As to prophesying, two or three only should speak at one meeting, and this one after the other, not all at once. 1 Corinthians 14:21 Isaiah 28:11,12; 1 Corinthians 14:34 Or peace. The teacher of the word of God is the true hero, not the tongue-speaker. Prophesying, that is, explaining Scripture, is compared with speaking with tongues. On no occasion may tongues be used unless an interpreter is standing by to tell the audience every word that was spoken.SIZE>. But if those who minister, plainly interpret Scripture, or preach the great truths and rules of the gospel, a heathen or unlearned person might become a convert to Christianity. Incidentally, it is quite obvious that the assemblies of the early Christians were open meetings, free to be attended by any who might wish to do so. If so, who has ever heard a single word of it? 1 Corinthians 14:34-38 Women are forbidden to speak there. How could the darnel be pulled up without rooting up the wheat? This is therefore a call for the Corinthians to stop chasing after tongues and to grow up spiritually. " It should be remembered, however, that the disappearance of apostolic miracles has removed the necessity of confusion with regard to tongue-speaking. The spontaneous, informal nature of the early church services is clearly visible. The three phases of mortal life: babies, children, and men were intended to explain the whole matter of spiritual gifts, belonging as they did to the infancy and childhood age of the church, and not to its maturity. 1 Corinthians 14, William Barclay's Daily Study Bible, One of over 110 Bible commentaries freely available, this commentary, as set of 17 volumes on the New Testament, the result of Barclay's dedicated work Was God the author of it? It should be carefully noted that what was true of the counterfeit tongues in this respect was also true of any genuine tongues exercised without an interpreter's presence to tell what was said. 2 For anyone who speaks in a tongue does not speak to people but to God. This is proving himself the servant of Christ. (6-14) Exhortations to worship that can be understood. Certainly, he didn't do it in church assemblies. Here again the essentially private nature of the true gift of tongues is implicit and demanded by the context. 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. 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. This is proving himself the servant of Christ. The only kind that has ever existed since the age of the apostles has been the kind Billy Graham called "counterfeit.". 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. Paul, of course, made the comparison with instruments known in his day. 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). If such an illustration as this has any meaning, it has to be that uninterpreted tongues are as noisy, disagreeable, useless, cacophonous and worthless as a kitten on the keys of a piano. Even an apostle could not edify, unless he spoke so as to be understood by his hearers. But if I bring you a revelation or some special knowledge or prophecy or teaching, that will be helpful. Since we today are dealing with a far different situation, it is proper to speak much more plainly of those bastard tongues at Corinth. 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).  Billy Graham, as quoted in Christianity Today (Washington, D.C.: Today's Publications, Inc., 1976), Vol. The word from which the Pauline expression "edifieth" is translated is related to the building up of an edifice; and Paul demanded that EVERYTHING ("all things, 1 Corinthians 14:26) be done unto edification of the church. 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 …  Leon Morris, Tyndale Commentary (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. Paul is completely opposed to a blind fanaticism or irrational mysticism. It is the conviction of this writer that nothing in the history of the church has been any more misunderstood than this chapter. 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. Paul shows that for worship to be helpful, and for a sane and sound church life, the mind must work together with the energies of the (human) spirit.  Adam Clarke, Commentary on the Holy Bible (New York: Carlton and Porter, 1831), Vol. It must have been of great value to have such directly inspired teachers in that age of the church (the infancy age); and the foolishness of the Corinthians is seen in their astounding preference for the showy gift of tongues, instead of honoring and preferring a gift that could have blessed and benefited. This would have made for shorter services, since the probable result was that they could run through the maximum number of three rather quickly under those rules! However, there is another force operative in the tongue-speakings of post-apostolic times, and that is satanic instigation. New International Version (NIV) They are a sign of judgment, as the unknown tongues of the Assyrians were in Isaiah’s day. Revelation ... is a reference to the words of an inspired, miraculously endowed teacher who had "the gift of prophecy" as used in this chapter.  Henry H. Halley, Bible Handbook (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan Publishing House, 1927), p. 549. 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). 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. 2 You know that n when you were pagans o you were led astray to p mute idols , however you were led . They are a sign of judgment, as the unknown tongues of the Assyrians were in Isaiah’s day. Prophecy preferred to the gift of tongues. HENRY ALFORD The Greek New Testament 1 Corinthians Commentary. VI, p. 273. Or of prophesying ... refers to intelligible teachings given by the Holy Spirit to Paul as a spiritual gift. (1 Corinthians 14:1), Follow after love ... seems to connect with what was said in 1 Corinthians 13. As Billy Graham said of tongues in the United States at this present time (March 26,1976), "There is much that is counterfeit ... tongues are no evidence that a person has been baptized in the Holy Spirit. For God is not a God of confusion, but of peace. This stresses the private nature of the true gift; and the apostolic order for it not to be used in church (without an interpreter) removed the only possible reason why the counterfeiters were faking it, making it impossible for them to accumulate any flattery or "glory" from the display of their "abilities" publicly. Who is the author of such confusion? 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. Study the bible online using commentary on 1 Corinthians 14 and more! Brethren, be not children in mind: yet in malice be ye babes, but in mind be men. Uninterpreted tongues were as disastrous as the efforts of a military bugler whose unintelligible blasts could not be distinguished either as a call to charge, a call to retreat, or a call to go to bed! Not as long as there is a single believer in it! Prophesying, that is, explaining Scripture, is compared with speaking with tongues... View the entire commentary. 14 I do not write these things to shame you, but as my beloved children I warn you. Even fervent, spiritual affection must be governed by the exercise of the understanding, else men will disgrace the truths they profess to promote. Every preacher or evangelist is commanded to "Reprove, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching" (1 Timothy 4:2). It was customary from the earliest times for Christians to say Amen to the public prayers and thanksgivings of the church. 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). 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. 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). speaking in an unknown tongue to you of another foreign country. If any man thinketh himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him take knowledge of the things which I write unto you, that they are the commandment of the Lord. Verse 14. But if a revelation be made to another sitting by, let the first keep silence. 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. Thus, from the very beginning the authority of the family was vested in the man. Commentary on 1 Corinthians 14:15-25 (Read 1 Corinthians 14:15-25) There can be no assent to prayers that are not understood. From these passages from both testaments, it is clear that the total exclusion of women from any public speaking did not occur, nor was the action of such women construed as "usurping authority" over a man. If so, where is it? 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. Despite this forbearance, there never was a church anywhere which could practice tongue-speakings while observing Paul's rules, which inevitably diminished them to the vanishing point; and which, after the cessation of miraculous gifts, eliminated them altogether. Far from being an instrument of converting unbelievers, or being some kind of sign that would help unbelievers to believe, tongues in a public assembly were a positive hindrance, resulting not in the conversion of any but in the judgment against Christians to the effect that they were all crazy. These verses are a recapitulation of the argument in 1 Corinthians 14:7-9, the conclusion being that any kind of jargon or gobbledegook, such as tongues, which cannot be understood by the hearers, is condemned. 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. This indeed posed a delicate problem. The first of these reasons, of course, is the greater, the other having been removed by the customs of subsequent ages. So also ye, since ye are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek that ye may abound unto the edifying of the church. And let the prophets speak by two or three, and let the others discern. 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? (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). George W. DeHoff, a current church leader and a scholar of great discernment, vigorously supported McGarvey's position on this question, saying: Some things, however, are forbidden to women in the Christian religion. There are, it may be, so many kinds of voices in the world, and no kind is without signification. What about the woman whose husband is an ignoramus, an unbeliever, or an open enemy of God and all religion; should she comply with this rule? Not so much their voices being heard in a Christian assembly, but the rejection of lawful authority, is the thing suggested by Paul's statement that the Law of Moses forbade it. 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." Any other, besides the possessor, was never to hear it done. 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 adds another dimension to Paul's picture of the Corinthian assembles: they were scandalous examples of utter and complete confusion. For if the trumpet give an uncertain voice, who shall prepare himself for war? Even prior to that, Eve was designated as a "help" suitable for man (Genesis 2:18).  J. W. McGarvey, Commentary on First Corinthians (Cincinnati, Ohio: Standard Publishing Company, 1916), p. 143. Rules like these carry the strong implication that some at Corinth had claimed otherwise. 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. What is it then, brethren? Women may not be appointed to the eldership of a church, because, like most men, they are unqualified. " It is clearly evident that the genuine gift of tongues, whether like those at Pentecost or at Corinth, perished with the age of miracles, and that all of the tongue-speaking of this generation is spurious. Furthermore, Paul allowed that when an interpreter was present, along with other prescribed conditions, the gift at Corinth might properly be used (1 Corinthians 14:27). All religious services should be so performed in Christian assemblies, that all may join in, and profit by them. Read 1 Corinthians 14 commentary using Matthew Henry Commentary on the Whole Bible (Complete). 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 Spiritual Gifts 12 Now m concerning 1 spiritual gifts , 2 brothers , 3 I do not want you to be uninformed . 1Cr 14:1-5.  Donald S. Metz, Beacon Bible Commentary (Kansas City, Missouri: Beacon Hill Press, 1968), p. 447. 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. This requirement alone demanded the omission of tongues from all church services. What shall I profit you ... means "I shall not profit you in any manner at all," if I come to you speaking in tongues. 1 Corinthians 15. Their vigorous advocacy of it had cast them in a role of immodesty and rebellion even against their husbands, hence Paul's rule as stated here. Now, brethren, if I come unto you speaking with tongues, what shall I profit you, except I shall speak … By the above title is meant the counterfeit, faked and pretended gift of tongues. ... McGarvey understood this is idiomatic for "What is the conclusion of the argument? No! There can be no assent to prayers that are not understood. for ye will be speaking into the air. Therefore, we view Paul's words, "Verily givest thanks well? The spiritual gift of prophecy was largely a teaching gift (1 Corinthians 14:3), but also included, at least in some cases, the ability to foretell future events. If there was an interpreter, then others might be permitted to hear both the tongue and the interpretation. 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? Every ability or possession is valuable in proportion to its usefulness. 1 Corinthians 14:39,40 An exhortation … Women may not be evangelists. 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!". There seems to be a contradiction between 1 Corinthians 14:22 and 1 Corinthians 14:23-25. ii. 7. See comment on this in my Commentary on Romans, pp. Even things without life, giving a voice, whether pipe or harp, if they give not a distinction in the sounds, how shall it be known what is piped or harped? Only the possibility that they might have it is indicated. The genuine gift (at Corinth) was never exercised by Paul, who surely had the gift (1 Corinthians 14:18), in public assemblies of the church, at least as far as the record goes, and based upon his stated refusal to use it at Corinth (1 Corinthians 14:6ff). First 30-days on us! What is it then? " This was addressed to abuses of the formal worship by women of a certain class in an ancient culture. 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. What cannot be understood, never can edify. 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. Thus Pat gets it from Shirley, Tom gets it from Mabel, etc., just like Adam took the forbidden fruit from the hands of Eve. 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. But let all things be done decently and in order.  Raymond C. Kelcy, First Corinthians (Austin, Texas: R. B. Religious exercises in public assemblies should have this view; Let all be done to edifying. Let your women, &c. — The last clause of the preceding verse is by some critics, and among the rest Bishop Pearce, joined with this, so as to make this sense; as in all the churches of the saints, let your women keep silence in the churches, namely, of Achaia. I thank God, I speak with tongues more than ye all. or came it from you alone? Sweet Co., Inc., 1967), p. 69. Such persons are sincere, to be sure, but sincerely wrong. 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. One can only be amazed at the near-universal acceptance of the idea that what those Corinthians were doing was actually CAUSED by the Holy Spirit! (c) So Hilkiah the priest ... went unto Huldah the prophetess, the wife of Shallum ... and they communed with her (2 Kings 22:14). (15-25) Disorders from vain display of gifts; (26-33) and from women speaking in the church.  Henry Bettenson, Documents of the Christian Church (New York and London: Oxford University Press, 1947), p. 6. Tongues in a church? 1 Corinthians 16 – A Collection and a Conclusion A. Yes, but only to the extent that it had been perverted by dragging it into the public worship. There are no miraculously endowed teachers today, despite Satan's having induced a few to fake even this. How the prophets or teachers should act in the Church, 1 Corinthians 14:29-33. By way of revelation ... refers to what was revealed in Scripture. The force of 1 Corinthians 14:7-9 is that the false tongues of Corinth were unintelligible nonsense, having no meaning whatever, being nothing more than jabberings of orgiastic demonstrators; and here was the delicate part of the whole situation, the UNINTERPRETED manifestations of the genuine gift itself resembled the false tongues so perfectly that no one on earth could have told any difference! None of them may be "the husband of one wife," etc. 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. The quotation of these verses in the sense of people singing and praying in the public services "with the spirit and the understanding" is based upon an incorrect discernment of their meaning. (1-2) Receiving the collection. Language plain and easy to be understood, is the most proper for public worship, and other religious exercises. 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. The teacher did more good and was therefore greater than the tongue-speaker. That he may interpret ... Again, no certainty that any interpreters existed at Corinth appears here. No man today could need any such confirmation because the New Testament makes it clear that all believers who repent and are baptized into Christ enjoy the promise of the sacred Scriptures that they will in consequence of their obedience and subsequently to their obedience receive the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38ff); and that word is all the confirmation that any true believer really needs. It is not the subjective understanding of the participant that is meant, but the objective purpose of conveying understanding to others. Difficult as some of Paul's intentions may be for people to discern, the unqualified inspiration of this chapter, and the entire epistle, must be received. The question persists regarding the authenticity of those Corinthian tongues. In this context, it is not amiss to point out that the appearances of prophetesses in both Old Testament and New Testament seem to have been simultaneous with periods of decadence and spiritual lethargy. Love is a better thing to practice than speaking in tongues. When ye come together, each one hath a psalm, hath a teaching, hath a revelation, hath a tongue, hath an interpretation. 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. We have already noted that Paul never used the gift in the presence of others, or in church assemblies. As Lipscomb said with reference to this and 1 Corinthians 14:15: The inference that must be made from this and the next verses is that the tongue-speakers had even taken over the songs and prayers of the public worship! The questions have been lightly edited for brevity, clarity and confidentiality. 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