View 1st Corinthians 14 in the note window.
1: Follow after love - With zeal, vigour, courage,
patience; else you can neither attain nor keep it. And - In
their place, as subservient to this. Desire spiritual gifts;
but especially that ye may prophesy - The word here does not
mean foretelling things to come; but rather opening and
applying the scripture.
2: He that speaketh in an unknown tongue speaks, in
effect, not to men, but to God - Who alone understands him.
4: Edifieth himself - Only, on the most favourable
supposition. The church - The whole congregation.
5: Greater - That is, more useful. By this alone are
we to estimate all our gifts and talents.
6: Revelation - Of some gospel mystery. Knowledge
- Explaining the ancient types and prophecies. Prophecy
- Foretelling some future event. Doctrine - To regulate your
tempers and lives. Perhaps this may be the sense of these
7: How shall it be known what is piped or harped
- What music can be made, or what end answered?
8: Who will prepare himself for the battle - Unless he
understand what the trumpet sounds? suppose a retreat or a
9: Unless ye utter by the tongue - Which is miraculously
given you. Words easy to be understood - By your hearers. Ye
will speak to the air - A proverbial expression. Will utterly
lose your labour.
11: I shall be a barbarian to him - Shall seem to talk
13: That he may be able to interpret - Which was a
14: If I pray in an unknown tongue - The apostle, as
he did at (1Co 14:6), transfers it to himself.
My spirit prayeth - By the power of the Spirit I understand
the words myself. But my understanding is unfruitful - The
knowledge I have is no benefit to others.
15: I will pray with the spirit, but I will pray with
the understanding also - I will use my own understanding, as
well as the power of the Spirit. I will not act so absurdly,
as to utter in a congregation what can edify none but myself.
16: Otherwise how shall he that filleth the place of
a private person - That is, any private hearer. Say Amen
- Assenting and confirming your words, as it was even then
usual for the whole congregation to do.
19: With my understanding - In a rational manner; so as
not only to understand myself, but to be understood by others.
20: Be not children in understanding - This is an admirable
stroke of true oratory! to bring down the height of their
spirits, by representing that wherein they prided themselves
most, as mere folly and childishness. In wickedness be ye
infants - Have all the innocence of that tender age. But in
understanding be ye grown men - Knowing religion was not designed
to destroy any of our natural faculties, but to exalt and
improve them, our reason in particular.
21: It is written in the Law - The word here, as frequently,
means the Old Testament. In foreign tongues will I speak to
this people - And so he did. He spake terribly to them by the
Babylonians, when they had set at nought what he had spoken by
the prophets, who used their own language. These words received
a farther accomplishment on the day of pentecost.(Isa 28:11).
22: Tongues are intended for a sign to unbelievers - To
engage their attention, and convince them the message is of
God. Whereas prophecy is not so much for unbelievers, as for
the confirmation of them that already believe.
23: Yet - Sometimes prophecy is of more use, even to
unbelievers, than speaking with tongues. For instance: If
the whole church be met together - On some extraordinary
occasion. It is probable, in so large a city, they ordinarily
met in several places. And there come in ignorant persons - Men
of learning might have understood the tongues in which they
spoke. It is observable, St. Paul says here, ignorant persons
or unbelievers; but in the next verse, an unbeliever or an
ignorant person. Several bad men met together hinder each
other by evil discourse. Single persons are more easily gained.
24: He is convicted by all - who speak in their turns, and
speak to the heart of the hearers. He is judged by all - Every
one says something to which his conscience bears witness.
25: The secrets of his heart are made manifest - Laid
open, clearly described; in a manner which to him is most
astonishing and utterly unaccountable. How many instances of
it are seen at this day! So does God still point his word.
26: What a thing is it, brethren - This was another
disorder among them. Every one hath a psalm - That is, at the
same time one begins to sing a psalm; another to deliver a
doctrine; another to speak in an unknown tongue; another to
declare what has been revealed to him; another to interpret
what the former is speaking; every one probably gathering a
little company about him, just as they did in the schools of
the philosophers. Let all be done to edification - So as to
profit the hearers.
27: By two or three at most - Let not above two or three
speak at one meeting. And that by course - That is, one after
another. And let one interpret - Either himself, (1Co 14:13);
or, if he have not the gift, some other, into the vulgar tongue.
It seems, the gift of tongues was an instantaneous knowledge
of a tongue till then unknown, which he that received it could
afterwards speak when he thought fit, without any new miracle.
28: Let him speak - That tongue, if he find it profitable
to himself in his private devotions.
29: Let two or three of the prophets - Not more, at one
meeting. Speak - One after another, expounding the scripture.
31: All - Who have that gift. That all may learn - Both
by speaking and by hearing.
32: For the spirits of the prophets are subject to the
prophets - But what enthusiast considers this? The impulses of
the Holy Spirit, even in men really inspired, so suit
themselves to their rational faculties, as not to divest them
of the government of themselves, like the heathen priests
under their diabolical possession. Evil spirits threw their
prophets into such ungovernable ecstasies, as forced them to
speak and act like madmen. But the Spirit of God left his
prophets the clear use of their judgment, when, and how long,
it was fit for them to speak, and never hurried them into any
improprieties either as to the matter, manner, or time of
34: Let your women be silent in the churches - Unless
they are under an extraordinary impulse of the Spirit.
For, in other cases, it is not permitted them to speak
- By way of teaching in public assemblies. But to be in
subjection - To the man whose proper office it is to lead
and to instruct the congregation.(Ge 3:16).
35: And even if they desire to learn anything - Still they
are not to speak in public, but to ask their own husbands at
home - That is the place, and those the persons to inquire of.
36: Are ye of Corinth either the first or the only Christians?
If not, conform herein to the custom of all the churches.
37: Or spiritual - Endowed with any extraordinary gift of
the Spirit. Let him - Prove it, by acknowledging that I now
write by the Spirit.
38: Let him be ignorant - Be it at his own peril.
39: Therefore - To sum up the whole.
40: Decently - By every individual. In order
- By the whole church.