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Matthew Henry's Commentary

1 Corinthians Chapter 14 

rophecy preferred to the gift of tongues. (1-5) The unprofitableness of speaking in unknown languages. (6-14) Exhortations to worship that can be understood. (15-25) Disorders from vain display of gifts; (26-33) and from women speaking in the church. (34-40)

Verses 1-5: Prophesying, that is, explaining Scripture, is compared with speaking with tongues. This drew attention, more than the plain interpretation of Scripture; it gratified pride more, but promoted the purposes of Christian charity less; it would not equally do good to the souls of men. What cannot be understood, never can edify. No advantage can be reaped from the most excellent discourses, if delivered in language such as the hearers cannot speak or understand. Every ability or possession is valuable in proportion to its usefulness. Even fervent, spiritual affection must be governed by the exercise of the understanding, else men will disgrace the truths they profess to promote.

Verses 6-14: Even an apostle could not edify, unless he spoke so as to be understood by his hearers. To speak words that have no meaning to those who hear them, is but speaking into the air. That cannot answer the end of speaking, which has no meaning; in this case, speaker and hearers are barbarians to each other. All religious services should be so performed in Christian assemblies, that all may join in, and profit by them. Language plain and easy to be understood, is the most proper for public worship, and other religious exercises. Every true follower of Christ will rather desire to do good to others, than to get a name for learning or fine speaking.

Verses 15-25: There can be no assent to prayers that are not understood. A truly Christian minister will seek much more to do spiritual good to men's souls, than to get the greatest applause to himself. This is proving himself the servant of Christ. Children are apt to be struck with novelty; but do not act like them. Christians should be like children, void of guile and malice; yet they should not be unskilful as to the word of righteousness, but only as to the arts of mischief. It is a proof that a people are forsaken of God, when he gives them up to the rule of those who teach them to worship in another language. They can never be benefitted by such teaching. Yet thus the preachers did who delivered their instructions in an unknown tongue. 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? 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. His conscience might be touched, the secrets of his heart might be revealed to him, and so he might be brought to confess his guilt, and to own that God was present in the assembly. Scripture truth, plainly and duly taught, has a wonderful power to awaken the conscience and touch the heart.

Verses 26-33: Religious exercises in public assemblies should have this view; Let all be done to edifying. 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 to prophesying, two or three only should speak at one meeting, and this one after the other, not all at once. The man who is inspired by the Spirit of God will observe order and decency in delivering his revelations. God never teaches men to neglect their duties, or to act in any way unbecoming their age or station.

Verses 34-40: 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. The Spirit of Christ can never contradict itself; and if their revelations are against those of the apostle, they do not come from the same Spirit. The way to keep peace, truth, and order in the church, is to seek that which is good for it, to bear with that which is not hurtful to its welfare, and to keep up good behaviour, order, and decency.

 

 


David Burnette's Life Application

Unity not Confusion

Each day we walk through the Bible chapter by chapter making an application of our text to help us grow in the Lord. Many applications can be made from each day's text. Today we continue the book of 1st Corinthians with Chapter 14 and in our text we see Paul teaching about the gifts of prophecy and tongues while he Outlines the Churches Worship should be done in an orderly way. In this Corinthian Church their was disorder both in Worship and in the Christian Home. Today we see a similar theme of Disunity in the Home and Church as those who do not respect the authority system that the Lord has put in place. I am not talking about those who misuse their authority but the natural order that the designed will promote unity if all participants submit to order the Lord designed. How about you? Are you submitting yourself to the Lord by Submitting to the Authority the Lord has placed in your life? Let us learn from our text today and the instruction of Paul to see if we are to have unity in the Church and Home that we need to submit ourselves to the Lord's system of Authority for peace, harmony, and to have victory in our lives as Christians.

 

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1 Corinthians 14

1 Corinthians 14

 1Follow after charity, and desire spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may prophesy.

 2For he that speaketh in an unknown tongue speaketh not unto men, but unto God: for no man understandeth him; howbeit in the spirit he speaketh mysteries.

 3But he that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort.

 4He that speaketh in an unknown tongue edifieth himself; but he that prophesieth edifieth the church.

 5I would that ye all spake with tongues but rather that ye prophesied: for greater is he that prophesieth than he that speaketh with tongues, except he interpret, that the church may receive edifying.

 6Now, brethren, if I come unto you speaking with tongues, what shall I profit you, except I shall speak to you either by revelation, or by knowledge, or by prophesying, or by doctrine?

 7And even things without life giving sound, whether pipe or harp, except they give a distinction in the sounds, how shall it be known what is piped or harped?

 8For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle?

 9So likewise ye, except ye utter by the tongue words easy to be understood, how shall it be known what is spoken? for ye shall speak into the air.

 10There are, it may be, so many kinds of voices in the world, and none of them is without signification.

 11Therefore if I know not the meaning of the voice, I shall be unto him that speaketh a barbarian, and he that speaketh shall be a barbarian unto me.

 12Even so ye, forasmuch as ye are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek that ye may excel to the edifying of the church.

 13Wherefore let him that speaketh in an unknown tongue pray that he may interpret.

 14For if I pray in an unknown tongue, my spirit prayeth, but my understanding is unfruitful.

 15What is it then? 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.

 16Else when thou shalt bless with the spirit, how shall he that occupieth the room of the unlearned say Amen at thy giving of thanks, seeing he understandeth not what thou sayest?

 17For thou verily givest thanks well, but the other is not edified.

 18I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than ye all:

 19Yet in the church I had rather speak five words with my understanding, that by my voice I might teach others also, than ten thousand words in an unknown tongue.

 20Brethren, be not children in understanding: howbeit in malice be ye children, but in understanding be men.

 21In the law it is written, With men of other tongues and other lips will I speak unto this people; and yet for all that will they not hear me, saith the Lord.

 22Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not: but prophesying serveth not for them that believe not, but for them which believe.

 23If therefore the whole church be come together into one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in those that are unlearned, or unbelievers, will they not say that ye are mad?

 24But if all prophesy, and there come in one that believeth not, or one unlearned, he is convinced of all, he is judged of all:

 25And thus are the secrets of his heart made manifest; and so falling down on his face he will worship God, and report that God is in you of a truth.

 26How is it then, brethren? when ye come together, every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying.

 27If any man speak in an unknown tongue, let it be by two, or at the most by three, and that by course; and let one interpret.

 28But if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the church; and let him speak to himself, and to God.

 29Let the prophets speak two or three, and let the other judge.

 30If any thing be revealed to another that sitteth by, let the first hold his peace.

 31For ye may all prophesy one by one, that all may learn, and all may be comforted.

 32And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets.

 33For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.

 34Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience as also saith the law.

 35And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.

 36What? came the word of God out from you? or came it unto you only?

 37If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord.

 38But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant.

 39Wherefore, brethren, covet to prophesy, and forbid not to speak with tongues.

 40Let all things be done decently and in order.