14:1 Follow 1 after charity, and desire spiritual [gifts], but
rather that ye may a prophesy.
(1) He infers now of what he spoke before: therefore seeing
charity is the chiefest of all, before all things set it
before you as chief and principal. And so esteem those
things as most excellent which profit the greater part of
men (such as prophecy, that is to say, the gift of teaching
and applying the doctrine: which was condemned in respect
of other gifts, although it is the chiefest and most
necessary for the Church) and not those who for a show seem
to be marvellous, as the gifts of tongues. This was when a
man was suddenly endowed with the knowledge of many tongues,
which made men greatly amazed and yet of itself was not
greatly of any use, unless there was an interpreter.
(a) What prophecy is he shows in the third verse.
14:22 For he that speaketh in an [unknown] b tongue
speaketh not unto men, but unto God: for no man
understandeth [him]; howbeit in the c spirit he speaketh
(2) He reprehends their perverse judgment concerning the gift
of tongues. For why was it given? The answer: so that the
mysteries of God might be the better known to a greater
number. By this it is evident that prophecy, which the
gift of tongues ought to serve, is better than this: and
therefore the Corinthians judged incorrectly, in that they
made more account of the gift of tongues than of
prophesying: because no doubt the gift of tongues was a
thing more to be bragged of. And hereupon followed another
abuse of the gift of tongues, in that the Corinthians used
tongues in the congregation without an interpreter. And
although this thing might be done to some profit of him
that spoke them, yet he corrupted the right use of that
gift because there came by it no profit to the hearers.
And common assemblies were instituted and appointed not for
any private man's commodity, but for the profit of the
(b) A strange language, which no man can understand without
(c) By that inspiration which he has received of the
Spirit, which nonetheless he abuses, when he speaks
mysteries which none of the company can understand.
14:3 But he that prophesieth speaketh unto men [to] d
edification, and exhortation, and comfort.
(d) Which may further men in the study of godliness.
14:4 He that speaketh in an [unknown] tongue edifieth himself;
but he that prophesieth edifieth the e church.
(e) The company.
14:73 And 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?
(3) He sets forth that which he said by a similitude, which he
borrows and takes from instruments of music, which although
they speak not perfectly, yet they are distinguished by
their sounds, that they may be the better used.
14:9 So likewise ye, except ye utter by the tongue words f
easy to be understood, how shall it be known what is
spoken? for ye shall speak into the air.
(f) That fitly utter the matter itself.
14:104 There are, it may be, so many kinds of voices in the
world, and none of them [is] without signification.
(4) He proves that interpretation is necessarily to be joined
with the gift of tongues, by the manifold variety of
languages, insomuch that if one speak to another without an
interpreter, it is as if he did not speak.
14:11 Therefore if I know not the meaning of the voice, I shall
be unto him that speaketh a barbarian, and he that g
speaketh [shall be] a barbarian unto me.
(g) As the papists in all their sermons, and they that
ambitiously pour out some Hebrew or Greek words in the
pulpit before the unlearned people, by this to get
themselves a name of vain learning.
14:125 Even so ye, forasmuch as ye are zealous of spiritual
[gifts], seek that ye may excel to the edifying of the
(5) The conclusion: if they will excel in those spiritual
gifts, as it is proper, they must seek the profit of the
church. And therefore they must not use the gift of
tongues, unless there is an interpreter to expound the
strange and unknown tongue, whether it is himself that
speaks, or another interpreter.
14:13 Wherefore let him that speaketh in an [unknown] tongue h
pray that he may interpret.
(h) Pray for the gift of interpretation.
14:146 For i if I pray in an [unknown] tongue, my k
spirit prayeth, but my understanding is l unfruitful.
(6) A reason: because it is not sufficient for us to speak so
in the congregation that we ourselves worship God in spirit
(that is according to the gift which we have received), but
we must also be understood of the company, lest that is
unprofitable to others which we have spoken.
(i) If I pray, when the church is assembled together, in a
(k) The gift and inspiration which the spirit gives me does
its part, but only to myself.
(l) No fruit comes to the church by my prayers.
14:15 What is it then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will
pray with the m understanding also: I will sing with the
spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also.
(m) So that I may be understood by others, and may
14:167 Else when thou shalt bless with the n spirit, how
shall he that o occupieth the room of the unlearned say
p Amen at thy giving of thanks, seeing he understandeth
not what thou sayest?
(7) Another reason: seeing that the whole congregation must
agree with him that speaks, and also witness this agreement,
how will they give their assent or agreement who know not
what is spoken?
(n) Alone, without any consideration of the hearers.
(o) He that sits as a private man.
(p) So then one uttered the prayers, and all the company
14:188 I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than ye all:
(8) He sets himself as an example, both that they may be
ashamed of their foolish ambition, and also that he may
avoid all suspicion of envy.
14:19 Yet in the church I had rather speak q five words with
my understanding, that [by my voice] I might teach others
also, than ten thousand words in an [unknown] tongue.
(q) A very few words.
14:209 Brethren, be not children in understanding: howbeit in
malice be ye children, but in understanding be men.
(9) Now he reproves those freely for their childish folly, who
do not see how this gift of tongues which was given to the
profit of the Church, is turned by their ambition into an
instrument of cursing, seeing that this same cursing is
also contained among the punishments with which God
punished the stubbornness of his people, that he dispersed
them amongst strangers whose language they did not
14:21 In the r 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.
(r) By the "law" he understands the entire scripture.
14:2210 Wherefore 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
(10) The conclusion: therefore the gift of tongues serves to
punish the unfaithful and unbelievers, unless it is
referred to prophecy (that is to say, to the
interpretation of scripture) and that what is spoken is by
the means of prophecy is understood by the hearers.
14:2311 If therefore the whole church be come together into
one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in
[those that are] s unlearned, or unbelievers, will they
not say that ye are mad?
(11) Another argument: the gift of tongues without prophecy is
not only unprofitable to the faithful, but also hurts very
much, both the faithful as well as the unfaithful, who
should be won in the public assemblies. For by this means
it comes to pass that the faithful seem to others to be
mad, much less can the unfaithful be instructed by it.
(s) See (Ac 4:13).
14:2612 How 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.
(12) The conclusion: the edifying of the congregation is a rule
and measure of the right use of all spiritual gifts.
14:2713 If 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.
(13) The manner how to use the gift of tongues. It may be
lawful for one or two, or at the most for three, to use
the gift of tongues, one after another in an assembly, so
that there is someone to expound their utterances. But if
there are none to expound, let him that has the gift speak
to himself alone.
14:2914 Let the prophets speak two or three, and let the
(14) The manner of prophesying: let two or three propound, and
let the others judge of that which is propounded, whether
it is agreeable to the word of God or not. If in this
examination the Lord indicates that nothing was wrong, let
them give him leave to speak. Let every man be admitted
to prophesy, severally and in his order, so far forth as
it is required for the edifying of the church. Let them
be content to be subject to each other's judgment.
14:32 And the t spirits of the prophets are subject to the
(t) The doctrine which the prophets bring, who are
inspired with God's Spirit.
14:3415 Let 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.
(15) Women are commanded to be silent in public assemblies, and
they are commanded to ask of their husbands at home.
14:3616 What? came the word of God out from you? or came it
unto you only?
(16) A general conclusion of the treatise of the right use of
spiritual gifts in assemblies. And this is with a sharp
reprehension, lest the Corinthians might seem to
themselves to be the only ones who are wise.
14:37 If any man think himself to be a prophet, or u
spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I
write unto you are the commandments of the Lord.
(u) Skilful in knowing and judging spiritual things.
14:3817 But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant.
(17) The church ought not to care for those who are stubbornly
ignorant, and will not abide to be taught, but to go
forward nonetheless in those things which are right.
14:3918 Wherefore, brethren, covet to prophesy, and forbid
not to speak with tongues.
(18) Prophecy ought certainly to be retained and kept in
congregations, and the gift of tongues is not to be
forbidden, but all things must be done orderly.