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Word Pictures in the New Testament
(1 Corinthians: 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

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
. 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
. 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
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
(\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

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

14:12 {Zealous of spiritual gifts} (\zēlōtai pneumatōn\). Zealots
for spirits. So it looked. {That ye may abound} (\hina
. 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
. Else he had better cease talking in a tongue.

14:14 {But my understanding is unfruitful} (\ho de nous mou
. 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
. 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
(\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
(\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
. "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
(\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
. 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

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
. 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
in verse 23.

14:27 {By two} (\kata duo\). According to two, ratio. {Or at
(\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
. 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
. 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
(\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
. 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
. 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

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Word Pictures in the New Testament
(1 Corinthians: Chapter 14)