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Chapter 14

14:1 Follow after love [diōkete tēn agapēn]. As if a veritable chase. Paul comes back to the idea in 12:31 (same use of [zēloute] and proves the superiority of prophecy to the other spiritual gifts not counting faith, hope, love of 13:13. But rather that ye may prophesy [mallon de hina prophēteuēte]. Distinct aim in view as in verse 5. Old verb from [prophētēs], common in N.T. Present subjunctive, “that ye may keep on prophesying.”

14:2 For no man understandeth [oudeis gar akouei]. Literally, hears, gets the sense, understands. Verb [akouō] used either of hearing the sound only or getting the idea (cf. Ac 9:7; 22:9). Mysteries [mustēria]. Unexplained mysteries (1Co 2:7).

14:3 Edification [oikodomēn]. Building up. Comfort [paraklēsin]. Encouragement, calling to one’s side. Consolation [paramuthian]. Old word (from [para, muthos, paramutheomai] 1Th 2:12 which see, a stimulating word), nowhere else in N.T., but [paramuthion] in Php 2:1 with [paraklēsis] as here. Edification, cheer, incentive in these words.

14:4 The church [ekklēsian]. No article, literally, “a church” (local use). Not [hē ekklēsia].

14:5 Except he interpret [ektos ei mē diermēneuēi]. Pleonastic combination of [ektos] (preposition except) and [ei mē] (if not, unless) as in 15:2; 1Ti 5:19. For use of [ei] with subjunctive rather than [ean] see Php 3:12 (common enough in the Koinē, Robertson, Grammar, pp. 1017f., condition of third class). On the verb see on 12:30; Lu 24:27; Ac 9:36. Receive [labēi]. Second aorist (ingressive) active subjunctive of [lambanō], may get edification.

14:6 If I come [ean elthō]. Third class condition, supposable case (aorist subjunctive). What shall I profit you [ti humas ōphelēsō]. Two accusatives with this verb (see 13:3). Unless I speak [ean mē lalēsō]. Second condition (also third class) with the one conclusion (cf. 1Ti 2:5).

14:7 Things without life [apsucha]. Without a soul [a] privative, [psuchē] or life. Old word only here in N.T. Pipe [aulos]. Old word (from [aō, auō], to blow), only here in N.T. Harp [kithara]. Old word. Stringed instrument as pipe, a wind instrument. If they give not a distinction in the sounds [ean diastolēn tois phthoggois mē dōi]. Third class condition with second aorist active subjunctive [dōi] from [didōmi]. Common word in late Greek for difference [diastellō], to send apart). In N.T. only here and Ro 3:22; 10:12. [Phthoggos] old word (from [phtheggomai] for musical sounds vocal or instrumental. In N.T. only here and Ro 10:18.

14:8 An uncertain voice [adēlon phōnēn]. Old adjective [a] privative, [dēlos], manifest). In N.T. only here and Lu 11:44. Military trumpet [salpigx] is louder than pipe or harp. Shall prepare himself [paraskeuasetai]. Direct middle future indicative of [paraskeuazō], old verb, in N.T. only here, 2Co 9:2ff.; Ac 10:10. From [para, skeuē] (preparation).

14:9 Unless ye utter speech easy to be understood [ean mē eusēmon logon dōte]. Condition of third class again [ean] and aorist subjunctive). [Eusēmon] [eu], well, [sēma], sign) is old word, here only in N.T., well-marked, distinct, clear. Good enunciation, a hint for speakers. Ye will be speaking into the air [esesthe eis aera lalountes]. Periphrastic future indicative (linear action). Cf. [aera derōn] (beating the air) in 9:26. Cf. our talking to the wind. This was before the days of radio.

14:10 It may be [ei tuchoi]. Condition of fourth class [ei] and aorist optative of [tugchanō], if it should happen. Common enough idiom. Cf. [tuchon] in 16:6. Without signification [aphōnon]. Old adjective [a] privative and [phōnē]. Without the faculty of speech (12:2; Ac 8:32; 2Pe 2:16).

14:11 The meaning of the voice [tēn dunamin tēs phōnēs]. The power (force) of the voice. A barbarian [barbaros]. Jargon, [bar-bar]. The Egyptians called all [barbarous] who did not speak their tongue. The Greeks followed suit for all ignorant of Greek language and culture. They divided mankind into Hellenes and Barbarians. Unto me [en emoi]. In my case, almost like a dative.

14:12 Zealous of spiritual gifts [zēlōtai pneumatōn]. Zealots for spirits. So it looked. That ye may abound [hina perisseuēte]. Purpose clause with the object by prolepsis stated beforehand “for the edification of the church.”

14:13 Let him pray that he may interpret [proseuchesthō hina diermēneuēi]. Else he had better cease talking in a tongue.

14:14 But my understanding is unfruitful [ho de nous mou akarpos]. My intellect [nous] gets no benefit [akarpos], without fruit) from rhapsodical praying that may even move my spirit [pneuma].

14:15 With the understanding also [kai tōi no‹]. Instrumental case of [nous]. Paul is distinctly in favour of the use of the intellect in prayer. Prayer is an intelligent exercise of the mind. And I will sing with the understanding also [psalō de kai tōi no‹]. There was ecstatic singing like the rhapsody of some prayers without intelligent words. But Paul prefers singing that reaches the intellect as well as stirs the emotions. Solos that people do not understand lose more than half their value in church worship. [Psallō] originally meant to play on strings, then to sing with an accompaniment (Eph 5:19), and here apparently to sing without regard to an instrument.

14:16 Else if thou bless with the spirit [epei ean eulogēis en pneumati]. Third class condition. He means that, if one is praying and praising God (10:16) in an ecstatic prayer, the one who does not understand the ecstasy will be at a loss when to say “amen” at the close of the prayer. In the synagogues the Jews used responsive amens at the close of prayers (Neh 5:13; 8:6; 1Ch 16:36; Ps 106:48). He that filleth the place of the unlearned [ho anaplērōn ton topon tou idiōtou]. Not a special part of the room, but the position of the [idiōtou] (from [idios], one’s own), common from Herodotus for private person (Ac 4:13), unskilled (2Co 11:6), uninitiated (unlearned) in the gift of tongues as here and verses 23f. At thy giving of thanks [epi tēi sēi eucharistiāi]. Just the prayer, not the Eucharist or the Lord’s Supper, as is plain from verse 17.

14:18 More than you all [pantōn humōn mallon]. Ablative case after [mallon]. Astonishing claim by Paul that doubtless had a fine effect.

14:19 Howbeit in church [alla en ekklēsiāi]. Private ecstasy is one thing (cf. 2Co 12:1-9) but not in church worship. That I may instruct [hina katēchēsō]. Final clause with [hina]. For the rare verb [katēcheō] see on Lu 1:4; Ac 18:25.

14:20 Be not children in mind [mē paidia ginesthe tais phresin]. “Cease becoming children in your intellects,” as some of them evidently were. Cf. Heb 5:11-14 for a like complaint of intellectual dulness for being old babies. In malice be ye babes [tēi kakiāi nēpiazete]. Be men [teleioi ginesthe]. Keep on becoming adults in your minds. A noble and a needed command, pertinent today.

14:21 In the law it is written [en tōi nomōi gegraptai]. Isa 28:11f. Freely quoted.

14:22 For a sign [eis sēmeion]. Like the Hebrew and occasional Koinē idiom also.

14:23 Will they not say that ye are mad? [ouk erousin hoti mainesthe?]. These unbelievers unacquainted [idiōtai] with Christianity will say that the Christians are raving mad (see on Ac 12:15; 26:24). They will seem like a congregation of lunatics.

14:24 He is reproved by all [elegchetai hupo pantōn]. Old word for strong proof, is undergoing conviction. Is judged [anakrinetai]. Is tested. Cf. 1Co 2:15; 4:3f.

14:25 That God is among you indeed [hoti ontōs en humin estin]. Recitative [hoti] and direct quotation from Isa 45:15 (Hebrew rather than the LXX). “Really [ontōs] Lu 24:34) God is in you.”

14:26 When ye come together [hotan sunerchēsthe]. Present middle subjunctive, repetition, whenever ye come together, in contrast with special case [ean sunelthēi], second aorist subjunctive) in verse 23.

14:27 By two [kata duo]. According to two, ratio. Or at most [ē to pleiston]. Adverbial accusative, “or at the most.” Three [treis]. [Kata] to be repeated. And that in turn [kai ana meros]. One at a time and not over three in all.

14:28 But if there be no interpreter [ean de mē ēi diermēneutēs]. Third class condition. Earliest known instance and possibly made by Paul from verb in verse 27. Reappears in Byzantine grammarians. Keep silence in church [sigatō en ekklēsiāi]. Linear action (present active imperative). He is not even to speak in a tongue once. He can indulge his private ecstasy with God.

14:29 By two or three [duo ē treis]. No [kata] here as in verse 27. Let two or three prophets speak. Let the others discern [hoi alloi diakrinetōsan]. Whether what is said is really of the Spirit. Cf. 12:10 [diakriseis pneumatōn].

14:30 Let the first keep silence [ho prōtos sigatō]. To give the next one a chance.

14:31 One by one [kath’ ena]. Regular idiom.

14:32 The spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets [pneumata prophētōn prophētais hupotassetai]. A principle that some had forgotten.

14:33 Not of confusion [ou—katastasias]. God is not a God of disorder, but of peace. We need this reminder today. As in all the churches of the saints [hōs en pasais tais ekklēsiais tōn hagiōn]. Orderly reverence is a mark of the churches. This is a proper conclusion of his argument as in 11:16.

14:34 Keep silence in the churches [en tais ekklēsiais sigatōsan]. The same verb used about the disorders caused by speakers in tongues (verse 28) and prophets (30). For some reason some of the women were creating disturbance in the public worship by their dress (11:2-16) and now by their speech. There is no doubt at all as to Paul’s meaning here. In church the women are not allowed to speak [lalein] nor even to ask questions. They are to do that at home [en oikōi]. He calls it a shame [aischron] as in 11:6 (cf. Eph 5:12; Tit 1:11). Certainly women are still in subjection [hupotassesthōsan] to their husbands (or ought to be). But somehow modern Christians have concluded that Paul’s commands on this subject, even 1Ti 2:12, were meant for specific conditions that do not apply wholly now. Women do most of the teaching in our Sunday schools today. It is not easy to draw the line. The daughters of Philip were prophetesses. It seems clear that we need to be patient with each other as we try to understand Paul’s real meaning here.

14:37 The commandment of the Lord [Kuriou entolē]. The prophet or the one with the gift of tongues or the disturbing woman would be quick to resent the sharp words of Paul. He claims inspiration for his position.

14:40 Decently and in order [euschēmonōs kai kata taxin]. That is surely a good rule for all matters of church life and worship. It applies also to the function of women in church service.

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