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Bible Commentaries

Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament
1 Corinthians 14

 

 

Other Authors
Introduction

CHAPTER 14

1 Corinthians 14:7. τοῖς φθόγγοις] Lachm. reads τοῦ φθόγγου, with B, Clar. Germ. Tol. Ambrosiast. Too weakly attested; and after the preceding φωνὴν διδόντα (giving from itself) the change of the dative into the genitive (Vulgate, sonituum), and of the plural into the singular, was very natural. Neither ought we to read, instead of ζῷ (Elz. Lachm. Tisch.), the more weakly attested διδῷ (recommended by Griesb.), which is a repetition from the preceding διδόντα.—1 Corinthians 14:10. ἐστίν] Lachm. Rück. Tisch. read εἰσίν, following A B D E F G א, min. Clem. Dam. Theophyl. The singular is an emendation, in accordance with the neuter plura.

αὐτῶν] should be deleted, with Lachm. Rück. Tisch., according to preponderating testimony. A defining addition.—1 Corinthians 14:13. Instead of διόπερ read διό, upon decisive evidence.—1 Corinthians 14:15. δέ] is wanting both times in F G, min. Vulg. It. Sahid. Syr. Damasc. and Latin Fathers; the first time also in K, the second time also in B hence Lachm. deletes only the second δέ. Probably Paul did not write either at all, and B contains merely the insertion which was first made in the first half of the verse.—1 Corinthians 14:18. Elz. has μου after θεῶ, which Reiche defends, in opposition to decisive evidence. Addition from 1 Corinthians 1:4; Romans 1:8, al. There is preponderating testimony for γλώσσῃ (Lachm. Rück. Tisch.) in place of γλώσσαις, as, indeed, in this chapter generally the authorities vary greatly in respect of the singular and plural designation of this charisma. In this passage the plural was inserted because they ascribed the knowledge of ever so many languages to the apostl.

λαλῶν] B D E F G א, 17, 67** Copt. Syr. utr. Vulg. It. Oec. and Latin Fathers have λαλῶ (so Lachm. and Tisch.); of these, however, F G, Copt. Syr. utr. Vulg. It. and Latin Fathers have ὅτι before πάντων. L omits λαλῶν altogether (which Rück. prefers, as also D. Schulz and de Wette). The preponderance of attestation is manifestly in favour of λαλῶ, which is also to be regarded as the original. For the omission (A) is explained by the fact that the words from εὐχαριστῶ to γλώσσαις were viewed (in accordance with 1 Corinthians 14:14-16) as belonging to each other. Other transcribers, who rightly saw in πάντων ὑμῶν κ. τ. λ. the ground of the εὐχαριστῶ, sought to help the construction, some of them by ὅτι, some by changing λαλῶ into λαλῶν. The latter was welcome also to those who saw in πάντωνλαλῶν, not the ground, but the mode of the εὐχαριστῶ, such as Reiche, Comm. crit. p. 271, who accordingly defends the Recepta.—1 Corinthians 14:19. Elz. Tisch. read διὰ τοῦ νοός, running counter, it is true, to A B D E F G א, vss. and Fathers, which have τῷ νοΐ (so Lachm. and Rück.), but still to be defended, because τῷ νοΐ has manifestly come in from 1 Corinthians 14:15. The very old transcriber’s error διὰ τὸν νόμον (without μου), which Marcion followed, tells likewise on the side of the Recepta.—1 Corinthians 14:21. ἑτέροις] Lachm. Rück. read ἑτέρων, following A B א, min. Rightly; the dative was written mechanically after ἑτερογλώσσοις and χείλεσιν.—1 Corinthians 14:25. Elz. has καὶ οὕτω before τὰ κρυπτά, in opposition to greatly preponderating evidence. The result seemed to begin at this point, hence the subsequent καὶ οὕτω was taken in here and the οὕτω following was left out (so still Chrysostom). Afterwards this second οὕτω was restored again without deleting the first καὶ οὕτω.—1 Corinthians 14:32. πνεύματα] D E F G and some min. vss. and Fathers have πνεῦμα. But πνεύματα seemed out of place, seeing that it is the Holy Spirit that impels the prophets.—1 Corinthians 14:34. ὑμῶν, which is defended by Reiche and Tisch., is wanting in A B א, min. vss. and Fathers (deleted by Lachm. and Rück.), but was very liable to be omitted from its being non-essential, and from the generality of the precept, and is to be retained on the ground of its old (as early as Syr.) and sufficient attestatio.

ἐπιτέτραπται] ἐπιτρέπεται has greatly preponderant authorities in its favour. Recommended by Griesb., adopted by Lachm. Rück. Tisch. Rightly; the sense of the perfect (permissum est) came more readily to the mind of the transcribers, both of itself and because of the prevalent reference to the la.

ὑποτάσσεσθαι] Lachm. Rück. read ὑποτασσέσθωσαν, following A B א, and some min. Copt. Bashm. Marcion, Damasc.; an interpretation.—1 Corinthians 14:35. γυναικί] Elz. Scholz read γυναιξί, in opposition to A B א* min. and several vss. and Fathers. The plural was introduced mechanically after the foregoing.—1 Corinthians 14:37. εἰσὶν ἐντολαί] Many various readings. Among the best attested (by A B א** Copt. Aeth. Aug.) is ἐστὶν ἐντολή. So Lachm. But D* E* F G, codd. of It. Or. Hil. Ambrosiast. have simply ἐστίν; and this is the original (so Tisch.), to which ἐντολή was added, sometimes before and sometimes after, by way of supplement. The Recepta εἰσὶν ἐντολαί (defended by Reiche) arose out of the plural expression γράφω in the way of a similar gloss.—1 Corinthians 14:38. ἀγνοείτω] ἀγνοεῖται occurs in A* (apparently) D* F G א* Copt. Clar. Germ. Or. So Lachm. and Rück.; Rinck also defends it. Other vss. and Fathers have ignorabitur. But in the scriptio continua an ω might easily be left out from ἀγνοειτωωστε, and then it would be all the more natural to supplement wrongly the defective ἀγνοειτ by making it ἀγνοεῖται, as it was well known that Paul is fond of a striking interchange between the active and passive of the same verb (1 Corinthians 8:2-3, 1 Corinthians 13:12). One can hardly conceive any ground for ἀγνοεῖται being changed into the imperative, especially as the imperative gives a sense which seems not to be in keeping with apostolic strictness and authority. Offence taken at this might be the very occasion of ἀγνοείτω being purposely altered into ἀγνοεῖται.

CONTENTS.—(1) Regarding the higher value of prophecy in comparison with the gift of tongues, 1 Corinthians 14:1-25. (2) Precepts regarding the application of the gifts of the Spirit in general, and of the two named in particular, 1 Corinthians 14:26-33, with an appended remark on the silence of women, 1 Corinthians 14:34-35. (3) Corroboration of the precepts given, 1 Corinthians 14:36-38, and reiteration of the main practical points, 1 Corinthians 14:39-40.


Verse 1

1 Corinthians 14:1. διώκετε τ. ἀγάπην] pursue after love; asyndetic, but following with all the greater emphasis upon the praise of love, chap. 13; while the figurative διώκ. (sectamini) corresponds to the conception of the way, 1 Corinthians 12:31. Comp. Philippians 3:12. And after Paul has thus established this normative principle as to seeking after the better gifts of the Spirit, he can now enter upon the latter themselves more in detai.

ζηλοῦτε δὲ κ. τ. λ.] With this he joins on again to 1 Corinthians 12:31, yet not so as to make the δέ resumptive,—in which case διώκ. τ. ἀγάπ. would be left standing in an isolated position,—but in such a way that he sets over against the latter the ζηλοῦν τὰ πν. as what is to take place along with it. “Let the end which you pursue be love; in connection with which, however,—and upon that I will now enter more particularly,—you are not to omit your zealous seeking after the gifts of the Spirit, but to direct it especially to prophecy.” Comp. Chrysostom, Theodoret, and Theophylac.

τὰ πνευματικά] as in 1 Corinthians 12:1, the gifts of the Spirit generally, not merely the glossolalia (Billroth, Ewald, comp. also Rückert), which first comes in at 1 Corinthians 14:2, and that with a definite designation. ΄ᾶλλον δὲ ἵνα προφ., which is not to be read as a subordinate clause (Hofmann), represents and defines more closely the phrase τὰ χαρίσματα τὰ κρείττονα, 1 Corinthians 12:31. ΄ᾶλλον does not simply compare the longing for prophetic gifts with that for the glossolalia,—which is only done in the following verses (in opposition to Hofmann),—but is to be explained: “in a higher degree, however, than for the other gifts of the Spirit, be zealous that ye may speak prophetically.” The ἵνα thus states the design of the ζηλοῦτε, which we must again mentally supply (comp. 1 Corinthians 14:5).


Verse 2-3

1 Corinthians 14:2-3 give the ground of the μᾶλλον δὲ ἵνα προφ. by comparing prophecy with the glossolalia in particular, which was in such high repute among the Corinthians.

For he who speaks with the tongue (see on 1 Corinthians 12:10) speaks not to men (does not with his discourse stand in the relation of communicating to men), but to God, who understands the Holy Spirit’s deepest and most fervent movements in prayer (Romans 8:26 f.). Comp. 1 Corinthians 14:28.

οὐδεὶς γὰρ ἀκούει] for no one hears it, has an ear for it. So too Porphyr. de Abst. iii. 22; Athen. ix. p. 383 A. What is not understood is as if it were not heard. Comp. Mark 4:33; Genesis 11:7; Genesis 42:23, and see 1 Corinthians 14:16 : τί λέγεις οὐκ οἶδε.(1) Wieseler, in 1838, took advantage of ἀκούει in support of his theory of the soft and inaudible character of the speaking with tongues, against which the very expression λαλεῖν, the whole context (see especially 1 Corinthians 14:7 f.) and the analogy of the event of Pentecost, as well as Acts 10:46; Acts 19:6, are conclusive. See also on 1 Corinthians 12:10, 1 Corinthians 13:1. The emphatic οὐκ ἀνθρ. λαλεῖ, ἀλλὰ τ. θεῷ militates against Fritzsche, Nov. opusc. pp. 327, 333, who takes οὐδεὶς γ. ἀκούει in a hyperbolic sense (“nam paucissimi intelligunt, cf. John 1:10-11”). No one understands it,—that is the rule, the exceptional case being only, of course, that some one gifted with the χάρισμα of interpretation is present; but in and of itself the speaking with tongues is of such a nature that no one understands it. Had Paul meant the speaking in foreign languages, he could all the less have laid down that rule, since, according to 1 Corinthians 14:23, it was a possible case that all the members of the church should speak γλώσσαις, and consequently there would always be some present who would have understood the foreign language of an addres.

πνεύματι δὲ λαλεῖ μυστ.] δέ—not the German “sondern” (Rückert)—is the however or on the other hand frequent after a negative statement (see Hartung, Partik. I. p. 172; Baeumlein, p. 95). We are not to understand πνεύματι of the objective Holy Spirit, 1 Corinthians 14:14 being against this, but of the higher spiritual nature of the man (different from the ψυχή). This, the seat of his self-consciousness, is filled in the inspired man by the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:16), which, according to the different degrees of inspiration, may either leave the reflective activity of the understanding ( νοῦς, 1 Corinthians 14:14) at work, or suspend it for the time during which this degree of inspiration continues. The latter is what is meant here, and πνεύματι λαλεῖν signifies, therefore, to speak through an activity of the higher organ of the inner life, which directly (without the medium of the νοῦς) apprehends and contemplates the divine; so that in πνεύματι is implied the exclusion of that discursive activity, which could, as in the case of prophecy, present clearly to itself in thought the movements and suggestions of the Holy Spirit, could work these out, connect them with things present, and communicate them to others in an intelligible wa.

μυστήρια] secrets, namely, for the hearers, hence what was unintelligible, the sense of which was shut up from the audience. The mysterious character of the speaking with tongues did not consist in the things themselves (for the same subjects might be treated of by other speakers also), but in the mode of expression, which, as not being brought about and determined by the intellectual activity of the νοῦς, thereby lacked the condition connecting it with the intellectual activity of the hearer, for which it was only made ready by the interpretation. Comp. Delitzsch, Psychol. p. 362.

οἰκοδ. κ. παρακλ. κ. παραμ.] The first is the genus, the second and third are species of it:(2) edification (Christian perfection generally) and (and in particular) exhortation (comp. on Philippians 2:1) and consolation.

παραμυθία, only here in the N. T., means address in general (Heindorf, Stallbaum, ad Plat. Phaed. p. 70 B), then comfort in particular; Plato, Ax. p. 365 A Aeschin. Dial. Socr. ii. 3; Lucian, Mort. D. xv. 3; de Dea Syr. 22; Ael. V. H. xii. 1; Wisdom of Solomon 19:12. Comp. on παραμύθιον, Philippians 2:1.


Verse 4

1 Corinthians 14:4. Difference between the relations of the two in respect of the just mentioned οἰκοδομή.

ἑαυτόν] in so far, namely, as he not merely believes that he feels (Wetstein), but really does feel in himself the edifying influence of what he utters. This does not presuppose such an understanding of what he utters as could be communicated to others, but it does assume an impression on the whole of a devout and elevating, although mystical kind, experienced in his own spiri.

ἐκκλησ.] a church, without the article, an assembly.


Verse 5

1 Corinthians 14:5. δέ] ἐπειδὴ παρʼ αὐτοῖς ἐλάλουν γλώσσαις πολλοὶ, ἵνα μὴ δόξῃ διὰ φθόνον κατασμικρίνειν τὰς γλώσσας, θέλω, φησὶ, πάντας κ. τ. λ., Theophylact. Comp. the δέ, 1 Corinthians 12:31.

μᾶλλον δὲ κ. τ. λ.] rather, however, I wish that ye should speak prophetically. Note here the distinction between the accusative with the infinitive and ἵνα after θέλω (see on Luke 6:31). The former puts the thing absolutely as object; the latter, as the design of the θέλω to be fulfilled by the readers (Nägelsbach on the Iliad, p. 62, ed. 3); so that it approaches the imperative force (Fritzsche, ad Matth. p. 839).

μείζων] preferable, of more worth, 1 Corinthians 13:13, because more useful for edification, 1 Corinthians 14:6; 1 Corinthians 14:26.

ἑκτὸς εἰ μὴ διερμ.] the case being excepted, if he interpret (what has been spoken with tongues). ἑκτὸς εἰ μή is a mixing up of two modes of expression, so that μή now seems pleonastic. Comp. 1 Corinthians 15:2; 1 Timothy 5:19. Not a Hebraism (Grotius), but found also in the later Greek writers (Lucian, Dial. Mer. 1; Soloec. 7). See Wetstein; Lobeck, ad Phryn. p. 459.

Regarding εἰ with the subjunctive, see on 1 Corinthians 9:11. The subject to διερμ. is not a τίς to be supplied (Flatt, comp. Ewald), but λαλῶν γλ. The passage shows (comp. 1 Corinthians 14:13) that one and the same person might be endowed with glossolalia and interpretation.


Verse 6

1 Corinthians 14:6. νυνὶ δέ] But so, i.e. but in this condition of things, since, namely, prophecy is greater than the speaking with tongues when left without edifying interpretation, I, if I came to you as a speaker with tongues, would only then be useful to you when I united with it prophetical or doctrinal discourse. Hofmann is wrong in wishing to refer νυνὶ δέ to the main thought of 1 Corinthians 14:5; in that case the second part of 1 Corinthians 14:5 is all the more arbitrarily overlooked, seeing that the ἐὰν μή in 1 Corinthians 14:6 is manifestly correlative to the ἑκτὸς εἰ μή in 1 Corinthians 14:5. Others take it otherwise. But the key to the interpretation which is in accordance with the context and logically correct lies in this, that the two uses of ἐάν are not co-ordinate (which was my own former view), so as in that way to give to the principal clause, τί ὑμᾶς ὠφελήσω, two parallel subordinate clauses (comp. on Matthew 5:18); but, on the contrary, that ἐὰν μή, corresponding to the ἑκτὸς εἰ μή, 1 Corinthians 14:5, is subordinated to the first ἐάν. Paul might, forsooth, instead of ἐὰν μὴδιδαχῇ have written simply: ἐὰν μὴ ὑμῖν διερμηνεύσω. Instead of doing so, however, he specifies the two kinds of discourse in which he might give an interpretation of his speech in tongues, and says: If I shall have come to you speaking with tongues, what shall I profit you, if I shall not have spoken to you (for the sake, namely, of expounding my speech in tongues, 1 Corinthians 14:5), either in revelation, etc. The apostle possessed the gift of glossolalia (1 Corinthians 14:18), but might also be his own διερμηνευτής, and might apply to the διερμηνεύειν the other apostolic charismata which belonged to him for teaching, prophecy, and διδαχή (1 Corinthians 13:9; Acts 13:1).

ἐν ἀποκαλ. κ. τ. λ.] not four, but two charismatic modes of teaching are here designated—prophecy and didascalia. For the former, the condition is ἀποκάλυψις; for the latter, γνῶσις. See Estius in loc. The prophet spoke in an extempore way what was unfolded and furnished to him by revelation of the Spirit; the teacher (if he did not simply deliver a λόγος σοφίας, 1 Corinthians 12:8) developed the deep knowledge which he had acquired by investigation, in which he was himself active, but yet was empowered and guided by the Spirit. This twofold division is not at variance with 1 Corinthians 13:2, from which passage, on the contrary, it is plain that there belonged to prophecy γνῶσις and ἀποκάλυψις, the latter of which was not included as a condition of the didascalia; so that the characteristic mark of distinction in prophecy is thus the ἀποκάλυψις. Comp. 1 Corinthians 14:30.

ἐν denotes the inward ( ἀποκαλ., γνωσ.) and outward ( προφ., διδ) form in which the λαλεῖν takes place. Comp. Matthew 13:3.

Note further the use of the first person, in which Paul comes forward himself with all the more convincing force in support of what he says.


Verse 7

1 Corinthians 14:7. The uselessness of a discourse remaining in this way unintelligible is now shown by the analogy of musical instrument.

ὅμως] is paroxytone, and means nothing else than tamen (Vulgate), but is put first here and in Galatians 3:15, although logically it ought to come in only before ἐὰν διαστολήν κ. τ. λ.; hence it is to be explained as if the order was: τὰ ἄψυχα, καίπερ φων. διδόντα, εἴτε αὐλός, εἴτε κιθάρα, ὅμως, ἐὰν διαστολὴν τ. φθ. μὴ δῷ, πῶς γνωσθήσεται κ. τ. λ. It is rightly taken by Chr. F. Fritzsche, Nov. opusc. p. 329. Comp. C. F. A. Fritzsche, Conject. I. p 52: “instrumenta vitae expertia, etiamsi sonum edunt, tamen, nisi distincte sonent, qui dignoscas,” etc. So Winer, also, at last (ed. 6; ed. 7, p. 515 [E. T. 693]), and, in like manner, Buttmann, neut. Gr. p. 264 [E. T. 308]. To analyse it into τὰ ἄψυχα, καίπερ ἄψυχα, ὅμως φωνὴν διδόντα κ. τ. λ. (Winer formerly, comp. Rückert), brings out an antithetic relation which could not be calculated on from the context. For what is to be expressed is not that the instruments, although lifeless, nevertheless sound; but this, that the lifeless instruments, although they sound, nevertheless give out no intelligible melody, unless, etc. As regards the hyperbaton, common with classical writers also, by which ὅμως, instead of following the participle, goes before it,(3) see Matthiae, § 566, 3; Krüger, § lvi. 13. 3; Stallbaum, ad Plat. Rep. p. 495 D Ast, Lex. Plat. II. p. 447; Jacobs, ad Del. epigr. p. 232. That ὅμως stands for ὁμοίως, and should be accented (comp. Lobeck, ad Soph. Aj. p. 480, ed. 2) ὁμῶς (Faber, Alberti, Wetstein, Hoogeveen, and others), is as erroneous ( ὅμως means: equally, together) as Kypke’s assertion that the paroxytone ὅμως means similiter.

διδόντα] giving forth, as Pind. Nem. v. 93; Judith 14:9. φωνή is used of the voice of musical instruments in Sirach 50:16; 1 Esdras 5:64; 1 Maccabees 5:31, al. Comp. Plat. Tim. p. 47 C μουσικὴ φωνή, Pol. iii. p. 397 A Plut. Mor. p. 713 C Eur. Tro. 127.

ἐὰν διαστολὴν κ. τ. λ.] If they (the ἄψυχα φωνὴν διδόντα) shall not have given a distinction to the sounds, if they shall have sounded without bringing out the sounds in definite, distinctive modulation. “Harmoniam autem ex intervallis sonorum nosse possumus,” Cic. Tusc. i. 18. 41. Comp. Plat. Phileb. p. 7 C D, and Stallbaum in loc.

πῶς γνωσθήσ. τὸ αὐλ. κ. τ. λ.] how shall that be recognised which is played upon the flute or upon the cithern? i.e. how can it then possibly happen that one should recognise a definite piece of music (a melody) from the sounds of the flute or the cithern? One is none the wiser from them as to what is being played. The repetition of the article is quite correct: what is being played on the flute, or again, in the other supposed case, what is played upon the cithern. Rückert takes it as meaning, How is it possible to distinguish between flute and cithern? Inappropriate, in view of the essentially different character of the two instruments, and seeing that the question in the context (comp. 1 Corinthians 14:9) is not as to distinguishing between the instruments, but as to understanding the melody.

It may be observed, further, that the analogy in 1 Corinthians 14:7 would be unsuitable, if Paul had been thinking of foreign languages, since these would not have lacked the διαστολή of the sounds. This holds also in opposition to the view of the matter which makes it an utterance of glosses, as likewise in opposition to Wieseler’s conception of a soft γένος γλωσσῶν, seeing that in 1 Corinthians 14:7 it is not the strength of the sound, but its distinctness (comp. Wieseler himself in 1860, p. 114), in virtue of which it expresses a melody, which is the point of comparison.


Verse 8

1 Corinthians 14:8. Confirmation of the negative implied in πῶς γνωσθήσεται κ. τ. λ., by another yet stronger example: for also in the case of, etc. The emphasis is upon σάλπιγξ, a trumpet, the simple sounds of which are assuredly far more easily intelligible as regards their meaning and design than those of flute and cither.

ἄδηλον] unclear, uncertain, qui dignosci nequeat, Beza. “Unius tubae cantus alius ad alia vocat milites,” Bengel. Comp. φωνάς τινας ἀσήμους, Lucian, Alex. 13.

φωνήν] comp. Il. xviii. 219.

εἰς πόλεμον] to battle, Hom. Il. i. 177, iv. 891; Pind. Ol. xii. 5; Plato, Phaed. p. 66 C Sirach 37:5; Sirach 40:6; 1 Maccabees 2:41. The signal of attack was given with the trumpet. See Wetstein and Valckenaer in loc.; Rosenmüller, Morgenl. VI. p. 110.


Verse 9

1 Corinthians 14:9. Inference from 1 Corinthians 14:7 f.: accordingly, if you also, et.

διὰ τῆς γλώσσης] for it was by means of the tongue that his readers brought forth so much unintelligible matter through their glossolalia. The ὑμεῖς διὰ τῆς γλώσσης speaking unintelligibly correspond to those instruments in 1 Corinthians 14:7-8; hence διὰ τ. γλ. is put immediately after ὑμεῖς, and before ἐάν (comp. 1 Corinthians 6:4).

εὔσημον λόγον] an easily distinguishable discourse, the meaning of which comes plainly out by clear and distinct words and connection. Comp. Soph. Ant. 1008; Polyb. x. 44. 3; Men. ap. Athen. xiii. p. 571 E.

ἔσεσθε γὰρ κ. τ. λ.] expressing the unsuitable relation of state, hence not the mere future (comp. Kühner, II. p. 40): for ye shall be people, who, et.

εἰς ἀέρα] palpably illustrates the uselessness (what does not remain with the hearer). Comp. 1 Corinthians 9:26; Lucretius, iv. 929; Pflugk, ad Eur. Hec. 334. Philo: ἀ ε̈ ρομυθεῖν, to speak to the wind, and ἀερόμυθος.


Verse 10-11

1 Corinthians 14:10-11. Another example still to induce them to lay aside this way of speakin.

εἰ τύχοι] if it so happens, if it is really the case, i.e. perhaps, just as the mere absolute τυχόν also is employed (Isocr. Archid. 38; De pace, 60; Xen. Mem. vi. 1. 20, and Kühner in loc.). So in all the passages in Wetstein, Loesner, p. 293; Viger. ed. Herm. p. 301, which are usually adduced in support of what is assumed (by Rückert also) to be the meaning here: for example. The phrase has never this meaning, and merely its approximate sense can be so expressed,(4) and that always but very unexactly, in several passages (such as 1 Corinthians 15:37; Lucian, Amor. 27). And in the present case this sense does not suit at all, partly because it would be very strange if Paul, after having already adduced flutes, citherns, and trumpets as examples, should now for the first time come out with a “for example,” partly and chiefly because εἰ τύχοι is a defining addition, not to the thing itself ( γένη φωνῶν), but to its quantity (to τοσαῦτα). Comp. Lucian, Icarom. 6 : καὶ πολλάκις, εἰ τύχοι, μηδὲ ὁπόσοι στάδιοι ΄εγαρόθεν ἀθήναζέ εἰσιν, ἀκριβῶς ἐπιστάμενοι. Paul, namely, had conceived to himself under τοσαῦτα a number indefinite, indeed, but very great;(5) and he now takes away from this conception its demonstrative certainty by εἰ τύχοι: in so great multitude, perhaps, there are different languages in the world. Billroth, too, followed by Olshausen, takes εἰ τύχοι in itself rightly, but introduces an element of irony, inasmuch as he quite arbitrarily takes τοσαῦτα καὶ οὐδέν for ὅσα τοσαῦτα, and, in doing so, makes εἰ τύχοι even reach over to the second clause: “as many languages as there are, probably just so many have sense and significance.”

On εἰ with the optative, expressing the mere conjecture, it may suffice to refer to Hermann, ad Viger. p. 902.

γένη φωνῶν] i.e. all sorts of different languages, each individual unit of which is a separate γένος φωνῶν. The opposite is φωνὴ ΄ία πᾶσι, Genesis 11:1.

οὐδέν] namely, γένος φωνῶν. Bleek renders it, contrary to the context: no rational being. Similarly Grotius and others, so that αὐτῶν in the Textus receptus would apply to men. Comp. van Hengel, Annot. p. 194 f., who supplies ἔθνος with οὐδέν.

ἄφωνον] speechless, i.e. no language is without the essence of a language (comp. βίος ἀβίωτος, and the like, in Lobeck, Paralip. p. 229 f.; Pflugk, ad Eur. Hec. 612; Jacobs, Del. epigr. i. 33), i.e. unintelligible, and that absolutely, not merely for him, to whom it is a foreign tongue (1 Corinthians 14:11).

οὖν] therefore, draws its argument, not from the great multitude of the languages (Hofmann), which, in truth, is not at all implied in what is contained in 1 Corinthians 14:11, but from οὐδέν ἄφωνον. For were the language spoken to me ( τῆς φων.) ἄφωνος, and so unintelligible in itself, I could not in that case appear even as a barbarian to the speaker, because, in fact, what he spoke would be understood by no man. The barbarian ( βαρβαρόφωνος, Herod. vii. 20, ix. 43) speaks only a foreign language, not one altogether devoid of meaning for other.

τὴν δύνα΄ιν τῆς φωνῆς] the signification, the sense of the language (which is being spoken). Polyb. xx. 9. 11; Lucian, Nigr. 1, al. Comp. Herod. ii. 30; Plat. Euthyd. p. 286 C.

ἐν ἐμοί] with me, i.e. in my judgment. See Valckenaer, ad Eur. Hipp. 324; Pflugk, ad Eur. Hel. 996; Winer, pp. 362, 204 [E. T. 483, 273].

REMARK.

Paul has chosen φωνή to denote language, because in the whole section he has only the meaning tongue in his mind for γλῶσσα. To instruct his readers regarding the speaking with tongues, he uses the analogy of speaking languages. Hofmann resorts to the suggestion that Paul must have used φωνή here, because he would not have expressed what καὶ οὐδὲν ἄφωνον was designed to convey by κ. οὐδὲν ἄγλωσσον. That is incorrect; for ἄγλωσσον would have conveyed the very same thing (speechless, Poll. ii. 108; Soph. Trach. 1060; Pind. Nem. viii. 41) with the very same point (et nullum elingue), if he had used γλῶσσα instead of φωνή.


Verse 12

1 Corinthians 14:12. Inference, which the readers have to draw from 1 Corinthians 14:10 f. “Therefore (itaque), seeing, namely, that the unintelligible speaking is, according to 1 Corinthians 14:10 f., something so absurd, seek ye also, since ye are indeed zealous after spirits, with a view to the edification of the church therein, that ye may have abundance.” The οὕτω κ. ὑμεῖς, which is repeated here, must be related to 1 Corinthians 14:10 f., just as the οὕτω κ. ὑμεῖς in 1 Corinthians 14:9 is to 1 Corinthians 14:7 f., and may not therefore be made to refer to all that precedes it back as far as 1 Corinthians 14:6 (Hofmann). As the former οὕτω κ. ὑμεῖς set forth an inference for warning, so the present one infers the requisite precept, and for both what in each case immediately precedes serves as the premis.

πρὸς τ. οἰκοδ. τ. ἐκκλησ. has the emphasis (in opposition to Hofmann). The absurdity referred to is meant to point the readers, with their zealous striving after gifts of the Spirit, to the right way, namely, that with a view to the edification of the church(6) they should seek after ever richer endowments. Consequently it is just as superfluous to isolate οὕτω κ. ὑμεῖς as a sentence by itself ( τινές in Theophylact, Mosheim, Flatt, Heydenreich), which, moreover, would be quite unsuitable in respect of sense, as it is to assume a suppressed inference after 1 Corinthians 14:11 (Estius, Rückert).

καὶ ὑμεῖς] you too; for the Corinthians were in fact to form no exception from this general maxim, as in their striving after higher charismata, and especially after the gift of speaking with tongues, seemed, alas, to be the case!

ἐπεὶ ζηλωταί ἐστε πνευμ.] on which account you have all the more need of the right regulative! A pointed hint for the readers, the force of which they could doubtless feel for themselve.

πνευμάτων] the genitive of the object, to which the zealous striving relates. The plural expression is purposely chosen κατὰ τὸ φαινόμενον (comp. Hofmann) in keeping with the emulous doings at Corinth. For the specifically different manifestations, in which the manifold working of the One Spirit displayed itself, assumed indeed, in presence of such jealous seeking and striving, such an appearance to the eyes of the observer of this unseemly state of things, as though not one Spirit, but a plurality of spirits, differing in kind and importance, were the object of the rivalry. What were διαιρέσεις χαρισμάτων, and hence only different φανερώσεις τοῦ πνευμάτος, presented themselves, as matters stood at Corinth, to the eye and pen of the apostle as διαιρέσεις πνευμάτων. πνευμάτων, therefore, is just as far from standing for πνευματικῶν (Beza, Piscator, Storr, Flatt, and others) as it is from denoting the glossolalia (Heydenreich, Billroth).(7) To suppose a real plurality of spirits, after the analogy of the persons possessed by a number of evil spirits (see Hilgenfeld, p. 52 f.), so that a number of divine spirits would be meant, is at variance with the N. T. generally, and at variance with 1 Corinthians 12:4; 1 Corinthians 12:7 ff.

ἵνα περισσ.] οὐκ εἶπεν· ἵνα κτήσησθε τὰ χαρίσματα, ἀλλʼ ἵνα περισσεύητε, τουτέστιν ἵνα καὶ μετὰ δαψιλείας πολλῆς αὐτὰ ἔχητε· τοσοῦτον γὰρ ἀπέχω τοῦ μὴ βούλεσθαι ἔχειν ὑμᾶς αὐτὰ, ὅτι καὶ περισσεύειν ὑμᾶς ἐν αὐτοὶς βούλομαι, μόνον ἂν εἰς τὸ κοινῇ συμφέρον αὐτὰ μεταχειρίζητε, Chrysosto.

ἵνα] sets before us the object of the striving as its design, as at 1 Corinthians 14:1; 1 Corinthians 4:2.

What we are to conceive as the contents of the περισσεύειν (to have to the full, 1 Corinthians 8:8; Philippians 1:9; Philippians 4:12, al.) is self-evident, namely, what was previously meant by πνευμάτων, spiritual gifts.


Verse 13

1 Corinthians 14:13. προσευχέσθω ἵνα διερμ.] is taken by Chrysostom, Theodoret, Theophylact, Castalio, Erasmus, Beza, Calvin, Grotius, Estius, Wetstein, Bengel, and others, including Flatt, Bleek, Rückert, Olshausen, Neander, Hofmann, in the sense of: let him pray for the gift of interpretation. But against this 1 Corinthians 14:14 is decisive, where the προσεύχεσθαι, linked by γάρ to what precedes, must have the same reference with our προσεύχεσθαι in 1 Corinthians 14:13. Bleek’s objection, that we find εὐχαριστῶ in 1 Corinthians 14:18 standing in a different reference than previously, does not hold good, since 1 Corinthians 14:17-18 do not stand in direct logical connection (as 1 Corinthians 14:12; 1 Corinthians 14:14 do), but, on the contrary, with 1 Corinthians 14:18 there begins a section of the discourse distinct from the preceding. Without taking ἵνα, with Luther, Vorstius, Wolf, Rosenmüller (comp. already Photius in Oecumenius), as meaning so that, the right translation is: let him pray in the design, in order to interpret (afterwards what has been prayed γλώσσῃ). Comp. Billroth, David Schulz, Winer, de Wette, Osiander, Ch. F. Fritzsche, Ewald, Maier. The previous general λαλεῖν is thus represented here by προσεύχεσθαι, i.e. more precisely described as what it was, as address in prayer, see 1 Corinthians 14:14-17. It is objected that 1 Corinthians 14:27 militates against this view (see Rückert); that the person praying γλώσσῃ could not have had that design, because he did not know whether the interpretation would be given to him (Hofmann). But our explanation does not in fact assume that every man who spoke with tongues was capable of interpreting; but, on the contrary, that Paul, in 1 Corinthians 14:13, was thinking only of such speakers with tongues as possessed also the gift of interpretation (1 Corinthians 14:5). The apostle still leaves out of view the case in which the speaker was not also interpreter (1 Corinthians 14:28); hence we are not to take it with Ewald: “that people may interpret it.” The subject is the speaker himself (1 Corinthians 14:14 ff.), as in 1 Corinthians 14:5.


Verse 14

1 Corinthians 14:14. Justification of the precept προσευχ. ἵνα διερμ.

For if I pray with my tongue, my spirit prays, but my understanding is unfruitful. It is a thoroughly arbitrary and mistaken procedure to take the genitive relation in τὸ πνεῦμά μου otherwise than in νοῦς μου, and to explain the former, with Bleek, Billroth, Olshausen, Maier, and Chr. F. Fritzsche, following Chrysostom ( τὸ χάρισμα τὸ δοθέν μοι καὶ κινοῦν τὴν γλῶσσαν), of the Spirit of God, in so far as He has laid hold of the man and speaks out of him. The Holy Spirit, although in the man, is never called the spirit of the man, and cannot be so called, just because He is different from the spirit of the man. See 1 Corinthians 2:11; Romans 8:16; Romans 9:1. No; τὸ πνεῦμά μου is my spirit, i.e. my individual principle of higher life (comp. on 1 Corinthians 14:2). If I pray with the tongue, this higher life-power in me, which plunges immediately (i.e. without the intervention of the discursive reflective faculty) into the feelings and intuitions of the divine, is called into activity, because it is filled and moved by the Holy Spirit as His receptive organ; but my understanding, my thinking faculty, furnishes nothing, ἄκαρπός ἐστι.(8)

νοῦς in contrast to πνεῦμα, which is the deeper basis of life, the “penetrale” (Bengel) of the νοῦς, is the reflective discursive power through which the making oneself intelligible to those without is effected, and without the co-operative action of which the human πνεῦμα cannot with such onesided development of its energy express the contents of its converse with the Divine Spirit in such a way as to be intelligible for others who are not specially gifted for this end. Comp. Krumm, de notionib. psychol. Paul. p. 64 ff.; Delitzsch, Psychol. p. 184; Ernesti, Urspr. d. Sünde, II. p. 87 f. Note how definitely Paul here distinguishes the specific activities of the mind, and excludes the νοῦς from the glossolalia. And he speaks thus from experience. But were we to think of foreign languages, that distinction and exclusion would not be appropriate, or would resolve themselves into a mere self-deception.


Verse 15

1 Corinthians 14:15. τί οὖν ἐστι;] what then takes place? How then does the matter stand? namely, in consistency with the foregoing, i.e. what follows then? Comp. 1 Corinthians 14:26 and Acts 21:22, and the classical and N. T. phrases: τί οὖν; τί γάρ; by which we are prepared in a vivid way for what is to follow. See generally, Dissen, ad Dem. de Cor. p. 346 f.

προσεύξομαι] the future denotes what in consistency will be done by me. The adhortative subjunctive in both clauses ( προσεύξωμαι, A D E F G) is a bad emendation, which in א is carried out only in the first claus.

προσεύξ. κ. τῷ νοΐ] (dative of instrument) is to be understood, in accordance with 1 Corinthians 14:14, of the interpretation following, which the person speaking with tongues gives of his tongue-prayer ( προσευχ. τῷ πν.) in a way suited to the understanding, and by consequence intelligibl.

ψαλῶ] applies to improvised psalms, which in the glossolalia were sung with the spirit, and after an intelligible manner in the way of interpretation. Comp. generally on Ephesians 5:19.


Verse 16

1 Corinthians 14:16. ἐπεί] for, without this ψάλλειν καὶ τῷ νοΐ, i.e. otherwise (1 Corinthians 15:29; Romans 3:6, al.), the layman, in fact, when thou praisest with the spirit, cannot say the Amen, et.

εὐλογεῖν and εὐχαριστεῖν denote substantially one and the same thing, the thanksgiving prayer, the former word referring more to the form of praise to God ( ברכה), the latter more to its contents. Comp. on 1 Corinthians 10:16; Matthew 14:19.

ἀναπληροῦν τ. τόπον τινός, to fill the place of any one, is not a Hebraism ( מָלֵא מְקוֹם פ׳), in the sense of in statu et conditione alicujus esse (see Buxtorf, Lex. Talm. p. 2001), but corresponds to the Greek expressions: πληροῦν τὴν χώραν, to occupy the place, ἀναπληροῦν τὴν ἕδραν (Plat. Tim. p. 79 B), and the like, so that τόπος is not to be taken in the abstract sense of position (in opposition to de Wette, Hofmann), but applies quite literally to the place(9) in the assembly. With this is improperly compared Josephus, Bell. v. 2.5, where we have not τόπον, but τάξιν. And he who occupies the place of the layman is, according to the connection, every one in the assembly who is not endowed with glossolalia or its interpretation. Where he sits is, in this particular relation (be he himself even a prophet or teacher), the place of the layman. Paul speaks vividly, as if he saw the assembly before his mind’s eye. Regarding ἰδιώτης (comp. 2 Corinthians 11:6), which, like our layman, obtains its definition from the context in each case, see on Acts 4:13.

πῶς ἐρεῖ] how is it (reasonably) possible that he shall say.

The custom, arising out of the time-hallowed usage in connection with oaths, imprecations, vows, prayers, etc. (Numbers 5:22; Deuteronomy 27:15 ff.; Nehemiah 8:6, al.), that the audience at the close of a public prayer should express their assent, and their faith in its being heard, by amen, was introduced among the Christians from the synagogues (Buxt. Lex. Talm., sub voce אמן; Vitringa, de Synag. p. 1093; Schoettgen, Hor. p. 654 ff.; Wetstein), and has in this passage apostolic confirmation.(10)

τὸ ἀμήν] the amen to be pronounced by hi.

ἐπί] to thy prayer, to which the amen is added. Observe the σῇ bringing the matter into prominence.


Verse 17

1 Corinthians 14:17. For thou indeed (by thyself considered) utterest an excellent thanksgiving-prayer. This Paul admits, and with reason, since the speaker prayed ὑπὸ τῆς θείας ἐνεργούμενος χάριτος (Theodoret).

ἕτερος] ἀναπληρῶν τὸν τόπον τοῦ ἰδιώτου, 1 Corinthians 14:16.


Verse 18-19

1 Corinthians 14:18-19. Confirmation by the apostle’s own example of what has been said against the public speaking with tongues.

I thank God, more than you all speak I with the tongue, in a higher degree than you all I have this charisma. Such direct modes of expression, instead of a connecting ὅτι, occur likewise in Greek writers; see Stallbaum, ad Gorg. p. 460 A Hartung, Partikell. II. p. 134; Kühner, § 760 a. Even the Recepta λαλῶν would have to be taken as stating the ground of the εὐχαρ. τῷ θεῷ (comp. 1 Corinthians 11:29; Acts 4:21, al.), not, with Reiche (whom Hofmann follows in his explanation of this reading, which, however, he rightly rejects), as referring to the manner of it (I make more frequently and more fervently than any of you thanksgiving-prayers in glossolalia to God). There would thus result a declaration, the tenor of which hardly suits the character of the apostle, as indeed such an unconditionally expressed assertion could not be upheld by him. ΄ᾶλλον can only denote the greater measure of the endowment; see already in Chrysosto.

ἐν ἐκκλ.] in the assembled church, opposite of private devotio.

θέλω ] The preferential will (malle) is implied in the logical relation of the relative verbal notion to the particle, without there being any need of supplying μᾶλλον. See Hartung, II. p. 72; Klotz, ad Devar. p. 589 f.; Baeumlein, Partik. p. 136.


Verse 20

1 Corinthians 14:20. Up to this point Paul has been contending against speaking with tongues in public and without interpretation, on the ground of its uselessness. He now adds an animated and winning admonition, well calculated to meet the conceit of the Corinthians on this poin.

ἀδελφοί] “suavem vim habet” (Bengel).

Become not children as respects your power of judgment. His readers were becoming so, inasmuch as, through their increasing craving after glossolalia, they lacked more and more the power of distinguishing and judging between the useful and the useless; their speaking with tongues assumed the character of childishness. As regards malice (1 Corinthians 5:8), on the other hand be children; have a child-nature in quite another respect, namely, by being free from all malicious thoughts and actions (Matthew 18:3). Comp. Romans 16:19; Galatians 6:3; Titus 1:10; Lucian, Halc. 2 : νηπιότης φρενῶν.

Regarding νηπιάζειν, to be a child (in Greek writers also νηπιάχειν and νηπιαχεύειν), comp. Hipp. Ep. p. 1281. 52.

τέλειοι] of full age, adultus. See Plat. Legg. xi. p. 929 C. Comp. on Ephesians 4:13.


Verse 21

1 Corinthians 14:21. You go against Scripture with your foolish doings! This is the theological side of the judgment, which Paul now further brings forward, before he imparts in 1 Corinthians 14:26 ff. the final precepts for the right procedur.

νόμος] of the O. T. generally. See on Romans 3:19; John 10:34.

The passage is Isaiah 28:11-12 in a very free(11) variation from the LX.

ὅτι] for, כּי, belongs, with the rest, to the Scriptural quotation (LXX.: ὅτι λαλήσουσι τῷ λαῷ τούτῳ), and has here therefore no reference in the context.

The historical sense of the original text (in which Jehovah threatens to send foreign-speaking men, i.e. barbarians, upon the kingdom of Judah, etc.) is taken up typically by Paul in such a way that he, looking back from the phenomenon of the present upon that prophetic utterance, recognises in it the Christian glossolalia divinely foreshadowed, as regards its substance, namely, in the characteristic ἐν ἑτερογλώσσοις ἑτέροις, and, as regards its destination, in καὶ οὐδʼ οὕτως εἰσακ.

ἐν ἑτερογλώσσοις κ. τ. λ.] in peoples of another tongue (conceived of as organs of the visiting God, who speaks in their persons; hence ἐν, comp. 2 Corinthians 13:3; Hebrews 1:2) and in lips of others ( ἑτέρων, see the critical remarks) will I speak to this nation. According to the original text, the reference is to people who speak a foreign language (the Assyrian, comp. 33:19), and to lips of foreigners (other than Israelites); but the similarity of the relation, which presents itself in the type and antitype, consists in the extraordinary phenomenon of the strange divine speaking, which becomes perceptible in the case of the type in the foreign language, in that of the antitype in the character of the glossolalia, so wholly different from ordinary intelligible speech. In virtue of this unintelligibility, the speaking in tongues also was for the hearers a speaking in strange tongues, and he who spoke was not one like-tongued, i.e. using the like language ( ὁμόγλωσσος, Xen. Cyrop. i. 1. 5; Herod. i. 17, viii. 144; Lucian, Scyth. 3, de Salt. 64), but a strange-speaking man ( ἑτερόγλωσσος, Polyb. xxiv. 9, 5; Strabo, viii. p. 333; Aq. Psalms 113:1), and his lips a stranger’s lips. What is in the original text: בְּלָשׁוֹן אַחֶרֶת, Paul renders more freely than the LXX. ( διὰ γλώσσης ἑτέρας), and making it personal, by ἐν ἑτερογλώσσοις; φαυλισμὸν ξειλέων, which besides the LXX. has incorrectly, and therefore altered it in accordance with the parallel in the passage, διὰ γλ. ἑτέρας. We may infer consequently from our passage only thus much, that the glossolalia as regards its nature could be described in the way of application by ἐν ἑτερογλώσσοις and ἐν χείλεσιν ἑτέρων λαλεῖν, but not that γλ. λαλ. and ἑτέρ. γλ. λαλ. were two current formulae for denoting the speaking with tongues. Hence also we are not, with Hirzel in the Stud. u. Krit. 1840, p. 121 ff., to infer from this passage the originality of the designation ἑτέραις γλώσσαις λαλεῖν.">(12) the Hebrew בְּלַעֲגֵּי שָׁפָה, again (through stammerers of the lip, i.e. through men speaking unintelligibly, because in a strange tongue), he renders more correctly as regards the general sense than the LXX. (who have erroneously διὰ φαυλισμὸν χειλέων, on account of mockery of the lips, comp. Hosea 7:16) by ἐν χείλ. ἑτέρ., putting it, however, impersonally, and reversing the order of the two clauses. It may be added that it is clear from the parallel χείλεσιν that Paul conceived of γλῶσσα in ἑτερογλώσσοις as “tongue,” as לָשׁוֹן also is conceived of in the original text,—both as instrument of the λαλεῖν. The tongue is ἄγγελος λόγων, Eur. Suppl. 205.

τῷ λαῷ τούτῳ] applying in its historical meaning to the disobedient people of Israel, which, however, is a type of those who reject the Christian faith, represents therefore the latter in the view of the apostl.

καὶ οὐδʼ οὕτως] and not even so, dealt with by such a measure, will they hearken to me (obey me, Sirach 3:6; Sirach 39:3; and in classical writers). This second half of the passage is, for the demonstration, the main point. See 1 Corinthians 14:22.


Verse 22

1 Corinthians 14:22. ὥστε] Accordingly, namely, in accordance with this οὐδʼ οὕτως εἰσακούσ. μου.

εἰς σημεῖον κ. τ. λ.] The phenomenon of the speaking with tongues is destined for a (divine) sign, not for the believers, but for the unbelievers, i.e. to make those to whom the glossolalia goes forth be recognised as unbelievers. This view alone corresponds to the express οὐδʼ οὕτως εἰσακούσ. μου from which the inference is drawn, as well as to what is further inferred in 1 Corinthians 14:23. At variance, on the other hand, with both stands the interpretation which has been the ordinary one since Chrysostom (and which has hitherto been my own), that the speaking with tongues is called a sign for the unbelievers, because it was intended to arrest and move them so that they should reflect and become believers. Equally unsuitable is it that Chrysostom, Theophylact, and others, including Hofmann, only half carry out this traditional interpretation, and stop short at the impression of something astounding and amazing, whereby the γλῶσσαι are to be a σημεῖον to the unbelievers, which, moreover, in presence of the notion of a divine σημεῖον, could only appear as a means to an ulterior end. We must keep the οὐδʼ οὕτως εἰσακούσ. μου sharply before us in order to determine accurately the notion of the σημεῖον κ. τ. λ. Billroth, moreover (comp. Beza, Vatablus, Calovius, Cornelius a Lapide, and others), is in error in holding that σημεῖον is a penal sign, or a sign of divine judgment; comp. also Hilgenfeld, p. 21; Rossteuscher, p. 77. This, in fact, is not at all implied in 1 Corinthians 14:21, where, on the contrary, the glossolalia appears as a last extraordinary measure remaining likewise without result, which will at length make full exposure of the disobedience of the persons in question, but not as a sign of wrath. And had Paul thought of irae signum, he must have expressed the irae too, and, in fact, brought it emphatically forward.(13) Again Storr, Flatt, Baur, and Dav. Schulz (Geistesg. pp. 78, 176) are wrong in saying that the prevalence of the glossolalia in the church was a sign of their unbelief. This is unsuitable for this reason, that according to 1 Corinthians 14:21; 1 Corinthians 14:23 we are to conceive as the ἄπιστοι not those who speak γλώσσαις, but those who are spoken to in γλ.

τοῖς ἀπίστοις] Dative of the reference in view, as is also τοῖς πιστεύουσιν. The conception of the ἄπιστοι, however, is, by virtue of this very antithesis (and see also 1 Corinthians 14:23-24), simply the non-believing, the unbelievers,—a conception which is neither to be softened down to that of non-genuine Christians or the like (Flatt, David Schulz), nor intensified to that of obstinate unbelievers, those wholly unsusceptible of faith, infideles privative (Neander, Billroth, Rückert). Hirzel in the Stud. u. Krit. 1840, p. 120 ff. (who is followed in substance by de Wette, Osiander, Maier, Engelmann, and see Bengel’s hints of earlier date), understands by the ἀπίστοις those who do not wish to believe, and by the πιστεύουσιν those who wish to believe.(14) Comp. de Wette: “They are not heard by such as let themselves be moved thereby to believe, but by such as remain unbelieving.” This is conclusively negatived by the prevailing use of οἱ πιστεύοντες and οἱ ἄπιστοι, to which any such artificial pregnancy of meaning is quite alien (see immediately, 1 Corinthians 14:23-24).

δὲ προφητεία κ. τ. λ.] a contrast, which is not intended to be inferred from that passage of Scripture,—which in truth says nothing whatever about the προφητεύειν,—but the truth of which was self-evident to the readers in virtue of an argumentum e contrario. We are not, however, to supply the simple ἐστί, so that the meaning would be: not to the unbelievers, but to the believers, is the prophetic address to be directed (my own view hitherto), but rather εἰς σημεῖόν ἐστιν, for Paul has not written ἐστιν at all, and therefore leaves the predicate of the first half of the verse to operate still in virtue of the antithesis. Consequently: prophecy is designed to be a sign not for the unbelievers, but for the believers, i.e. in order to make those to whom the prophetic address is directed known as believers; see 1 Corinthians 14:24, where this statement of the apostle is verified by the fact that such as come into the Christian assembly as unbelievers, being won over by the overpowering impression of the prophetic addresses, submit themselves to Christianity and declare themselves believers. Erasmus, Grotius, and Bleek are wrong in holding that οὐ means non tantum. The negation is absolute, as in the preceding clause. Comp. Fritzsche, ad Matth. p. 784. According to Hirzel (de Wette and Osiander), the meaning here also is alleged to be: prophecy is given not for such as do not wish to believe, but for such as wish to believe.


Verse 23

1 Corinthians 14:23. What, then, will be the effect of the speaking with tongues, which you all so much desire, upon ungifted persons or unbelievers? If such come into your church when you are assembled together, and get nothing else there to hear from any of you but glossolalia, so far will they be from declaring themselves as believers upon your speaking with tongues, that, on the contrary, they will declare you to be mad.

οὖν] draws an inference from 1 Corinthians 14:22 in such a way that 1 Corinthians 14:23 corresponds to the first, and 1 Corinthians 14:24 f. to the second half of 1 Corinthians 14:22.

πάντες] Paul does not suppose that all those assembled speak together in a confused, tumultuous way (Cornelius a Lapide and others; comp. also Maier), but that all in succession hold glossolaliae, and only such,—not addresses of any other kind. For, if all spoke together and confusedly, even in the case of prophecy it could make no impression (1 Corinthians 14:24).

ἰδιῶται] is not to be understood otherwise than in 1 Corinthians 14:16 : Christians who are not endowed with glossolalia, or with the gift of understanding it. The context, however, shows by the foregoing ἐὰναὐτό that those meant are ungifted persons from any extraneous church, who come into the church at Corinth when in full assembly. Were the stranger who entered not an ungifted person, but one who himself spoke with tongues or interpreted, his judgment respecting the gift which he himself possessed or understood would, of course, not take the same form. All explanations which deviate from the meaning of the word in 1 Corinthians 14:16 are on that very account to be rejected, such as not only that of most of the old interpreters, with Billroth and Chr. F. Fritzsche: “such as do not understand foreign languages,” but also that of Theodoret, David Schulz, Flatt, Olshausen (also Rückert, although with hesitation): “beginners in Christianity;” comp. Pelagius, Thomas, Estius: “nuper credentes, neophyti;” Melanchthon: “rudis qui primum coepit catechismi doctrinam audire,” comp. Neander. Rückert suggests that Paul is supposing the case that the glossolalia should break out somewhere suddenly and for the first time, and there should then come in Christians who knew nothing of it and, not being present, had not been affected by the paroxysm, and non-Christians. But the suggestion is to be dismissed, because there is no mention of the “suddenly and for the first time,” which would in that case be the main thing. Hirzel and de Wette hold erroneously, because in opposition to 1 Corinthians 14:16,(15) and not to be established even by 2 Corinthians 11:6, that the ἰδιῶται are non-Christians (so, too, Ulrich in the Stud. u. Krit. 1843, p. 420, and Hofmann), in which case they are in various arbitrary ways distinguished from the ἄπιστοι, namely, by Hirzel(16) asserting that the ἄπ. are heathen, the ἰδ. Jews; by de Wette, that the former were still more aloof from believing than the latter; by Ulrich, that the ἰδ. were persons unacquainted with Christianity, the ἀπ. those acquainted with it indeed, but unbelieving and (Hofmann) hostile towards it. Not the ἰδιῶται, but the ἄπιστοι, are the non-Christians (who are never called ἰδ.), as in 1 Corinthians 14:22. We may add that Grotius remarks rightly: “Solebant enim pagani” (and Jews also) “adire Christianorum ecclesias ad videnda quae ibi agebantur.” Their admission (certainly not to the Agapae, however) was the less a matter for hesitation, since it might become a means of their conversion. Comp. generally, Harnack, Gemeindegottesd. p. 143 ff.

ὅτι μαίνεσθε] that you (Christians in Corinth) are foolish, and out of your senses, because, namely, you collectively and without exception carry on a kind of converse so unintelligible and meaningless for the hearers. Olshausen strangely holds that the verdict expressed is: “We see, doubtless, that you are possessed by a god; but there is no prophet here; we do not understand what the god says to us!” An unwarranted explaining away of the clear import of the word: μαίνεσθαι means insanire, just as in Acts 26:24. The verdict of drunkenness passed by the unbelievers in Acts 2:13 presents a remarkable analogy.

Observe, further: (1) Here ἰδιῶται is put first, and ἄπιστοι follows, because the ἰδιῶται, as Christians, and therefore acquainted with the uselessness and absurdity of the glossolalia without interpretation and to the exclusion of all other (intelligible) discourse, come here into the foreground,(17) and may and will be the first to pass the judgment ὅτι μαίνεσθε; in 1 Corinthians 14:24, on the contrary, ἄπιστος stands first, because conversion is spoken of, and hence “praecipue agitur de infideli; idiota obiter additur ob rationem ejus non plane disparem” (Bengel). (2) In 1 Corinthians 14:23, since Paul designs to cite the judgment in the form of an utterance ( ἐροῦσιν), which is most naturally conceived of by him as a mutual communication, the plural εἰσέλθωσι κ. τ. λ. presented itself with as much appropriateness as the singular εἰσέλθῃ κ. τ. λ. does in 1 Corinthians 14:24, where the apostle wishes to depict specially the converting work, 1 Corinthians 14:24-25, in its course, which, from the nature of the case, is done most befittingly in an individualizing representation.


Verse 24-25

1 Corinthians 14:24-25. How wholly different, on the other hand, will the effect of general prophetic speaking be upon such persons! Arrested and humbled before God, they will declare themselves believer.

ἐὰν δὲ πάντες προφ.] is to be completed in accordance with 1 Corinthians 14:23 : ἐὰν δὲ συνέλθῃ ἐκκλ. ὅλη ἐπὶ τὸ αὐτὸ κ. πάντες προφ.

ἰδιώτης] according to the context: one not prophetically gifted, and, indeed, coming likewise from an extraneous church. Comp. on 1 Corinthians 14:23.

Prophecy, from its nature, was generally intelligible; but whoever had not its χάρισμα could not speak prophetically, and such a one was in presence of this gift an idiotes.

ἐλέγχεται ὑπὸ πάντ.] The characteristic power of prophecy (1 Corinthians 14:22), by which you all mutually edify yourselves, thus exercises such an overmastering influence upon his mind, that he is convinced by all, i.e. brought to a consciousness of the guilt of his sins. Comp. John 16:9. All produce this impression upon him, because each speaks prophetically, and the fundamental character of prophetic address—the penetrating into the depths of the human heart for wholesome admonition (comp. 1 Corinthians 14:3)—is alike in all.

After the first aggregate impression of the ἔλεγξις, he experiences and is conscious of the moral sifting and unveiling of his innermost life. A striking clima.

ἀνακρίνεται] for in the judgment of the human heart, which the prophets deliver, he hears a judgment upon his own heart and his own moral conditio.

τὰ κρυπτὰ τῆς καρδίας κ. τ. λ.] i.e. the moving springs, inclinations, plans, etc., of his whole inner active life, which had been hitherto known to no other, are brought to light, inasmuch as the prophets depict the hidden thoughts and strivings of the human spirit, with apocalyptically enlightened depth of insight, so truly and strikingly, that the listener sees the secrets of his own heart laid bare before all who are there presen.

καὶ οὕτω] result: and in such form, namely, convinced, judged, and made manifest, as has been just sai.

ἀπαγγέλλων] announcing, i.e. declaring aloud, and not first at home (Beza).

ὄντως] really, opposite of what is merely pretended or semblance. Comp. Mark 11:32; Galatians 3:21, al.

ἐν ὑμῖν] in animis vestris, in which He works this enlightenment and spiritual power. “Argumentum pro veritate religionis ex operationibus divinis efficacissimum” (Bengel). Through this presence of God in the individuals (by means of the Spirit) He dwells in the church, which thereby is His temple (1 Corinthians 3:16; 2 Corinthians 6:16; Ephesians 2:20 f.).


Verse 26

1 Corinthians 14:26. τί οὖν ἐστιν;] as in 1 Corinthians 14:15.

The apodosis begins with ἕκαστος, and πάντα on to γινέσθω is a sentence by itself. As often as you come together, every one (every one gifted with charismatic speech among you) has a psalm ready, i.e. he feels himself qualified and constrained to sing aloud such a spirit-given song. It is not, however, the glossolalic ψάλλειν which is meant, since afterwards γλῶσσαν ἔχει is specially mentioned in addition, but the intelligible singing of praise, which takes place with the νοῦς (comp. 1 Corinthians 14:15). Comp. generally on Ephesians 5:19. Grotius compares the improvised hymns of Deborah, Simeon, et.

ἔχει is neither interrogative (Grotius) nor: he may have (David Schulz), nor are we to supply in thought with Locke, “ut moram ferre non possit;” but it simply expresses the state of the case: in promptu habet. Bengel rightly judges of the repetition of the ἔχει: “eleganter exprimit divisam donorum copiam.”

διδαχήν] a doctrinal address. See on 1 Corinthians 12:10; 1 Corinthians 12:28.

γλῶσσαν] a tongue, i.e. a spirit-tongue, which seeks utterance. The matter is so conceived and described as that not every one has the use of a tongue in the sense of the glossolalia, but only the man gifted with this charisma, in whom there is present for this purpose a tongue as the organ of the Spiri.

ἀποκάλυψιν] a revelation, which he wishes to utter by a prophetic address, comp. 1 Corinthians 14:29 f.

ἑρμηνείαν] an interpretation, which he wishes to give of an address in a tongue already delivered.

The words ψάλμον to ἑρμ. ἔχει are the separate divisions of the ἕκαστος, as in 1 Corinthians 1:12. Then follows the general rule for all these charismata: all must be done for the furtherance of Christian perfection (of the church)! Observe how, according to this passage, public teaching was not restricted to one definite office. See Ritschl, altkath. K. p. 350.


Verse 27

1 Corinthians 14:27. After this general rule come now particular precepts: suppose that one wishes to speak with a tongue; comp. γλῶσσαν ἔχει, 1 Corinthians 14:26. There is no other εἴτε to correspond to this εἴτε (sive, Vulgate); but the plan of sentence first thought of and begun is so disturbed by the apodosis and 1 Corinthians 14:28, that it is quite abandoned, and 1 Corinthians 14:29, instead of commencing with a new εἴτε, is not even continued in hypothetic form at all. See Maetzner, ad Antiph. p. 194. Comp. Klotz, ad Devar. p. 538. According to Hofmann (who writes εἴ τε separately), τέ is annexive, namely, to πάντα π. οἰκ. γ. In that case εἴ τε would be: in like manner if (Hartung, Partik. I. p. 106 f.), which, however, would be logically suitable only on the supposition that γλῶσσα did not already occur also in 1 Corinthians 14:26.

κατὰ δύο κ. τ. λ.] sc. λαλείτωσαν (comp. 1 Peter 4:11), and this is to be taken declaratively (as in 1 Corinthians 11:16): let him know that they should speak by two, or at most by three; in each assembly not more than two, or at most three, speakers with tongues should come forward. As to the supplying of λαλείτ., see Kühner, II. p. 603; Fritzsche, ad Rom. III. p. 65.

τὸ πλεῖστον] adverbially. See Matthiae, p. 1000.

καὶ ἀνὰ μέρος, and that according to order, one after the other, not several together. See Valck. ad Phoen. 481; Schweigh. Lex. Polyb. p. 380. Doubtless—and this seems to have given occasion for this addition—the case had often occurred in Corinth, that those who spoke with tongues had so little controlled their impulse that several came to speak togethe.

καὶ εἷς διερμ.] and let one (not several) give the interpretation, of that, namely, which the said two or three speakers with tongues have spoken in succession. Grotius puts it rightly: “unus aliquis, qui id donum habet;” and it is plain from 1 Corinthians 14:5; 1 Corinthians 14:13 (in opposition to Ewald) that the speaker with tongues himself might also be the interpreter. Paul will not allow several interpreters to speak, because that would have been unnecessary, and would only have shortened the time for the more useful prophetic and other addresses.


Verse 28

1 Corinthians 14:28. Should it be the case, however, that there is no interpreter present, let him be silent in the assembly. This comprises the double possibility that the speaker with tongues cannot himself interpret, and also that no other, who possesses the donum interpretandi, is present. Regarding εἶναι as equivalent to παρεῖναι, comp. on Mark 8:1; Luke 2:36. David Schulz understands as the simple copula: “if, however, he does not know how to make himself intelligible.” But the interpretation might in fact be given also by another, who had the charisma of the ἑρμηνεία γλωσσῶν, 1 Corinthians 12:10; 1 Corinthians 12:30.

σιγ. ἐν ἐκκλ.] Paul takes for granted here—and how easily one can understand it, considering the intimate union subsisting among the Christians of those days!—that the members of the community mutually know each other as regards their special endowment.

ἑαυτῷ δὲ λαλ. κ. τ. θ.] in contrast to addresses given ἐν τῇ ἐκκλησίᾳ, and hence a characteristic designation of the private devotion carried on by means of glossolalic prayer, where his glossolalia avails for himself and God (1 Corinthians 14:2), not for others also as listeners. Comp. Epict. Diss. iv. 8. 17, and the similar passages in Wetstein. Others take it to mean: quietly in his thoughts (Theophylact, comp. Chrysostom, also Chr. F. Fritzsche), so that it remains on the footing of an inward intercourse between him and his God (Hofmann); which, however, is not in keeping with the essential mark of the λαλεῖν, this being uttered aloud, which belonged to the matter in hand.(18) Observe, further, how, even in this highest degree of inspired impulse to speak, a man could control his own will. Comp. 1 Corinthians 14:32.


Verse 29

1 Corinthians 14:29. δέ] marks the transition to the rule regarding the prophets.

The ἀνὰ μέρος (1 Corinthians 14:27) is emphasized in a special way, 1 Corinthians 14:30; yet Paul does not add a τὸ πλεῖστον here, thereby limiting the gift of prophecy less sharply, and tacitly also conceding a plurality of speakers, when the circumstances might perhaps involve an exception from the rule. Still we are not (with Hofmann) to read δύο τρεῖς as meaning “rather three than two.”

καὶ οἱ ἄλλοι διακρ.] and the other prophets, who do not take part in speaking, are to judge: whether, namely, what has been said proceeds really from the Spirit or not. We see from this that the charisma of judging the spirits was joined with that of prophecy, so that whoever could himself speak prophetically was qualified also for the διάκρισις; for οἱ ἄλλοι (comp. ἄλλῳ, 1 Corinthians 14:30) cannot be taken (with Hofmann) universally, without restriction to the category of prophets, seeing that in fact the διάκρισις was no universal χάρισμα. The article is retrospective, so that it is defined by προφήται. At the same time, however, it must not be overlooked that even such persons as were not themselves prophets might still be endowed with the διάκρισις (1 Corinthians 12:10), although not all were so.


Verse 30

1 Corinthians 14:30. But two prophets were never to speak together. The order ought, on the contrary, to be this, that if a revelation shall have been imparted to another prophet ( ἄλλῳ) while he sits listening, the first shall be silent (not simply soon cease, as Neander, Maier, and others would take it; comp., too, Hofmann) and let the second speak. Paul thus does not enjoin that the second shall wait until the first is finished, to which meaning Grotius, Storr, and Flatt twist the words (comp. 1 Corinthians 14:28; 1 Corinthians 14:34); on the contrary, he attaches more importance to the fresh undelayed outburst of prophetic inspiration, than to the further continuance of the address after the first outburs.

καθημ.] for the prophets spoke standing, Luke 4:17. See Grotius in loc.


Verse 31

1 Corinthians 14:31 f. Establishment of this precept by setting forth the possibility of its observance. The principal emphasis is laid upon δύνασθε, which is for this reason placed first (not upon πάντες, as Rückert holds), for in it lies the pith of the proof. Next to it πάντες has the emphasis. The sense is: “For in my πρῶτος σιγ. I am enjoining nothing which is impossible for you; on the contrary, it stands in your power that, one after another, you may all come to give a prophetic address,” et.

καθʼ ἕνα] always one at once, singulatim. Acts 21:19; see Ast, Lex. Plat. I. p. 639 f.; Bernhardy, p. 240. The subject addressed in δύνασθε is the prophets in the church, not the members of the church generally (Hofmann), seeing that prophecy was a special χάρισμα(19) which did not belong to all (see 1 Corinthians 12:29; Acts 13:1; Ephesians 4:11). The inspiration of the prophets does not compel them to speak on without a break, so as not to allow another to take speech at all or to speak alone, but it is in their power to cease when another begins, so that by degrees all may come to speak—not, of course, in the same assembly (1 Corinthians 14:29), but in successive meetings.

And this circumstance, that καθʼ ἕνα πάντες προφητεύουσι, has for its design ( ἵνα), that all the members of the church (which includes also other prophets along with the rest) may learn, etc., that none may remain without instruction and encouragement. For modes of prophetic inspiration, very different from each other in substance and form, will then find expression, whereby satisfaction will be given to the most different want.

μανθάνωσι] what God has revealed to those speaking propheticall.

παρακλ.] be encouraged, aroused. Comp. παράκλησιν, 1 Corinthians 14:3. Paul describes here the effects of prophecy from the theoretical ( μανθ.) and practical ( παρακαλ.) sides. The latter he had already stated more specially in 1 Corinthians 14:3.


Verse 32

1 Corinthians 14:32. The second part of the establishment of the precept ( γάρ, 1 Corinthians 14:31). And prophets’ spirits are obedient to prophets. The indicative presents the normal relationship as it is, not as it ought to be (Olshausen and others).

πνεύματα προφ.] cannot be workings of the Divine Spirit in the prophets (Chrysostom, Erasmus, Estius, and others, including Flatt, comp. de Wette), nor does it mean the spirits which the prophets have received, so that the one πνεῦμα appears as if divided among them (Rückert), or created angelic spirits in the service of the Holy Spirit (Hahn, Theol. d. N. T. p. 307), or even actually several Holy Spirits (Hilgenfeld; see, however, on 1 Corinthians 14:12); but (comp. the genitival relation, 1 Corinthians 14:14) it is the prophets’ own spirits, filled, however, by the Holy Spirit. Persons prophetically inspired are, as such, raised to a higher spiritual potency, and have prophets’ spirits. Comp. Revelation 22:6, and Düsterdieck in loc. But their free-will is not thereby taken away, nor does the prophetic address become something involuntary, like a Bacchantic enthusiasm; no, prophets’ spirits stand in obedience to prophets; he who is a prophet has the power of will over his spirit, which makes the πρῶτος σιγάτω in 1 Corinthians 14:30(20) possible; ἐπὶ τοῖς προφήταις ἐστὶ τὸ σιγᾶν λαλεῖν, Theophylact. Comp. Hofmann in loc., and Schriftbew. I. p. 312. Others, again (Theophylact gives both interpretations alongside of each other), refer προφήταις to other prophets: τὸ ἔν σοι χάρισμαὑποτάσσεται τῷ χαρίσματι τοῦ ἑτέρου τοῦ κινηθέντος εἰς τὸ προφητεύειν, Theophylact. So Theodoret, Calvin, Calovius, Estius, Rosenmüller, and others, including Heydenreich, Bleek, Rückert, and Ritschl, altkath. K. p. 473. But if Paul had conceived of the prophet’s becoming silent as conditioned by the will of another, and so objectively,—which the expression, taken simply in itself, might imply,—then plainly his admonition πρῶτος σιγάτω would be entirely superfluous. He must, on the contrary, have conceived of it as conditioned subjectively by the will of the subjects themselves who spoke; and with this our view alone accords, which is found in as early expositors as Origen, Jerome, and Oecumenius.

The absence of the article in the case of all the three words depends upon the fact that the relation is conceived not in concreto, but generically.

Observe, further, the strict, measured form of expression, πνεύματα προφητῶν προφήταις, which is designed not simply for rhetorical emphasis, but for definiteness and clearness of meaning, separating the prophets’ spirits from the subjects who have them. αὐτοῖς would not have marked this so strongly.


Verse 33

1 Corinthians 14:33. Establishment of 1 Corinthians 14:32 on religious grounds. “For how could God have appointed it otherwise, seeing that by Him is produced not confusion (as would be the case if every prophet had to speak on involuntarily), but peace!” Comp. Romans 15:33; Romans 16:20; Philippians 4:9; 1 Thessalonians 5:23. The antithesis is correct, for the ἀκαταστασία would bring with it a jealous and unyielding disposition.


Verse 34

1 Corinthians 14:34. Appendix to the regulative section regarding the gifts of the Spirit (1 Corinthians 14:26-33): directed against the public speaking of women. Corinthian women, with their freer mood inclined towards emancipation (comp. 1 Corinthians 11:2 ff.), must have presumed on thi.

ὡς ἐν πάσ. τ. ἐκκλ. τ. ἁγ.] is referred by the Fathers and most of the older expositors, Rückert, Osiander, Neander, Maier, to what precedes (comp. 1 Corinthians 4:17, 1 Corinthians 7:17, 1 Corinthians 11:16). But since the preceding οὐ γὰρεἰρήνης is quite general, and hence contains no special point of reference for ὡς (for which reason this ὡς has been got rid of in various ways, and even διδάσκω has been added in some codd. and versions); since, on the other hand, the passage which follows offers this point of reference in the fact of its being a command for the Corinthians; and since 1 Corinthians 14:36 manifestly glances back at the argument implied in ἐν π. τ. ἐκκλ. τ. ἁγ.,—therefore it is preferable to connect the clause with what follows, as is done by Cajetanus and most modern expositors: As in all church assemblies of the saints, your women ought to be silent in the church assemblies. To place a comma, with Lachmann, before τῶν ἁγίων, puts an incongruous emphasis upon τῶν ἁγ.

Regarding the matter itself (1 Timothy 2:11), comp. the parallels from Greek, Roman, and Rabbinical writers in Wetstein in loc.; Vitringa, Synag. p. 724; Schoettgen, Horae, p. 658.

οὐ γὰρ ἐπιτρέπεται] for it is (permanently) not allowed. To take ἐπιτρέπεσθαι as mandari (Reiche) would be linguistically correct in itself, but against the usage of the whole N. T. (comp. 1 Corinthians 16:7; 1 Timothy 2:12).

ἀλλʼ ὑποτάσσεσθαι] namely, is incumbent upon them, in accordance with a current Greek brevity of expression. Comp. 1 Timothy 4:3; see Kühner, II. p. 604 f.; Dissen, ad Demosth. de Cor. p. 222 f. The ὑποτάσσεσθαι, excludes, in Paul’s view, the speaking in the assemblies, inasmuch as the latter appears to him as an act of uncomplying independenc.

νόμος] Genesis 3:16.


Verse 35

1 Corinthians 14:35. Even questions for their instruction should not be brought forward by the women in the assemblie.

ἐν οἴκῳ] has the emphasis. At home, not in the assembly, they are to obtain for themselves by inquiry the desired instruction, and that from those to whom they, as women, are naturally referred, from their own husbands.


Verse 36

1 Corinthians 14:36. The joins on to what is immediately before prescribed, not to the previous directions in general (de Wette, Osiander, et al.). “It is disgraceful for a woman to speak in public, unless, perhaps, you were the first or the only Christian church, in which cases then, doubtless, your custom would show that disgracefulness to be a mistake, and would authorize as becoming the speaking of women by way of an example for other churches!” μὴ τοίνυν τοῖς οἰκείοις ἀρκείσθε, ἀλλὰ ταῖς τῶν ἐκκλησιῶν νομοθεσίαις ἀκολουθεῖτε, Theodoret; but the point of the expression, as against the Corinthian haughtiness, is very palpabl.

αἰσχρόν] ἐπειδὴ καλλωπίζεσθαι ἐντεῦθεν ἐνόμιζον ἐκ τοῦ φθέγγεσθαι δημοσίᾳ, πάλιν εἰς τὸ ἐναντίον περιάγει τὸν λόγον, Chrysostom. Comp. 1 Corinthians 11:5 f. Paul is decided against all undue exaltation and assumption on the part of women in religious things, and it has been the occasion of much evil in the church.


Verse 37

1 Corinthians 14:37. He now, after the digression regarding the women, adds the authority of Christ to the section upon the charismata, which has been already previously brought to a conclusion, but to which he looks back once mor.

δοκεῖ] If any one bethinks himself (1 Corinthians 3:18, 1 Corinthians 8:2, 1 Corinthians 10:12) to be a prophet, or spiritually gifted in any way, then let him also prove himself to be such by his recognising, etc. Not to acknowledge this would show him to be not a prophet or not inspire.

πνευματικός] quite general: “dotibus Sp. St. instructus;” not, as Billroth, David Schulz, Baur, and Wieseler would have it, equivalent to γλ. λαλῶν (comp. on 1 Corinthians 12:1, 1 Corinthians 14:1). is: or generally. Hofmann is wrong in saying that the is not suited for thus linking on a general statement. Why not? Comp. 1 Corinthians 4:3; Luke 12:11; Matthew 16:14. There is all the less reason for assuming, with Hofmann, that Paul uses the expression in the vaguer sense of one going even beyond the prophet, because he had found it so used in the letter from Corint.

γράφω ὑμ.] refers to the whole section regarding the πνευματικοῖς. To refer it, as Billroth and Olshausen do, to the command that the women should keep silence, does not harmonize with the introduction εἴ τιςπνευματικός, and involves the awkwardness of only this intervening matter being thus confirmed with such solemnity, and the principal and far more important section not at al.

κυρίου ἐστίν (see the critical remarks): proceed from the Lord. In his communion of spirit with Christ, Paul was conscious that what he had been writing, from chap. 10 onwards, regarding spiritual gifts and the right use of them, was the result not of his own meditation and desire, but of the working of Christ upon him—that he wrote as an interpres Christi. There is thus no reason for making κυρίου refer to God (Grotius, Billroth, Olshausen), seeing that Christ had in fact given no rules regarding the charismata. Paul is affixing here the seal of apostolic authority, and upon that seal we must read Christ.


Verse 38

1 Corinthians 14:38. ἀγνοεῖ] namely, γράφω ὑμῖν, ὅτι κ. τ. λ., 1 Corinthians 14:37. His not being willing to know, or the attitude of wrongly knowing (Hofmann), is not conveyed in the word, but is presupposed.

ἀγνοείτω] permissive, denotes the renunciation of all endeavours to instruct such an one who lets himself be puffed up. It is the opposite of the ἐπιγινώσκειν, 1 Corinthians 14:37. Estius puts it well: “Sibi suaeque ignorantiae relinquendos esse censeo.” Comp. 1 Corinthians 11:16.


Verse 39-40

1 Corinthians 14:39-40. Gathering up ( ὥστε, “itaque, summa,” Bengel) the main points of the whole discussion, and that (1) of its theoretical (1 Corinthians 14:39), and (2) of its regulative part (1 Corinthians 14:40).

Paul has aptly indicated the value of the glossolalia relatively to the prophetical gift by ζηλοῦτε (comp. 1 Corinthians 14:12; 1 Corinthians 12:31) and μὴ κωλύετε, without there being any ground, however, for inferring from this an attitude of hostility on the side of the Pauline party towards those who spoke with tongues (Baur, Räbiger, comp. at an earlier date Storr).

εὐσχημόνως] in a seemly way (Romans 13:13; 1 Thessalonians 4:12), denoting ecclesiastical decorum.

κατὰ τάξιν] in accordance with order (see Wetstein), so that it is done at the right time, and in the right measure and limits. Comp. Clem. ad Cor. I. 40, also what Josephus, Bell. Jud. ii. 8. 5, says of the Essenes: οὔτε κραυγή ποτε τὸν οἶκον, οὔτε θόρυβος μολύνει, τὰς δὲ λαλίας ἐν τάξει παραχωροῦσιν ἀλλήλοις.

 


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Bibliography Information
Meyer, Heinrich. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 14:4". Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hmc/1-corinthians-14.html. 1832.

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