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Verse 16. Else. epei. Since; if this is not done; if what is said is not intelligible, how shall the unlearned be able appropriately to express his assent, and join in your devotions?

When thou shalt bless. When thou shalt bless God, or give thanks to him. If thou shalt lead the devotions of the people in expressing thanksgiving for mercies and favours. This may refer to a part of public worship, or to the thanks which should be expressed at table, and the invocation of the Divine blessing to attend the bounties of his providence. Paul had illustrated his subject by prayer and by singing; he now does it by a reference to the important part of public worship expressed in giving thanks.

With the spirit. In the manner referred to above; that is, in an unknown tongue, in such a way that your own heart may be engaged in it, but which would be unintelligible to others.

He that occupieth the room. Is in the place, or the seat of the unlearned; that is, he who is unlearned. On the meaning of the word room, See Barnes "Lu 14:8".

To fill a place means, to occupy a station, or to be found in a state or condition.

Of the unlearned, tou idiwtou. On the meaning of this word, See Barnes "Ac 4:13".

Here it means, one who was unacquainted with the foreign language spoken by him who gave thanks. It properly denotes a man in private, in contradistinction from a man in public life; and hence a man who is ignorant and unlettered, as such men generally were.

Say Amen. This word means truly, verily; and is an expression of affirmation (Joh 3:6) or of assent. Here it means assent. How can he pronounce the AMEN; how can he express his assent; how can he join in the act of devotion? This might have been, and probably was, expressed aloud; and there is no impropriety in it. It may, however, be mental—a silent assent to what is said, and a silent uniting in the act of thanksgiving. In one way or the other, or in both, the assent should always be expressed by those who join in acts of public worship.

{d} "giving of thanks" 1 Co 11:24

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