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.TEXT. 8 For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare
himself to the battle? 9 So likewise you, 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. 10 There are, it may be, so many kinds of voices in the world, and
none of them is without signification. 11 Therefore, 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. 12 Even so ye, forasmuch as ye are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek
that ye may excel to the edifying of the church. 13 Wherefore, let him, that speaketh in an unknown tongue, pray
that he may interpret. 14 For if I pray in an unknown tongue, my spirit prayeth, but my understanding is unfruitful.
PARAPHRASE. 8 and composure are understood. And if the trumpet
sound not some point of war, that is understood, the 9 soldier is not thereby instructed what to do. So like
wise ye, unless with the tongue, which you use, utter words of a clear and known signification to your
hearers, you talk to the wind; for your auditors 10 understand nothing that you say. There is a great
number of significant languages in the world, I 11 know not how many, every nation has its own. If
then I understand not another's language, and the force of his words, I am to him, when he speaks, a barbarian; and whatever he says, is all gibberish to me ; and so is it with you; ye are barbarians one to
another, as far as ye speak to one another in unknown 12 tongues. But since there is emulation amongst you,
concerning spiritual gifts, seek to abound in the
exercise of those which tend most to the edification 13 of the church. Wherefore, let him that speaks an
unknown tongue, pray that he may interpret what 14 he says. For if I pray in the congregation in an
unknown tongue, my spirit, it is true, accompanies my words, which I understand, and so my spirit prays * ; but my meaning is unprofitable to others
NOTE. 14 # This is evident from ver. 4, where it is said, “ He that speaketh with “ a tongue, edifies himself.”
TEXT. 15 What 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. 16 Else, 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?
PARAPHRASE. 15 who understand not my words. What, then, is to be
done in the case ? Why, I will, when moved to it by the Spirit, pray in an unknown tongue, but so that my meaning* may be understood by others i. e. I will not do it but when there is somebody by, to interpret t. And so will I do also in singing £; I will sing by the Spirit, in an unknown tongue; but
I will take care that the meaning of what I sing shall 16 be understood by the assistants. And thus ye shall
all do, in all like cases. For if thou, by the impulse of the Spirit, givest thanks to God, in an unknown tongue, which all understand not, how shall the hearer, who, in this respect, is unlearned, and, being ignorant in that tongue, knows not what thou sayest, how shall he say Amen? How shall he join
NOTES. 15 * I will not pretend to justify this interpretation of rim yot by the exact rules of the Greek idiom; but the sense of the place will, I think, bear me out in it. And, as there is occasion often to remark, he must be little versed in the writings of St. Paul, who does not observe, that when he has used a term, he is apt to repeat it again in the same discourse, in a way peculiar to himself, and somewhat varied from its ordinary signification. So, having here, in the foregoing verse, used võs, for the sentiment of his own mind, which was uuprofitable to others, when he prayed in a tongue unknown to them, and opposed it to av&üua, which he used there, for his own sense accompanying his own words, intelligible to himself, when, by the impulse of the Spirit, he prayed in a foreign tongue; he here, in this verse, continues to use praying, To wysûurti, and to vot in the same opposition ; the oue for praying in a strange tongue, which alone his own mind understood and accompanied ; the other, for praying so, as that the meaning of his mind, in those words he uttered, was made known to others, so that they were also benefited. This use of treuuari, is farther confirmed, in the next verse : and what he means by voi, here he expresses by bed voós, ver. 19, and there explains the meaning of it.
+ For so he orders, in the use of an unknown tongue, ver. 27.
† Here it may be observed, that as, in their public prayer, one prayed, and the others held their peace; so it was in their singing, at least in that singing, which was of extempore hymns, by the impulse of the Spirit.
TEXT. 17. For thou verily givest thanks well, but the other is not edified. 18 I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than you all : 19 Yet in the church I had rather speak five words with my under
standing, that by my voice I might teach others also, than ten
be ye children, but in understanding be men. 21 In 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.” 22 Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but
PARAPHRASE. 17 in the thanks, which he understands not? Thou,
indeed, givest thanks well; but the other is 18 not at all edified by it. I thank God, I speak with 19 tongues more than you all : But I had rather speak
in the church five words that are understood, that I might instruct others also, than, in an unknown
tongue, ten thousand, that others understand not. 20 My brethren, be not, in understanding, children,
who are apt to be taken with the novelty, or strangeness of things : in temper and disposition, be as children, void of malice * ; but, in matters of under
standing, be ye perfect men, and use your under21 standings f. Be not so zealous for the use of
unknown tongues in the church; they are not so proper there : it is written in the law }, “ 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.” So that, you see, the speaking of strange tongues miraculously, is not
20 * By nexio, “ malice,'' I think here is to be understood all sorts of ill temper of mind, contrary to the gentleness and innocence of childhood; and, in particular, their emulation and strife about the exercise of their gifts in their assemblies.
+ Vid. Rom. xvi, 19. Eph. iv. 13–15.
21 The books of sacred scripture, delivered to the jew's by divine revelation, under the law, before the time of the gospel, which we now call the Old Testament, are, in the writings of the New Testament, called sometimes, “ the law, the prophets, and the psalms," as Luke xxiv. 44 ; sometimes “ the “ law and the prophets," as Acts xxiv. 14. And sometimes they are all comprehended under this one name, “the law,” as here; for the passage cited, is in Isaiali, chap. xxviii, J.
TEXT. to them that believe not: but prophesying serveth not for them
that believe not, but for them which believe. 23 If, therefore, the whole church be come together into one place,
and all speak with tongues, and there come in those, that are un
learned, or unbelievers, will they not say, that ye are mad ? 24 But if all prophesy, and there come in one that believeth not, or
one unlearned, he is convinced of all, he is judged of all. 25 And 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. 26 How is it then, brethren ? When yo come together, every one
of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a re
velation, hath an interpretation. Let all things be done to edi· fying.
PARAPHRASE. for those, who are already converted, but for a sign to those, who are unbelievers : but prophecy is for
believers, and not for unbelievers ; and therefore, 23 fitter for your assemblies. If, therefore, when the
church is all come together, you should all speak in unknown tongues, and men unlearned, or un
believers should come in, would they not say, 24 " that you are mad ? ” But if ye all prophesy, and
an unbeliever, or an ignorant man, come in,
the discourse he hears from you reaching his 25 conscience, And the secret thoughts of his heart,
he is convinced, and wrought upon; and so, falling
down, worships God, and declares that God is cer26 tainly amongst you. What then is to be done,
brethren? When you come together, every one is ready*, one with a psalm, another with a doctrine, another with a strange tongue, another with a revelation, another with an interpretation. Let all things be TEXT. 27 If any man speak in an unknown tongue, let it be by two, or at
NOTE. 26 * It is plain, by this whole discourse of the apostle's, that there were contentions and emulations amongst them for precedency of their gifts; and therefore I think &x2505 ē yer may be rendered - every one is ready,” as impatient to be first heard. If there were no such disorder amongst them, there would have been no need for the regulations given, in the end of this verse, and the seven verses following, especially ver. 31, 32, where he tells them, they all may prophesy, one by one, and that the motions of the Spirit were not so ungovernable as not to leave a man master of himself. He inust not think himself under a necessity of speaking, as soon as he found any impulse of the Spirit upon his mind.
the most by three, and that by course ; and let one interpret. 28 But if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the
church; and let him speak to himself and to God. 29 Let the prophets speak, two or three, and let the other judge. 30 If any thing be revealed to another, that sitteth by, let the first
hold his peace. 31 For ye may all prophesy, one by one, that all may learn, that all
may be comforted.
PARAPHRASE. 27 done to edification. Even though * any one speak
in an unknown tongue, which is a gift that seems least intended for edification t; let but two or three at most, at any one meeting, speak in an unknown
tongue; and that separately, one after another; and 28 let there be but one interpreter 1. But if there be
no-body present, that can interpret, let not any one use his gift of tongues in the congregation; but let
him, silently, within himself, speak to himself, and to 29 God. Of those, who have the gift of prophecy, let
but two or three speak at the same meeting, and let 30 the others examine and discuss it. But if, during
their debate, the meaning of it be revealed to one
that sits by, let him, that was discoursing of it be31 fore, give off. For ye may all prophesy, one after
another, that all may in their turns be hearers, and
NOTES. 27 * St. Paul lias said, in this chapter, as much as conveniently could be said, to restrain their speaking in unknown tongues, in their assemblies, which seems to be that, wherein the vanity and ostentation of the corinthians was most forward to show itself. “ It is not," says he, “ a gift intended for the edifica« tion of believers ; however, since you will be exercising it in your meetings, * let it always be so ordered, that it may be for edification : ” ette, I have rendered “ although.” So I think it is sometimes used ; but no where, as I remember, simply for “ if,” as in our translation; nor will the sense here bear 6 whether ; " which is the common signification of £ta. And, therefore, I take the apostle's sense to be this: “ You must do nothing but to edification;" though you speak in an unknown tongue, “even an unknown tongue must be “ made use of, in your assemblies, only to edification.”
+ Vid, ver. 2 and 4.
I The rule of the synagogue was: “in the law, let one read, and one inter“ pret: in the prophets, let one read, and two interpret : in Esther, ten may " read, and ten interpret.” It is not improbable, that some such disorder had been introduced into the church of Corinth, by the judaizing, false apostle, which St. Paul would here put an end to.