The Agora
Bible Commentary
1 Corinthians

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1 Corinthians 14

1Co 14:2

TONGUE: "Glossa", used interchangably with "dialectos" in Act 2:4,8. Ref foreign language in Rev 5:9; 7:9; 10:11; 11:9; 13:7; 14:6; 17:15. "Glossa" sig intelligible speech in Rom 14:11; Phi 2:11; 1Jo 3:18.

1Co 14:5

Moses: "Would God that all the LORD's people were prophets..." (Num 11:29). In Corinth the brethren were concerned with tongues (1Co 13) -- presumably for self gratification. Hence Paul discusses the merits and demerits of tongues and interpreters and edification.

THAT THE CHURCH MAY BE EDIFIED: Notice the way "edification" is stressed throughout: 1Co 8:1; 10:23; 14:3-5,12,17.26. Tongues, without an interpreter, did not edify; but prophecy did. Here, prophecy extends beyond speaking about the future; it encompasses exposition of the Scripture also -- encompassing exhortations and Bible classes.

1Co 14:8

TRUMPET: There were special differences between different trumpet sounds (Num 10:9).

1Co 14:14

Even the brother praying or speaking in another tongue did not necessarily understand his own words (WFB 127). Or, alternatively, Paul does not mean that he himself cannot understand his meaning. Rather, to paraphrase, "If I pray in another tongue, my understanding does no good for my listeners, unless they understand too."

1Co 14:16

THANKSGIVING: Eucharistos = the breaking of bread. There, esp, the ecclesia was to "proclaim" Christ (1Co 11:26; Rom 3:5), so that visitors might understand.

1Co 14:20

"God's professed people -- presumed heirs and rulers of the world to come -- wasting their precious time and attention on the world's baby-toys is like a pitiful lunatic millionaire picking through the garbage, mentally incapable of comprehending or enjoying his vast riches" (GVG).

1Co 14:34

See RR in Ber 69:9. Cp Hab 2:20.

1Co 14:40

IN A FITTING AND ORDERLY WAY: "The brother or sister who sincerely loves God will endeavour always to be punctual in the observance of His requirements and appointments. (Unavoidable lateness is exceptional, and need not here be considered.) To be late at the meetings when we could have been early is indicative of indifference and carelessness in regard to the things of God. The meetings are of God's appointment for the benefit of His children. The latecomer not only himself loses much of this benefit, but hinders those who are punctual in receiving the good. Usually the meetings commence with collective thanksgiving to God; is it not manifestly irreverent, and consequently displeasing to Him, that the privilege should be disturbed by latecomers, who with a little thought and care could have been present to unite in prayer and thanksgiving? Christ is our example in all things, and there is more than a suggestion of punctuality in the record that 'when the hour was come he sat down, and the twelve apostles with him' (to eat the Passover) (Luk 22:14)" (WJW).

"How necessary it is, even where faith exists, to add to it courage! A faith without courage can never overcome the world, and they who fail in this conflict can have no part in the Kingdom of God.

"The doctrine Paul taught, and the customs he established, afforded no scope for the gratification of personal ambition and democratic turbulence. He required that all things should be done decently and in order: and to the edification, or the building up, of the body of Christ in its most holy faith. All this was very displeasing to men of vain and conceited minds, whose propensity was for talk and egotistical display" (JT).

Setting "in order" is a significant thing in the service of God (particularly in the area of offering sacrifices): Gen 22:9; Exo 26:17; 39:37; 40:4,23; Lev 1:7,8,12; 6:12; 24:8; 1Ki 18:33; 2Ki 20:1; 2Ch 13:11; 29:35; Eze 41:6; Acts 18:23; 1Co 11:34; 14:40; Tit 1:5.

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