corner graphic   Hi,    
ver. 2.0.19.11.12
Finding the new version too difficult to understand? Go to classic.studylight.org/

Bible Commentaries

The Expositor's Greek Testament
1 Corinthians 14

 

 

Other Authors
Verse 1

1 Corinthians 14:1. “Pursue love”—follow intently this f1καθʼ ὑπερβολὴν ὁδόν (1 Corinthians 12:31 b: see note): διώκω (see parls.: pr(2016) impr.) signifies to prosecute to its goal (1 Corinthians 13:13) a course on which one has entered. ζηλοῦτε δὲ τὰ πνευματικά, “but (continue to) covet the spiritual (gifts)”: P. resumes 1 Corinthians 12:31 (see note, also on 1 Corinthians 12:1). Love is exalted in the interest of the charisms, not to their disparagement; it is not to be pursued by forgetting everything else, but opens the true way to everything else: “Sectamini charitatem, affectate spiritualia” (Cv(2017)).—“But rather (in preference to other gifts) that you may prophesy”: this is chief amongst “the greater charisms” of 1 Corinthians 12:31. Perhaps the Cor(2018) had asked specifically which of the two, Tongues or Prophecy, was to be preferred. ἵνα προφητεύητε (cf. θέλωμᾶλλον ἵνα, 5) differs from τὸ προφητεύειν by making the object distinctly an aim: in striving after the charisms, Prophecy is to be set highest and to control the rest. For the use of ἴνα, cf. note on 1 Corinthians 1:10, also Bm(2019), pp. 235 ff.


Verses 1-6

1 Corinthians 14:1-6. § 44. THE GIFTS OF TONGUES AND OF PROPHECY. The digression upon ἀγάπη has not diverted us from the subject of this Div.; Love has shown the way (1 Corinthians 12:31 b) in which all τὰ πνευματικά (1 Corinthians 12:1, 1 Corinthians 14:1) are to be sought, the animating principle and ulterior aim that should govern their exercise. But the principle of Love supplies, further, a criterion by which the charisms are to be relatively estimated—their use in edification (1 Corinthians 14:3 ff., 1 Corinthians 14:12; 1 Corinthians 14:19; 1 Corinthians 14:26). Thus P. at length answers the question addressed to him from Cor(2015) as to the worth of the several “spiritual powers,” and in particular as to the relative value of Tongues and Prophesying. He has led up to this answer by his exposition of the general Christian truths bearing upon the matter—viz. the office of the Holy Spirit as the distributor of God’s gifts (1 Corinthians 12:3-11), the organic nature of the Church (1 Corinthians 14:12-31), and the sovereignty of love in the Christian life (1 Corinthians 14:13).


Verse 2-3

1 Corinthians 14:2-3. The reason for preferring Prophecy, on the principles laid down, is that one’s fellows receive no benefit from the Tongues: except God, “no one hears” the latter—i.e. hears understandingly (cf. Ephesians 1:13; Ephesians 4:29, etc.). There was sound enough in the glossolalia (1 Corinthians 13:1), but no sense (1 Corinthians 14:23). πνεύματι δὲ λαλεῖ κ. τ. λ., “but in spirit he is speaking mysteries”; δὲ points a contrast to the οὐδεὶςἀκούει: there is something worth hearing—deep things muttered by those quivering lips, that should be rationally spoken. For μυστήριον, see note on 1 Corinthians 2:7, and Cr(2020) s.v.: mystery in Scripture is the correlate of revelation; here it stops short of disclosure, tantalizing the Church, which hears and hears not. πνεύματι, dat(2021) of manner or instr.,—“with the spirit,” but without the “understanding” ( νοῦς: 1 Corinthians 14:14 ff.; cf. note to 1 Corinthians 12:8).—“But he who prophesies does speak to men—edification and exhortation and comfort.” παράκλησις and παραμυθία are distinct from οἰκοδομή: prophetic speech serves for (a) “the further upbuilding of the Christian life, (b) the stimulation of the Christian will, (c) the strengthening of the Christian spirit” (Hf(2022)). παραμυθία has ref(2023) to sorrow or fear (see parls.); παράκλησις (far commoner) to duty; οἰκοδομή, in the widest sense, to knowledge and character and the progress of the Church: this last stands alone in the sequel.


Verse 4

1 Corinthians 14:4. “He that speaks with a tongue edifies himself, but he that prophesies edifies a church (assembly)”—not one but many persons, not himself but a whole community. The impression made on the γλωσσολαλῶν by his utterance, since it was delivered in a rapture and without clear conception (1 Corinthians 14:12 ff.), must have been vague; but it powerfully confirmed his faith, since it left an abiding sense of possession by the Spirit of God (cf. 2 Corinthians 12:1-10). Our deepest feelings frequently enter the mind below the surface consciousness.


Verse 5

1 Corinthians 14:5. Notwithstanding the above drawback, the Tongues are a real and desirable charism; the better is preferred to the good: “Yet I would have you all speak with tongues,—but rather that you might prophesy.” μᾶλλον ἵνα προφητεύητε is repeated from 1 Corinthians 14:1 : what the Ap. bids his readers prefer, he prefers for them—not to the exclusion of the Tongues, for the two gifts might be held at once (1 Corinthians 14:6; 1 Corinthians 14:18), but as looking beyond them.— θέλω ἵνα occurs several times in the Gospels without any marked telic force (Matthew 7:12, Mark 6:25; Mark 9:30, John 17:24), but only here in P.; its substitution for the inf(2024) ( λαλεῖν) of the coordinate clause is significant.—“Moreover he who prophesies is greater than he who speaks with tongues”—attached by the part. δὲ where one expected γάρ (T.R.); P. is not justifying his own preference just stated, but giving a further reason why the Cor(2025) should covet Prophecy more than Tongues: the main reason lies in the eminent usefulness of this charism (1 Corinthians 14:2-4); besides that ( δέ), its possessor is a “greater” person ( μείζων: cf. 1 Corinthians 12:31) “than the speaker with tongues—except in the case that he interprets (his ecstatic utterance), that the Church may get edification”. The power to interpret superadded to the glossolalia (see 1 Corinthians 14:13; 1 Corinthians 14:26 ff., 1 Corinthians 12:10) puts the mystic speaker on a level with the prophet: first “uttering mysteries” (1 Corinthians 14:2) and then making them plain to his hearers, he accomplishes in two acts what the prophet does in one. ἐκτὸς εἰ μὴ is a Pauline pleonasm (see parls.), consisting of ἐκτὸς εἰ (except if) and εἰ μή (unless) run together; “with this exception,—unless he interpret” (Wr(2026), p. 756). For εἰ with sbj(2027), in distinction from ἐάν, see Wr(2028), p. 368; it “represents that the event will decide the point” (El(2029)). To supply τις with διερμην., supposing another interpreter meant, is ungrammatical; the identity of Speaker and interpreter is the essential point. He interprets with the express intention that the Church may be edified ( ἵναοἰκοδομὴν λάβῃ).


Verse 6

1 Corinthians 14:6. What the Ap. has said touching the criterion of edification, he applies to his own approaching visit (1 Corinthians 4:18 ff., 1 Corinthians 16:5 ff.): “But at the present time, brothers,”— νῦν δέ, temporal, as in 1 Corinthians 5:11, etc.; not logical, as in 1 Corinthians 7:14, 1 Corinthians 13:13, etc. (see Hf(2030), against most interpreters). It is the situation at Cor. which gives point to this ref(2031): what help could the Ap. bring to his readers in their troubled state, if he were to offer them nothing but confused mutterings and ravings? (cf. 1 Corinthians 14:7-11)—an appeal to common sense.—The hypotheses are parl(2032) (expressing by ἐὰν actual possibility, cf. 1 Corinthians 14:18; not mere conceivability)—the second the negative of the first: “if I should come to you speaking with tongues, wherein shall I profit you—if I do not speak in (the way of) revelation or knowledge, or prophesying or teaching?” In the four clauses, the second pair matches the first: revelation comes through the prophet, knowledge through the teacher (cf. 1 Corinthians 12:8; 1 Corinthians 12:10; 1 Corinthians 12:28, etc.). For ἔρχομαι with ptp(2033) of the character or capacity in which one comes—“a (mere) speaker with tongues,” unable to interpret (see 5)—cf. Acts 19:18, Matthew 11:18 f., Mark 1:39, Luke 13:7.


Verse 7

1 Corinthians 14:7. ὅμως τὰ ἄψυχα, “Quin et inanima” (Cv(2035)); as in Galatians 3:15, the part(2036) emphasises the word immediately following, not ψωνὴν διδόντα (“though giving sound”) in contrast to ἐὰν διαστολὴνμὴ δῷ (so however Wr(2037), Gm(2038), Mr(2039), Sm(2040): “yet unless they give a distinction, etc.”). The argument is a minori ad majus, from dead instruments to living speech: “Yet even in the case of lifeless things ( τὰ ἄψυχα, generic art(2041)) when they give sound, unless they give a distinction in their notes” (so Hf(2042), Ed(2043), Gd(2044), El(2045)).— φθόγγος denotes a measured, harmon ous sound, whether of voice (Romans 10:18) or instrument; see Plato, Tim. 80— διαστολὴ is referred by Lidd(2046), and by Ev(2047) ad loc(2048), to the pause between notes; by most others (after Plato, Phileb., 17C cf. Oec(2049) ad loc(2050)) to the interval (= διάστημα) or distinction of pitch; possibly (so Cv(2051), El(2052)) it includes both in untechnical fashion—whatever in fact distinguishes the φθόγγοι.— πῶς γνωσθήσεται κ. τ. λ.; “How will that which is being piped or harped be discerned?”—how will the air be made out, if the notes run confusedly into one another? The double art(2053), τὸ αὐλ.… τὸ κιθαρ., separates the two sorts of music. This comparison used applies to inarticulate γλωσσολαλία, not to foreign languages.


Verses 7-13

1 Corinthians 14:7-13. § 45. UTTERANCE USELESS WITHOUT CLEAR SENSE. P. has just asked what the Cor(2034) would think of him, if in their present need he came exhibiting his power as a speaker with Tongues, but without a word of prophetic inspiration or wise teaching to offer. Such speech would be a mockery to the hearers. This holds good of sound universally, when considered as a means of communication—in the case, e.g., of lifeless instruments, the flute and lyre with their modulated notes, or the military trumpet with its varied signals (1 Corinthians 14:7 f.); so with articulate speech, in its numberless dialects. To the instructed ear every syllable carries a meaning; to the foreigner it is gibberish (1 Corinthians 14:10 f.). Just as useless are the Tongues in the Church without interpretation (1 Corinthians 14:9; 1 Corinthians 14:12 f.).


Verse 8

1 Corinthians 14:8. To the pipe and harp, adornments of peace, P. adds for further illustration ( καὶ γάρ) the warlike trumpet. This ruder instrument furnishes a stronger example: varied signals can be given by its simple note, provided there is an understanding between trumpeter and hearers; “unius tubæ cantus alius ad alia vocat milites” (Bg(2054)). Without such agreement, or with a wavering, indistinct sound, the loudest blast utters nothing to purpose: “For if the trumpet also gives an uncertain voice, who will prepare for battle?” How disastrous, at the critical moment, to doubt whether the trumpet sounds Advance or Retreat!


Verse 9

1 Corinthians 14:9 enforces the twofold illustration of 1 Corinthians 14:7 f.: “So also in your case ( οὕτως καὶ ὑμεῖς), if through the tongue you do not give a word of clear signification ( εὔσημον λόγον), how will that which is spoken be discerned?”— εὔ- σημος (from εὖ and σῦμα, a sign) implies a meaning in the word, and a meaning good to make out; cf. Sophocles, Antig., 1004, 1021.— πῶς γνωσθήσεται κ. τ. λ.; is an echo from 1 Corinthians 14:7; and “the tongue” ( διὰ τῆς γλώσσης: cf. 1 Corinthians 3:5, 1 Corinthians 6:4, 1 Corinthians 7:17), as the means of living speech, is thrust before the ἐὰν in emphatic contrast to “the lifeless” pipe, etc. P. does not therefore refer in this sentence (as Est., Gd(2055), Ed(2056) would have it) to the supernatural Tongue (elsewhere, moreover, expressed by the anarthrous γλῶσσα: otherwise here), for it is precisely his objection to this charism that it gives an ἄσημον instead of a εὔσημον λόγον (1 Corinthians 14:16; 1 Corinthians 14:19; 1 Corinthians 14:23); he means to say: “As inanimate instruments by due modulation, and by the fixed meaning attached to their notes, become expressive, so it is in a higher degree with the human tongue; its vocables convey a meaning just in so far as they are ordered, articulate, and conformed to usage”. Now this is what the Cor(2057) Glossolalia was not: “for you will be (otherwise) speaking into the air”—the issue of uninterpreted Tongue-speaking (cf. 1 Corinthians 14:2; 1 Corinthians 14:17, etc.).— εἰς ἀέρα λαλεῖν, a proverbial expression (cf. 1 Corinthians 9:26) for ineffectual speech, like our “talking to the wind”; in Philo, ἀερομυθεῖν.


Verse 10

1 Corinthians 14:10. Speaking of vocal utterance, the Ap. is reminded of the multitude of human dialects; this suggests a further proof of his contention, that there must be a settled and well-observed connexion between sound and sense. “Ever so many kinds of voices, it may chance, exist in the world.”—On εἰ τύχοι (if it should hap = τυχόν, 1 Corinthians 16:6), which removes all known limit from the τοσαῦτα, see note of El(2058) For the anarthrous ἐν κόσμῳ, cf. 2 Corinthians 5:19; “in the world”—a sphere so wide.— καὶ οὐδὲν (sc. τῶν γενῶν) ἄφωνον, “and none (of them) voiceless”: not tautologous, but asserting for every “kind of voice” the real nature of a voice, viz., that it means something to somebody; “nullum genus vocum vocis expers” (Est.); “aucune langue n’est une non-langue”; the Greeks love these paradoxical expressions—cf. βίος ἀβίωτος, χάρις ἄχαρις (Gd(2059), Hn(2060)). The Vg(2061) and Bz(2062) miss the point in rendering, “nihil est mutum”.


Verse 11

1 Corinthians 14:11. “If then I know not the meaning of the voice” ( τὴν δύναμιν τῆς φωνῆς, vim or virtutem vocis)—for every voice has a meaning (1 Corinthians 14:10 b); on this very possible hypothesis, “I shall be a barbarian to the speaker, and the speaker a barbarian in relation to me” ( ἐν ἐμοί, cf. Matthew 21:42, and perhaps 1 Corinthians 2:6 above), or “in my ear”. By this illustration of the futility of the uninterpreted Tongues, Paul implicitly distinguishes them from natural foreign languages; there is a μετάβασις εἰς ἄλλο γένος in the comparison, just as in the previous comparison with harp and trumpet; one does not compare things identical. The second figure goes beyond the first; since the foreign speech, like the mysterious γλῶσσαι (1 Corinthians 14:2), may hide a precious meaning, and is the more provoking on that account, as the repeated βάρβαρος intimates.


Verse 12

1 Corinthians 14:12. οὕτως καὶ ὑμεῖς is parl(2063) to 1 Corinthians 14:9; but the application is now turned into an exhortation. P. leaves the last comparison to speak for itself, and hastens to enforce his lesson: “So also with yourselves; since you are coveters of spirits ( ζηλωταί ἐστε πνευμάτων), seek that you may abound (in them) with a view to the edifying of the church”—or “for the edifying of the church seek (them), that you may abound (therein)”. The latter rendering, preferred by Cv(2064), Mr(2065), Al(2066), Hf(2067), Sm(2068), is truer to the order of the words, and reproduces the emphasis of πρὸς τὴν οἰκοδομ. τῆς ἐκκλ. ζητεῖτε has its object supplied before hand in the previous clause, and ἵνα ( περισσεύητε) bears its ordinary sense as conj. of purpose. Spiritual powers are indeed to be sought (cf. 1 Corinthians 14:1, 1 Corinthians 12:31), provided that they be sought for the religious profiting of others, with a view to abound in service to the Church. The ἵνα clause is thus parl(2069) to πρὸς τ. οἰκοδομήν (cf. 1 Corinthians 7:35, 2 Timothy 3:16); cf. John 10:10, and other parls. for περισσεύω.— ζηλωταί, zealots, enthusiasts after spirits (Ev(2070)),—used perhaps with a touch of irony (Hn(2071)). The Cor(2072) have already the eagerness that P. commends in 1 Corinthians 14:1; but it is not prompted by the best motives, nor directed to the most useful end: this word was common amongst Greeks as describing the ardent votaries of a school or party, or those jealous for the honour of some particular master (cf. Galatians 1:14).— πνεύματα differs somewhat from τὰ πνευματικά (1 Corinthians 14:1), signifying not “the (proper) spiritual” powers, but unseen forces generally (see 1 Corinthians 12:10, διακρίσεις πνευμάτων, 1 John 4:1, and the warning of 1 Corinthians 12:3; cf. the notes); “the Cor(2073) sought supernatural endowments, no matter what their nature might be” (Ed(2074))—at any rate, they thought too little of the true source and use of the charisms, but too much and too emulously of their outward impression and prestige (see πνευμάτων, 1 Corinthians 14:32).—Everling (Die paul. Angel, u. Dämonologie, pp. 40 ff.) infers from this passage, along with Revelation 22:6, the conception of a number of Divine “spirits” that may possess men; but he overpresses the turn of a single phrase, in contradiction to the context, which knows only “the one and the self-same Spirit” as from God (1 Corinthians 12:11).


Verse 13

1 Corinthians 14:13. “Wherefore (since thus only can the γλώσσαις λαλῶν edify the church) let him who speaks with a tongue pray that he may interpret”: cf. 1 Corinthians 14:5. It appears that the speaker with Tongues in some instances could recall, on recovery, what he had uttered in his trance-ecstasy, so as to render it into rational speech. The three vbs. are pr., regulating current procedure.—The ἵνα clause, after προσευχέσθω, gives the purport of the prayer, as in Philippians 1:9; cf. Philippians 1:10 above, 1 Corinthians 16:12; Luke 9:40, etc. Mr(2075), El(2076), and others, prefer to borrow γλώσσῃ from the next ver., and render thus: “Let him that speaks (with a tongue) pray (therewith), in order that he may interpret”; but this strains the construction, and γλώσσῃ appears to be added in 1 Corinthians 14:14 just because the vb(2077) προσεύχομαι had not been so understood before.


Verse 14

1 Corinthians 14:14. The Tongue has been marked out as an inferior charism, because it does not edify others; it is less desirable also because it does not turn to account the man’s own intelligence: “If I pray with a tongue, my spirit prays, but my understanding ( νοῦς) is unfruitful”. The introductory γάρ (see txtl. note) seems hardly needed; if genuine, it attaches this ver. to 1 Corinthians 14:13, as giving a further reason why the γλωσσολαλῶν should desire to interpret—viz., that his own mind may partake fruitfully in his prayers. In any case, the consideration here brought in opens a new point of view. “The fruit of the speaker is found in the profit of the hearer” (Thd(2079)).—“The νοῦς is here, as distinguished from the πνεῦμα, the reflective and so-called discursive faculty, pars intellectiva, the human πνεῦμα quatenus cogitat et intelligit” (El(2080)): see Beck’s Bibl. Psychology, or Laidlaw’s Bib. Doctrine of Man, s.vv.; and cf. notes on 1 Corinthians 1:10, 1 Corinthians 2:16 above; also on Romans 7:23; Romans 7:25. Religious feelings and activities—prayer in chief (Philippians 3:3, Romans 1:9, etc.)—take their rise in the spirit; normally, they pass upward into conception and expression through the intellect.


Verses 14-20

1 Corinthians 14:14-20. § 46. THE νουσ THE NEEDED ALLY OF THE πνευ΄α. In § 44 the Ap. has insisted on edification as the end and mark of God’s gifts to His Church, and in § 45 on intelligibility as a condition necessary thereto. Now the faculty of intelligence is the νοῦς; and we are thus brought to see that for a profitable conduct of worship, and for a sane and sound Church life (1 Corinthians 14:14; 1 Corinthians 14:17 ff., 1 Corinthians 14:23), the understanding must be in exercise: it is a vehicle indispensable (1 Corinthians 14:14 f.) to the energies of the spirit. On this point P. is at one with the men of Gnosis at Cor(2078); he discountenances all assumptions made in the name of “the Spirit” that offend against sober judgment (1 Corinthians 14:20). This passage, in a sense, counterbalances 1 Corinthians 1:18 to 1 Corinthians 2:5; it shows how far the Ap. is from approving a blind fanaticism or irrational mysticism, when he exalts the Gospel at the expense of “the wisdom of the world”.


Verse 15

1 Corinthians 14:15. It is the part of nous to share in and aid the exercises of pneuma: “What is (the case) then? I will pray with the spirit; but I will also pray with the understanding: I will sing with the spirit; but I will also sing with the understanding”.— τί οὖν ἐστιν; “How then stands the matter?” (Quid ergo est? Vg(2081)): one of the lively phrases of Greek dialogue; it “calls attention, with some little alacrity, to the upshot of what has just been said” (El(2082)).— ψάλλω denoted, first, playing on strings, then singing to such accompaniment; Ephesians 5:19 distinguishes this vb(2083) from ᾄδω. Ed(2084) thinks that instrumentation is implied; unless forbidden, Gr(2085) Christians would be sure to grace their songs with music. Through its LXX use, esp. in the title ψαλμοί, t’hillim (Heb.), the word came to signify the singing of praise to God; but the connexion indicates a larger ref(2086) than to the singing of the O.T. Psalms; it included the “improvised psalms which were sung in the Glossolalia, and could only be made intelligible by interpretation” (Mr(2087)). Ecstatic utterance commonly falls into a kind of chant or rhapsody, without articulate words.


Verse 16

1 Corinthians 14:16. “Since if thou bless (God) in spirit”: πνευματι, anarthrous—“in spiritonly without understanding; cf. ἐὰν προσεύχ. γλώσσῃ, 1 Corinthians 14:14.— εὐλογέω (cf. 1 Corinthians 10:16, Matthew 14:19) is used elliptically, of praise to God, like εὐχαριστέω (1 Corinthians 14:17, 1 Corinthians 11:24); it bears ref(2088) to the form, as εὐχ. to the matter of thanksgiving; possibly P. alludes to the solemn act of praise at the Eucharist, this ellipsis being peculiar to blessing at meals.— ἐπεί (cf. 1 Corinthians 5:10, 1 Corinthians 7:14) has its “usual causal and retrospective force, introducing the alternative” (El(2089); so quandoquidem, Bz(2090); alioqui, Cv(2091)).— ἀναπληρῶν τὸν τόπον τοῦ ἰδιώτου, πῶς ἐρεῖ κ. τ. λ.; “he who fills the position of the unlearned, how will he say the Amen at thy thanksgiving?” P. does not here speak of ἰδιώτης simply (cf. 1 Corinthians 14:24), as meaning one unversed in Christianity; nor can this word, at so early a date, signify the lay Christian specifically (as the Ff(2092) mostly read it); the man supposed “holds the place of one unversed” in the matter in question being an ἰδιώτης γλώσσῃ (cf. 2 Corinthians 11:6): Thd(2093) rightly paraphrases by ἀμύητος, uninitiated. In cl(2094) Gr(2095), ἰδιώτης means a private person in distinction from the State and its officers, then a layman as distinguished from the expert or professional man. The ptp(2096) ἀναπληρῶν, filling up (see parls.), represents the ἰδιώτης as a necessary complement of the γλωσσολαλῶν (1 Corinthians 12:30). Hn(2097) and others insist on the literal (local) sense of τόπος, as equivalent to ἕδρα not τάξις, supposing that the ἰδιώται occupied a separate part of the assembly room; but this is surely to pre-date later usage.—The united “Amen” seals the thanksgiving pronounced by a single voice, making it the act of the Church—“the Amen,” since this was the familiar formula taken over from Synagogue worship; cf. 2 Corinthians 1:18 ff. On its ecclesiastical use, see El(2098) ad loc(2099), and Dict., of Christian Antiq s.v.— ἐπειδή τί λέγεις οὐκ οἶδεν = the οὐδεὶς ἀκούει of 1 Corinthians 14:2. El(2100) observes, “From this ver. it would seem to follow that at least some portions of early Christian worship were extempore”. indeed, it is plain that extempore utterance prevailed in the Cor(2101) Church (cf. 14 f.).


Verse 17

1 Corinthians 14:17. “For thou indeed givest thanks well”—admirably, finely ( καλῶς: cf. Luke 20:39, James 2:19): words légèrement ironiques (Gd(2102)).— εὐχαριστεῖς = εὐλογεῖς (16: see note, also on 1 Corinthians 1:4).— ἕτερος, i.e., the ἰδιώτης of 1 Corinthians 14:16 signifies, as in 1 Corinthians 6:6, 1 Corinthians 10:29; the pron(2103) a distinct or even opposite person. P. estimates the devotions of the Church by a spiritually utilitarian standard; the abstractly beautiful is subordinated to the practically edifying: the like test is applied to a diff(2104) matter in 1 Corinthians 10:23; 1 Corinthians 10:33.


Verse 18-19

1 Corinthians 14:18-19. Again (cf. 6, 1 Corinthians 4:6; 1 Corinthians 4:9) the Ap. uses himself for an instance in point. Even at Cor(2105), where this charism was abundant, no one “speaks with tongues” (mark the pl(2106) γλώσσαις) so largely as P. does on occasion; far from thinking lightly of the gift, he “thanks God” that he excels in it. 2 Corinthians 5:13; 2 Corinthians 12:1-4 show that P. was rich in ecstatic experiences; cf. Galatians 2:2, Acts 9:12; Acts 16:9; Acts 22:17; Acts 27:23 f., etc.—The omission of ὅτι after εὐχαριστῶ is exceptional, but scarcely irregular; it belongs to conversational liveliness, and occurs occasionally after a number of the verba declarandi in cl(2107) Gr(2108): cf. note on δοκῶ κ. τ. λ., 1 Corinthians 4:9; and see Wr(2109), p. 683. The Vg(2110), omitting μᾶλλον, reads omnium vestrum lingua loquor, making P. thank God that he could speak in every tongue used at Cor(2111); Jerome, in his Notes, refers the μᾶλλον to the other App., as though P. exulted in being a better linguist than any of the Twelve!— ἀλλὰ ἐν ἐκκλησίᾳ κ. τ. λ.: “but in church-assembly (cf. note on 1 Corinthians 14:4) I would (rather) utter five words with my understanding, that I might indeed instruct others, than ten thousand words in a tongue!”— ἀλλὰ contradicts the seeming implication of 1 Corinthians 14:18—“but for all that”: one might have supposed that P. would make much of a power in which he excels; on the contrary, he puts it aside and prefers to use every-day speech, as being the more serviceable; cf. for the sentiment, 1 Corinthians 9:19-23, 2 Corinthians 1:24; 2 Corinthians 4:5; 2 Corinthians 4:12; 2 Corinthians 4:15; 2 Corinthians 11:7; 2 Corinthians 13:9, 1 Thessalonians 2:6 ff. With his Tongue P. might speak in solitude, “to himself and to God” (1 Corinthians 14:2; 1 Corinthians 14:28, 2 Corinthians 5:13); amongst his brethren, his one thought is, how best to help and benefit them.—For νοῦς in contrast with πνεῦμα, see note on 1 Corinthians 14:14; for its declension, cf. 1 Corinthians 1:10.— κατηχέω (see parls.) differs from διδάσκω as it connotes, usually at least, oral impartation (“ut alios voce instituam,” Bz(2112)), including here prophecy or doctrine (1 Corinthians 14:6). On θέλω, dispensing with μᾶλλον, see parls.; malimquam, Bz(2113) For the rhetorical μυρίους, cf. 1 Corinthians 4:15.


Verse 20

1 Corinthians 14:20. P. has argued the superiority of intelligible speech, as a man of practical sense; he finally appeals to the good sense of his readers: “Brethren, be not children in mind” (see parls.)—“in judgment” (Ed(2114)), “the reasoning power on its reflective and discriminating side” (El(2115)); φρένες differs from νοῦς much as φρόνιμος from f1σοφός (see notes to 1 Corinthians 4:10, 1 Corinthians 10:15). Emulation and love of display were betraying this Church into a childishness the very opposite of that broad intelligence and enlightenment on which it plumed itself (1 Corinthians 1:5, 1 Corinthians 4:10, 1 Corinthians 8:1, 1 Corinthians 10:15, etc.). “It is characteristic of the child to prefer the amusing to the useful, the shining to the solid” (Gd(2116)). This is a keen reproof, softened, however, by the kindly ἀδελφοί (“suavem vim habet,” Bg(2117)).— γίνεσθε, “be in effect,” “show yourselves”; cf. 1 Corinthians 11:1, etc. “In malice, however, be babes (act the babe); but in mind show yourselves full-grown (men)”.—For the force of the ending in νηπιάζω, cf. πυρρ- άζω, to redden, Matthew 16:2; the vb(2118) is based on νήπιος, a kind of superlative to παιδίον—“be (not boyish, but actually) childish” (Ed(2119)), or “infantile, in malice”. For the antithesis of τέλειος (= ἀνήρ) and νήπιος, see 1 Corinthians 2:6, 1 Corinthians 13:9 ff., and parls. For κακία, cf. note on 1 Corinthians 5:8 : P. desiderates the affection of the little child (see Ephesians 4:32 f., for the qualities opp(2120) to κακία), as Jesus (in Matthew 18:1 ff.) its simplicity and humbleness. Gd(2121) excellently paraphrases this ver.: “Si vous voulez être des enfants, à la bonne heure, pourvu que ce soit quant à la malice; mais, quant à l’intelligence, avancez de plus en plus vers la maturité complète”.


Verse 21

1 Corinthians 14:21. This O.T. citation is adduced not by way of Scriptural proof, but in solemn asseveration of what P. has intimated, to his readers’ surprise, respecting the inferiority of the Glossolalia; cf. the manner of quotation in 1 Corinthians 1:19, 1 Corinthians 2:9, 1 Corinthians 3:19. The passage of Isaiah reveals a principle applying to all such modes of speech on God’s part. The title νόμος Jewish usage extended to Scripture at large; see Romans 3:19, John 10:34. P. shows here his independence of the LXX: the first clause, ὅτιτούτῳ, follows the Heb., only turning the prophet’s third person (“He will speak”) into the first, thus appropriating the words to God ( λέγει κύριος); Origen’s Hexapla and Aquila’s Gr(2123) Version run in almost the same terms (El(2124)). Paul’s second clause, καὶ οὐδʼ οὕτως εἰσακούσονταί μου, is based on the latter clause of 1 Corinthians 14:12 (translated precisely in the LXX, καὶ οὐκ ἠθέλησαν ἀκούειν), but with a new turn of meaning drawn from the general context: he omits as irrelevant the former part of 1 Corinthians 14:12. The original is therefore condensed, and somewhat adapted. Hf(2125) and Ed(2126) discuss at length the Pauline application of Isaiah’s thought. According to the true interpretation of Isaiah 28:9 ff. (see Cheyne, Delitzsch, or Dillmann ad loc(2127)), the drunken Israelites are mocking in their cups the teaching of God through His prophet, as though it were only fit for an infant school; in anger therefore He threatens to give His lessons through the lips of foreign conquerors (1 Corinthians 14:11), in whose speech the despisers of the mild, plain teaching of His servants (1 Corinthians 14:12) shall painfully spell out their ruin. The ὅτι ( κῖ) is part of the citation: “For in men of alien tongue and in lips of aliens I will speak to this people; and not even thus will they hearken to me, saith the Lord“. God spoke to Israel through the strange Assyrian tongue in retribution, not to confirm their faith but to consummate their unbelief. The Glossolalia may serve a similar melancholy purpose in the Church. This analogy does not support, any more than that of 1 Corinthians 14:10 f. (see notes), the notion that the Tongues of Corinth were foreign languages.— εἰσακούω, to hear with attention, effect, shares the meaning of ὑπακούω (obedio) in the LXX and in cl(2128) Gr(2129)


Verses 21-25

1 Corinthians 14:21-25. § 47. THE STRANGE TONGUES AN OCCASION OF UNBELIEF. The Ap. has striven to wean the Cor(2122) from their childish admiration of the Tongues by showing how unedifying they are in comparison with Prophecy. The Scripture quoted to confirm his argument (1 Corinthians 14:21) ascribes to this kind of manifestation a punitive character. Through an alien voice the Lord speaks to those refusing to hear, by way of “sign to the unbelieving” (1 Corinthians 14:22). These abnormal utterances neither instruct the Church nor convert the world. The unconverted see in them the symptoms of madness (1 Corinthians 14:23). Prophecy has an effect far different; it searches every heart, and compels the most prejudiced to acknowledge the presence of God in the Christian assembly (1 Corinthians 14:24 f.).


Verse 22

1 Corinthians 14:22. The real point of the above citation from Isaiah comes out in ὥστε αἱ γλῶσσαι εἰς σημεῖόν κ. τ. λ., “And so the tongues are for a sign not to the believing, but to the unbelievers”—sc. to “those who will not hear,” who having rejected other modes of instruction find their unbelief confirmed, and even justified (1 Corinthians 14:23 b), by this phenomenon. This interpretation (cf. Matthew 16:4; and for εἰς σημεῖον in the judicial sense, Isaiah 8:18) is dictated by the logical connexion of 1 Corinthians 14:21-22, which forbids the thought of a convincing and saving sign, read into this passage by Cm(2130) and many others. P. desires to quench rather than stimulate the Cor(2131) ardour for Tongues.— δὲ προφητεία κ. τ. λ., “while prophecy on the other hand” ( δέ) serves the opposite purpose—it “(is for a sign) not to the unbelievers, but to the believing”. οἱ πιστεύοντες implies the act continued into a habit (cf. 1 Corinthians 1:21); οἱ ἄπιστοι, the determinate character. For ὥστε with ind(2132), see note on 1 Corinthians 3:7.


Verse 23

1 Corinthians 14:23 shows the disastrous impression which the exercise of the Tongues, carried to its full extent, must make upon men outside—a result that follows ( οὖν) from the aforesaid intention of the gift (1 Corinthians 14:22): “If then the entire Church should assemble together and all should be speaking with tongues, but there should enter uninstructed persons or unbelievers, will they not say that you are mad!” If the Tongues are, as many Cor(2133) think, the highest manifestation of the Spirit, then to have the whole Church simultaneously so speaking would be the ne plus ultra of spiritual power; but, in fact, the Church would then resemble nothing so much as a congregation of lunatics! A reductio ad absurdum for the fanatical coveters of Tongues.—The ἰδιῶται (here unqualified: otherwise in 16; cf note) are persons unacquainted with Christianity (altogether uninitiated) and receiving their first impression of it in this way, whereas the ἄπιστοι are rejectors of the faith. The impression made upon either party will be the same. The effect here imagined is altogether diff(2134) from that of the Day of Pentecost, when the “other tongues” spoke intelligibly to those religiously susceptible amongst non-believers (Acts 2:11 ff.). The imputation of madness from men of the world P. earnestly deprecates (Acts 26:24 f.).—Ed(2135) renders ἰδιῶται “separatists”—unattached Christians; but this interpretation wants lexical support, and is out of keeping with 1 Corinthians 14:16 : did any such class of Christians then exist?


Verse 24-25

1 Corinthians 14:24-25. How diff(2136) ( δέ) and how blessed the result, “if all should be prophesying and there should enter some unbeliever or stranger to Christianity ( ἰδιώτης: see previous note), he is convicted by all, he is searched by all, the secret things of his heart become manifest; and so he will fall on his face and worship God, reporting that verily God is among you!” This brings out two further notes of eminence in the charism of Prophecy when compared with Tongues: (1) The former edifies the Church (1 Corinthians 14:3 ff.); (2) it employs a man’s rational powers (1 Corinthians 14:14-19); (3) it can be exercised safely by the whole Church, and (4) to the conversion of sinners. That “all” should “prophesy” is a part of the Messianic ideal, the earnest of which was given in the descent of the Spirit at Pentecost: see Numbers 11:23-29, Joel 2:28, Acts 2:4; Acts 2:15 ff.; the speaking of Pentecost Peter identifies with prophesying, whereas P. emphatically distinguishes the Cor(2137) Glossolalia therefrom. Prophecy is an inspired utterance proceeding from a supernatural intuition, which penetrates “the things of the man,” “the secrets of his heart,” no less than “the things of God” (1 Corinthians 2:10 ff.): the light of heart searching knowledge and speech, proceeding from every believer, is concentrated on the unconverted man as he enters the assembly. His conscience is probed on all sides; he is pierced and overwhelmed with the sense of his sin (cf. John 4:29, also John 1:48, 1 Corinthians 8:9, Acts 8:18 ff; Acts 25:25). This form of Prophecy abides in the Church, as the normal instrument for “convicting the world of sin” (John 16:8 ff.); it belongs potentially to “all” Christians, and is in fact the reaction of the Spirit of Christ in them upon the unregenerate (cf. John 20:22 f.); ἐλέγχεται is the precise word of John 16:8.— ἀνακρίνω (see 1 Corinthians 2:14 and parls.) denotes not to judge, but to put on trial, to sift judicially. God alone, through Christ, is the judge of “the heart’s secrets” (1 Corinthians 4:5, Romans 2:16); but the God-taught word of man throws a searching light into these recesses. In 1 Corinthians 14:24 the ἄπιστος precedes the ἰδιώτης (cf. 1 Corinthians 14:23), since in his case the arresting effect of Prophecy is the more signal.— προσκυνήσει and ὄντως θεὸς κ. τ. λ. are a reminiscence of Isaiah 45:14, following the Heb. txt. rather than the LXX (cf. note on 1 Corinthians 14:21).— ἀπ- αγγέλλων, “taking word away,” reporting, proclaiming abroad (cf. parls.), thus diffusing the impression he has received (cf. John 4:29).— ὄντως (revera, Cv(2138)), really, in very deed—contradicts denials of God’s working in Christianity, such as the ἄπιστος himself formerly had made.— πεσών (aor(2139) ptp(2140), of an act leading up to that of principal vb(2141) and forming part of the same movement) indicates the prostration of a soul suddenly overpowered by the Divine presence. To convince men that “God is in the midst of her” is the true success of the Church.


Verse 26

1 Corinthians 14:26. τί οὖν ἐστίν (cf. 1 Corinthians 14:15), ἀδελφοί; “How then stands the case, brothers?” οὖν is widely resumptive, taking in the whole state of the Cor(2143) Church as now reviewed, with esp. ref(2144) to its abundance of charisms, amongst which Tongues and Prophecy are conspicuous; education must once more be insisted on as the true aim of them all.— ὅταν συνέρχησθε, “whensoever you assemble” (cf. 1 Corinthians 11:18 ff.): here pr.; the aor(2145) of 1 Corinthians 14:23 referred to particular occasions.—“Each has a psalm (to sing)—a teaching, a revelation (to impart)—a tongue, an interpretation (to give).” The succession of the objects of ἔχει perhaps reflects the order commonly pursued in the Church meetings. For ἕκαστος, cf. 1 Corinthians 1:12, etc.: every Cor(2146) Christian has his faculty; there is no lack of gifts for utterance or readiness to use them; cf. 1 Corinthians 1:5, also 1 Corinthians 4:6 ff. This exuberance made the difficulty; all wanted to speak at once—women as well as men (1 Corinthians 14:34); ἔχει, in promptu habet (Mr(2147))—“iteratum, eleganter exprimit divisam donorum copiam” (Bg(2148)). The ψαλμὸς might be an original song (though not chanted unintelligibly, ἐν γλώσσῃ—the latter is enumerated distinctly: see note on ψαλῶ, 15), or an O.T. Psalm Christianly interpreted (see parls.); similarly Philo, De Vita Cont., § 10, describing the Therapeutæ, ἀναστὰς ὑμῶν ὕμνον ᾄδει εἰς τ. θεόν, καινὸν αὐτὸς πεποιηκώς, ἀρχαῖόν τινα τῶν πάλαι ποιητων. For N.T. psalms, see Luke 1, 2, Revelation 4:11; Revelation 5:9 f., 12 f., 1 Corinthians 15:3 f.— διδαχὴ and ἀποκάλυψις (see 6 above; 1 Corinthians 12:28 f.), the two leading forms of Christian edification. Beside the γλῶσσα is set the complementary ἑρμηνία, by which it is utilised for the Church: cf. 1 Corinthians 12:10; 1 Corinthians 12:30; and 1 Corinthians 14:1-19 passim.— πάντα πρὸς τὴν οἰκοδοὴν γινέσθω (pr(2149) impv(2150)), “Let everything be carried on with a view to edification”.


Verses 26-33

1 Corinthians 14:26-33. § 48. SELF-CONTROL IN RELIGIOUS EXERCISES. The enquiry of the Cor(2142) as to whether Tongues or Prophecy is the charism more to be coveted is now disposed of. P. supplements his answer by giving in the two last paragraphs of this chap. certain directions of a more general bearing relative to the conduct of Church meetings, which arise from the whole teaching of chh. 11–14: see the Introd. to Div. iv.


Verse 27-28

1 Corinthians 14:27-28. The maxim πρὸς τ. οἰκοδομὴν κ. τ. λ. is applied to Tongues and Prophecy, as the two main competing gifts: “Whether any one speaks with a tongue (let them speak: sc. λαλείτωσαν) to the number of two ( κατὰ δύο), or at the most three” (at one meeting)—“fiat per binos, aut ad plurimum ternos” (Bz(2151)).— καὶ ἀνὰ μέρος, “and in turn,” idque vicissim (Cv(2152))—not all confusedly speaking at once. Ed(2153) ingeniously renders the κατὰ and ἀνὰ clauses “by two or at most three together, and in turns” (antiphonally), as though the Tongues could be combined in a duet—“the beginning of Church music and antiphonal singing amongst Christians”: but this does not comport with the ecstatic nature of the Glossolalia; moreover, the sense thus given to the second clause would be properly expressed by ἐν μέρει, not ἀνὰ μέρος (Hn(2154)).—“And let one person interpret”: whether one of the γλωσσολαλοῦντες (1 Corinthians 14:13), or someone else present ( ἄλλος, 1 Corinthians 12:10); the use of several interpreters at the same meeting might occasion delay or confusion. “If however there be no interpreter (present), let him (the speaker with the Tongue) keep silence in the Church, but let him talk to himself and to God”: unless his utterance can be translated, he must refrain in public, and be content to enjoy his charism in solitude and in secret converse with God (cf. 1 Corinthians 14:2 ff.); the instruction to “speak in his heart, noiselessly” (so Cm(2155), Est., Hf(2156)) would be contrary to λαλεῖν, and indeed to the nature of a tongue. “ for cl(2157) παρῇ, sit for adsit; cf. Luke 5:17; Iliad ix. 688” (Ed(2158)).


Verse 29-30

1 Corinthians 14:29-30. προφῆται δὲ δύο τρεῖς κ. τ. λ.: “But in the case of prophets, let two or three speak, and let the others discern” (dijudicent, Vg(2159)). In form this sentence varies from the parl(2160) clause respecting the Tongues (1 Corinthians 14:27); see Wr(2161), p. 709, on the frequency of oratio variata in P., due to his vivacity and conversational freedom; the anarthrous προφῆται is quasi-hypothetical, in contrast with γλώσσῃ τις λαλεῖ—not “the prophets,” but “supposing they (the speakers) be prophets, let them speak, etc.” The number to prophesy at any meeting in limited to “two or three,” like that of the Tongue-speakers; the condition ἀνὼ μέρος (1 Corinthians 14:27) is self-evident, where edification is consciously intended (1 Corinthians 14:3, etc.). “The others” are the other prophets present, who were competent to speak (1 Corinthians 14:31); these silent prophets may employ themselves in the necessary “discernment of spirits” (see 1 Corinthians 12:10)— διακρινέτωσαν, acting as critics of the revelations given through their brethren. The powers of προφητεία and διάκρισις appear to have been frequently combined, like those of artist and art-critic. It is noticed that in the Didaché a contrary instruction to this (and to 1 Thessalonians 5:20 f.) is given: πάντα προφήτην λαλοῦντα ἐν πνεύματι οὐ πειράσετε οὐδὲ διακρινεῖτε.—The above regulation implies pre-arrangement amongst the speakers; but this must not hinder the free movement of the Spirit; if a communication be made ex tempore to a silent prophet, the speaker should give way to him: “But if anything be revealed to another seated” (the prophesier stood, as in Synagogue reading and exhortation: Luke 4:1, Acts 13:16), “let the first be silent”. σιγάτω does not command (as σιγησάτω might) an instant cessation; “some token would probably be given, by motion or gesture, that an ἀποκάλυψις had been vouchsafed to another of the προφῆται; this would be a sign to the speaker to close his address, and to let the newly illumined succeed to him” (El(2162)). Even inspired prophets might speak too long and require to be stopped!


Verse 31

1 Corinthians 14:31. By economy of time, every one who has the prophetic gift may exercise it in turn; so the Church will enjoy, in variety of exhortation, the full benefit of the powers of the Spirit conferred on all its members: “For you can (in this way) all prophesy one by one ( καθʼ ἕνα: singulatim, Cv(2163)), in order that all may learn and all may be encouraged”. Stress lies on the repeated πάντες (cf. 1 Corinthians 12:12 f.): let every prophet get his turn, and every hearer will receive benefit (cf. 1 Corinthians 14:26 b); even if the Church members were all prophets, as Paul imagined in 1 Corinthians 14:24, and thinks desirable (1 Corinthians 14:1-5), by due arrangement, and self-suppression on the part of the eloquent, all might be heard.


Verse 32

1 Corinthians 14:32. The maxim πνεύματα προφητῶν προφήταις ὑποτάσσεται, is coupled by καὶ to 1 Corinthians 14:31 under the regimen of γάρ; it gives the subjective, as 1 Corinthians 14:31 the main objective, reason why the prophets should submit to regulation. “How can I prophesy to order?” one of them might ask; “how restrain the Spirit’s course in me?” The Ap. replies: “(for) also the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets”; this Divine gift is put under the control and responsibility of the possessor’s will, that it may be exercised with discretion and brotherly love, for its appointed ends. An unruly prophet is therefore no genuine prophet; he lacks one of the necessary marks of the Holy Spirit’s indwelling (see 1 Corinthians 14:33; 1 Corinthians 14:37). This kind of subjection could hardly be ascribed to the ecstatic Glossolalia. On the pl(2164) πνεύματα, signifying manifold forms or distributions (1 Corinthians 12:4; 1 Corinthians 12:11) of the Spirit’s power, see note on 1 Corinthians 12:10.— ὑποτάσσεται is the pr(2165) of a general truth: “a Gnomic Present” (Bn(2166), § 12); cf. 1 Corinthians 3:13, 2 Corinthians 9:7.


Verse 33

1 Corinthians 14:33. The apophthegm of 1 Corinthians 14:32 exemplifies the universal principle of order in God’s works; cf. the deduction drawn in 1 Corinthians 11:3. God’s gift of the Spirit submits itself to the receiver’s will, through whose direction its exercise is brought into regulated and edifying use: “For God is not (a God) of disorder (or seditionis, Cv(2167)), but of peace”. To suppose that God inspires His prophets to speak two or three at a time, to make a tumult in the Church and refuse control, would be to suppose Him the author of confusion, of chaos instead of cosmos.— ἀκαταστασία (see parls.) is a word of the LXX and later Gr(2168), denoting civil disorder or mutiny; it recalls the σχίσματα and ἔριδες of 1 Corinthians 1:10 f., 1 Corinthians 11:18 f., to which emulation in the display of spiritual powers seems to have contributed.—“As it is in all the Churches of the saints”: in evidence of the “peace” which God confers on human society, P. can point to the conduct of Church meetings in all other Christian communities—a feature proper to “assemblies of the saints”. Here is a final and solemn reason why the prophets of Cor(2169) should practise self-control and mutual deference: cf. 1 Corinthians 11:16; also 1 Corinthians 1:2 b, and note; 1 Corinthians 16:1.—On the connexion of the ὡς clause, see Ed(2170) or El(2171) W.H(2172) attach it to 1 Corinthians 14:31, regarding 1 Corinthians 14:32-33 a as a parenthesis; but this breaks the continuity of 1 Corinthians 14:31-32; nor does it appear that “all the churches” had the superabundance of prophets that necessitated the restrictions imposed in 1 Corinthians 14:29-31. Other leading editors (Tisch., Mr(2173), Hn(2174), Hf(2175), Bt(2176), Gd(2177)) link this qualification to the following context; but it comes in clumsily before the impv(2178) of 1 Corinthians 14:34, and the repetition of ἐν ταῖς ἐκκλησίαις is particularly awkward. On the other hand, the ref(2179) to the example of the other Churches appropriately concludes the Apostle’s appeals on the weighty subject, of universal interest, which has occupied him throughout this chapter.


Verse 34

1 Corinthians 14:34. αἱ γυναῖκες ἐν ταῖς ἐκκλησίαις σιγάτωσαν: “Let women (Gr(2182) generic art(2183)) keep silence in the church assemblies, for it is not allowed them to speak”; cf. 1 Timothy 2:12, where the “speaking” of this passage is defined as “teaching, or using authority over a man”. The contradiction between this veto and the language of 1 Corinthians 11:5, which assumes that women “pray” and “prophesy” in gatherings of Christians and forbids their doing so “with uncovered head,” is relieved by supposing (a) that in 1 Corinthians 11:5 P. refers to private gatherings (so Cv(2184), Bg(2185), Mr(2186), Bt(2187), Ev(2188), El(2189)), or means specifically at home (Hf(2190)), while here speaking ἐν ἐκκλησίᾳ is forbidden (1 Corinthians 14:35); but there is nothing in ch. 11 to indicate this distinction, which ex hyp. is vital to the matter; moreover, at this early date, the distinction between public and private Christian meetings—in church or house—was very imperfectly developed. Or (b), the instances admitted in 1 Corinthians 11:5 were exceptional, “où la femme se sentirait pressée de donner essor à un élan extraordinaire de l’Esprit” (Gd(2191)): but πᾶσα γυνή (1 Corinthians 11:5) suggests frequent occurrence. (c) Hn(2192) supposes participation in the ecstatic manifestations forbidden, as though γλώσσῃ were understood with λαλεῖν. (d) Ed(2193) thinks the tacit permission of 1 Corinthians 11:5 here withdrawn, on maturer consideration. But (e), in view of the words that follow, “but let them be subject” and “if they want to learn” (contrasted with λαλεῖν by δέ), and on comparison with the more explicit language of 1 Timothy 2:12, in view moreover of the principle affirmed in ch. 1 Corinthians 11:3 ff., it appears probable that P. is thinking of Church-teaching and authoritative direction as a rôle unfit for women.— ὑποτασσέσθωσαν is the key-note of Paul’s doctrine on the subject (cf. also Ephesians 5:22 ff., etc.). This command cannot fairly be set aside as a temporary regulation due to the state of ancient society. If the Ap. was right, there is a ὑποτάσσεσθαι which lies in the nature of the sexes and the plan of creation; but this must be understood with the recollection of what Christian subjection is (see Galatians 5:13 b, Ephesians 5:22 ff.; also note on 1 Corinthians 11:3 above).—What “the law says” was evidently in Paul’s mind when he grounded his doctrine in ch. 11. on the O.T. story of the creation of Man and Woman. For Jewish sentiment in the matter, see Wetstein ad loc(2194), Vitringa, Synag., p. 724; Schöttgen, Hor., p. 658. For Gr(2195) feeling, cf. Soph., Ajax, 293, γυναιξὶ κόσμον σιγὴ φέρει (Ed(2196)); for Early Church rule, Const. Apost., iii., 6, Conc. Carthag., iv. 99 (quoted by El(2197)).


Verses 34-40

1 Corinthians 14:34-40. § 49. FINAL INSTRUCTIONS ON CHURCH ORDER. In 1 Corinthians 14:34 ff. P. returns to the matter which he first touched upon in reproving the disorderly Church life at Cor(2180), viz., the irregular behaviour of certain Christian women (1 Corinthians 11:2-16): there it was their dress, now it is their tongue that he briefly reproves. 1 Corinthians 14:37 f., glancing over the injunctions of Div. IV. at large, commend their recognition as a test of the high pretensions to spiritual insight made at Cor(2181) 1 Corinthians 14:39 recapitulates Paul’s deliverance on the vexed question of Tongues versus Prophecy. 1 Corinthians 14:40 adds the final maxim of propriety and order,—a rule of administration as comprehensive and important as the πάντα πρὸς οἰκοδομὴν of 1 Corinthians 14:26.


Verse 35

1 Corinthians 14:35. εἰ δέ τι θέλουσιν μανθάνειν: “But if they want to learn something”—if this is the motive that prompts them to speak. This plea furnishes an excuse, consistent with the submission enjoined, for women raising their voices in the Church meetings; but even so P. deprecates the liberty. As between μανθάνειν and μαθεῖν after θέλω and the like, El(2198) thus distinguishes: “when attention is directed to the procedure of the action specified, the pr(2199) is commonly used; when simply to the action itself, the aor(2200)”—In bidding the Cor(2201) women of enquiring minds to “ask at home of their own husbands,” P. is laying down a general rule, not disposing of all cases that might arise; since the impv(2202) of 1 Corinthians 14:35 admits of exceptions, so may that of 1 Corinthians 14:34 : the utterances of Pentecost (Acts 2:4) proceeded from “all,” both men and women (cf. 18 f.); there is also the notable instance of Philip’s “four daughters which did prophesy” (Acts 21:9). At Cor(2203) there was a disposition to put men and women on an equal footing in public speaking and Church leadership; this is stigmatized as αἰσχρὸν (turpe, inhonestum; cf. 1 Corinthians 11:6; 1 Corinthians 11:13 ff.); it shocks moral feeling. For ἐν ἐκκλησίᾳ, see 1 Corinthians 11:18.


Verse 36

1 Corinthians 14:36. The Ap. adds the authority of Christian usage to that of natural instinct (cf. the connexion of 1 Corinthians 10:14; 1 Corinthians 10:16), in a tone of indignant protest: “Or (is it) from you (that) the word of God went out? or to you only did it reach?”—i.e., “Neque primi, neque soli estis Christiani” (Est.). The Cor(2204) acted without thinking of any but themselves, as though they were the one Church in the world, or might set the fashion to all the rest (see note on 1 Corinthians 1:2 b; also 33 above, and 1 Corinthians 11:16). For the self-sufficiency of this church, cf. 1 Corinthians 4:6 ff., 1 Corinthians 5:2. On καταντάω εἰς, see 1 Corinthians 10:11.— links this ver. with the foregoing, “Or (if what I have said is not sufficient), etc.”


Verse 37-38

1 Corinthians 14:37-38. γράφω ὑμῖν, in the apodosis, includes, beside the last particular (1 Corinthians 14:34 ff.), the other instructions of this Ep.; προφήτης and πνευματικὸς in the protasis recall esp. the directions of chh. 12–14: cf. 1 Corinthians 11:4, 1 Corinthians 12:1, 1 Corinthians 14:1.— δοκεῖ, as in 1 Corinthians 3:18 (see note), is putat, sibi videtur (not videtur alone, Vg(2205)), denoting self-estimation. The term πνευματικὸς includes every one endowed with a special gift of the Spirit; cf. the pl(2206) πνεύματα, 1 Corinthians 14:12. Hf(2207) and Hn(2208) think however that the disjunctive narrows the ref(2209) of “spiritual,” by contrast with “prophet,” to the sense of “speaker with tongues”; but this is a needless inference from the part(2210); the Ap. means “a prophet, or a man of the Spirit (in any sense)”. The adj(2211) πνευματικός (in masc.: see parls.) refers not to spiritual powers ( τὰ πνευματικά, 1 Corinthians 12:1, etc.), but to spiritual character (= κατὰ πνεῦμα, ἐν πνεύματι, Romans 8.), which gives insight in matters of revelation (cf. John 7:17; John 8:31 f.). While the true “prophet,” having a kindred inspiration (cf. 1 Corinthians 14:29), will “know well of the things” the Ap. “writes, that they are a commandment of the Lord” ( κυρίου ἐστὶν ἐντολή, “are what the Lord commands”; cf. 1 Corinthians 2:10-16, 1 Corinthians 7:40, and notes, 2 Corinthians 8:3), this ability belongs to “the spiritual” generally, who “judge all things” (1 Corinthians 2:15); being “of God,” they hear His voice in others (cf. John 8:42 f., etc.; 1 John 2:20; 1 John 4:6). The “Lord” is Christ, the Head of the Church, who “gives commandment to His Apostles” (cf. 1 Corinthians 7:10; 1 Corinthians 7:25, 1 Corinthians 11:23, 1 Corinthians 12:3, etc.; Matthew 28:20, etc.).—For ἐπι- γινωσκέτω, cf. 1 Corinthians 13:12—“judicet atque agnoscat” (Est.); the pr(2212) impv(2213) asks for a continued acknowledgment of Christ’s authority in His Apostle.—“But if any one is ignorant (of this), he is ignored” ( ἀγνοεῖται)—a retribution in kind. The professor of Divine knowledge who does not discern Paul’s inspiration, proves his ignorance; his character as “prophet” or “spiritual” is not recognised, since he does not recognise the Apostle’s character; cf. Matthew 10:14 f., Matthew 10:41, John 13:20, for this criterion as laid down by Christ; the Ap. John assumes it in 1 Corinthians 4:6.— ἀγοεῖται, is pr(2214) in tense, ignoratur (not ignorabitur, Vg(2215)), affirming an actual rejection—sc. by the Lord, who says to such despisers of His servants, “I know you not” (cf. 1 Corinthians 8:3; 2 Timothy 2:19; John 5:42, etc.); but by His Apostle too, who cannot acknowledge for fellow-servants men who repudiate the Lord’s authority in him (cf. 3 John 1:9 f.). Christ foretold that He would have to disown “many who had prophesied” in His name (Matthew 7:22 f.). If ἀγνοείτω be read (still preferred by Mr(2216), Bt(2217), Ev(2218), Gd(2219), with R.V. txt.), the impv(2220) is permissive, as in 8:15: “sibi suæque ignorantiæ relinquendos esse censeo” (Est.)—a counsel of lespair; contrast 2 Timothy 2:24 ff.


Verse 39-40

1 Corinthians 14:39-40 restate the advice of 1 Corinthians 14:1 in the light of the subsequent discussion, moderating the Church’s zeal for demonstrative charisms by insisting on the seemliness and good order which had been violated by their unrestrained exercise (1 Corinthians 14:26-33). “And so, my brothers, covet to prophesy”: ζηλοῦτε, cf. 1 Corinthians 12:31; τὸ προφητεύειν replaces by the regular inf(2221) the telic ἵνα προφητεύητε of 1 Corinthians 14:1 (see note).— καὶ τὸ λαλεῖν μὴ κωλύετε γλώσσαις, “and the speaking with tongues do not hinder“; this is to be allowed in the Church, but not encouraged like Prophecy, of course with the proviso that the Tongue has its interpreter (1 Corinthians 14:13; 1 Corinthians 14:28). For ὥστε with impv(2222), see 1 Corinthians 4:5, etc.— πάντα δὲ γινέσθω: “But let all things be carried on, etc.“: the δὲ attaches this caution specially to 1 Corinthians 14:39; zeal for Prophecy and permission of Glossolalia must be guarded by the observance at all points of decorum and discipline.— εὐσχημόνως (see parls., and note on 1 Corinthians 7:35), honeste (Vg(2223)) or decenter; North. Eng. mensefully (cf. Ephesians 4:1; Ephesians 5:4; Ephesians 5:33 above)—a sort of “ethical enhancement of the more mechanical κατὰ τάξιν” (El(2224)). On the latter expression, opp(2225) of ἀτάκτως, cf. 2 Thessalonians 3:6 f., also 1 Corinthians 11:34 b above: the Cor(2226) would interpret it by P.’s previous instructions—his παραδόσεις, ἐντολαί, ὁδοὶ ἐν χριστῷ—and those given in this Ep.— εὐσχημόνως demands a right Christian taste and deportment, κατὰ τάξιν a strict Christian method and rule of procedure.

 


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 14:4". The Expositor's Greek Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/egt/1-corinthians-14.html. 1897-1910.

Lectionary Calendar
Tuesday, November 12th, 2019
the Week of Proper 27 / Ordinary 32
ADVERTISEMENT
Commentary Navigator
Search This Commentary
Enter query in the box below
ADVERTISEMENT
To report dead links, typos, or html errors or suggestions about making these resources more useful use our convenient contact form
Powered by Lightspeed Technology