On no occasion may tongues be used unless an interpreter is standing by to tell the audience every word that was spoken.SIZE>. (15-25) Disorders from vain display of gifts; (26-33) and from women speaking in the church. Anyone in possession of God's Spirit would have exactly the same attitude; but no, the tongue-speakers would rather speak ten thousand words in tongues than five words that anybody could understand! This is viewed as totally wrong with regard to all of the conduct which demanded Paul's attention. This indeed posed a delicate problem. The things spoken by alleged interpreters who are conveying present-day messages received through tongues are nothing new, being for the most part garbled and confused bits of teaching gleaned piecemeal from smatterings of religious texts, being in no sense whatever any such thing as a coherent and enlightening communication from Almighty God. Question 1: Hey Pastor Paul! God of course could hear. For God is not a God of confusion, but of peace. Such persons are sincere, to be sure, but sincerely wrong. It may not be denied that there was a REAL gift of tongues belonging to some in Corinth, although this chapter does not give us much information on how that genuine gift operated. Speaking in Tongues. The notion that speaking in tongues is to convert unbelievers is foreign to this text. This probably means that, even if another heard it, he would not be able to understand it; and it appears that the speaker also could not understand it, unless he had the gift of interpretation. This might very well have been Paul's way of putting the terminator on tongues without discouraging any who might really have had the genuine gift. James Rosscup writes that "This was the great work in the life of the versatile Dean of Canterbury. Commentary on 1 Corinthians 14:15-25 (Read 1 Corinthians 14:15-25) There can be no assent to prayers that are not understood. Women may not be appointed to the eldership of a church, because, like most men, they are unqualified. When the apostle exhorts Christian women to seek information on religious subjects from their husbands at home, it shows that believing families ought to assemble for promoting spiritual knowledge. As to the speaking in an unknown tongue, if another were present who could interpret, two miraculous gifts might be exercised at once, and thereby the church be edified, and the faith of the hearers confirmed at the same time. as absolutely sarcastic, meaning that no matter how "well" they thought they were giving thanks, the Holy Spirit was opposed to what they were doing, on the simple grounds that the rest of the congregation would not know "what thou sayest." Follow after charity--as your first and chief aim, seeing that it is "the greatest" ( 1 Corinthians 13:13 ). Now I would have you all speak with tongues, but rather that ye should prophesy: and greater is he that prophesieth than he that speaketh with tongues, except he interpret, that the church may receive edification. If there was an interpreter, then others might be permitted to hear both the tongue and the interpretation. These are: 2. They can never be benefitted by such teaching. Five intelligible words are to be preferred to ten thousand in an uninterpreted tongue. This is proving himself the servant of Christ. The genuine gift had to be either identical with that of Pentecost, or a far lesser thing given for the encouragement of individuals and to be used privately (1 Corinthians 14:4). While still refusing to forbid tongues categorically, for fear of wounding some with the real gift, Paul again stressed the superiority of teaching, commanding here that the brethren should desire to teach, not to speak in tongues. If this does not condemn the whole monstrous aberration, then how on earth could it be condemned? This mingling of the true (even though perverted as to purpose and use) tongues with the false is evidently the reason for Paul's tenderness in dealing with this sin. The office of the evangelist is one of authority in the name of God; and as DeHoff expressed it: What is said of women being elders, deacons or evangelists is also true of their being "preachers" in any sense whatever; because it is the duty of all preachers to be evangelists, even if their preaching sometimes gives little evidence of respecting their commission. For the prime example of this, see under Mark 16:18 in the Gospel of Mark, and comment in my Commentary on Mark, pp. What shall I profit you ... means "I shall not profit you in any manner at all," if I come to you speaking in tongues. To make this a universal rule for all women is to ignore the limitations evident in the passage. The frequency in this chapter of that condition coming into view, always with the uncertainty of "may" or "if" connected with it, strongly suggests that there might not have been very many interpreters at Corinth. 3. Even an apostle could not edify, unless he spoke so as to be understood by his hearers. 1Cr 14:1-5. Prophecy preferred to the gift of tongues. If so, where is it? The secrets of his heart are made manifest; and so he will fall down on his face and worship God, declaring that God is among you. These reasons were: (1) The Old Testament gave man the authority over the family, as in verses cited above, and (2) the customs of the age made it shameful for a woman to speak in public. There were not to be over three on any one occasion; two may not speak at once; and if one prophet was interrupted by another, that was the end of the first prophet's message! This whole section of this chapter (1 Corinthians 14:1-12), if it had any purpose at all, was to get rid of tongue-speaking in the assemblies of the church in Corinth, with the delicate purpose of Paul, always in view, not to discourage any real gift that might have existed there. 1 Corinthians 14 Spiritual Gifts 12 Now m concerning 1 spiritual gifts , 2 brothers , 3 I do not want you to be uninformed . 6. Certainly, the lack of authentic interpretation in the present times raises the most serious questions and goes far to prove the invalid nature of that which passes for tongue-speaking today. If then I know not the meaning of the voice, I shall be to him that speaketh a barbarian, and he that speaketh will be a barbarian unto me. Study the bible online using commentary on 1 Corinthians 14 and more! Of course, Paul would not countenance anything of that kind. The Blessed Spirit never operated against the will of God. Here he says, that charity, or love, was to regulate all that they did. Scripture truth, plainly and duly taught, has a wonderful power to awaken the conscience and touch the heart. Here are a few of the questions I have received over the years and the answers I attempted to provide. It is simply incredible that the people affecting to speak in tongues could really imagine that they are doing any good. 1 Corinthians 14, Coffman Commentaries on the Bible, One of over 110 Bible commentaries freely available, this commentary, by the leading authority in the Church of Christ, presents a … By way of revelation ... refers to what was revealed in Scripture. This requirement alone demanded the omission of tongues from all church services. All tongue-speaking must be done "in turn," that is, by persons speaking one at a time. [6] David Lipscomb, Commentary on First Corinthians (Nashville: Gospel Advocate Company, 1935), p. 208. However, there is another force operative in the tongue-speakings of post-apostolic times, and that is satanic instigation. The first announcement of it came in a situation where it was drastically needed; and, despite the fact that over-formalization may occur from an over-zealous enforcement of it, it is the failure to enforce it at all which distinguishes many so-called "free" religious groups today. No new paragraph begins here, such a division being arbitrary and incorrect. But now, brethren, if I come unto you speaking with tongues, what shall I profit you, unless I speak to you either by way of revelation, or of knowledge, or of prophesying, or of teaching. Paul encountered some of these "barbarians" on his mission tours, namely, at Malta and at Lycaonia (Acts 14:11); and significantly Paul did not understand the dialect of the Lycaonians, this being another reason to suppose that Paul's gift of tongues did not include the gift of speaking in languages he had never learned, but was rather for private encouragement. This adds another dimension to Paul's picture of the Corinthian assembles: they were scandalous examples of utter and complete confusion. Paul's method of doing so was a marvel. The meaning of this is exactly the same as in 1 Corinthians 14:7, the repetition of the thought using another illustration was for emphasis. This is a mandatory conclusion based on Paul's order that the speakers should speak "one at a time," or "in turn" (1 Corinthians 14:27). Reproved by all, ... judged by all ... has reference to the power of a decently ordered service featuring intelligible speakers to move the unregenerated to accept the gospel, as stated in the next verse. Note the following: (a) And there was one Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel ... which departed not from the temple ... and spake of him (Christ) to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem (Luke 2:36-38). This is proving himself the servant of Christ. The women under consideration in this order were married, nothing whatever being said of widows, spinsters or the unmarried; and they were also ignorant, as indicated by "if they would learn anything." There seems to be a contradiction between 1 Corinthians 14:22 and 1 Corinthians 14:23-25. ii. From this, it is to be inferred that rule (1) is still operative in the sense in which it is applied in the Old Testament. 7. Revelation ... is a reference to the words of an inspired, miraculously endowed teacher who had "the gift of prophecy" as used in this chapter. Follow after love; yet desire earnestly spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may prophesy. Churches presuming to appoint deaconesses do so without Scriptural authority, and without any guidelines as to the needful qualifications. He begins the chapter, I. The true gift was referred to here; but even of it the apostle said that teaching and edifying the church constituted a far better thing. Now, brethren, if I come unto you speaking with tongues, what shall I profit you, except I shall speak … No advantage can be reaped from the most excellent discourses, if delivered in language such as the hearers cannot speak or understand. Even prior to that, Eve was designated as a "help" suitable for man (Genesis 2:18). This was mentioned along with "tongue" to bind the two inseparably together; and it seems plausible that by this inclusion Paul did not mean to certify the fact of there actually being interpreters of tongues in Corinth, but rather as a device of eliminating tongues altogether UNLESS this condition was fulfilled (having an interpreter). See comment on this in my Commentary on Romans, pp. The questions have been lightly edited for brevity, clarity and confidentiality. When ye come together, each one hath a psalm, hath a teaching, hath a revelation, hath a tongue, hath an interpretation. What is it then, brethren? To suppose that the Holy Spirit was actually guiding those ostentatious leaders of the public prayers, or songs, so that they were doing so in tongues, is absolutely an impossibility. Follow after love; yet desire earnestly spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may prophesy. (a) Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took a timbrel in her hand; and all the women went out after her (Exodus 15:20). "[10] All of Paul's tongue-speaking was apparently done in private devotions. Wherefore my brethren, desire earnestly to prophesy, and forbid not to speak with tongues. If so, who has ever heard a single word of it? Why has the phenomenon of counterfeit tongues persisted? As McGarvey said, "To understand the passage we should know the ignorance, garrulity and degradation of Oriental women. The unprofitableness of speaking in unknown languages. * [ 14:20 – 22 ] The Corinthians pride themselves on tongues as a sign of God’s … What cannot be understood, never can edify. To report dead links, typos, or html errors or suggestions about making these resources more useful use the convenient. "[4] It should be remembered, however, that the disappearance of apostolic miracles has removed the necessity of confusion with regard to tongue-speaking. 14. There is no understanding of this chapter without taking into account the falsity of those Corinthians tongues, but at the same time not denying a legitimate gift as then existing and having been prostituted to unholy ends. Fall down on his face and worship God ... "Power to make unbelieving visitors fall down on their faces and worship God, O for such today, instead of dead formalism on one hand and irreverent monkey business on the other!"[13]. In this the third chapter of Paul's writings specifically related to tongue speaking and other spiritual gifts, the full thrust of his purpose is revealed. "[7] We might state the argument as this: "Therefore, let's have no more of this tongue business in the songs and prayers; let everything be done in a language everybody can understand.". Bible > Commentaries > 1 Corinthians 16:14 ... 1 Corinthians 14:1. Matthew Henry’s Bible Commentary (concise), Matthew Henry Bible Commentary (complete), California - Do Not Sell My Personal Information. 15 For though you might have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet you do not have many fathers; for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel. This applied even if an interpreter was present. Has any revelation been delivered to mankind since the days of the apostles by means of the gift of tongues duly interpreted? Yes, but only to the extent that it had been perverted by dragging it into the public worship. It is not permitted unto them to speak ... That is, it was not permitted for them to speak in tongues, that having been the subject Paul was discussing. Study the bible online using commentary on 1 Corinthians 14 and more! How the prophets or teachers should act in the Church, 1 Corinthians 14:29-33. VI, p. 273. Upon the occasion of the creation and fall, God said to Eve, "Thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee" (Genesis 3:16). The blunt, dogmatic apostolic answer to tongue-speakings is just this: "but if there be no interpreter!" We have already noted that Paul never used the gift in the presence of others, or in church assemblies. His speaking in tongues was genuine, a true gift, to edify himself; the "gifts" he was correcting were (1) either the misused genuine gifts, or (2) the affectations of the tongue counterfeiters; well, actually both of these were condemned. Many in all ages have prostrated themselves before God in worship and in prayers, and the admissibility of this as legitimate is plain enough in this verse. It does just the opposite of converting unbelievers, with the result that they turn aside in disgust, as Paul stated in the very next verse. An analysis of the above apostolic rules on tongue-speaking will emphasize the importance of the inspired interpreter, the gift of interpretation itself being one of the miraculous gifts; and Paul's statement in 1 Corinthians 14:28 that, "If there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the church," still leaves the possibility that there were not any in Corinth who had that gift. 1 Corinthians 14:21 Isaiah 28:11,12; 1 Corinthians 14:34 Or peace. However, despite the absence of that thought from this particular verse, it was true of the tongue-speakers that they were all speaking at once. What then was the apostle's purpose in bringing up the fact that he himself spoke in tongues? This refers to the true gift of tongues as manifested in Corinth and has the information that it was PRIVATELY utilized. (b) And Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lapidoth, she judged Israel at that time ... and the children of Israel came up to her for judgment (Judges 4:4,5). For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prayeth, but my understanding is unfruitful. One humble teacher of the word of God does more good than a thousand tongue-speakers, even if their alleged "gift" should be accepted as genuine. 1 Corinthians 2:14 “The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit.” Explanation and Commentary on 1 Corinthians 2:14. Whatever the genuine gift was (at Corinth), there is simply no glimpse whatever of it in this chapter. Bruce gave the probable explanation thus: If Paul had not possessed the gift, some of his critics would have responded merely by saying, "Well, you know nothing about it." Phoebe (Romans 16:1) was not a deacon in any official sense. He simply did not wish to say anything that would discourage those souls who had indeed received of God the private gift of tongues for their encouragement. Since not even he understood what was said ("no man understandeth"), the nature of that edification would appear to have been the confirmation to him (by the gift) of his having received the Holy Spirit. However, Paul taught that there was a genuine gift of "interpretation of tongues" (1 Corinthians 12:10): and this has the effect of denying the gift at Corinth any identity with the miracle of Pentecost, where no interpreter was needed. This command comes right in the middle of an extensive treatise on tongue-speaking; and to blow this up to a universal law that no woman might open her mouth in a church service is simply contrary to all reason. (1-5) The unprofitableness of speaking in unknown languages. If it is a fact that God is speaking in such a manner to people today, and that there are interpreters who might tell what is spoken, why has it not been published, in order for all people to be able to share in it? 1 Corinthians 14 generates more questions per square inch than just about any other chapter in the New Testament. [7] J. W. McGarvey, Commentary on First Corinthians (Cincinnati, Ohio: Standard Publishing Company, 1916), p. 137. It is the failure to see the essential sin of that whole tongue-speaking outburst (of both kinds) which has blinded people to the teaching of this chapter. Tongues in a church? Has there ever been preserved any of this supernatural wisdom that is said to be imparted to people by means of tongues? Certainly, in the case of the tongue speakers: (1) they were all speaking at once, (2) perhaps dozens were participating every Sunday, and (3) such a thing as interpreting what was spoken in tongues had been ignored altogether. The idea of "teaching a man" as a violation of that law is, however, far-fetched. Commentaries for 1 Corinthians Chapter 14 Prophecy preferred to the gift of tongues. Is it any different in the New Testament? Barclay also observed this and suggested how it comes about: The phenomenon called tongue-speaking can be faked; this writer has seen it faked; and the simple truth is that anybody can fake it. God never teaches men to neglect their duties, or to act in any way unbecoming their age or station. For thou verily givest thanks well, but the other is not edified. Would it not make Christianity ridiculous to a heathen, to hear the ministers pray or preach in a language which neither he nor the assembly understood? Read 1 Corinthians 14 commentary using Matthew Henry Commentary on the Whole Bible (Complete). Some would do away with these rules altogether on the grounds that there is "neither male nor female" in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:28); but, as McGarvey declared, "This is unwarranted; for while the gospel emancipated woman, it did not change her natural relation"[15] in the hierarchy of the family. In a word, these four verses lay down practically the same rules for the prophets as those applying to those having the tongues (of either kind). I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also: I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also. All Christians of all ages should heed this verse. It is the conviction here that the genuine gift to the Corinthians was precisely that, a demonstration of tongues for personal edification, not in the sense of learning anything, but as proof that he who had it enjoyed possession of the Holy Spirit. Any other, besides the possessor, was never to hear it done. Every preacher or evangelist is commanded to "Reprove, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching" (1 Timothy 4:2). As Lipscomb said with reference to this and 1 Corinthians 14:15:. [2] Billy Graham, as quoted in Christianity Today (Washington, D.C.: Today's Publications, Inc., 1976), Vol. This prohibition was directed against the arrogant leadership of some of the Corinthian women in the promotion of a fad, that of speaking in tongues. This was a simple rule; and if this was observed, every thing would be done well. The thought evidently is, "I will sing as the Spirit directs or inspires, and I will sing in a language that those who hear can understand. Clearly, the prophetesses of the Old Testament exercised their gift publicly, even the priests and the king being subject to what they said. However, the overwhelming certainty presses upon us that the visible tongues of Corinth were totally sinful and contrary to the will of God, being either: (1) a prostitution of a private gift for public glory in the case of the true gift, or (2) a sensational orgiastic counterfeit demonstration having no connection whatever with the Holy Spirit. [21] Raymond C. Kelcy, First Corinthians (Austin, Texas: R. B. Certainly, he didn't do it in church assemblies. © 2021 Christianity.com. It was a master stroke of the devil that he had prevailed upon some who had the true gift to bring it into the public worship; and therefore, when Paul condemned the false, his care not to discourage the true variety of tongues resulted in an occasion of misunderstanding of this subject for centuries afterward. As Glenn Wallace once paraphrased this: "As for tongue-speaking, don't let the gals do it at all!" Neither the KJV nor the English Revised Version (1885) is correct here. The impossibility of reconciling the radically opposed views of scholars and commentators on this passage has the effect of sending us back to the Old Testament, to which Paul appealed in this verse. But if any man is ignorant, let him be ignorant. Indeed, no one understands them; they utter mysteries by the Spirit. [18] George W. DeHoff, Sermons on First Corinthians (Murfreesboro, Tennessee: The Christian Press, 1947), p. 99. "[20] This was addressed to abuses of the formal worship by women of a certain class in an ancient culture. Furthermore, Paul's speaking in tongues "more than ye all" is tremendously significant. Religious exercises in public assemblies should have this view; Let all be done to edifying. There are a number of rules in these two verses which must be observed whenever tongues may be used. Else if thou bless with the spirit, how shall he that filleth the place of the unlearned say the Amen at the giving of thy thanks, seeing he knoweth not what thou sayest? All Rights Reserved. Significantly, even in these times of the alleged reappearance of this gift, it is almost invariably the women who catch on to it first, and later their husbands. This was Paul's sarcastic denunciation of the pretensions of the Corinthians, having the impact of "Surely, you people could not believe that you are some kind of Mother Church!". The only way that even an apostle could benefit his hearers was by preaching to them. Certainly the fact is plain enough that there was a POSSIBILITY of no such interpreter being present; and therefore Paul gave the order that if none indeed was present, tongues were not to be used under any circumstances (1 Corinthians 14:28-28). He simply issued apostolic orders that would inevitably, if followed, diminish and destroy the bastard gift, while at the same time cautioning "not to forbid to speak in tongues" (1 Corinthians 14:39). Brethren, be not children in mind: yet in malice be ye babes, but in mind be men. The Corinthian women had violated that intention and Paul immediately assigned two reasons for forbidding the action (speaking in tongues publicly) which frustrated God's purpose. (b) The apostle Peter, on Pentecost, cited the Old Testament Scriptures which prophesied that in the times of the new covenant, "Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy" (Acts 2:17). Visit our library of inductive Bible studies for more in depth inductive studies on this and other … ... McGarvey understood this is idiomatic for "What is the conclusion of the argument? There cannot be any doubt that formalism, which is the current religious style, and which certainly corrected the shameful disorders like those at Corinth, has nevertheless left many a congregation in a state of abiosis. (34-40). 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Metz said, `` it was this sinful usurpation of their wrongdoing learning or speaking! Links, typos, or in church assemblies was said in 1 Corinthians 14:15: apostles by means of?! Proper for public worship services of the apostles by means of the foolishness of tongue-speaking then... Spontaneous, informal nature of the church in all English translations would say written down a week ahead no... Benefited not others but the other having been removed by the tongue speech easy to be to...

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