1 Corinthians
Chapter 14

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1 Follow after charity, and desire spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may prophesy.

2 For he that speaketh in an unknown tongue speaketh not unto men, but unto God: for no man understandeth him; howbeit in the spirit he speaketh mysteries.

3 But he that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort.

4 He that speaketh in an unknown tongue edifieth himself; but he that prophesieth edifieth the church.

5 I would that ye all spake with tongues, but rather that ye prophesied: for greater is he that prophesieth than he that speaketh with tongues, except he interpret, that the church may receive edifying.

6 Now, brethren, if I come unto you speaking with tongues, what shall I profit you, except I shall speak to you either by revelation, or by knowledge, or by prophesying, or by doctrine?

7 And even things without life giving sound, whether pipe or harp, except they give a distinction in the sounds, how shall it be known what is piped or harped?

8 For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle?

9 So likewise ye, except ye utter by the tongue words easy to be understood, how shall it be known what is spoken? for ye shall speak into the air.

10 There are, it may be, so many kinds of voices in the world, and none of them is without signification.

11 Therefore if I know not the meaning of the voice, I shall be unto him that speaketh a barbarian, and he that speaketh shall be a barbarian unto me.

12 Even so ye, forasmuch as ye are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek that ye may excel to the edifying of the church.

13 Wherefore let him that speaketh in an unknown tongue pray that he may interpret.

14 For if I pray in an unknown tongue, my spirit prayeth, but my understanding is unfruitful.

15 What is it then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also: I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also.

16 Else when thou shalt bless with the spirit, how shall he that occupieth the room of the unlearned say Amen at thy giving of thanks, seeing he understandeth not what thou sayest?

17 For thou verily givest thanks well, but the other is not edified.

18 I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than ye all:

19 Yet in the church I had rather speak five words with my understanding, that by my voice I might teach others also, than ten thousand words in an unknown tongue.

20 Brethren, be not children in understanding: howbeit in malice be ye children, but in understanding be men.

21 In the law it is written, With men of other tongues and other lips will I speak unto this people; and yet for all that will they not hear me, saith the Lord.

22 Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not: but prophesying serveth not for them that believe not, but for them which believe.

23 If therefore the whole church be come together into one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in those that are unlearned, or unbelievers, will they not say that ye are mad?

24 But if all prophesy, and there come in one that believeth not, or one unlearned, he is convinced of all, he is judged of all:

25 And thus are the secrets of his heart made manifest; and so falling down on his face he will worship God, and report that God is in you of a truth.

26 How is it then, brethren? when ye come together, every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying.

27 If any man speak in an unknown tongue, let it be by two, or at the most by three, and that by course; and let one interpret.

28 But if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the church; and let him speak to himself, and to God.

29 Let the prophets speak two or three, and let the other judge.

30 If any thing be revealed to another that sitteth by, let the first hold his peace.

31 For ye may all prophesy one by one, that all may learn, and all may be comforted.

32 And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets.

33 For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.

34 Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law.

35 And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.

36 What? came the word of God out from you? or came it unto you only?

37 If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord.

38 But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant.

39 Wherefore, brethren, covet to prophesy, and forbid not to speak with tongues.

40 Let all things be done decently and in order.

Commentary for 1 Corinthians 14

Prophecy preferred to the gift of tongues. (1-5) The unprofitableness of speaking in unknown languages. (6-14) Exhortations to worship that can be understood. (15-25) Disorders from vain display of gifts; (26-33) and from women speaking in the church. (34-40)1-5 Prophesying, that is, explaining Scripture, is compared with speaking with tongues. This drew attention, more than the plain interpretation of Scripture; it gratified pride more, but promoted the purposes of Christian charity less; it would not equally do good to the souls of men. What cannot be understood, never can edify. No advantage can be reaped from the most excellent discourses, if delivered in language such as the hearers cannot speak or understand. Every ability or possession is valuable in proportion to its usefulness. Even fervent, spiritual affection must be governed by the exercise of the understanding, else men will disgrace the truths they profess to promote.

6-14 Even an apostle could not edify, unless he spoke so as to be understood by his hearers. To speak words that have no meaning to those who hear them, is but speaking into the air. That cannot answer the end of speaking, which has no meaning; in this case, speaker and hearers are barbarians to each other. All religious services should be so performed in Christian assemblies, that all may join in, and profit by them. Language plain and easy to be understood, is the most proper for public worship, and other religious exercises. Every true follower of Christ will rather desire to do good to others, than to get a name for learning or fine speaking.

15-25 There can be no assent to prayers that are not understood. A truly Christian minister will seek much more to do spiritual good to men's souls, than to get the greatest applause to himself. This is proving himself the servant of Christ. Children are apt to be struck with novelty; but do not act like them. Christians should be like children, void of guile and malice; yet they should not be unskilful as to the word of righteousness, but only as to the arts of mischief. It is a proof that a people are forsaken of God, when he gives them up to the rule of those who teach them to worship in another language. They can never be benefitted by such teaching. Yet thus the preachers did who delivered their instructions in an unknown tongue. Would it not make Christianity ridiculous to a heathen, to hear the ministers pray or preach in a language which neither he nor the assembly understood? But if those who minister, plainly interpret Scripture, or preach the great truths and rules of the gospel, a heathen or unlearned person might become a convert to Christianity. His conscience might be touched, the secrets of his heart might be revealed to him, and so he might be brought to confess his guilt, and to own that God was present in the assembly. Scripture truth, plainly and duly taught, has a wonderful power to awaken the conscience and touch the heart.

26-33 Religious exercises in public assemblies should have this view; Let all be done to edifying. As to the speaking in an unknown tongue, if another were present who could interpret, two miraculous gifts might be exercised at once, and thereby the church be edified, and the faith of the hearers confirmed at the same time. As to prophesying, two or three only should speak at one meeting, and this one after the other, not all at once. The man who is inspired by the Spirit of God will observe order and decency in delivering his revelations. God never teaches men to neglect their duties, or to act in any way unbecoming their age or station.

34-40 When the apostle exhorts Christian women to seek information on religious subjects from their husbands at home, it shows that believing families ought to assemble for promoting spiritual knowledge. The Spirit of Christ can never contradict itself; and if their revelations are against those of the apostle, they do not come from the same Spirit. The way to keep peace, truth, and order in the church, is to seek that which is good for it, to bear with that which is not hurtful to its welfare, and to keep up good behaviour, order, and decency.

Commentary by Matthew Henry, 1710.

Discussion for 1 Corinthians 14

  • Bro. Don - in Reply on 1 Corinthians 14:26
    Kenneth, I pray for much fruit for your labor. God bless you.
  • Michael Reidy on 1 Corinthians 14:34
    Unfortunately, we have professing Christians who dont trust what Paul is writing came from God. They say those words are for differnt times in history. "Surely God knows, letting a woman speak in Church will be lovely and intertaining t the heart and pleasing to the eyes. Surely God must be confused about this?

    Is God confused about Gay marriage too or/same sex marriage?

    Is God confused about Abortion as well or is he only confused about what Paul said about woman? LOL...do you see the stupity in man / woman?
  • Mishael to Michael - in Reply on 1 Corinthians 14:34
    If people will read Genesis very slowly; note chronological events that match; it will make more sense. It takes more work on your part; and this generation is the NOW generation. I want it now and I don't want to work for it.

    Also: the center columns are references to the alphabet or numbers that are within the verses. They expand the understanding of those verses.

    At the entrance to this website is a search box. Bring up the verse you want answers to: then scroll down to the Commentary box. Lots of info in that.

    Study to show yourself approved. So many subjects will be opened up to you, you'll really be blessed by your discoveries. You'll want to share them right away.

    Sometimes you'll have to use google to find a verse you can't remember the words to.

    Better yet, ask the Holy Spirit to help you study :D
  • Michael Reidy - in Reply on 1 Corinthians 14:34
    Thank you for the valuable instruction although it had no substance to topic. Women speaking in Church.
  • Mishael - in Reply on 1 Corinthians 14:34
    I have no comments on women preacher/

    or teachers. Although everyone agrees that God called Deborah to be a judge. Other women were prophetesses.

    I was responding to the gay/ homosexual comment. Pardon me.
  • Michael Reidy - in Reply on 1 Corinthians 14:34
    God is clear about the topic. And so I am also clear. If I have said something that offends you please be clear.
  • Paul white on 1 Corinthians 14:39
    Who was king when Neduchadnezzar when he was a beast?
  • Judy - in Reply on 1 Corinthians 14:39
    God protected Nebuchadnezzar's kingdom so no one else would get it. After the seven years of punishment God gave it back to Nebuchadnezzar, we know this by the band of iron and copper that was put around the stump. You can find this at Daniel 4:18-37.
  • Bob Hilt - in Reply on 1 Corinthians 14:39
    I am not sure but a good guess would be his son Belshazzar in Daniel 5: 20 But when his (Nebuchadnezzar) heart was lifted up, and his mind hardened in pride, he was deposed from his kingly throne, and they took his glory from him:

    21 And he was driven from the sons of men; and his heart was made like the beasts, and his dwelling was with the wild asses: they fed him with grass like oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven; till he knew that the most high God ruled in the kingdom of men, and that he appointeth over it whomsoever he will.

    22 And thou his son, O Belshazzar, hast not humbled thine heart, though thou knewest all this;

    23 But hast lifted up thyself against the Lord of heaven; and they have brought the vessels of his house before thee, and thou, and thy lords, thy wives, and thy concubines, have drunk wine in them;

    That would be my guess
  • St Francis on 1 Corinthians 14:39
    I am responding to the coments:"1Cor14 is all about spiritual gifts...." No, it is not. Paul is begging the church to follow that which is important: brotherly love, ie. the love of God and Unity. Am I to be so dotrinically correct and rigid that I forsake the commandments that Jesus left us with; to love the Lord my God and my brother as well. Self indulgence mascarading as correcting an error of doctrine is Satan's favorite trick. Why do I always have a comment and an opinion that MUST BE HEARD about everything? Especially something controversial like speaking it toungues. I am here to proclaim: "cut that off, grow this out, stop doing this, start doing that.." pride. 4bid not amen


 

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Bible Trivia

Paul prefers which spiritual practice?
  • Knowledge
  • Prophesy
  • Speaking in tongues
  • Uncircumcision
  • Marriage