear on this issue.
I know of no verse that indicates different types of prophecy. Prophecy was the gift of speaking God's words. I can't seek how one can divide that into different kinds. See "Prophets" for more details.
There were different types of tongues because there are different types of languages. "To another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues" (I Corinthians 12:10). The gift was to the speaker. It gave them the ability to speak in languages they had not learned (Mark 16:17). Normally the speaker would speak in a language people in the audience understood (Acts 2:8-11). But in a group setting, understanding becomes difficult. If someone spoke, say in Portuguese, because there was a visitor in the audience from Portugal, that visitor would benefit, but what about the rest of the group? "Therefore, if I do not know the meaning of the language, I shall be a foreigner to him who speaks, and he who speaks will be a foreigner to me" (I Corinthians 14:11). Thus Paul states that unless there is an interpreter for the rest, the message brought by the one speaking in a tongue is useless for the majority present. "Therefore let him who speaks in a tongue pray that he may interpret" (I Corinthians 14:13). The worship service is a time for all to benefit. Thus, Paul gives the rule, "If anyone speaks in a tongue, let there be two or at the most three, each in turn, and let one interpret. But if there is no interpreter, let him keep silent in church, and let him speak to himself and to God" (I Corinthians 14:27-28). Unless it could be arranged that everyone in the audience can benefit from the message, then the use of foreign languages was banned from the worship service. Now, this doesn't mean that a tongue speaker couldn't interpret for the foreigner in the audience, but that the tongue speaker could not address the entire audience if he or someone else could not translate the message into languages everyone could understand. More details can be found in "Speaking in Tongues," including details on I Corinthians 14.