PDA

View Full Version : 1 Corinthians 12-14



John Reece
06-05-2015, 12:08 AM
NOTICE

Please: Do not post any cabala in this thread


ABBREVIATIONS:

BDAG: A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature Third Edition Revised and Edited by Frederick William Danker (University of Chicago Press, 2000).

BG: Biblical Greek Illustrated by Examples, English Edition Adapted from the Fourth Latin Edition by Joseph Smith, S.J.. (Rome: Scripta Pontificii Instituti Biblici, 1963), by Maximilian Zerwick, S.J.

NA27: Nestle-Aland Greek New Testament (27th edition), edited by Barbara and Kurt Aland, Johannes Karavidopoulos, Carlo M. Martini, and Bruce M. Metzger.

Thiselton 2000: New International Greek Testament Commentary (NIGTC) The First Epistle to the Corinthian (Eerdmans, 2000), by Anthony C. Thiselton.

Thiselton 2006: 1 Corinthians: A Shorter Exegetical and Pastoral Commentary (Eerdmans, 2006), by Anthony C. Thiselton.

Zerwick: An Analysis of the Greek New Testament, by Max Zerwick and Mary Grosvenor (Rome: Biblical Institute Press, 1981).[/indent]

From New Testament Commentary Survey (Baker Academic, 2013), by D. A. Carson:


The best commentary on the Greek Text of 1 Corinthians is Anthony C. Thiselton (NIGTC, 2000). The work is very impressive. Over 1,400 pages long, it could easily have been a ponderous volume of massive learning and impenetrable prose. But Thiselton has outdone himself. Every section I scanned is well written, accessible (for readers of this sort of series!), and penetrating. It provides not only detailed exegesis but also a tracing of the main issues of interpretation from the church fathers to the present. The work will doubtless prove too difficult for poorly trained pastors, but for those with the requisite skills this commentary will prove an invaluable resource. Thiselton has also published 1 Corinthians: A Shorter Exegetical and Pastoral Commentary ( Eerdmans, 2006). This is not merely a précis of his larger work, designed for those without knowledge of Greek; rather, it includes both fresh exposition and additional sections with astute pastoral reflection.

I propose to use Thiselton 2006 in the Translation section of my usual format for language threads.

Please feel free to comment on and/or question what I post herein.

John Reece
06-05-2015, 06:24 PM
Text: (NA27):

Περὶ δὲ τῶν πνευματικῶν, ἀδελφοί, οὐ θέλω ὑμᾶς ἀγνοεῖν.

Transliteration (Accordance):

Peri de tōn pneumatikōn, adelphoi, ou thelō hymas agnoein.

Translation (Thiselton 2006 (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?7074-1-Corinthians-12-14&p=204450&viewfull=1#post204450)):

Now about "what comes from the Spirit," my dear Christian family, I do not want you to be without knowledge.

Grammatical Analysis (Zerwick/BDAG, meanings in this context):

πνευματικός : spiritual, τὰ πνευματικά special gifts of the Holy Spirit in which the church of Corinth abounded.
ἀγνοεῖν : infinitive of ἀγνοέω not to know, be ignorant.

John Reece
06-06-2015, 03:01 PM
Text: (NA27):

Οἴδατε ὅτι ὅτε ἔθνη ἦτε πρὸς τὰ εἴδωλα τὰ ἄφωνα ὡς ἂν ἤγεσθε ἀπαγόμενοι.

Transliteration (Accordance):

Oidate hoti hote ethnē ēte pros ta eidōla ta aphōna hōs an ēgesthe apagomenoi.

Translation (Thiselton 2006 (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?7074-1-Corinthians-12-14&p=204450&viewfull=1#post204450)):

You know that when you were pagans, you used to be carried away to idols that were incapable of speech.

Grammatical Analysis (Zerwick/BDAG, meanings in this context):

ὅτι : that explained by ὡς ἄν.
ἔθνη : (plural) pagans.
ἦτε : imperfect of εἰμί be.
εἴδωλον : idol.
ἄφωνος : voice-less, dumb.
ἄν : with imperfect iterative denotes repeated action in the past.
ἤγεσθε : imperfect passive of ἄγω lead.
ἀπαγόμενοι : passive participle of ἀπάγω lead away, ὡς ἂν ἤγεσθε ἀπαγόμενοι how you were irresistibly drawn (ἤγεσθε ἀπαγόμενοι translating a very emphatic Hebrew idiom), so Jerusalem Bible. Others (mentally supplying a first ἦτε after ὅτι construe ἦτε with ἀπαγόμενοι to form a periphrastic imperfect constituting a temporal clause, ...when still pagans you used to be led astray to dumb idols...; ὡς ἂν ἤγεσθε would then mean as you were ever being led (cf. Weymouth, RSV, NEB).

John Reece
06-07-2015, 07:00 PM
Text: (NA27):

διὸ γνωρίζω ὑμῖν ὅτι οὐδεὶς ἐν πνεύματι θεοῦ λαλῶν λέγει· Ἀνάθεμα Ἰησοῦς, καὶ οὐδεὶς δύναται εἰπεῖν· Κύριος Ἰησοῦς, εἰ μὴ ἐν πνεύματι ἁγίῳ.

Transliteration (Accordance):

dio gnōrizō hymin hoti oudeis en pneumati theou lalōn legei; Anathema Iēsous, kai oudeis dynatai eipein; Kyrios Iēsous, ei mē en pneumati hagiō̧.

Translation (Thiselton 2006 (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?7074-1-Corinthians-12-14&p=204450&viewfull=1#post204450)):

Therefore I am imparting to you this "knowledge," that no one who is speaking through the agency of the Spirit of God says, "Jesus grants a curse [or is cursed]." And no one is able to declare, "Jesus is Lord," except through the agency of the Holy Spirit.

Grammatical Analysis (Zerwick/BDAG, meanings in this context):

διό = διʾ ὅ this is why.
γνωρίζω : make known, point out.
ὅτι : that, understand just as no one... (see καί below).
ἐν : (sociative) of close personal relationship.
λαλῶν : participle of λαλέω talk, speak.
ἀνάθεμα : (< ἀνά + τίθημι) something set aside, "devoted" to the deity ; especially something accursed, predicate.
καί : so.
εἰπεῖν : aorist infinitive of λέγω say, tell.
κύριος : predicate.
εἰ μή : except.

John Reece
06-08-2015, 04:02 PM
Text: (NA27):

Διαιρέσεις δὲ χαρισμάτων εἰσίν, τὸ δὲ αὐτὸ πνεῦμα

Transliteration (Accordance):

Diaireseis de charismatōn eisin, to de auto pneuma

Translation (Thiselton 2006 (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?7074-1-Corinthians-12-14&p=204450&viewfull=1#post204450)):

There are different apportionings of gifts, but the same Spirit.

Grammatical Analysis (Zerwick/BDAG, meanings in this context):

διαίρεσις : (< διαιρέω distribute, divide, apportion) apportioning.
χάρισμα : gift from God for the service of the community, the variety of gifts not effacing their unity which is grounded in the one God : ὸ πνεῦμα (verse 4), ὁ κύριος (verse 5), ὁ θεός (verse 6).
εἰσίν : there are.
ὁ αὐτός : the same.

John Reece
06-09-2015, 01:08 PM
Text: (NA27):

καὶ διαιρέσεις διακονιῶν εἰσιν, καὶ ὁ αὐτὸς κύριος

Transliteration (Accordance):

kai diaireseis diakoniōn eisin, kai ho autos kyrios

Translation (Thiselton 2006 (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?7074-1-Corinthians-12-14&p=204450&viewfull=1#post204450)):

There are varieties of ways of serving, but the same Lord.

Grammatical Analysis (Zerwick/BDAG, meanings in this context):

διακονία : ministry, service.

John Reece
06-10-2015, 02:21 PM
Text: (NA27):

καὶ διαιρέσεις ἐνεργημάτων εἰσίν, ὁ δὲ αὐτὸς θεὸς ὁ ἐνεργῶν τὰ πάντα ἐν πᾶσιν.

Transliteration (Accordance):

kai diaireseis energēmatōn eisin, ho de autos theos ho energōn ta panta en pasin.

Translation (Thiselton 2006 (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?7074-1-Corinthians-12-14&p=204450&viewfull=1#post204450)):

And there are different apportionings of what activates effects, but the same God who brings about everything in everyone.

Grammatical Analysis (Zerwick/BDAG, meanings in this context):

ἐνέργημα : (< ἐνεργέω) a working, activity.
ἐνεργῶν : participle of ἐνεργέω work.

John Reece
06-11-2015, 02:40 PM
Text: (NA27):

ἑκάστῳ δὲ δίδοται ἡ φανέρωσις τοῦ πνεύματος πρὸς τὸ συμφέρον

Transliteration (Accordance):

hekastō̧ de didotai hē phanerōsis tou pneumatos pros to sympheron

Translation (Thiselton 2006 (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?7074-1-Corinthians-12-14&p=204450&viewfull=1#post204450)):

To each is given the public manifestation of the Spirit for common advantage.

Grammatical Analysis (Zerwick/BDAG, meanings in this context):

δίδοται : passive of δίδωμι give.
φανέρωσις : manifestation.
συμφέρον : neuter participle of συμφέρει it is advantageous, useful, τὸ συμφέρον benefit.

John Reece
06-12-2015, 03:25 PM
Text: (NA27):

ᾧ μὲν γὰρ διὰ τοῦ πνεύματος δίδοται λόγος σοφίας, ἄλλῳ δὲ λόγος γνώσεως κατὰ τὸ αὐτὸ πνεῦμα

Transliteration (Accordance):

ō̧h men gar dia tou pneumatos didotai logos sophias, allō̧ de logos gnōseōs kata to auto pneuma

Translation (Thiselton 2006 (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?7074-1-Corinthians-12-14&p=204450&viewfull=1#post204450)):

To one person, for his or her part, God bestows through the Spirit utterance related to "wisdom"; to another, in accordance with the same Spirit, discourse relating to "knowledge"

Grammatical Analysis (Zerwick/BDAG, meanings in this context):

ᾧ μέν ... ἄλλῳ δέ : to one ... to another.
διά : through, not invariably limited to an intermediary cause.
λόγος σοφίας : expression of wisdom.
λόγος γνώσεως : presentation of knowledge. σοφία is the wider term and generally understood to refer to the profound and fundamental Christian verities, γνῶσις to Christian principles ; in both cases the χάρισμα is the capacity to impart to others : λόγος a communication whereby the mind finds expression, word, of utterance, chiefly oral.

John Reece
06-13-2015, 02:27 PM
Text: (NA27):

ἑτέρῳ πίστις ἐν τῷ αὐτῷ πνεύματι, ἄλλῳ δὲ χαρίσματα ἰαμάτων ἐν τῷ ἑνὶ πνεύματι

Transliteration (Accordance):

ἑτέρῳ πίστις ἐν τῷ αὐτῷ πνεύματι, ἄλλῳ δὲ χαρίσματα ἰαμάτων ἐν τῷ ἑνὶ πνεύματι

Translation (Thiselton 2006 (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?7074-1-Corinthians-12-14&p=204450&viewfull=1#post204450)):

To a different person faith by the same Spirit; to another, gifts for various kinds of healing by the one Spirit.

Grammatical Analysis (Zerwick/BDAG, meanings in this context):

ἕτερος = ἄλλος pertaining to that which is other than some other entity, other.
χάρισμα : gift from God for the service of the community, the variety of gifts not effacing their unity which is grounded in the one God : τὸ πνεῦμα (verse 4), ὁ κύριος (verse 5), ὁ θεός (verse 6).
ἴαμα : (< ἰάομαι heal) healing.

John Reece
06-14-2015, 06:03 PM
Text: (NA27):

ἄλλῳ δὲ ἐνεργήματα δυνάμεων, ἄλλῳ [δὲ] προφητεία, ἄλλῳ [δὲ] διακρίσεις πνευμάτων, ἑτέρῳ γένη γλωσσῶν, ἄλλῳ δὲ ἑρμηνεία γλωσσῶν

Transliteration (Accordance):

allō̧ de energēmata dynameōn, allō̧ [de] prophēteia, allō̧ [de] diakriseis pneumatōn, heterō̧ genē glōssōn, allō̧ de hermēneia glōssōn

Translation (Thiselton 2006 (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?7074-1-Corinthians-12-14&p=204450&viewfull=1#post204450)):

To another, actively effective deeds of power; to another, prophecy; to another, discernment of what is "of the Spirit"; to another, species of tongues; and to another, intelligible articulation of what is spoken in tongues.

Grammatical Analysis (Zerwick/BDAG, meanings in this context):

ἐνεργήμα : a working, activity.
προφητεία : prophecy.
διάκρισις : power of discrimination.
γένος : a kind. See comment below.
γλῶσσα : tongue ; language. See comment below.
ἑρμηνεία : See comment below.

Comment (Thiselton 2006 (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?7074-1-Corinthians-12-14&p=204450&viewfull=1#post204450)):

Species of Tongues. Whatever may or may not be claimed about glossolalia, or speaking in tongues, it is imperative to note that Paul uses the generic phrase "species or kinds of tongues (Greek genē glōssōn). Many theories may fall short because they do not allow for the fact that within the New Testament and even in Paul's epistles there is more than one one unitary phenomenon that may be called a tongue. Hence the general question "What is speaking in tongues?" hardly helps anyone until we specify what the term denotes in this or that context of Scripture. Thus it is a huge leap to suggest that because the term might allude to "angelic language" in 13:1 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+cor+13%3A1&version=NRSV) this is necessarily what it denotes throughout 12 to 14.

Two key contrasts help to explain Paul's definition of "tongues" here. Whereas prophetic discourse is articulate and understandable, "tongues" remain inarticulate and unintelligible unless this utterance is transposed into articular speech. Second, tongues are addressed by or through human persons to God (14:2 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+cor+14%3A2&version=NRSV)); prophecy is addressed to human persons from God (14:3 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+cor+14%3A3%5D&version=NRSV)).

Thiselton lists five distinct views about speaking in tongues in scholarly literature:

(1) angelic speech.
(2) miraculous power to speak foreign languages.
(3) liturgical or archaic utterances.
(4) ecstatic speech.
(5) mechanisms of release, especially in releasing longings or praise (On 5, see Thiselton 2000 (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?7074-1-Corinthians-12-14&p=204450&viewfull=1#post204450), pp. 970-88).

To be continued in next post...

John Reece
06-15-2015, 04:05 PM
Text: (NA27):

ἄλλῳ δὲ ἐνεργήματα δυνάμεων, ἄλλῳ [δὲ] προφητεία, ἄλλῳ [δὲ] διακρίσεις πνευμάτων, ἑτέρῳ γένη γλωσσῶν, ἄλλῳ δὲ ἑρμηνεία γλωσσῶν

Transliteration (Accordance):

allō̧ de energēmata dynameōn, allō̧ [de] prophēteia, allō̧ [de] diakriseis pneumatōn, heterō̧ genē glōssōn, allō̧ de hermēneia glōssōn

Translation (Thiselton 2006 (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?7074-1-Corinthians-12-14&p=204450&viewfull=1#post204450)):

To another, actively effective deeds of power; to another, prophecy; to another, discernment of what is "of the Spirit"; to another, species of tongues; and to another, intelligible articulation of what is spoken in tongues.

Grammatical Analysis (Zerwick/BDAG, meanings in this context):

ἐνεργήμα : a working, activity.
προφητεία : prophecy.
διάκρισις : power of discrimination.
γένος : a kind. See comment below.
γλῶσσα : tongue ; language. See comment below.
ἑρμηνεία : See comment below.

Comment (Thiselton 2006 (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?7074-1-Corinthians-12-14&p=204450&viewfull=1#post204450)):

Continued from last post (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?7074-1-Corinthians-12-14&p=207689&viewfull=1#post207689)...


I have long held this last view , first publishing it in 1979. I agree with the Pentecostal writer F. D. Macchia, who, together with E. Käsemann, K. Stendahl, and G. Theissen, sees a very close parallel with the Spirit's speaking in or through a Christian "with sighs too deep for words" in Rom. 8:26-27 (Macchia, "Groans Too Deep for Words," pp. 149-73), and "Tongues and Prophecy," pp. 63-69; Theissen [i]Psychological Aspects, pp. 304-41). This "sighing" or "groaning" in Romans is a longing for eschatological fulfillment and completion of the light of a glimpse of what God's glory can and one day will be. It combines praise and yearnings that go beyond words.

Insight, feeling, or longing, at the deepest level of the heart, however, needs an outlet; it needs to be "released." Here Stendahl and, in a fuller way, Theissen help us. The Holy Spirit gives the capacity to plumb the depths of the unconscious as the Spirit's gift. This is where the Holy Spirit sheds abroad the love of God ("God's love has flooded our hearts," Rom. 5:5 REB). Heart frequently includes what nowadays we call the unconscious (1 Cor. 4:4-5). Hence, as Theissen expresses it, "Glossolalia is language of the unconscious ― language capable of consciousness," which makes "unconscious depth dimensions of life accessible" (cf. Stendahl, "Glossolalia," in Paul, p. 111; and Theissen, Psychological Aspects, 106; cf, pp. 59-114 and 276-341).

Paul always expresses his approval of this gift but qualifies it in three ways. First, in genuine form it comes from the Spirit of God; it must not be self-generated as a counterfeit (14:4; especially as discussed by Vielhauer, Oikodomē, pp. 91-98). Second, it must not be exercised in public, but strictly only in private (14:5-25). Third, the only way in which the gift of tongues may be used for public benefit is for the speaker (the Greek text does not refer to a second person called an "interpreter") to receive the further gift of being enabled to communicate the content in articular speech (14:13, "Anyone who speaks in tongues should pray for the ability to interpret." REB).


To be continued...

John Reece
06-16-2015, 01:27 PM
Text: (NA27):

ἄλλῳ δὲ ἐνεργήματα δυνάμεων, ἄλλῳ [δὲ] προφητεία, ἄλλῳ [δὲ] διακρίσεις πνευμάτων, ἑτέρῳ γένη γλωσσῶν, ἄλλῳ δὲ ἑρμηνεία γλωσσῶν

Transliteration (Accordance):

allō̧ de energēmata dynameōn, allō̧ [de] prophēteia, allō̧ [de] diakriseis pneumatōn, heterō̧ genē glōssōn, allō̧ de hermēneia glōssōn

Translation (Thiselton 2006 (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?7074-1-Corinthians-12-14&p=204450&viewfull=1#post204450)):

To another, actively effective deeds of power; to another, prophecy; to another, discernment of what is "of the Spirit"; to another, species of tongues; and to another, intelligible articulation of what is spoken in tongues.

Grammatical Analysis (Zerwick/BDAG, meanings in this context):

ἐνεργήμα : a working, activity.
προφητεία : prophecy.
διάκρισις : power of discrimination.
γένος : a kind. See comment below.
γλῶσσα : tongue ; language. See comment below.
ἑρμηνεία : See comment below.

Comment (Thiselton 2006 (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?7074-1-Corinthians-12-14&p=204450&viewfull=1#post204450)):

Continued from last post (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?7074-1-Corinthians-12-14&p=207978&viewfull=1#post207978)...


Intelligible articulation of tongues speech (verse 10c). Many regard this gift as separate from the gift of speaking in tongues. They suggest that whereas one person speaks in tongues, another receives the gift to "interpret" what the tongue speaker has said in intelligible speech. In favor of this long-standing view, they point out that Paul introduces each gift with the contrasting formula another: to yet "another" may refer to a contrast between one person who has only the gift of expressing released praise, while another person may have the gift of such release together with a subsequent capacity to share the experience with others in words.

In favor of translating hermeneia as articulation rather than interpretation is the fact that this meaning is well attested among writers contemporary with Paul. Josephus writes to his Roman readership that he longs to convey the indescribable wonders of Herod's temple, but he cannot quite "hermenuō" (or "di-ermenuō") them, that is, cannot quite fully put them into words (Jewish War 5.176, 178, and 182). More examples can be found in Thiselton, "The Interpretation of Tongues?" pp. 15-36.

Second, the major contrast between prophetic speech and tongues speech turns on "articulate and intelligible" versus "inarticulate and unintelligible" (especially in chapter 14). This provides the context with reference to which we have to decide whether hermenuō and hermeneia allude to "interpretation" or to "producing articulate speech."

Third, a pivotal verse is 14:13, which as we have noted, REB translates, "Any who speaks in tongues should pray for the ability to interpret," that is, the tongues speaker should do this. Unfortunately, the NRSV uses the phrase "unless someone interprets," but it has introduced "someone" into a Greek text from which the word (Greek τις) is absent.

There is only one other text in 1 Corinthians 12―14 (more specifically, in chapter 14) re which I may post as much commentary as I have with regard 12:10b-c above.

John Reece
06-17-2015, 02:15 PM
Text: (NA27):

πάντα δὲ ταῦτα ἐνεργεῖ τὸ ἓν καὶ τὸ αὐτὸ πνεῦμα διαιροῦν ἰδίᾳ ἑκάστῳ καθὼς βούλεται.

Transliteration (Accordance):

panta de tauta energei to hen kai to auto pneuma diairoun idia̧ hekastō̧ kathōs bouletai.

Translation (Thiselton 2006 (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?7074-1-Corinthians-12-14&p=204450&viewfull=1#post204450)):

All these things one and the same Spirit activates, apportioning as he will to each person individually.

Grammatical Analysis (Zerwick/BDAG, meanings in this context):

ἐνεργέω : work, activate.
διαιροῦν : neuter participle of διαιρέω divide, apportion.
ἰδίᾳ : adverbial individually.
βούλομαι : will.

John Reece
06-18-2015, 02:35 PM
Text: (NA27):

Καθάπερ γὰρ τὸ σῶμα ἕν ἐστιν καὶ μέλη πολλὰ ἔχει, πάντα δὲ τὰ μέλη τοῦ σώματος πολλὰ ὄντα ἕν ἐστιν σῶμα, οὕτως καὶ ὁ Χριστός

Transliteration (Accordance):

Kathaper gar to sōma hen estin kai melē polla echei, panta de ta melē tou sōmatos polla onta hen estin sōma, houtōs kai ho Christos

Translation (Thiselton 2006 (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?7074-1-Corinthians-12-14&p=204450&viewfull=1#post204450)):

For just as the body is one, and has many limbs and organs, and all the limbs and organs of the body, although they are many, constitute a single body, even so this is the case with Christ.

Grammatical Analysis (Zerwick/BDAG, meanings in this context):

καθάπερ = καθώς (adverb) just as.
μέλος : member.
ὄντα : participle of εἰμί, concessive.
οὕτως καὶ ὁ Χριστός : so it is with Christ.

Comment (Thiselton 2006 (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?7074-1-Corinthians-12-14&p=204450&viewfull=1#post204450)):

A strict translation of the Greek in verse 12 would render limbs and organs simply as "members." But "members" has effectively lost all of its realism in the sense of actual body parts, not least in view of such thinned-down metaphors as "members of a club" or "member of an association." Hence we need a different English rendering to describe the body parts of Christ. We translate limbs and organs (cf. "organs," REB). Paul regards the church as in a specific sense (but not in every sense) Christ's own body. This reflects the voice of the Lord on the road to Damascus: "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?" (Acts 9:4 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=acts+9%3A4&version=NRSV); 22:7 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=acts+22%3A7&version=NRSV)).

John Reece
06-19-2015, 04:20 PM
Text: (NA27):

καὶ γὰρ ἐν ἑνὶ πνεύματι ἡμεῖς πάντες εἰς ἓν σῶμα ἐβαπτίσθημεν, εἴτε Ἰουδαῖοι εἴτε Ἕλληνες εἴτε δοῦλοι εἴτε ἐλεύθεροι, καὶ πάντες ἓν πνεῦμα ἐποτίσθημεν.

Transliteration (Accordance):

kai gar en heni pneumati hēmeis pantes eis hen sōma ebaptisthēmen, eite Ioudaioi eite Hellēnes eite douloi eite eleutheroi, kai pantes hen pneuma epotisthēmen.

Translation (Thiselton 2006 (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?7074-1-Corinthians-12-14&p=204450&viewfull=1#post204450)):

For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body, whether Jews or Gentiles, whether slaves or free people. Of one Spirit were we all given to drink our fill.

Grammatical Analysis (Zerwick/BDAG, meanings in this context):

καὶ γάρ : for indeed.
ἐβαπτίσθημεν : aorist passive of βαπτίζω to use water in a rite for purpose of renewing or establishing a relationship with God, plunge, dip, wash, baptize..
εἴτε ... εἴτε : whether ... or.
Ἕλλην, -ηνος, ὁ : 1. a person of Greek language and culture, Greek... 2. in the broader sense, all persons who came under the influence of Greek, as distinguished from Israel’s, culture.
ἐλεύθερος : free.
ἐποτίσθημεν : aorist passive of ποτίζω τί τινα give one something to drink.

The best exegesis of this verse (12:13) is provided by Gordon Fee's Revised Edition of The New International Commentary on the New Testament (NICNT: Eerdmans, 2014). (http://www.eerdmans.com/Products/CategoryCenter.aspx?CategoryId=SE!NICNT)

John Reece
06-20-2015, 02:32 PM
Text: (NA27):

Καὶ γὰρ τὸ σῶμα οὐκ ἔστιν ἓν μέλος ἀλλὰ πολλά.

Transliteration (Accordance):

Kai gar to sōma ouk estin hen melos alla polla.

Translation (Thiselton 2006 (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?7074-1-Corinthians-12-14&p=204450&viewfull=1#post204450)):

For the body is not a single entity but many.

Grammatical Analysis (Zerwick/BDAG, meanings in this context):

γάρ : emphasizing the multiplicity in unity refers logically to verse 12 (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?7074-1-Corinthians-12-14&p=208966&viewfull=1#post208966) (rather than 13 (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?7074-1-Corinthians-12-14&p=209297&viewfull=1#post209297)).

John Reece
06-21-2015, 01:30 PM
Text: (NA27):

ἐὰν εἴπῃ ὁ πούς· ὅτι οὐκ εἰμὶ χείρ, οὐκ εἰμὶ ἐκ τοῦ σώματος, οὐ παρὰ τοῦτο οὐκ ἔστιν ἐκ τοῦ σώματος;

Transliteration (Accordance):

ean eipȩ̄ ho pous; hoti ouk eimi cheir, ouk eimi ek tou sōmatos, ou para touto ouk estin ek tou sōmatos?

Translation (Thiselton 2006 (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?7074-1-Corinthians-12-14&p=204450&viewfull=1#post204450)):

If the foot should say, "Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body," just because of this does it not belong to the body?

Grammatical Analysis (Zerwick/BDAG, meanings in this context):

εἴπῃ : aorist subjunctive of λέγω say.
ὅτι : because.
οὐκ εἰμὶ ἐκ τοῦ σώματος : I do not belong to the body.
παρὰ τοῦτο : because of this, for this reason ; οὐ παρὰ τοῦτο οὐκ ἔστιν ἐκ τοῦ σώματος literally, "not for this (reason) does it not belong to the body", i.e. it does not follow that it does not belong... or it belongs to the body all the same.

John Reece
06-22-2015, 05:32 PM
Text: (NA27):

καὶ ἐὰν εἴπῃ τὸ οὖς· ὅτι οὐκ εἰμὶ ὀφθαλμός, οὐκ εἰμὶ ἐκ τοῦ σώματος, οὐ παρὰ τοῦτο οὐκ ἔστιν ἐκ τοῦ σώματος;

Transliteration (Accordance):

kai ean eipȩ̄ to ous; hoti ouk eimi ophthalmos, ouk eimi ek tou sōmatos, ou para touto ouk estin ek tou sōmatos?

Translation (Thiselton 2006 (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?7074-1-Corinthians-12-14&p=204450&viewfull=1#post204450)):

And if the ear should say, "Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body." On that score does it any any less belong to the body?

Grammatical Analysis (Zerwick/BDAG, meanings in this context):

οὖς, ὠτός, τό : ear.

John Reece
06-23-2015, 02:20 PM
Text: (NA27):

εἰ ὅλον τὸ σῶμα ὀφθαλμός, ποῦ ἡ ἀκοή; εἰ ὅλον ἀκοή, ποῦ ἡ ὄσφρησις;

Transliteration (Accordance):

ei holon to sōma ophthalmos, pou hē akoē? ei holon akoē, pou hē osphrēsis?

Translation (Thiselton 2006 (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?7074-1-Corinthians-12-14&p=204450&viewfull=1#post204450)):

If the whole body were an eye, where would be the hearing? If the whole were an ear, where would the nose be?

Grammatical Analysis (Zerwick/BDAG, meanings in this context):

ποῦ; : where?
ἀκοή : hearing, ποῦ ἡ ἀκοή; where would its hearing be?
ὄσφρησις : sense of smell, or organ of smell, nose.

John Reece
06-24-2015, 03:14 PM
Text: (NA27):

νυνὶ δὲ ὁ θεὸς ἔθετο τὰ μέλη, ἓν ἕκαστον αὐτῶν ἐν τῷ σώματι καθὼς ἠθέλησεν.

Transliteration (Accordance):

nyni de ho theos etheto ta melē, hen hekaston autōn en tō̧ sōmati kathōs ēthelēsen.

Translation (Thiselton 2006 (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?7074-1-Corinthians-12-14&p=204450&viewfull=1#post204450)):

But as it is, God placed the members, each single one of them, in the body as it seemed good to him.

Grammatical Analysis (Zerwick/BDAG, meanings in this context):

νυνὶ δέ : but as it is.
ἔθετο : aorist middle of τίθημι put, place, middle connoting "for his own purposes".
μέλος : a part of the human body, member, part, limb.
ἓις ἕκαστος : each one.
ἠθέλησεν : aorist of θέλω to have something in mind for oneself, of purpose, resolve, will, wish, want.

John Reece
06-25-2015, 02:29 PM
Text: (NA27):

εἰ δὲ ἦν τὰ πάντα ἓν μέλος, ποῦ τὸ σῶμα;

Transliteration (Accordance):

ei de ēn ta panta hen melos, pou to sōma?

Translation (Thiselton 2006 (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?7074-1-Corinthians-12-14&p=204450&viewfull=1#post204450)):

But if all were a single organ, in what would the body consist?

Grammatical Analysis (Zerwick/BDAG, meanings in this context):

εἰ...ἦν : if...were, εἰ with past tense of indicative forming protasis of an unfulfilled (unreal) condition.
τὰ πάντα : they all.

John Reece
06-26-2015, 01:06 PM
Text: (NA27):

νῦν δὲ πολλὰ μὲν μέλη, ἓν δὲ σῶμα.

Transliteration (Accordance):

nyn de polla men melē, hen de sōma.

Translation (NRSV):

As it is, there are many members, yet one body.

Grammatical Analysis (Zerwick/BDAG, meanings in this context):

πολλὰ μὲν...ἓν δὲ : while...are many, yet...is one.

John Reece
06-27-2015, 01:32 PM
Text: (NA27):

οὐ δύναται δὲ ὁ ὀφθαλμὸς εἰπεῖν τῇ χειρί· χρείαν σου οὐκ ἔχω, ἢ πάλιν ἡ κεφαλὴ τοῖς ποσίν· χρείαν ὑμῶν οὐκ ἔχω

Transliteration (Accordance):

ou dynatai de ho ophthalmos eipein tȩ̄ cheiri; chreian sou ouk echō, ē palin hē kephalē tois posin; chreian hymōn ouk echō

Translation (NRSV):

The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.”

Grammatical Analysis (Zerwick/BDAG, meanings in this context):

εἰπεῖν : aorist infinitive of λέγω say.
χρεία : need.

John Reece
06-28-2015, 02:21 PM
Text: (NA27):

ἀλλὰ πολλῷ μᾶλλον τὰ δοκοῦντα μέλη τοῦ σώματος ἀσθενέστερα ὑπάρχειν ἀναγκαῖά ἐστιν

Transliteration (Accordance):

alla pollō̧ mallon ta dokounta melē tou sōmatos asthenestera hyparchein anagkaia estin

Translation (Thiselton 2006 (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?7074-1-Corinthians-12-14&p=204450&viewfull=1#post204450)):

On the contrary, even more to the point, those limbs and organs of the body which seem to be less endowed with power or status than others are essential.

Grammatical Analysis (Zerwick/BDAG, meanings in this context):

ἀλλὰ πολλῷ μᾶλλον...ἀναγκαῖα : but rather/on the contrary...much more necessary.
δοκοῦντα : participle of δοκέω intransitive seem.
ἀσθενέστερος : (comparative of ἀσθενής 'weak, powerless') weaker.
ὑπάρχειν : here simply be.
ἀναγκαῖος : necessary, vital.

John Reece
07-01-2015, 04:14 PM
Text: (NA27):

καὶ ἃ δοκοῦμεν ἀτιμότερα εἶναι τοῦ σώματος τούτοις τιμὴν περισσοτέραν περιτίθεμεν, καὶ τὰ ἀσχήμονα ἡμῶν εὐσχημοσύνην περισσοτέραν ἔχει

Transliteration (Accordance):

kai ha dokoumen atimotera einai tou sōmatos toutois timēn perissoteran peritithemen, kai ta aschēmona hēmōn euschēmosynēn perissoteran echei

Translation (Thiselton 2006 (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?7074-1-Corinthians-12-14&p=204450&viewfull=1#post204450)):

And on what we deem to be less honorable parts of the body we invest with greater honor, and our unpresentable private parts have greater adornment to make them presentable.

Grammatical Analysis (Zerwick/BDAG, meanings in this context):

δοκέω : think, suppose.
ἀτιμότερα : (comparative of ἄτιμος) less honorable.
τιμή : honor.
περισσότερος : (comparative of περισσός) even more, even greater.
περιτίθημι : put around, especially put on clothing ; invest with.
ἀσχήμων, -ον -μονος : ἄσχημον indecent, unpresentable, τὰ ἀσχημῶν our private parts.
εὐσχημοσύνη : presentability.

John Reece
07-02-2015, 01:52 PM
Text: (NA27):

τὰ δὲ εὐσχήμονα ἡμῶν οὐ χρείαν ἔχει. ἀλλὰ ὁ θεὸς συνεκέρασεν τὸ σῶμα τῷ ὑστερουμένῳ περισσοτέραν δοὺς τιμήν

Transliteration (Accordance):

ta de euschēmona hēmōn ou chreian echei. alla ho theos synekerasen to sōma tō̧ hysteroumenō̧ perissoteran dous timēn

Translation (Thiselton 2006 (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?7074-1-Corinthians-12-14&p=204450&viewfull=1#post204450)):

Our presentable parts do not need this. But God composed the body, giving to that which feels inferior greater honor.

Grammatical Analysis (Zerwick/BDAG, meanings in this context):

εὐσχήμων, -ον, gen. -ονος : decent, presentable.
χρεία : need.
συνεκέρασεν : aorist of συγκεράννυμι blend ; compose, compound.
ὑστερουμένῳ : passive participle of ὑστερέω, active and passive lack, be without.
δούς : aorist participle of δίδωμι.

John Reece
07-03-2015, 04:00 PM
Text: (NA27):

ἵνα μὴ ᾖ σχίσμα ἐν τῷ σώματι ἀλλὰ τὸ αὐτὸ ὑπὲρ ἀλλήλων μεριμνῶσιν τὰ μέλη.

Transliteration (Accordance):

hina mē ȩ̄ schisma en tō̧ sōmati alla to auto hyper allēlōn merimnōsin ta melē.

Translation (Thiselton 2006 (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?7074-1-Corinthians-12-14&p=204450&viewfull=1#post204450)):

He purposed that there should be no split within the body, but that its limbs and organs might share the same concern for one another.

Grammatical Analysis (Zerwick/BDAG, meanings in this context):

ᾖ : subjunctive of εἰμί be.
σχίσμα : division.
τὸ αὐτό : the same.
μεριμνῶσιν : subjunctive of μεριμνάω have concern, plural because τὰ μέλη (neuter plural subject) are considered as separate entities.

John Reece
07-04-2015, 03:08 PM
Text: (NA27):

καὶ εἴτε πάσχει ἓν μέλος, συμπάσχει πάντα τὰ μέλη· εἴτε δοξάζεται [ἓν] μέλος, συγχαίρει πάντα τὰ μέλη.

Transliteration (Accordance):

kai eite paschei hen melos, sympaschei panta ta melē; eite doxazetai [hen] melos, sygchairei panta ta melē.

Translation (NRSV):

If one member suffers, all suffer together with it; if one member is honored, all rejoice together with it.

Grammatical Analysis (Zerwick/BDAG, meanings in this context):

καί : and so.
εἴτε ... εἴτε : whether ... or.
πάσχω : suffer.
συμπάσχω : suffer with or together.
δοξάζεται : passive of δοξάζω honor, passive have honor shown to one.
συγχαίρω : rejoice with or together.

John Reece
07-05-2015, 04:03 PM
Text: (NA27):

Ὑμεῖς δέ ἐστε σῶμα Χριστοῦ καὶ μέλη ἐκ μέρους.

Transliteration (Accordance):

hYmeis de este sōma Christou kai melē ek merous.

Translation (Thiselton 2006 (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?7074-1-Corinthians-12-14&p=204450&viewfull=1#post204450)):

Now you yourselves are Christ's body, and each of you, for his or her part, limbs and organs of it.

Grammatical Analysis (Zerwick/BDAG, meanings in this context):

μέρος : part, ἐκ μέρους in part ; individually.

John Reece
07-06-2015, 03:10 PM
Text: (NA27):

Καὶ οὓς μὲν ἔθετο ὁ θεὸς ἐν τῇ ἐκκλησίᾳ πρῶτον ἀποστόλους, δεύτερον προφήτας, τρίτον διδασκάλους, ἔπειτα δυνάμεις, ἔπειτα χαρίσματα ἰαμάτων, ἀντιλήμψεις, κυβερνήσεις, γένη γλωσσῶν.

Transliteration (Accordance):

Kai hous men etheto ho theos en tȩ̄ ekklēsia̧ prōton apostolous, deuteron prophētas, triton didaskalous, epeita dynameis, epeita charismata iamatōn, antilēmpseis, kybernēseis, genē glōssōn.

Translation (Thiselton 2006 (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?7074-1-Corinthians-12-14&p=204450&viewfull=1#post204450)):

And God has placed in the church, first, some who are apostles; second, prophets; third, teachers; then effective deeds of power, then gifts of healing, various kinds of administrative support, ability to formulate strategies, various kinds of tongues.

Grammatical Analysis (Zerwick/BDAG, meanings in this context):

οὓς μέν : some.
ἔθετο : aorist middle of τίθημι put, place, middle connoting "for his own purposes".
δεύτερος : second, neuter as adverb.
τρίτος : third.
διδάσκαλος : teacher.
ἔπειτα : then.
δυνάμεις : nominative and accusative plural of δύναμις power, normally denotes the activity, in verse 29 seems to denote the persons endowed with the gift.
χάρισμα : gift from God for the service of the community, the variety of gifts not effacing their unity which is grounded in the one God.
ἴαμα : (< ἰάομαι heal, cure) cure, healing.
ἀντίλημψις : helping (others), denotes the corporal works of mercy.
κυβέρνησις : guidance, administration.
γένη γλωσσῶν : kinds of tongues.

John Reece
07-07-2015, 04:26 PM
Text: (NA27):

μὴ πάντες ἀπόστολοι; μὴ πάντες προφῆται; μὴ πάντες διδάσκαλοι; μὴ πάντες δυνάμεις;

Transliteration (Accordance):

mē pantes apostoloi? mē pantes prophētai? mē pantes didaskaloi? mē pantes dynameis?

Translation (Thiselton 2006 (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?7074-1-Corinthians-12-14&p=204450&viewfull=1#post204450)):

All are not apostles, are they? Surely all are not prophets? Could all be teachers? Do all perform effective deeds of power?

Grammatical Analysis (Zerwick/BDAG, meanings in this context):

μή : interrogative expecting a negative answer, not all are apostles, are they?

John Reece
07-08-2015, 12:52 PM
Text: (NA27):

μὴ πάντες χαρίσματα ἔχουσιν ἰαμάτων; μὴ πάντες γλώσσαις λαλοῦσιν; μὴ πάντες διερμηνεύουσιν;

Transliteration (Accordance):

μὴ πάντες χαρίσματα ἔχουσιν ἰαμάτων; μὴ πάντες γλώσσαις λαλοῦσιν; μὴ πάντες διερμηνεύουσιν;

Translation (Thiselton 2006 (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?7074-1-Corinthians-12-14&p=204450&viewfull=1#post204450)):

Does everyone have gifts to heal in various ways? Surely all do not speak in tongues, do they? Do all put the deepest spiritual things into articular speech?

Grammatical Analysis (Zerwick/BDAG, meanings in this context):

μή : interrogative expecting a negative answer, not all are apostles, are they?
διερμηνεύω : interpret. See here (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?7074-1-Corinthians-12-14&p=208270&viewfull=1#post208270).

John Reece
07-09-2015, 03:30 PM
Text: (NA27):

ζηλοῦτε δὲ τὰ χαρίσματα τὰ μείζονα.
Καὶ ἔτι καθ᾿ ὑπερβολὴν ὁδὸν ὑμῖν δείκνυμι.

Transliteration (Accordance):

zēloute de ta charismata ta meizona.
Kai eti kath’ hyperbolēn hodon hymin deiknymi.

Translation (Thiselton 2006 (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?7074-1-Corinthians-12-14&p=204450&viewfull=1#post204450)):

Continue to be zealously concerned about the "greatest" gifts.
Yet, an even greater way still I am going to show you.

Grammatical Analysis (Zerwick/BDAG, meanings in this context):

ζηλοῦτε : imperative of ζηλόω (τι) be zealous/eager for (something).
μείζων -ζονος : comparative of μέγας great.
ἔτι : yet, still.
ὑπερβολή : (< ὑπερβάλλω go beyond, surpass) preeminence, κα ὑπερβολήν French par excellence, and incomparable way, a way better than any.

Comment by Gordon D. Fee in the first edition of his NICNT commentary (I have the second edition; however it is not in Accordance as is the first edition, which is easier for me to quote here ― copy and paste rather than transcribe). The second edition is more fulsome and refined, but the first contains the basic exegesis. All his many footnotes are omitted from this post.


31 After the argument of vv. 4–30 and especially after the rhetoric of vv. 29–30, the imperative with which this verse begins, “But eagerly desire the greater gifts,” is a puzzle. It is not so for many, of course, since it is common to read v. 28 as ranking the various ministries and gifts, so that Paul might place tongues as the last and least of the gifts. This imperative is then read as urging them to seek the gifts at the top of the list as opposed to those at the bottom, which the argument in chap. 14 is seen to support (prophecy as the “greater” and tongues as the “least”). The difficulties with this view, however, are simply too many to make it viable; indeed, it must finally be rejected as contradictory both to the spirit and the intent of the preceding argument. But if so, then what does one do with this imperative, which likewise seems contradictory to what has preceded? Three alternatives have been offered.

(1) Some have suggested that this is a citation from the Corinthian letter, as though Paul were saying, “But ‘earnestly desire the greater gifts,’ you say; well, I will show you a way far superior to that.” This is supported not only by the fact that in previous places Paul seems to cite their letter, but by the language of 14:12 as well: “Since you are zealots for ‘spirits.’ ” The difficulty with this option is the lack of signals at this point in the argument that would suggest either that Paul is quoting them or that what follows is a qualification of the kind found, for example, in 6:13–14; 7:2; or 8:2–3.

(2) It is possible to read the verb as an indicative (cf. NIV margin). Thus Paul, after arguing for diversity against their own singular enthusiasm for tongues as the premier evidence of being “spiritual,” has remonstrated, “But you are seeking the so-called greater gifts. Rather I will show you a ‘more excellent way.’ ” He then proceeds to urge the pursuit of love, and that in that context they eagerly desire not “greater gifts,” but simply “spiritual gifts.” And when one does both pursues love and desires spiritual gifts he or she will seek an intelligible gift such as prophecy (or others listed in 14:6), for only what is intelligible will edify the community. This is supported further, as with the prior option, by Paul’s statement to this effect in 14:12. What basically stands against this option is the appearance of the same verb form in 14:1 and 39, where it can only be an imperative and not an indicative.

(3) Despite some attractive features to this second option, the more likely alternative is that the verb is an imperative, as in 14:1, but that it is not intended to be in contrast to 12:4–30, nor to the preceding listings of gifts. Rather, the preceding argument has concluded with the rhetoric of vv. 29–30. With these words Paul is about to launch on his next argument, namely 14:1–25 and the need for intelligibility in the community; and in the community all the intelligible gifts are “greater” than tongues because they can edify while tongues without interpretation cannot. But before he gets to that point, Paul interrupts himself to give the proper framework in which the “greater gifts” are to function ― love. In this view 14:1 is resumptive. “Pursue love,” he commands, “and in that context eagerly desire the things of the Spirit, especially those gifts that are intelligible and will thus edify the community.”

If this is the correct view of things, then the words “and now I will show you the most excellent way” serve to interrupt the argument in order to put the entire discussion into a different framework altogether. It is often suggested that Paul is setting forth love as the greatest of all the gifts, and therefore the “greater gift” that all should pursue. But this is not quite precise. Not only does Paul not call love a gift, either here or elsewhere, but this clause stands in contrast to the immediately preceding imperative, not as its proper complement. What Paul is about to embark on is a description of what he calls “a way that is beyond comparison.” The way they are going is basically destructive to the church as a community; the way they are being called to is one that seeks the good of others before oneself. It is the way of edifying the church (14:1–5), of seeking the common good (12:7). In that context one will still earnestly desire the things of the Spirit (14:1), but precisely so that others will be edified. Thus it is not “love versus gifts” that Paul has in mind, but “love as the only context for gifts”; for without the former, the latter have no usefulness at all but then neither does much of anything else in the Christian life.

John Reece
07-10-2015, 03:24 PM
Text: (NA27):

Ἐὰν ταῖς γλώσσαις τῶν ἀνθρώπων λαλῶ καὶ τῶν ἀγγέλων, ἀγάπην δὲ μὴ ἔχω, γέγονα χαλκὸς ἠχῶν ἢ κύμβαλον ἀλαλάζον.

Transliteration (Accordance):

Ean tais glōssais tōn anthrōpōn lalō kai tōn aggelōn, agapēn de mē echō, gegona chalkos ēchōn ē kymbalon alalazon.

Translation (Thiselton 2006 (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?7074-1-Corinthians-12-14&p=204450&viewfull=1#post204450)):

If I were to speak with human or angelic tongues, but if I had not love, I would have become only a resonating jar or a reverberating cymbal.

Grammatical Analysis (Zerwick/BDAG, meanings in this context):

γλῶσσα : language, tongue, γλώσσαις τῶν ἀγγέλων the way in which angels are thought to express their adoration.
ἐάν ... λαλῶ : (present subjunctive) a possible condition.
ἔχω : present subjunctive.
γέγονα : perfect of γίνομαι, in perfect be.
χαλκός : brass, copper.
ἠχῶν : participle of ἠχέω make a sound or noise.
κύμβαλον : cymbal,
ἀλαλάζον : participle of ἀλαλάζω wail loudly (Mk 5:38) ; of a cymbal, clang.

John Reece
07-11-2015, 02:53 PM
Text: (NA27):

καὶ ἐὰν ἔχω προφητείαν καὶ εἰδῶ τὰ μυστήρια πάντα καὶ πᾶσαν τὴν γνῶσιν καὶ ἐὰν ἔχω πᾶσαν τὴν πίστιν ὥστε ὄρη μεθιστάναι, ἀγάπην δὲ μὴ ἔχω, οὐθέν εἰμι.

Transliteration (Accordance):

kai ean echō prophēteian kai eidō ta mystēria panta kai pasan tēn gnōsin kai ean echō pasan tēn pistin hōste orē methistanai, agapēn de mē echō, outhen eimi.

Translation (Thiselton 2006 (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?7074-1-Corinthians-12-14&p=204450&viewfull=1#post204450)):

And if I should have the gift of prophecy, and if I penetrate all the depths too profound for mere human discovery, and have all "knowledge," and if I possess the gifts of every kind of faith sufficient to remove mountains―but after all, may lack love, I am nothing.

Grammatical Analysis (Zerwick/BDAG, meanings in this context):

προφητεία : (gift of) prophecy.
εἰδῶ : subjunctive of οἶδα (perfect-present) know.
μυστήριον : (< μυέω initiate) secret rite ; in NT the secret mystery of the divine plan.
γνῶσις : knowledge.
μεθιστάναι : infinitive of μεθίστημί τι move, remove something elsewhere.
οὐθέν = οὐδέν : nothing.

John Reece
07-12-2015, 02:04 PM
Text: (NA27):

κἂν ψωμίσω πάντα τὰ ὑπάρχοντά μου καὶ ἐὰν παραδῶ τὸ σῶμά μου ἵνα καυχήσωμαι, ἀγάπην δὲ μὴ ἔχω, οὐδὲν ὠφελοῦμαι.

Transliteration (Accordance):

kan psōmisō panta ta hyparchonta mou kai ean paradō to sōma mou hina kauchēsōmai, agapēn de mē echō, ouden ōpheloumai.

Translation (Thiselton 2006 (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?7074-1-Corinthians-12-14&p=204450&viewfull=1#post204450)):

Even if I should divide up all my possessions to feed the needy, and if I hand over my body that I may glory, but have not love, it counts for nothing.

Grammatical Analysis (Zerwick/BDAG, meanings in this context):

ψωμίσω : aorist subjunctive of ψωμίζω dole out so as to feed.
ὑπάρχοντα : participle of ὑπάρχω ; ὑπάρχω τινί belong to one, τὰ ὑπάρχοντα possessions.
παραδῶ : aorist subjunctive of παραδίδωμι hand over, give (over), deliver.
καυχήσωμαι : aorist subjunctive of καυχάομαι boast.
οὐδέν : in no way.
ὠφελοῦμαι : passive of ὠφελέω help, be profitable or good ; passive be helped/benefited.

John Reece
07-13-2015, 04:35 PM
Text: (NA27):

Ἡ ἀγάπη μακροθυμεῖ, χρηστεύεται [ἡ ἀγάπη], οὐ ζηλοῖ, ἡ ἀγάπη] οὐ περπερεύεται, οὐ φυσιοῦται

Transliteration (Accordance):

hĒ agapē makrothymei, chrēsteuetai [hē agapē], ou zēloi, hē agapē] ou perpereuetai, ou physioutai

Translation (Thiselton 2006 (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?7074-1-Corinthians-12-14&p=204450&viewfull=1#post204450)):

Love waits patiently; love shows kindness, love does not burn with envy; love does not brag ― it is not inflated with its own importance.

Grammatical Analysis (Zerwick/BDAG, meanings in this context):

μακροθυμέω : (adjective μακρόθυμος long-tempored) be slow to anger, be patient.
χρηστεύομαι : be kind (χρηστός).
ζηλόω : be zealous, or envious.
περπερεύομαι : put oneself forward, colloquial "show off".
φυσιοῦμαι : passive of φυσιόω inflate ; passive be full of one's own importance.

John Reece
07-14-2015, 03:58 PM
Text: (NA27):

οὐκ ἀσχημονεῖ, οὐ ζητεῖ τὰ ἑαυτῆς, οὐ παροξύνεται, οὐ λογίζεται τὸ κακόν

Transliteration (Accordance):

ouk aschēmonei, ou zētei ta heautēs, ou paroxynetai, ou logizetai to kakon

Translation (Thiselton 2006 (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?7074-1-Corinthians-12-14&p=204450&viewfull=1#post204450)):

It does not behave with ill-mannered impropriety; it is not preoccupied with the interests of the self; does not become exasperated into pique; does not keep a reckoning up of evil.

Grammatical Analysis (Zerwick/BDAG, meanings in this context):

ἀσχημονέω : behave dishonorably or deceitfully.
τὰ ἑαυτῆς : "what are its own", i.e. its own interests.
παροξύνομαι : (< ὀξύς sharp) : be hot-tempered.
λογίζομαι : put down to one's account ; reason ; consider ; brood over.
κακόν : evil ; injury.

John Reece
07-15-2015, 06:29 PM
Text: (NA27):

οὐ χαίρει ἐπὶ τῇ ἀδικίᾳ, συγχαίρει δὲ τῇ ἀληθείᾳ

Transliteration (Accordance):

ou chairei epi tȩ̄ adikia̧, sygchairei de tȩ̄ alētheia̧

Translation (Thiselton 2006 (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?7074-1-Corinthians-12-14&p=204450&viewfull=1#post204450)):

Love does not take pleasure in wrongdoing, but joyfully celebrates truth.

Grammatical Analysis (Zerwick/BDAG, meanings in this context):

ἀδικία : unrighteousness, wrongdoing.
συγχαίρω τινί : rejoice with.

John Reece
07-16-2015, 02:24 PM
Text: (NA27):

πάντα στέγει, πάντα πιστεύει, πάντα ἐλπίζει, πάντα ὑπομένει.

Transliteration (Accordance):

panta stegei, panta pisteuei, panta elpizei, panta hypomenei.

Translation (Thiselton 2006 (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?7074-1-Corinthians-12-14&p=204450&viewfull=1#post204450)):

It never tires of support, never loses faith, never exhausts hope, never gives up.

Grammatical Analysis (Zerwick/BDAG, meanings in this context):

στέγω : bear.
ἐλπίζω : hope.
ὑπομένω : endure.

John Reece
07-17-2015, 06:02 PM
Text: (NA27):

Ἡ ἀγάπη οὐδέποτε πίπτει· εἴτε δὲ προφητεῖαι, καταργηθήσονται· εἴτε γλῶσσαι, παύσονται· εἴτε γνῶσις, καταργηθήσεται.

Transliteration (Accordance):

hĒ agapē oudepote piptei; eite de prophēteiai, katargēthēsontai; eite glōssai, pausontai; eite gnōsis, katargēthēsetai.

Translation (Thiselton 2006 (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?7074-1-Corinthians-12-14&p=204450&viewfull=1#post204450)):

Love never falls apart. Whether there are prophecies, these will be brought to an end; or if it be tongues, these will stop; if it be "knowledge," this will be rendered obsolete.

Grammatical Analysis (Zerwick/BDAG, meanings in this context):

οὐδέποτε : never.
πίπτω : metaphorical fail.
εἴτε ... εἴτε : whether (it be)...or...
προφητεία : prophecy.
καταργηθήσονται : (first time) future passive of καταργέω bring to nothing (ἄ-εργος, idle, inoperative).
γλῶσσα : language ; tongue.
παύσονται : future middle of παύω restrain ; middle cease.
γνῶσις : knowledge.
καταργηθήσεται : translate will be superseded

John Reece
07-18-2015, 12:02 PM
Text: (NA27):

ἐκ μέρους γὰρ γινώσκομεν καὶ ἐκ μέρους προφητεύομεν

Transliteration (Accordance):

ek merous gar ginōskomen kai ek merous prophēteuomen

Translation (Thiselton 2006 (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?7074-1-Corinthians-12-14&p=204450&viewfull=1#post204450)):

For we know in fragmentary ways, and we prophesy part by part.

Grammatical Analysis (Zerwick/BDAG, meanings in this context):

μέρος : part, ἐκ μέρους partially, in part.
προφητεύω : prophesy.

John Reece
07-19-2015, 01:07 PM
Text: (NA27):

ὅταν δὲ ἔλθῃ τὸ τέλειον, τὸ ἐκ μέρους καταργηθήσεται.

Transliteration (Accordance):

hotan de elthȩ̄ to teleion, to ek merous katargēthēsetai.

Translation (Thiselton 2006 (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?7074-1-Corinthians-12-14&p=204450&viewfull=1#post204450)):

When the completed whole comes, what is piece by piece shall be done away.

Grammatical Analysis (Zerwick/BDAG, meanings in this context):

ἔλθῃ : aorist subjunctive of ἔρχομαι come.
τέλειος : complete ; perfect.
τὸ ἐκ μέρους : what is partial/incomplete ; what is imperfect.

Comment from the first edition of The First Epistle to the Corinthians (NICNT: Eerdmans, 1987), by Gordon D. Fee (via Accordance):


9–10 Paul now sets out to explain what he has asserted in verse 8. He does so by using the language “in part” to describe the “for now only” nature of the gifts (repeating the verb “pass away” from verse 8 to indicate what happens to them) and “the perfect/complete” to describe the time when what is “in part” will come to an end. The use of the substantive “the perfect/complete,” which sometimes can mean “mature,” plus the ambiguity of the first analogy (childhood and adulthood), has led some to think that the contrast is between “immaturity” and “maturity.” But that will hardly do since the contrast has to do with the gifts’ being “partial,” not the believers themselves. Furthermore, that is to give the analogy, which is ambiguous at best, precedence over the argument as a whole and the plain statement of verse 12b, where Paul repeats verbatim the first clause of verse 9, “we know in part,” in a context that can only be eschatological. Convoluted as the argument may appear, Paul’s distinctions are between “now” and “then,” between what is incomplete (though perfectly appropriate to the church’s present existence) and what is complete (when its final destiny in Christ has been reached and “we see face to face” and “know as we are known”).

That means that the phrase “in part” refers to what is not complete, or at least not complete in itself. The phrase by itself does not carry the connotation of “temporary” or “relative”; that comes from the context and the language “now … then” in verse 12. But the implication is there. It is “partial” because it belongs only to this age, which is but the beginning, not the completion, of the End. These gifts have to do with the edification of the church as it “eagerly awaits our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed” (1:7). The nature of the eschatological language in verse 12 further implies that the term “the perfect” has to do with the Eschaton itself, not some form of “perfection” in the present age. It is not so much that the End itself is “the perfect,” language that does not make tolerably good sense; rather, it is what happens at the End, when the goal has been reached (see n.22*). At the coming of Christ the final purpose of God’s saving work in Christ will have been reached; at that point those gifts now necessary for the building up of the church in the present age will disappear, because “the complete” will have come. To cite Barth’s marvelous imagery: “Because the sun rises all lights are extinguished.”

*22. Greek τὸ τέλειον; cf. 2:7. This is the adjective of the verb τελειόω. Both mean to “bring to an end, to complete” something, although they also carry the further sense of “making” or “being perfect.” That is, the completing of something is the perfecting of it. God may thus be described as τέλειος (Matt. 5:48), which can only mean “perfect.” The meaning in the present instance is determined by its being the final goal of what is ἐκ μέρους, “partial.” Thus its root sense of “having attained the end or purpose” (BAGD), hence “complete,” seems to be the nuance here.

John Reece
07-20-2015, 04:42 PM
Text: (NA27):

ὅτε ἤμην νήπιος, ἐλάλουν ὡς νήπιος, ἐφρόνουν ὡς νήπιος, ἐλογιζόμην ὡς νήπιος· ὅτε γέγονα ἀνήρ, κατήργηκα τὰ τοῦ νηπίου.

Transliteration (Accordance):

hote ēmēn nēpios, elaloun hōs nēpios, ephronoun hōs nēpios, elogizomēn hōs nēpios; hote gegona anēr, katērgēka ta tou nēpiou.

Translation (Thiselton 2006 (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?7074-1-Corinthians-12-14&p=204450&viewfull=1#post204450)):

When I was a child, I used to talk like a child, form opinions like a child, count values like a child; when I reached adulthood, I turned my back on the things of childhood.

Grammatical Analysis (Zerwick/BDAG, meanings in this context):

ἤμην : imperfect of εἰμί be.
νήπιος : infant ; child.
ἐλάλουν : imperfect of λαλέω talk, speak.
ἐφρόνουν : imperfect of φρονέω think.
ἐλογιζόμην : λογίζομαι (verse 5) reckon, calculate, reason, consider, brood over.
γέγονα : (verse 1) perfect of γίνομαι become, be
ὅτε γέγονα : since I became or preferably now I am.
κατήργηκα : perfect of καταργέω here, have finished/done with.
τὰ τοῦ νηπίου : the things of childhood.

Comment from the first edition of The First Epistle to the Corinthians (NICNT: Eerdmans, 1987), by Gordon D. Fee (via Accordance):


11 Picking up the themes of “in part” and “the complete,” plus the verb “pass away” from verse 10, Paul proceeds to express the point of verses 9–10 by way of analogy. The analogy itself is commonplace. The adult does not continue to “talk” or “think” or “reason” like a child. Because of the use of the verb “talk,” which elsewhere in this section is used with tongues, and the contrast in 14:20 between thinking like children and adults, it is common to see this analogy as referring to speaking in tongues, which is then also considered “childish” behavior that the Corinthians are now being urged to set aside in favor of love. Such a view flies full in the face of the argument itself, both here and in 12:4–11 and 14:1–40.

Paul’s point in context does not have to do with “childishness” and “growing up,” but with the difference between the present and the future. He is illustrating that there will come a time when the gifts will pass away. The analogy, therefore, says that behavior from one period in one’s life is not appropriate to the other; the one is “done away with” when the other comes. So shall it be at the Eschaton. The behavior of the child is in fact appropriate to childhood. The gifts, by analogy, are appropriate to the present life of the church, especially so since from Paul’s point of view they are the active work of the Spirit in the church’s corporate life. On the other hand, the gifts are equally inappropriate to the church’s final existence because then, as he will go on to argue in verse 12, “I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.” Hence the implicit contrast with love, which will never come to an end. Love does not eliminate the gifts in the present; rather, it is absolutely essential to Christian life both now and forever. The gifts, on the other hand, are not forever; they are to help build up the body but only in the present, when such edification is needed.

John Reece
07-21-2015, 03:27 PM
Text: (NA27):

βλέπομεν γὰρ ἄρτι δι᾿ ἐσόπτρου ἐν αἰνίγματι, τότε δὲ πρόσωπον πρὸς πρόσωπον· ἄρτι γινώσκω ἐκ μέρους, τότε δὲ ἐπιγνώσομαι καθὼς καὶ ἐπεγνώσθην.

Transliteration (Accordance):

blepomen gar arti di’ esoptrou en ainigmati, tote de prosōpon pros prosōpon; arti ginōskō ek merous, tote de epignōsomai kathōs kai epegnōsthēn.

Translation (Thiselton 2006 (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?7074-1-Corinthians-12-14&p=204450&viewfull=1#post204450)):

For we are seeing the present only by means of a mirror indirectly; but then it will be face to face. For the present I come to know part by part; but then I shall come to know just as fully as I have been known.

Grammatical Analysis (Zerwick/BDAG, meanings in this context):

ἄρτι : now.
ἔσοπτρον : mirror, of polished metal, usually bronze, δι᾿ ἐσόπτρου in a mirror.
αἴνιγμα : riddle, so ἐν αἰνίγματι "in a puzzling way", obscurely, indistinctly.
μέρος : part, ἐκ μέρους partially, in part.
ἐπιγνώσομαι : I shall really know, future of ἐπιγινώσκω know thoroughly/perfectly.
ἐπεγνώσθην : passive I am known (by God).

Comment from the first edition of The First Epistle to the Corinthians (NICNT: Eerdmans, 1987), by Gordon D. Fee (via Accordance):


12 Paul now proceeds to another analogy, to which he appends an immediate application. With their repeated “now, but then” language, these sentences bring out more sharply the contrast between the Corinthians’ present existence and that of the future. The fact that they are tied to verse 11 by an explanatory “for” further indicates, as we have argued, that the preceding analogy has basically to do with two modes of existence, not with “growing up” and putting away childish behavior.

The first sentence, which literally reads “For at the present time we look through a looking-glass en ainigmati, but then face to face,” is particularly relevant to their setting, since Corinth was famous as the producer of some of the finest bronze mirrors in antiquity. That suggests that the puzzling phrase en ainigmati is probably not as pejorative as most translations imply. More likely the emphasis is not on the quality of seeing that one experiences in looking into a mirror that would surely have been an affront to them but to the indirect nature of looking into a mirror as opposed to seeing someone face to face. The analogy, of course, breaks down a bit since one sees one’s own face in a mirror, and Paul’s point is that in our present existence one “sees” God (presumably), or understands the “mysteries,” only indirectly. It is not a distorted image that we have in Christ through the Spirit; but it is as yet indirect, not complete. To put all this in another way, but keeping the imagery, “Our present ‘vision’ of God, as great as it is, is as nothing when compared to the real thing that is yet to be; it is like the difference between seeing a reflected image in a mirror and seeing a person face to face.” In our own culture the comparable metaphor would be the difference between seeing a photograph and seeing someone in person. As good as a picture is, it is simply not the real thing.

With the second set of sentences in this verse, Paul brings into focus all that has been argued since verse 8. Picking up the words of contrast from verse 12a (“at the present time,” “then”) but the content of verse 9, he concludes, “Now I know in part, but then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.” By this Paul intends to delineate the difference between the “knowing” that is available through the gift of the Spirit and the final eschatological knowing that is complete. What is not quite clear is the exact nuance of the final clause that expresses the nature of that final knowing, “even as I am fully known.” It is often suggested that the passive, “as I am fully known,” “contains the idea of electing grace.” Attractive as that is theologically, most likely it simply refers to God’s way of knowing. God’s knowledge of us is immediate full and direct, “face to face,” as it were; at the Eschaton, Paul seems to be saying, we too shall know in this way, with no more need for the kinds of mediation that the mirror illustrates or that “prophecy” and the “utterance of knowledge” exemplify in reality.

Thus Paul’s point with all of this is now made. In verse 8 he argued that love, in contrast to charismata, never comes to an end. Precisely because the gifts have an end point, which love does not, they are of a different order altogether. This does not make them imperfect, although in a sense that too is true; it makes them relative. Paul’s concern in verses 9–12 has been to demonstrate the strictly “present age” nature of these gifts. They shall pass away (verse 8); they are “in part” (verse 9); they belong to this present existence only (verses 10–12). Most likely the purpose of all this is simply to reinforce what was said in verses 1–3, that the Corinthians’ emphasis on tongues as evidence for spirituality is wrong because it is wrongheaded, especially from people who do not otherwise exhibit the one truly essential expression of the Spirit’s presence, Christian love. Good as spiritual gifts are, they are only for the present; Christian love, which the Corinthians currently lack, is the “more excellent way” in part because it belongs to eternity as well as to the present.

John Reece
07-22-2015, 02:09 PM
Text: (NA27):

Νυνὶ δὲ μένει πίστις, ἐλπίς, ἀγάπη, τὰ τρία ταῦτα· μείζων δὲ τούτων ἡ ἀγάπη.

Transliteration (Accordance):

Nyni de menei pistis, elpis, agapē, ta tria tauta; meizōn de toutōn hē agapē.

Translation (Thiselton 2006 (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?7074-1-Corinthians-12-14&p=204450&viewfull=1#post204450)):

So now there remain faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

Grammatical Analysis (Zerwick/BDAG, meanings in this context):

νυνὶ δέ : and now.
τρία : neuter of τρεῖς three.
μείζων : comparative of μέγας, comparative for superlative greatest.
ἡ : referring to ἀγάπη [love] as previously mentioned (anaphoric).

Comment from the first edition of The First Epistle to the Corinthians (NICNT: Eerdmans, 1987), by Gordon D. Fee (via Accordance):


13 This sentence, which is related to verse 8 through its use of the verb “remain,” is at once both the best known and most difficult text in the paragraph. There can be little question that it is intended to bring the argument of the present paragraph to a conclusion, and probably the entire chapter as well. But how? There are five interrelated problems: (1) Whether the words “and now” carry a temporal or logical force; (2) in conjunction with that, whether “remain” has to do with the present or the future; (3) the sudden appearance of “faith and hope” in an argument that heretofore has had to nothing to do with these virtues, but with love and spiritual gifts; (4) how love is “greater than” these other two; and (5) how, then, this sentence concludes the paragraph.

Despite the long debate over the temporal or logical force of the combination “and now,” it is difficult under any circumstances to divest the adverb “now” of some temporal sense. That is, even if its basic thrust is logical (= “but as it is”), it carries the force “as it is in the present state of things.” This seems to be all the more so here, given the present tense of the verb “remain” and the fact that these three opening words stand in immediate conjunction to the eschatological words that have just preceded. Thus, however we finally translate them, these opening words seem to imply some kind of present situation over against what is yet to be, when “I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.”

The real issue, then, has to do with the sudden appearance of “faith and hope” with love, and in what sense these three “abide.” First, there is good evidence to suggest that this was a familiar triad in early Christian preaching, and therefore that it would have been well known to the Corinthians. Together these words embrace the whole of Christian existence, as believers live out the life of the Spirit in the present age, awaiting the consummation. They have “faith” toward God, that is, they trust him to forgive and accept them through Christ. Even though now they do not see him (or see, as it were, “a reflection in a mirror”), they trust in his goodness and mercies. They also have “hope” for the future, which has been guaranteed for them through Christ. Through his resurrection and the gift of the Spirit, they have become a thoroughly future-oriented people; the present age is on its way out, therefore they live in the present “as if not” (cf. 7:29–31), not conditioned by the present with its hardships or suffering. They are on their way “home,” destined for an existence in the presence of God that is “face to face.” And they have “love” for one another as they live this life of faith and hope in the context of a community of brothers and sisters of similar faith and hope. In the present life of the church “these three remain (or continue): faith, hope, and love.”

But why this triad in the present context where the contrast has been between gifts and love? The answer probably lies with Paul’s concern to emphasize that love is not like the gifts, in that it is both for now and forever. The preceding argument might leave the impression that since the gifts are only for the present, love is basically for the future. But not so. Love never comes to an end; it always remains. So now he concludes the argument by emphasizing the presentness of love as well. In so doing, since he is trying to emphasize the nature of their present life in Christ, he adds faith and hope to love somewhat automatically, since for him these are what accompany love, not spiritual gifts. They simply belong to different categories.

That also, then, explains why he adds at the end, “But the greatest of these is love.” Even though love “continues” in the present, along with its companions faith and hope, love is the greatest of these three because it “continues” on into the final glory, which the other two by their very nature do not.

Thus with this sentence Paul is basically bringing the present argument to its conclusion. The concern has been over the “only for now” aspect of the gifts, which stands in contrast to love. The gifts are “in part”; they belong to the “now,” which will be brought to an end with the “then” that is to be. Love, on the other hand, is not so. It never fails; it will never come to an end. Along with its companions, faith and hope, it abides in the present. But it is greater, at least as the point of this present argument, because it abides on into eternity.

It is not difficult to bring the final verse of this paragraph into the contemporary church; these are still the “three imperishables” for those who would live a truly Christian life in the present age. Nor is it difficult to emphasize the eschatological dimension of the paragraph, that our present existence, for all its blessings, is but a foretaste of the future. This present partial existence shall someday give way to that which is final and complete. What is more difficult is the way the emphasis on the “present only” aspect of the gifts has been treated. Most have simply yielded to historical reality and have tried to make a virtue out of that reality, that for the most part these extraordinary gifts have already ceased for so many. The irony, of course, is that our present view is almost the precise opposite of that of the Corinthians, who thought of these things as eternal and therefore needed to have that view corrected. One wonders how Paul would have responded to present-day cerebral Christianity, which has generally implied that we can get along quite well without the Spirit in the present age, now that the church has achieved its maturity in orthodoxy. It seems likely that he would not be pleased to see this text used to support such a view of things.

John Reece
07-23-2015, 03:37 PM
Text: (NA27):

Διώκετε τὴν ἀγάπην, ζηλοῦτε δὲ τὰ πνευματικά, μᾶλλον δὲ ἵνα προφητεύητε.

Transliteration (Accordance):

Diōkete tēn agapēn, zēloute de ta pneumatika, mallon de hina prophēteuēte.

Translation (Thiselton 2006 (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?7074-1-Corinthians-12-14&p=204450&viewfull=1#post204450)):

Pursue love and then be eager for gifts of the Spirit [for utterance {τὰ πνευματικά -JR}], most particularly that you may prophecy.

Grammatical Analysis (Zerwick/BDAG, meanings in this context):

διώκετε : imperative of διώκω pursue, διώκετε τὴν ἀγάπην be eager in pursuit of love.
ζηλοῦτε : imperative of ζηλόω (τι) be zealous for (something).
πνευματικός : spiritual, τὰ πνευματικά the things of the Spirit ; in this context: gifts of the Spirit [for utterance (Thiselton)]
μᾶλλον : preferably.
ἵνα : with subjunctive = objective infinitive.
προφητεύητε : subjunctive of προφητεύω prophesy.

Comment from the first edition of The First Epistle to the Corinthians (NICNT: Eerdmans, 1987), by Gordon D. Fee (via Accordance):


[Chapter 14, introduction to opening paragraph -JR] This opening paragraph sets forth the basic contrasts and the central themes of what follows. The concern is edification (verses 3–5), the issue intelligibility. Tongues is not understandable (verse 2), hence it cannot edify the church (verse 4). Prophecy is addressed to people precisely for their edification (verse 3), and in that sense is the greater gift.

Although there can be little question that Paul prefers prophecy to tongues in the gathered assembly, verse 5 indicates that the real issue is not tongues per se, but uninterpreted tongues (cf. verse 13), since an interpreted tongue can also edify. That means, therefore, as verses 2–3 imply, that the real issue is intelligibility in the assembly. Furthermore, it is clear from verses 2–5 that Paul is not “damning tongues with faint praise.” In both cases the contrasts between tongues and prophecy do not have to do with their inherent value, but with the direction of their edification. The edifying of oneself is not a bad thing; it simply is not the point of gathered worship.

1. These opening imperatives have a single purpose: to serve as a transition from the preceding argument(s) to the issue at hand, namely their abuse of tongues in the gathered assembly. Thus in chiastic order Paul says “Follow the way of love,” namely chap. 13, and in that context “eagerly desire spiritual gifts,” resuming the argument from 12:31a that was interrupted by the exhortation to love. In the earlier exhortation (12:31a) he had said “eagerly desire the greater gifts”; now he indicates (verse 5) that by the greater gifts he means those that edify the community. Thus his choice to represent those greater gifts is “especially that you may prophesy.” A further word about each of these.

The command to “Follow the way of love” puts into imperative form what was implied throughout the preceding argument. The “love” that they are to pursue, of course, is that described in 13:4–7, since without it the “spiritual” person amounts to zero (verses 1–3); furthermore (verses 8–13), it is the great imperishable: it alone not the gifts will abide into eternity.

The imperative “eagerly desire spiritual gifts,” although it resumes the argument from 12:31, is nonetheless not a precise repetition. The verb remains the same, but the object is no longer “the greater charismata,” but ta pneumatika, which probably means something like “utterances inspired by the Spirit” (see on 12:1). Some have argued for more significant differences between these two words; more likely it is a matter of emphasis. At the end of chap. 12, where he had been speaking specifically of the gifts themselves as gracious endowments, he told them, “eagerly desire the greater charismata.” Now in a context where the emphasis will be on the activity of the Spirit in the community at worship, he says, “eagerly desire the things of the Spirit.”

What must be emphasized is that this imperative is now to be understood singularly in light of the exhortation to love that has preceded it. If the two imperatives are not kept together, the point of the entire succeeding argument is missed. Thus he immediately qualifies the imperative with a clause that literally says, “but rather that you prophesy.” In the following sentences Paul gives the reasons for this qualification.

John Reece
07-24-2015, 03:32 PM
Text: (NA27):

ὁ γὰρ λαλῶν γλώσσῃ οὐκ ἀνθρώποις λαλεῖ ἀλλὰ θεῷ· οὐδεὶς γὰρ ἀκούει, πνεύματι δὲ λαλεῖ μυστήρια

Transliteration (Accordance):

ho gar lalōn glōssȩ̄ ouk anthrōpois lalei alla theō̧; oudeis gar akouei, pneumati de lalei mystēria

Translation (Thiselton 2006 (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?7074-1-Corinthians-12-14&p=204450&viewfull=1#post204450)):

For the person who speaks in a tongue does not communicate to human beings but speaks to God. For no one understands anything, but he or she utters mysteries in the Spirit.

Grammatical Analysis (Zerwick/BDAG, meanings in this context):

λαλῶν : participle of λαλέω speak.
γλῶσσα : tongue ; language.
ἀκούω : hear ; sometimes understand.
πνεύματι : dative of instrument.
μυστήριον : originally place of initiation, hence secret things ; mystery.

Comment from the first edition of The First Epistle to the Corinthians (NICNT: Eerdmans, 1987), by Gordon D. Fee (via Accordance):


2–4 This argument may best be analyzed in light of its structure. With two balanced pairs (verses 2–3) Paul first contrasts tongues and prophecy as to who is addressed (in bold) and therefore as to their basic purpose (in italics); the second pair (verse 4) then interprets the first pair in terms of who is being edified. Thus:

For
a) The one who speaks in tongues speaks not to people,
but to God
Indeed, no one understands him;
he speaks mysteries by the Spirit.

On the other hand,
b) The one who prophesies speaks to people,
edification,
encouragement,
comfort.
a) The one who speaks in tongues edifies himself;
on the other hand,
b) The one who prophesies edifies the church

Paul’s emphasis and concern is unmistakable, the edification of the church. The one activity, tongues, edifies the speaker but not the church because it is addressed to God and “no one understands him.” The other activity, prophecy, edifies the church because it is addressed to people and speaks “edification, encouragement and comfort” to them.

Although trying to cool their ardor for congregational tongues-speaking, Paul does not disparage the gift itself; rather, he seeks to put it in its rightful place. Positively, he says three things about speaking in tongues, which are best understood in light of the further discussion on prayer and praise in verses 13–17:

(1) Such a person is “speaking to God,” that is, he or she is communing with God by the Spirit. Although it is quite common in Pentecostal groups to refer to a “message in tongues,” there seems to be no evidence in Paul for such terminology. The tongues-speaker is not addressing fellow believers but God (cf. verses 13–14, 28), meaning therefore that Paul understands the phenomenon basically to be prayer and praise.

(2) The content of such utterances is “mysteries” spoken “by the Spirit.” It is possible that “mysteries” means something similar to its usage in 13:2; more likely it carries here the sense of that which lies outside the understanding, both for the speaker and the hearer. After all, “mysteries” in 13:2 refers to the ways of God that are being revealed by the Spirit to his people; such “mysteries” would scarcely need to be spoken back to God.

(3) Such speech by the Spirit is further described in verse 4 as edifying to the speaker. This has sometimes been called “self-edification” and therefore viewed as pejorative. But Paul intended no such thing. The edifying of oneself is not self-centeredness, but the personal edifying of the believer that comes through private prayer and praise. Although one may wonder how “mysteries” that are not understood even by the speaker can edify, the answer lies in verses 14–15. Contrary to the opinion of many, spiritual edification can take place in ways other than through the cortex of the brain. Paul believed in an immediate communing with God by means of the S/spirit that sometimes bypassed the mind; and in verses 14–15 he argues that for his own edification he will have both. But in church he will have only what can also communicate to other believers through their minds.

But despite these favorable words about tongues, Paul’s present concern is not with private devotion but with public worship. Therefore, he urges by implication that they not speak in tongues in worship (unless it be interpreted, verses 5, 13, 27), but rather that they seek to prophesy (or in light of verse 6 bring forth any form of intelligible utterance). The reason for prophecy is that it speaks “edification, exhortation and comfort” to the rest of the people. These three words set forth the parameters of the divine intent of prophecy, and probably indicate that in Paul’s view the primary focus of a prophetic utterance is not the future, but the present situations of the people of God.

The first word, “edification,” controls the thought of the entire chapter. In 8:1 Paul had said, “love builds up”; now the sequence runs, “Pursue love, and in that framework seek the things of the Spirit, especially prophecy, because prophecy builds up.” Thus the reason for the preceding chapter: Since love builds up, in their zeal for gifts they are to seek prophecy because it is intelligible and thus builds up the body. The second word is more ambiguous, meaning alternatively “encouragement,” “comfort,” or “exhortation (appeal).” It is joined in this instance by its companion “comfort.” The question is whether these two words are, as in other instances, near synonyms meaning to encourage or comfort, or whether they embrace the broader categories of exhorting and comforting. In either case, the aim of prophecy is the growth of the church corporately, which also involves the growth of its individual members.

John Reece
07-25-2015, 01:41 PM
Text: (NA27):

ὁ δὲ προφητεύων ἀνθρώποις λαλεῖ οἰκοδομὴν καὶ παράκλησιν καὶ παραμυθίαν.

Transliteration (Accordance):

ho de prophēteuōn anthrōpois lalei oikodomēn kai paraklēsin kai paramythian.

Translation (Thiselton 2006 (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?7074-1-Corinthians-12-14&p=204450&viewfull=1#post204450)):

However, when a person prophesies to other people, the speaker thereby builds them up, encourages them, and brings them comfort.

Grammatical Analysis (Zerwick/BDAG, meanings in this context):

προφητεύων : participle of προφητεύω prophesy.
οἰκοδομή : edification.
παράκλησις : exhortation encouragement.
παραμυθία : that which serves as encouragement to one who is depressed or in grief, encouragement, comfort, consolation.

Comment from the first edition of The First Epistle to the Corinthians (NICNT: Eerdmans, 1987), by Gordon D. Fee (via Accordance):


2–4 This argument may best be analyzed in light of its structure. With two balanced pairs (verses 2–3) Paul first contrasts tongues and prophecy as to who is addressed (in bold) and therefore as to their basic purpose (in italics); the second pair (verse 4) then interprets the first pair in terms of who is being edified. Thus:

For
a) The one who speaks in tongues speaks not to people,
but to God
Indeed, no one understands him;
he speaks mysteries by the Spirit.

On the other hand,
b) The one who prophesies speaks to people,
edification,
encouragement,
comfort.
a) The one who speaks in tongues edifies himself;
on the other hand,
b) The one who prophesies edifies the church

Paul’s emphasis and concern is unmistakable, the edification of the church. The one activity, tongues, edifies the speaker but not the church because it is addressed to God and “no one understands him.” The other activity, prophecy, edifies the church because it is addressed to people and speaks “edification, encouragement and comfort” to them.

Although trying to cool their ardor for congregational tongues-speaking, Paul does not disparage the gift itself; rather, he seeks to put it in its rightful place. Positively, he says three things about speaking in tongues, which are best understood in light of the further discussion on prayer and praise in verses 13–17:

(1) Such a person is “speaking to God,” that is, he or she is communing with God by the Spirit. Although it is quite common in Pentecostal groups to refer to a “message in tongues,” there seems to be no evidence in Paul for such terminology. The tongues-speaker is not addressing fellow believers but God (cf. verses 13–14, 28), meaning therefore that Paul understands the phenomenon basically to be prayer and praise.

(2) The content of such utterances is “mysteries” spoken “by the Spirit.” It is possible that “mysteries” means something similar to its usage in 13:2; more likely it carries here the sense of that which lies outside the understanding, both for the speaker and the hearer. After all, “mysteries” in 13:2 refers to the ways of God that are being revealed by the Spirit to his people; such “mysteries” would scarcely need to be spoken back to God.

(3) Such speech by the Spirit is further described in verse 4 as edifying to the speaker. This has sometimes been called “self-edification” and therefore viewed as pejorative. But Paul intended no such thing. The edifying of oneself is not self-centeredness, but the personal edifying of the believer that comes through private prayer and praise. Although one may wonder how “mysteries” that are not understood even by the speaker can edify, the answer lies in verses 14–15. Contrary to the opinion of many, spiritual edification can take place in ways other than through the cortex of the brain. Paul believed in an immediate communing with God by means of the S/spirit that sometimes bypassed the mind; and in verses 14–15 he argues that for his own edification he will have both. But in church he will have only what can also communicate to other believers through their minds.

But despite these favorable words about tongues, Paul’s present concern is not with private devotion but with public worship. Therefore, he urges by implication that they not speak in tongues in worship (unless it be interpreted, verses 5, 13, 27), but rather that they seek to prophesy (or in light of verse 6 bring forth any form of intelligible utterance). The reason for prophecy is that it speaks “edification, exhortation and comfort” to the rest of the people. These three words set forth the parameters of the divine intent of prophecy, and probably indicate that in Paul’s view the primary focus of a prophetic utterance is not the future, but the present situations of the people of God.

The first word, “edification,” controls the thought of the entire chapter. In 8:1 Paul had said, “love builds up”; now the sequence runs, “Pursue love, and in that framework seek the things of the Spirit, especially prophecy, because prophecy builds up.” Thus the reason for the preceding chapter: Since love builds up, in their zeal for gifts they are to seek prophecy because it is intelligible and thus builds up the body. The second word is more ambiguous, meaning alternatively “encouragement,” “comfort,” or “exhortation (appeal).” It is joined in this instance by its companion “comfort.” The question is whether these two words are, as in other instances, near synonyms meaning to encourage or comfort, or whether they embrace the broader categories of exhorting and comforting. In either case, the aim of prophecy is the growth of the church corporately, which also involves the growth of its individual members.[/QUOTE]

John Reece
07-26-2015, 01:46 PM
Text: (NA27):

ὁ λαλῶν γλώσσῃ ἑαυτὸν οἰκοδομεῖ· ὁ δὲ προφητεύων ἐκκλησίαν οἰκοδομεῖ.

Transliteration (Accordance):

ho lalōn glōssȩ̄ heauton oikodomei; ho de prophēteuōn ekklēsian oikodomei.

Translation (Thiselton 2006 (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?7074-1-Corinthians-12-14&p=204450&viewfull=1#post204450)):

For the person who speaks in a tongue "builds up" himself or herself; whereas the one who prophesies builds up the church community.

Grammatical Analysis (Zerwick/BDAG, meanings in this context):

οἰκοδομέω : edify, build up, ἑαυτὸν οἰκοδομεῖ builds up himself.
ἐκκλησία : without article a community? or (the) church?

Comment from the first edition of The First Epistle to the Corinthians (NICNT: Eerdmans, 1987), by Gordon D. Fee (via Accordance):


2–4 This argument may best be analyzed in light of its structure. With two balanced pairs (verses 2–3) Paul first contrasts tongues and prophecy as to who is addressed (in bold) and therefore as to their basic purpose (in italics); the second pair (verse 4) then interprets the first pair in terms of who is being edified. Thus:

For
a) The one who speaks in tongues speaks not to people,
but to God
Indeed, no one understands him;
he speaks mysteries by the Spirit.

On the other hand,
b) The one who prophesies speaks to people,
edification,
encouragement,
comfort.
a) The one who speaks in tongues edifies himself;
on the other hand,
b) The one who prophesies edifies the church

Paul’s emphasis and concern is unmistakable, the edification of the church. The one activity, tongues, edifies the speaker but not the church because it is addressed to God and “no one understands him.” The other activity, prophecy, edifies the church because it is addressed to people and speaks “edification, encouragement and comfort” to them.

Although trying to cool their ardor for congregational tongues-speaking, Paul does not disparage the gift itself; rather, he seeks to put it in its rightful place. Positively, he says three things about speaking in tongues, which are best understood in light of the further discussion on prayer and praise in verses 13–17:

(1) Such a person is “speaking to God,” that is, he or she is communing with God by the Spirit. Although it is quite common in Pentecostal groups to refer to a “message in tongues,” there seems to be no evidence in Paul for such terminology. The tongues-speaker is not addressing fellow believers but God (cf. verses 13–14, 28), meaning therefore that Paul understands the phenomenon basically to be prayer and praise.

(2) The content of such utterances is “mysteries” spoken “by the Spirit.” It is possible that “mysteries” means something similar to its usage in 13:2; more likely it carries here the sense of that which lies outside the understanding, both for the speaker and the hearer. After all, “mysteries” in 13:2 refers to the ways of God that are being revealed by the Spirit to his people; such “mysteries” would scarcely need to be spoken back to God.

(3) Such speech by the Spirit is further described in verse 4 as edifying to the speaker. This has sometimes been called “self-edification” and therefore viewed as pejorative. But Paul intended no such thing. The edifying of oneself is not self-centeredness, but the personal edifying of the believer that comes through private prayer and praise. Although one may wonder how “mysteries” that are not understood even by the speaker can edify, the answer lies in verses 14–15. Contrary to the opinion of many, spiritual edification can take place in ways other than through the cortex of the brain. Paul believed in an immediate communing with God by means of the S/spirit that sometimes bypassed the mind; and in verses 14–15 he argues that for his own edification he will have both. But in church he will have only what can also communicate to other believers through their minds.

But despite these favorable words about tongues, Paul’s present concern is not with private devotion but with public worship. Therefore, he urges by implication that they not speak in tongues in worship (unless it be interpreted, verses 5, 13, 27), but rather that they seek to prophesy (or in light of verse 6 bring forth any form of intelligible utterance). The reason for prophecy is that it speaks “edification, exhortation and comfort” to the rest of the people. These three words set forth the parameters of the divine intent of prophecy, and probably indicate that in Paul’s view the primary focus of a prophetic utterance is not the future, but the present situations of the people of God.

The first word, “edification,” controls the thought of the entire chapter. In 8:1 Paul had said, “love builds up”; now the sequence runs, “Pursue love, and in that framework seek the things of the Spirit, especially prophecy, because prophecy builds up.” Thus the reason for the preceding chapter: Since love builds up, in their zeal for gifts they are to seek prophecy because it is intelligible and thus builds up the body. The second word is more ambiguous, meaning alternatively “encouragement,” “comfort,” or “exhortation (appeal).” It is joined in this instance by its companion “comfort.” The question is whether these two words are, as in other instances, near synonyms meaning to encourage or comfort, or whether they embrace the broader categories of exhorting and comforting. In either case, the aim of prophecy is the growth of the church corporately, which also involves the growth of its individual members.

John Reece
07-27-2015, 03:35 PM
Text: (NA27):

θέλω δὲ πάντας ὑμᾶς λαλεῖν γλώσσαις, μᾶλλον δὲ ἵνα προφητεύητε· μείζων δὲ ὁ προφητεύων ἢ ὁ λαλῶν γλώσσαις ἐκτὸς εἰ μὴ διερμηνεύῃ, ἵνα ἡ ἐκκλησία οἰκοδομὴν λάβῃ.

Transliteration (Accordance):

thelō de pantas hymas lalein glōssais, mallon de hina prophēteuēte; meizōn de ho prophēteuōn ē ho lalōn glōssais ektos ei mē diermēneuȩ̄, hina hē ekklēsia oikodomēn labȩ̄.

Translation (Thiselton 2006 (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?7074-1-Corinthians-12-14&p=204450&viewfull=1#post204450)):

I take pleasure in all of you speaking in tongues, but I would rather that you prophesy. The person who prophesies is of greater importance than the one who speaks in tongues, unless that person articulates the utterance intelligibly for the church community to receive the "building up."

Grammatical Analysis (Zerwick/BDAG, meanings in this context):

μᾶλλον : even more.
θέλω ἵνα προφητεύητε : grammatically equivalent to θέλω ὑμᾶς λαλεῖν: I want you all to speak with tongues but even more that you may prophesy (= to prophesy).
μείζων : comparative of μέγας great.
ἐκτός : unless ; pleonastic with εἰ μή (except).
εἰ μή : here with subjunctive probably because standing for ἐὰν μή.
διερμηνεύῃ : subjunctive of διερμηνεύω interpret. See commentary here (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?7074-1-Corinthians-12-14&p=207689&viewfull=1#post207689), here (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?7074-1-Corinthians-12-14&p=207978&viewfull=1#post207978), and here (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?7074-1-Corinthians-12-14&p=208270&viewfull=1#post208270).
ἵνα : consecutive in such a way/so that.
λάβῃ : aorist subjunctive of λαμβάνω receive.

Commentary from the first edition of The First Epistle to the Corinthians (NICNT: Eerdmans, 1987), by Gordon D. Fee (via Accordance):


5 This verse summarizes verses 1–4 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+cor+14%3A1-4&version=NRSV) by making explicit Paul’s preference for prophecy over tongues in the assembly. As in verses 2–4 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+cor+14%3A2-4&version=NRSV), he begins with tongues: “I would like every one of you to speak in tongues.” This sentence is often viewed as “merely conciliatory,” especially in light of 12:28–30 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+cor+12%3A28-30&version=NRSV) where he argues that all will not speak in tongues. But that is not quite precise. Paul has already indicated that tongues have value for the individual, meaning in private, personal prayer (cf. verses 14–15 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+cor+14%3A14-15&version=NRSV) and 18–19 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+cor+14%3A18-19&version=NRSV)). Now he says of that dimension of spiritual life that he could wish all experienced the edification that came from such a gift of the Spirit. But that of course is not his present point; thus he quickly qualifies that “wish” by repeating the language of verse 1 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+cor+14%3A1&version=NRSV): “but rather that you prophesy.”

After such a summary one would expect that it might be followed by an explanatory “for” and a reason given. In this case, however, he concludes with the proposition, “Greater is the one who prophesies than the one who speaks in tongues.” With these words two items from the preceding argument are brought into focus. First, this defines the meaning of “greater gift” in the exhortation in 12:31 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+cor+12%3A31&version=NRSV); second, the reason why prophecy is greater is related to the edification of the community, as the preceding argument makes clear. Thus it is not inherently greater, since all gifts come from the Spirit and are beneficial. It is greater precisely because it is intelligible and therefore can edify.

This last point is made certain by the final qualifying clause added to speaking in tongues: “unless he interprets, so that the church may be edified.” The problem is not speaking in tongues per se but speaking in tongues without interpretation which from the context seems very likely what the Corinthians were doing. The interpretation of the tongue brings it within the framework of intelligibility, which in turn means that it too can edify the community. This does not imply that such a tongue is to be understood as directed toward the community, but that what the person has been speaking to God has now been made intelligible, so that others may benefit from the Spirit’s utterance.

Thus, even though from Paul’s perspective prophecy is clearly preferable, it seems equally clear that the real urgency is not with tongues and prophecy, but with intelligible utterances in the gathered assembly, so that all may be edified.

At a time in history when there is a broad range of opinion about speaking in tongues in the church, both its validity and its usefulness, the point of this text needs to be heard again on both sides of that question. It is sheer prejudice to view Paul here as “demoting” tongues as such. Uninterpreted tongues in the assembly, yes; but for the edification of the believer in private, no. Anyone who would argue that what is spoken to God by the Spirit for the edification of a believer is of little value is hardly reading the apostle from Paul’s own point of view. On the other hand, there is a tendency on the part of some Pentecostals to fall full into the Corinthian error, where a “message in tongues,” interpreted of course, is often seen as the surest evidence of the continuing work of the Spirit in a given community. Paul would scarcely agree with such an assessment. He allows tongues and interpretation; he prefers prophecy.

At the same time Paul’s clear preference for prophetic utterances is often neglected throughout the church. By prophecy of course, as the full evidence of this chapter makes clear, he does not mean a prepared sermon, but the spontaneous word given to God’s people for the edification of the whole. Most contemporary churches would have to be radically reconstructed in terms of their self-understanding for such to take place. Again, Pentecostal and charismatic groups, where such utterances are more often in evidence, continually need to “test” the spirits in terms of verse 3 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+cor+14%3A3&version=NRSV), that the utterance be for the edification, exhortation/encouragement, and comfort of the community.

John Reece
07-28-2015, 01:02 PM
Text: (NA27):

Νῦν δέ, ἀδελφοί, ἐὰν ἔλθω πρὸς ὑμᾶς γλώσσαις λαλῶν, τί ὑμᾶς ὠφελήσω ἐὰν μὴ ὑμῖν λαλήσω ἢ ἐν ἀποκαλύψει ἢ ἐν γνώσει ἢ ἐν προφητείᾳ ἢ [ἐν] διδαχῇ;

Transliteration (Accordance):

Nyn de, adelphoi, ean elthō pros hymas glōssais lalōn, ti hymas ōphelēsō ean mē hymin lalēsō ē en apokalypsei ē en gnōsei ē en prophēteia̧ ē [en] didachȩ̄?

Translation (Thiselton 2006 (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?7074-1-Corinthians-12-14&p=204450&viewfull=1#post204450)):

Well now, dear fellow believers, suppose that when I come to you I come speaking in tongues. What shall I profit you unless I speak to you in terms either of a disclosure or of knowledge, or of prophetic speech or of teaching?

Grammatical Analysis (Zerwick/BDAG, meanings in this context):

νῦν δέ : or; now then... (atemporal).
ἔλθω : aorist subjunctive of ἔρχομαι come.
ὠφελήσω : future of ὠφελέω help/benefit/do good to one, τί ὑμᾶς ὠφελήσω; what good will I do you?
λαλήσω : aorist subjunctive of λαλέω speak.
ἐν : in (the form of).
ἀποκάλυψις : revelation.
γνῶσις : knowledge.
προφητεία : prophecy.
διδαχή : instruction.

Commentary from the first edition of The First Epistle to the Corinthians (NICNT: Eerdmans, 1987), by Gordon D. Fee (via Accordance):


6 A turn in the argument is indicated both by the vocative “brothers [and sisters]” (see on 1:10) and by the conjunctive combination “but as it is.” This opening sentence functions as a transition: It carries forward the argument of verses 1–5; at the same time it sets the stylistic pattern for the first set of analogies (“If …, how shall?…”), which argue vigorously against unintelligibility (= tongues) since it has no usefulness for its hearers.

Even though the sentence is probably intended to present a hypothetical setting for the argument, both the combination “but as it is” and the language “if I come to you” support the suggestion made above that this is more than merely hypothetical; probably it also indicates the way things presently are between them and him, implying his rejection of their criterion for being pneumatikos (“spiritual”). Paul in effect refuses to “come to [them] speaking in tongues.” The reason for this echoes the motif of edification from verses 3–5. By following their criterion he would not “profit them.”

The alternative is for him to come speaking some form of intelligible utterance, which he illustrates with yet another list of charismata. This list is both illuminating and intriguing. On the one hand, the appearance of prophecy in the third position intimates, as has been argued in verses 1–5, that the real issue is not tongues and prophecy as such, but tongues and intelligibility, for which prophecy serves as the representative gift. On the other hand, as with the other lists in this argument, this one is also especially ad hoc. His concern is to specify various kinds of Spirit-inspired utterances that have intelligibility as their common denominator. Thus he includes two items from previous lists, “knowledge” and “prophecy” (see 12:8–10; 13:2, 8). The other two call for additional comment.

Paul uses the word “revelation” in a variety of ways, but only in the present argument to suggest some kind of utterance given by the Spirit for the benefit of the gathered community. Precisely what its content might be and how it would differ from “knowledge” or “prophecy” is not at all clear. For example, along with “teaching” it appears in the final list in verse 26, a list that includes neither “prophecy” nor “knowledge.” Yet in the subsequent discussion of the ordering of utterances (verses 27–33), Paul takes up tongues and prophecy, not “revelation,” although its cognate verb does appear in the discussion of prophecy in verse 30. This latter passage in particular suggests that there is a general lack of precision in Paul with regard to these various items. Perhaps in the final list (verse 26) this word covers both prophecy and knowledge as the more inclusive term. In any case, it implies the disclosure of divine “mysteries,” either about the nature of the gospel itself (cf. 2:10) or perhaps about things otherwise hidden to the “natural man.”

Equally intriguing is the appearance of “teaching,” which corresponds to “the teacher” in 12:28 as prophecy does to the prophet. Probably this has to do with a Spirit-inspired utterance that took the form of instruction, rather than with the more common usage that implies formal teaching of some kind. Again, how this differs in terms of content from the other items on this list is a matter of speculation since the data are so meager. See the discussion on 12:28.

Despite our lack of certainty about the precise nature and content of these various forms of utterance, however, their common denominator is their intelligibility, and to that question Paul now turns in the form of analogies.

John Reece
07-29-2015, 12:04 PM
Text: (NA27):

ὅμως τὰ ἄψυχα φωνὴν διδόντα, εἴτε αὐλὸς εἴτε κιθάρα, ἐὰν διαστολὴν τοῖς φθόγγοις μὴ δῷ, πῶς γνωσθήσεται τὸ αὐλούμενον ἢ τὸ κιθαριζόμενον; καὶ γὰρ ἐὰν ἄδηλον σάλπιγξ φωνὴν δῷ, τίς παρασκευάσεται εἰς πόλεμον;

Transliteration (Accordance):

homōs ta apsycha phōnēn didonta, eite aulos eite kithara, ean diastolēn tois phthoggois mē dō̧, pōs gnōsthēsetai to auloumenon ē to kitharizomenon? kai gar ean adēlon salpigx phōnēn dō̧, tis paraskeuasetai eis polemon?

Translation (Thiselton 2006 (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?7074-1-Corinthians-12-14&p=204450&viewfull=1#post204450)):

Similarly, with reference to an inanimate musical instrument: in the case of either a flute or lyre, unless these yield distinct differences of pitch, how can what is produced by wind or string be recognized? Further, if the trumpet produces a sound which is ambiguous as a signal, who will prepare for battle?

Grammatical Analysis (Zerwick/BDAG, meanings in this context):

ὅμως : usually nevertheless ; unexplained ; perhaps in the sense of ὁμοίως pertaining to being similar in some respect, likewise, so, similarly, in the same way.
ἄψυχος : inanimate.
διδόντα : neuter plural participle of δίδωμι give, yield.
αὐλός : flute.
κιθάρα : harp.
διαστολή : difference, distinction.
φθόγγος : tone, note.
δῷ : aorist of δίδωμι: διαστολὴν δίδωμι make a distinction.
γνωσθήσεται : future passive of γινώσκω know.
αὐλούμενον, κιθαριζόμενον : passive participles of αὐλέω play the flute, κιθαρίζω play the harp.
καὶ γάρ : for again.
ἄδηλος : indistinct, vague, not clear.
σάλπιγξ, -ιγγος, ἡ : trumpet.
παρασκευάσεται : future middle of παρασκευάζω (τι) prepare (something) ; middle make preparations.
πόλεμος : war, here battle.

Commentary from the first edition of The First Epistle to the Corinthians (NICNT: Eerdmans, 1987), by Gordon D. Fee (via Accordance):


7-8 The analogies seem self-evident. The first (verse 7) is taken from “lifeless things that give sounds,” that is, from musical instruments. The two instruments, flute and harp, are commonplace in the Hellenistic world. Paul’s point is to be found in the “how” clause: “How will anyone know what tune is being played unless there is a distinction in the notes?” This example calls to mind another use of a musical instrument: “If the trumpet does not sound a clear call, who will get ready for battle?”

The analogy is clear. Tongues, Paul is arguing, is like the harpist running fingers over all the strings, making musical sounds but not playing a pleasing melody, or like a bugler who blows the bugle without sounding the battle cry. In both cases sounds come from the instrument, but they make no sense; hence they do not benefit the listener. So it is with tongues.

John Reece
07-30-2015, 01:20 PM
Text: (NA27):

οὕτως καὶ ὑμεῖς διὰ τῆς γλώσσης ἐὰν μὴ εὔσημον λόγον δῶτε, πῶς γνωσθήσεται τὸ λαλούμενον; ἔσεσθε γὰρ εἰς ἀέρα λαλοῦντες.

Transliteration (Accordance):

houtōs kai hymeis dia tēs glōssēs ean mē eusēmon logon dōte, pōs gnōsthēsetai to laloumenon? esesthe gar eis aera lalountes.

Translation (Thiselton 2006 (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?7074-1-Corinthians-12-14&p=204450&viewfull=1#post204450)):

Even so, if you yourselves do not produce through speaking in a tongue a message which is readily intelligible, how shall what is being said be comprehended? For you will be speaking into empty air.

Grammatical Analysis (Zerwick/BDAG, meanings in this context):

διά : by means of, with.
εὔσημος : whose meaning is clear, distinct.
λαλούμενον : passive participle of λαλέω speak.
ἔσεσθε : future of εἰμί be, ἔσεσθε λαλοῦντες periphrastic future you will be speaking.
ἀήρ, -έρος, ὁ : air.

Commentary from the first edition of The First Epistle to the Corinthians (NICNT: Eerdmans, 1987), by Gordon D. Fee (via Accordance):


9 This application to their situation follows the form of the two preceding examples. Referring specifically to speaking in tongues, he asks, “Unless you speak intelligible words with your tongue, how will anyone know what you are saying?” To which he adds the biting words, echoing the irresponsible bugler, “You will just be speaking into the air.” All of this, of course, assumes the perspective of the hearer in the community at worship [emphasis added -JR].

John Reece
07-31-2015, 03:34 PM
Text: (NA27):

τοσαῦτα εἰ τύχοι γένη φωνῶν εἰσιν ἐν κόσμῳ καὶ οὐδὲν ἄφωνον· ἐὰν οὖν μὴ εἰδῶ τὴν δύναμιν τῆς φωνῆς, ἔσομαι τῷ λαλοῦντι βάρβαρος καὶ ὁ λαλῶν ἐν ἐμοὶ βάρβαρος.

Transliteration (Accordance):

tosauta ei tychoi genē phōnōn eisin en kosmō̧ kai ouden aphōnon; ean oun mē eidō tēn dynamin tēs phōnēs, esomai tō̧ lalounti barbaros kai ho lalōn en emoi barbaros.

Translation (Thiselton 2006 (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?7074-1-Corinthians-12-14&p=204450&viewfull=1#post204450)):

It may be that there are varieties of language within the world, and none fails to use sound. Yet it follows that if I do not know the force of the sound, I shall be an alien to the speaker, and the speaker will remain an alien in my eyes.

Grammatical Analysis (Zerwick/BDAG, meanings in this context):

τοσοῦτοι : plural so many.
τύχοι : aorist optative of τυγχάνω happen, εἰ τύχοι if it should so happen, it could be, perhaps, with reference to τοσαῦτα (rather than εἰσιν) who knows how many.
γένος : kind.
φωνή : sometimes language.
ἄφωνος dumb (12:2) ; without meaning or unintelligible.
εἰδῶ : subjunctive of οἶδα (perfect-present) know.
δύναμις : force, meaning.
βάρβαρος : not knowing Greek, foreign
ἐν ἐμοί : to me (= "in my estimation") ; ἐν sometimes pleonastic, parallel to simple dative (τῷ λαλοῦτι).

Commentary from the first edition of The First Epistle to the Corinthians (NICNT: Eerdmans, 1987), by Gordon D. Fee (via Accordance):


10-11 This third analogy, the phenomenon of different languages, would also have been commonplace in a cosmopolitan center such as Corinth. It is also the one most closely related to the immediate problem. The analogy is not that the tongues-speaker is also speaking a foreign language, as some have suggested, but that the hearer cannot understand the one speaking in tongues any more than he can the one who speaks a foreign language.

The form of the analogy differs from the preceding ones. In verse 10 there is the simple statement of fact, that there are who-knows-how-many different languages in the world, none of which is without meaning to those who speak them. This analogy also emphasizes the perspective of the hearer. It is not that the different languages do not have meaning to their speakers; rather, they do not have meaning to the hearers.

This latter point is pressed in verse 11 by means of the inferential conjunction “therefore.” That is, the inference to be drawn from the reality stated in verse 10 is that “If I do not grasp the meaning of what someone is saying,” then we are as foreigners to one another. Again, the application to their setting and “speaking in tongues” is obvious. Just as the hearer of one speaking in a foreign language cannot understand what is said, so the other worshipers in the community cannot understand what is spoken “in tongues.” Thus it is of no value to them.

John Reece
08-01-2015, 12:48 PM
Text: (NA27):

οὕτως καὶ ὑμεῖς, ἐπεὶ ζηλωταί ἐστε πνευμάτων, πρὸς τὴν οἰκοδομὴν τῆς ἐκκλησίας ζητεῖτε ἵνα περισσεύητε.

Transliteration (Accordance):

houtōs kai hymeis, epei zēlōtai este pneumatōn, pros tēn oikodomēn tēs ekklēsias zēteite hina perisseuēte.

Translation (Thiselton 2006 (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?7074-1-Corinthians-12-14&p=204450&viewfull=1#post204450)):

You yourselves are in this situation. Since you have a burning concern about the powers of the Spirit, direct this eagerness toward the building up of the church community, to excel in this.

Grammatical Analysis (Zerwick/BDAG, meanings in this context):

ἐπεί : since (causal).
ζηλωτής : zealot ; with following genitive one ardent/eager for.
πνεύματα : spirits.
πρός : for.
οἰκοδομή : building, edification.
ζητεῖτε : imperative of ζητέω followed by ἵνα with subjunctive seek/try to.
περισσεύητε : (sc. in them) subjunctive of περισσεύω excel.

Commentary from the first edition of The First Epistle to the Corinthians (NICNT: Eerdmans, 1987), by Gordon D. Fee (via Accordance):


12 This final application begins exactly as in verse 9: “So it is with you.” But in this instance instead of applying the obvious point of the preceding analogy, Paul ties all this together by picking up two motifs from verses 1–5. First, (literally) “since you are zealots for spirits." As many have seen, this clause probably holds the key to much. Whatever else it means, it explicitly indicates that zeal for the things being talked about in these chapters is a Corinthian trademark. This has caused some, therefore, to read the two imperatives in 12:31 and 14:1 as quotations from the Corinthian letter. But that is an unnecessary expedient. Paul was not commanding them in those cases to do what they were already doing. Rather, just as in this verse, he was urging them to direct that zeal toward gifts that edify (14:5).

The more difficult concept is their zeal for “spirits.” On the basis of 14:1, this is almost universally understood, as in the NIV, to refer to their alleged zeal for “spiritual gifts” in general. But that seems unlikely, both in terms of this choice of words and of the historical context as a whole. More likely this refers especially to their desire for one particular manifestation of the Spirit, the gift of tongues, which was for them the sure evidence of their being pneumatikos (a person of the Spirit, hence “spiritual”). This plural does not mean that the “one and the same Spirit” of 12:7–11 is now to be understood as a multiplicity of spirits. Rather, this is Paul’s way of speaking about the Spirit manifesting himself through their individual “spirits.” The clue lies in the usage in verse 32, where the “spirits of the prophets” refers to the Holy Spirit’s speaking prophetic utterances through the one who is prophesying. Likewise in verses 14–15, Paul will pray with “my spirit,” meaning “by means of the Holy Spirit through my spirit.” Hence they have great zeal for their own spirits, through speaking in tongues, to be the mouthpiece of the Spirit.

Paul’s present concern is to capitalize on their zeal, or more accurately, as before, to redirect their zeal. Thus the second motif from verses 1–5, and the point of everything: “Try to excel in building up the church.” This was the explicit concern of verses 1–5; it has been the implicit concern in the several analogies of this paragraph. Utterances that are not understood, even if they come from the Spirit, are of no benefit, that is, edification, to the hearer. Thus, since they have such zeal for the manifestation of the Spirit, they should direct that zeal in corporate worship away from being “foreigners” to one another toward the edification of one another in Christ.

In a time when charismatic utterances are experiencing something of a revival in the church, this paragraph is especially important to those in that renewal. The point of everything in corporate worship is not personal experience in the Spirit, but building up the church itself. Much that comes under the banner of charismatic or pentecostal worship seems very often to fail right at this point. However, it is not so much that what goes on is not understood by the others, but that it fails to have this final verse as its basic urgency. The building up of the community is the basic reason for corporate settings of worship; they should probably not be turned into a corporate gathering for a thousand individual experiences of worship.

John Reece
08-02-2015, 01:03 PM
Text: (NA27):

Διὸ ὁ λαλῶν γλώσσῃ προσευχέσθω ἵνα διερμηνεύῃ.

Transliteration (Accordance):

Dio ho lalōn glōssȩ̄ proseuchesthō hina diermēneuȩ̄.

Translation (Thiselton 2006 (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?7074-1-Corinthians-12-14&p=204450&viewfull=1#post204450)):

Hence the person who prays in a tongue should pray that he or she may put what they have uttered into words.

Grammatical Analysis (Zerwick/BDAG, meanings in this context):

διό : for this reason.
προσευχέσθω : (he) must pray, imperative 3rd singular of προσεύχομαι.
διερμηνεύῃ : subjunctive of διερμηνεύ. See commentary here (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?7074-1-Corinthians-12-14&p=208270&viewfull=1#post208270).

Commentary from the first edition of The First Epistle to the Corinthians (NICNT: Eerdmans, 1987), by Gordon D. Fee (via Accordance):


13 The strong inferential conjunction “for this reason” indicates a close relationship between this sentence and verse 12. It functions both to conclude verses 6–12 and to apply the principle “building up the church.” Its content, therefore, comes as something of a surprise. In light of the total argument to this point, one might have expected, “For this reason let the one who speaks in tongues seek rather to prophesy.” But prophecy is not Paul’s concern, intelligibility is; thus he moves toward that concern by urging that “the person who speaks in a tongue should pray that he may interpret what he says.” The point is that of verses 5:12 The interpretation of the tongue makes it an intelligible utterance; therefore it can satisfy the concern of verse 12, the edification of the church. As before, the Corinthians’ practice of uninterpreted tongues is what is being challenged, not tongues as such. This is further confirmed by verse. 27–28, which again disallow uninterpreted tongues, but otherwise regulate the expression of the gift when there is interpretation..

John Reece
08-03-2015, 04:30 PM
]Text: (NA27):

ἐὰν [γὰρ] προσεύχωμαι γλώσσῃ, τὸ πνεῦμά μου προσεύχεται, ὁ δὲ νοῦς μου ἄκαρπός ἐστιν.

Transliteration (Accordance):

ean [gar] proseuchōmai glōssȩ̄, to pneuma mou proseuchetai, ho de nous mou akarpos estin.

Translation (Thiselton 2006 (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?7074-1-Corinthians-12-14&p=204450&viewfull=1#post204450)):

For if I pray in a tongue, my innermost spiritual being prays, but my mind produces no fruit from it.

Grammatical Analysis (Zerwick/BDAG, meanings in this context):

προσεύχωμαι : subjunctive of προσεύχομαι pray.
νοῦς, νοός, νοΐ, νοῦν, ὁ : mind.
ἄκαρπος : fruitless, without effect, idle

Commentary from the first edition of The First Epistle to the Corinthians (NICNT: Eerdmans, 1987), by Gordon D. Fee (via Accordance):


14 With this sentence Paul begins the specific application of the argument against unintelligibility in verse 7–13. He does so, as he will again in verse 18, by referring to his own experience of speaking in tongues. But the point of this sentence is less than certain. Probably he is using his own experience to point up a basic principle, which will be elaborated in verse 15 and then applied to their assembly in verses 16–17.

This seems to make the best sense of what is otherwise a very difficult sentence in the middle of this argument, made the more so by the addition of the explanatory “for” found in the majority of witnesses (and the NIV). Paul is not arguing that the tongues-speaker should also interpret for the benefit of his or her own understanding. That would be a considerable “rock” in the middle of this argument for the edification of others through intelligibility. It would also tend to contradict what is said in verses 2 and 4 and intimated in verse 15, that the one who speaks in tongues is edified by his or her communion with God through the Spirit, without the need of perceptual understanding. Paul’s point is a simple one, and one that they themselves should fully recognize: When I pray in tongues I pray in the Spirit, but it does not benefit my mind the implication being, as he will go on to argue in verses 16–17, that neither does it benefit the minds of others.

As suggested before, in the present context the difficult wording “my spirit prays” seems to mean something like “my S/spirit prays.” On the one hand, both the possessive “my” and the contrast with “my mind” indicate that he is here referring to his own “spirit” at prayer. On the other hand, there can be little question, on the basis of the combined evidence of 12:7–11 and 14:2 and 16, that Paul understood speaking in tongues to be an activity of the Spirit in one’s life; it is prayer and praise directed toward God in the language of Spirit-inspiration. The most viable solution to this ambiguity is that by the language “my spirit prays” Paul means his own spirit is praying as the Holy Spirit gives the utterance. Hence, “my S/spirit prays.”

John Reece
08-04-2015, 10:59 AM
Text: (NA27):

τί οὖν ἐστιν; προσεύξομαι τῷ πνεύματι, προσεύξομαι δὲ καὶ τῷ νοΐ· ψαλῶ τῷ πνεύματι, ψαλῶ δὲ καὶ τῷ νοΐ.

Transliteration (Accordance):

ti oun estin? proseuxomai tō̧ pneumati, proseuxomai de kai tō̧ noi; psalō tō̧ pneumati, psalō de kai tō̧ noi.

Translation (Thiselton 2006 (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?7074-1-Corinthians-12-14&p=204450&viewfull=1#post204450)):

So what follows? I will pray with my deepest spiritual being, but I will pray with my mind too. I will sing praise with the depths of my being, but I will sing praise with my mind too.

Grammatical Analysis (Zerwick/BDAG, meanings in this context):

τί οὖν ἐστιν; : how do matters stand then?
προσεύξομαι : future of προσεύχομαι pray.
νοΐ : dative of νοῦς mind: τῷ νοΐ intelligently.
ψαλῶ : future of ψάλλω sing praise.

Commentary from the first edition of The First Epistle to the Corinthians (NICNT: Eerdmans, 1987), by Gordon D. Fee (via Accordance):


14 [continued -I inadvertently missed out the ending of the verse comment above -JR] As verse 15 makes certain, Paul does not mean that praying in the Spirit is a bad thing because it does not benefit his understanding; rather, this states the way things are. What he does go on to say is that he will do two things, one apparently for his own sake, the other for the sake of others.

15 Paul now elaborates the principle set forth in verse 14, with an eye toward turning it into application in verses 16–17. In light of the simple reality stated in verse 14, he asks rhetorically, “So what shall I do?” His answer is that he will do both. On the one hand, “I will pray with my S/spirit,” meaning, as verses 14 and 19 make certain, “I will pray in tongues.” Although this is obviously not Paul’s present concern, it joins with verse 18 in suggesting that such was his regular practice and that he was edified thereby even if his mind did not enter into such praying. On the other hand, the combination “but also” indicates that the emphasis lies here, “I will also pray with my understanding,” meaning “I will also pray and praise in Greek for the sake of others.”

Although it is not explicitly stated here, this contrast between praying and singing with my S/spirit and my mind ultimately aims at relegating the former to the setting of private praying, while only the latter is to be exercised in the assembly. This is implied both in verses 16–17, where he allows that the tongues-speaker is praising God all right, but to no one else’s benefit, and especially in verse 19, where this distinction is made explicitly.

To “praying” Paul adds “singing with the S/pirit” and “with the understanding.” Singing was a common part of worship in Judaism and was carried over as an integral part of early Christian worship as well, as verse 26 and Col. 3:16//Eph. 5:19 illustrate. The evidence from Colossians and Ephesians suggests that some of the singing was corporate; the language of these passages further indicates that besides being addressed as praise to God, such hymns served as vehicles of instruction in the gathered community. Furthermore, both passages, as well as this one, indicate that some of the singing might best be called “a kind of charismatic hymnody,” in which spontaneous hymns of praise were offered to God in the congregation, although some may have been known beforehand. The present passage, as well as verse 26, indicates that some of this kind of singing was “solo.” This text also adds a dimension to our understanding of “speaking in tongues.” Not only did one pray in this way, but one also praised God in song in this way. Hence the verbs in verbs 16–17 that pick up this theme are “bless” and “give thanks.”

John Reece
08-05-2015, 11:37 AM
Text: (NA27):

ἐπεὶ ἐὰν εὐλογῇς [ἐν] πνεύματι, ὁ ἀναπληρῶν τὸν τόπον τοῦ ἰδιώτου πῶς ἐρεῖ τὸ ἀμὴν ἐπὶ τῇ σῇ εὐχαριστίᾳ; ἐπειδὴ τί λέγεις οὐκ οἶδεν

Transliteration (Accordance):

epei ean eulogȩ̄s [en] pneumati, ho anaplērōn ton topon tou idiōtou pōs erei to amēn epi tȩ̄ sȩ̄ eucharistia̧? epeidē ti legeis ouk oiden

Translation (Thiselton 2006 (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?7074-1-Corinthians-12-14&p=204450&viewfull=1#post204450)):

Otherwise, if you bless God from the depths of your being only, [or "in the Spirit"], how can the uninitiated person person speak his or her "Amen" to your thanksgiving since he or she does not know what you are saying?

Grammatical Analysis (Zerwick/BDAG, meanings in this context):

ἐπεί : since (sc. if that were so), otherwise.
εὐλογῇς : subjunctive of εὐλογέω "speak well of", praise.
ἀναπληρῶν : participle of ἀναπληρόω fill up ; so occupy a place.
ἰδιώτης : unlearned ; uninitiated.
ἐρεῖ : future of λέγω say.
σός : your (singular).
εὐχαριστία : thanksgiving.
ἐπειδή : since (causal).
τί : indirect interrogative.
οἶδεν : know in sense of "understand".

Commentary from the first edition of The First Epistle to the Corinthians (NICNT: Eerdmans, 1987), by Gordon D. Fee (via Accordance):


16 With an untranslated “otherwise” Paul makes the transition from his own determination to praise in both ways in tongues to be sure, but also with his understanding to their need to do especially the latter in the assembly: “Otherwise, if you are praising God by the Spirit [meaning here, praising God in tongues in the assembly], how can [another] say ‘Amen’ to your thanksgiving, since he will not know what you are saying?” Saying the (customary) “Amen” assumes the setting of corporate worship, where this word, also taken over from the Jewish synagogue, indicated wholehearted response to and endorsement of the words of another. Paul’s point, the same one he has been making throughout, is clear enough: Praising God (or praying) in tongues, even though it is by the Spirit, does not build up anyone else in the assembly (verse 17) since what is said is unintelligible.

Paul’s description of the person who cannot say the “Amen,” however, is puzzling: (literally) “the one who fills the place of the idiōtēs.” The problem is twofold: (1) whether the expression “fills the place of” is to be taken literally or figuratively; and (2) what idiōtēs itself means here. The problem is complicated by two factors: (a) Although the word ordinarily means “nonexpert,” hence “an ordinary person” in contrast to one who is skilled, there is also evidence that it was a technical term in religious life for nonmembers who still participated in the pagan sacrifices. (b) In the present context this same person in verse 17 is referred to as being “built up,” which in Paul has to do with believers, yet the word idiōtēs reappears in verse 23 in close connection with unbelievers.

Those who presuppose that the word refers to the same person both here and in verse 23 most often consider the idiōtēs to be a person who stands somewhere between nonbelievers and “full-fledged Christians.” Hence the translation “inquirer” in the NIV margin. Very often he/she is also viewed as having a special place reserved for him/her in the Christian assembly. But there are considerable difficulties with these positions. First, even though such language was used at a later time for catechumens, it is almost certainly an anachronism to assume that there were already “nonbaptized converts” who had special “places” reserved for them in the early house churches. Second, the context as a whole seems to be against it. The concern to this point has been the edification of the church. In verse 17 this idiōtēs is referred to as “the other person” who “is not edified” by hearing praise in tongues. Elsewhere in this argument such language refers to a believer. Moreover, Paul says this person is unable to say the customary “Amen” to your thanksgiving, which implies wholehearted endorsement by one who regularly affirms the praise of the living God.

The alternative is to take the verb in the figurative sense of “one who finds himself in the place or role of an idiōtēs,” with the latter word being used in its nontechnical sense to refer to such a person’s inability to comprehend the tongues-speaker. This does not mean, as is often suggested, that such people do not have spiritual gifts, so that they are also being “put down” by the one speaking in tongues. Rather, it refers to any and all in the community who become idiōtai to the tongues-speaker perhaps in the further sense of being “untrained” (cf. Acts 4:13) in the “language” being spoken precisely because they do not understand what is being said. The reason for the singular is that it corresponds to the second person singular of the person being addressed. Thus, rather than speak to all in the second plural, Paul’s point is better made in the singular, with the person addressed representing those speaking in tongues in the community, and the “person taking the place of the unlearned” representing all the rest in the community who at any time must listen to the uninterpreted tongues without understanding. This, after all, is Paul’s concern throughout the argument, and is further supported by his own follow-up explanation in verse 17.

John Reece
08-06-2015, 11:46 AM
Text: (NA27):

σὺ μὲν γὰρ καλῶς εὐχαριστεῖς ἀλλ᾿ ὁ ἕτερος οὐκ οἰκοδομεῖται.

Transliteration (Accordance):

sy men gar kalōs eucharisteis all’ ho heteros ouk oikodomeitai.

Translation (Thiselton 2006 (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?7074-1-Corinthians-12-14&p=204450&viewfull=1#post204450)):

For you, on your side, may be giving thanks well enough; but the other, on his or her side, is not being built up.

Grammatical Analysis (Zerwick/BDAG, meanings in this context):

μὲν γάρ...ἀλλά : for...no doubt, but.
καλῶς : well, properly.
εὐχαριστέω : give thanks.
οἰκοδομεῖται : passive of οἰκοδομέω build up, edify.

Commentary from the first edition of The First Epistle to the Corinthians (NICNT: Eerdmans, 1987), by Gordon D. Fee (via Accordance):


17 This sentence, which is joined to verse 16 by an explanatory “for,” spells out why that situation is unacceptable. The contrasts are emphatic. Still keeping to the singulars, he says (literally): “You, to be sure, are giving thanks well enough, but the other person is not being edified.” The “you” and the “other person” are the two mentioned in verse 16, the one praising God in tongues and the one who takes the place of the “unlearned” because he/she does not understand. Thus, as in verses 1–5 and 6–12 intelligibility and edification are tied together. In the assembly the latter cannot happen without the former.

There is no good reason to translate the first clause with an English subjunctive, “You may be giving thanks well enough.” Paul is simply affirming what he has already said in verses 15 and 16: “To be sure, you are giving thanks.” But that is not adequate in the assembly, he is telling them. What is needed is to give thanks intelligibly, so that others may benefit as well.

John Reece
08-07-2015, 02:28 PM
Text: (NA27):

Εὐχαριστῶ τῷ θεῷ, πάντων ὑμῶν μᾶλλον γλώσσαις λαλῶ

Transliteration (Accordance):

Eucharistō tō̧ theō̧, pantōn hymōn mallon glōssais lalō

Translation (NRSV):

I thank God that I speak in tongues more than all of you

Grammatical Analysis (Zerwick/BDAG, meanings in this context):

ὑμῶν : genitive of comparison.
μᾶλλον : more.

Commentary from the first edition of The First Epistle to the Corinthians (NICNT: Eerdmans, 1987), by Gordon D. Fee (via Accordance; footnotes omitted):


18 Paul concludes the argument on yet another personal note, which in itself is not surprising since both the larger section (beginning with verse 6 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+cor+14%3A6&version=NRSV)) and the more immediate subparagraph (beginning with verse 14 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+cor+14%3A14&version=NRSV)) begin on such a note. What is surprising is its content: “I thank God I speak in tongues more than all of you.” Indeed, one wonders who is more greatly surprised, the Corinthians themselves or the contemporary reader.

It has been common to treat the earlier personal references as rhetorical and therefore hypothetical; this one, however, indicates that those references do indeed reflect Paul’s own spirituality. Along with verses 14–15 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+cor+14%3A14-15&version=NRSV) and 2 Cor. 12:1–10 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=2+cor+12%3A1-10&version=NRSV), this assertion lets us in on aspects of Paul’s personal piety for which we otherwise would have been quite unprepared. Apparently his life of personal devotion was regularly given to praying, singing, and praising in tongues. Granted that this is probably somewhat hyperbolic; it thereby only makes the reality more emphatic. The fact that he can say it at all, and say it as a matter for which he can thank God, and say it without fear of contradiction to some who are quite taken by this gift, must be taken seriously.

If our suggestion has been correct, that there is an undercurrent of apologetic in these references, where Paul is both defending his own status with regard to their criterion the gift of tongues and rejecting their use of it, then these sentences are intended to fall like something of a bombshell in Corinth. Despite what they may think, he can assert with thanksgiving to God! “I speak in tongues more than all of you.” His concern throughout has been with uninterpreted tongues in the assembly, because they cannot edify the church. With this sentence he outmaneuvers the Corinthians altogether. He herewith affirms their gift in the strongest of terms; but he does so in order to reorder their own thinking about what was going on in the assembly.

Thus this sentence corresponds to the first clause in verse 17 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+cor+14%3A17&version=NRSV). “When praising in tongues, you are thanking God well enough. Indeed, I do this more than all of you. But what goes on in church is another story altogether.” Hence verse 19 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+cor+14%3A19&version=NRSV) will be his own personal response to verse 18 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+cor+14%3A18&version=NRSV), which in turn corresponds to the second clause of verse 17 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+cor+14%3A17&version=NRSV) the edification of others in the assembly.

John Reece
08-08-2015, 01:45 PM
Text: (NA27):

ἀλλὰ ἐν ἐκκλησίᾳ θέλω πέντε λόγους τῷ νοΐ μου λαλῆσαι, ἵνα καὶ ἄλλους κατηχήσω, ἢ μυρίους λόγους ἐν γλώσσῃ.

Transliteration (Accordance):

alla en ekklēsia̧ thelō pente logous tō̧ noi mou lalēsai, hina kai allous katēchēsō, ē myrious logous en glōssȩ̄.

Translation (NRSV):

nevertheless, in church I would rather speak five words with my mind, in order to instruct others also, than ten thousand words in a tongue.

Grammatical Analysis (Zerwick/BDAG, meanings in this context):

ἐκκλησία : Christian congregation, assembly of the faithful.
θέλω...ἢ : supply μᾶλλον I would rather...than.
πέντε = 5.
νοΐ : verse 15 (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?7074-1-Corinthians-12-14&p=226839&viewfull=1#post226839), with aid of ordinary graces.
λαλῆσαι : aorist infinitive of λαλέω speak.
κατηχήσω : aorist subjunctive of κατηχέω instruct orally.
μύριοι = 10,000.

Commentary from the first edition of The First Epistle to the Corinthians (NICNT: Eerdmans, 1987), by Gordon D. Fee (via Accordance; footnotes omitted):


19 Having set them up with the surprising words of verse 18 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+cor+14%3A18&version=NRSV), he now drops the other shoe. When it comes to tongues as such, he has just asserted, I surpass all of you. But so what? The crucial question is not whether one speaks in tongues or not, but what is appropriate in the assembly. Heretofore one may only have suspected that Paul was making distinctions between private devotion and public worship; this sentence makes it explicit.

The contrasts, which return in part to the language of verse 15 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+cor+14%3A15&version=NRSV), are stark. In church “five intelligible words” are to be preferred to “ten thousand words in a tongue.” Only the language for edification has changed: “to instruct others.” This language suggests that “the intelligible words” in this sentence are moving away from the prayer and singing (praising) of verses 15–16 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+cor+14%3A15-16&version=NRSV), including the interpretation of such praise, back toward the other intelligible gifts mentioned in verse 6 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+cor+14%3A6&version=NRSV).

Thus the section has come full circle. If Paul came to them as they wished, speaking in tongues, it would not benefit them. He must speak in intelligible ways. Now he affirms that he does indeed speak in tongues more than all of them; but in church, so that others might be instructed, he would rather speak just five words that could be understood than countless words in a tongue. The obvious implication is that they should wish to do the same.

As with the preceding paragraph, this one needs to be heard well by those on both sides of the “tongues issue.” Those who tend to discount it as meaningful because of Paul’s strong words against it in the assembly need to pay closer attention to his own determination to pray and praise in this way and his thanksgiving for it. On the other side, those who have rediscovered this gift as a meaningful expression in their personal lives of devotion need to be especially conscious of the greater concern of this paragraph that the gathered assembly be a time for the building up of others individually and the body as a whole.

John Reece
08-09-2015, 01:52 PM
Text: (NA27):

Ἀδελφοί, μὴ παιδία γίνεσθε ταῖς φρεσὶν ἀλλὰ τῇ κακίᾳ νηπιάζετε, ταῖς δὲ φρεσὶν τέλειοι γίνεσθε.

Transliteration (Accordance):

Adelphoi, mē paidia ginesthe tais phresin alla tȩ̄ kakia̧ nēpiazete, tais de phresin teleioi ginesthe.

Translation (RSV):

Brethren, do not be children in your thinking; be babes in evil, but in thinking be mature.

Grammatical Analysis (Zerwick/BDAG, meanings in this context):

ἀδελφοί : brothers.
παιδίον : (diminutive of παῖς) child.
γίνεσθε be!, show yourselves! imperative of γίνομαι (supplying for imperative 2nd plural of εἰμί).
φρήν, φρενός, ἡ : mind, plural mentality, outlook.
κακία : evil, dative of respect.
νηπιάζετε : imperative of νηπιάζω be like a child.
τέλειος : mature, adult.

Commentary from the first edition of The First Epistle to the Corinthians (NICNT: Eerdmans, 1987), by Gordon D. Fee (via Accordance; footnotes and introductory paragraphs omitted):


20 Another turn in the argument is marked by the vocative (cf. verse 6 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+cor+14%3A6&version=RSV)) and the rather abrupt appearance of this exhortation to stop being children in their thinking. Although some have seen this as related to 13:10–11 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+cor+13%3A10-11&version=RSV) and have thus argued that Paul considered speaking in tongues itself as childish behavior to be outgrown, both the preceding argument especially verses 15 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+cor+14%3A15&version=NRSV) and 18 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+cor+14%3A18&version=NRSV) and the structure of this sentence suggest otherwise. With the familiar A-B-A pattern of argument, Paul uses this imagery to appeal in two directions: that they cease being like children in their thinking; and that they be as innocent as babies in their behavior. In Paul’s sentence this is the basic contrast, brought out in the first two clauses, while the third balances the first as its opposite. Thus (literally):


Do not be children in your thinking; A
but be infants in evil B
rather (de) in your thinking be adults. A

As in the usage of this same imagery in 3:1–2 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+cor+3%3A1-2&version=RSV), a degree of irony is probably intended. Their childishness consists of thinking improperly that tongues serves as evidence of their new transcendent spirituality and thus marks off the spiritual quality of their gathering, while in fact they evidence all kinds of ethical/behavioral aberrations.

In the context of the OT passage Paul is about to cite, the prophet Isaiah prefaces the cited words with this rhetorical question: “To whom is he explaining this message? To children weaned from their milk?” In Isaiah this was probably spoken to the prophet by his mockers. It seems likely that Paul has this context in mind; for him the Corinthians are in danger of playing the role of those “children,” who rejected the word of the Lord. Thus this exhortation serves both to get them to reconsider their own evaluation of tongues and at the same time to prepare the way for the final argument against unintelligibility in the community.

John Reece
08-10-2015, 02:38 PM
Text: (NA27):

ἐν τῷ νόμῳ γέγραπται ὅτι ἐν ἑτερογλώσσοις καὶ ἐν χείλεσιν ἑτέρων λαλήσω τῷ λαῷ τούτῳ καὶ οὐδ᾿ οὕτως εἰσακούσονταί μου, λέγει κύριος.

Transliteration (Accordance):

en tō̧ nomō̧ gegraptai hoti en heteroglōssois kai en cheilesin heterōn lalēsō tō̧ laō̧ toutō̧ kai oud’ houtōs eisakousontai mou, legei kyrios.

Translation (RSV):

In the law it is written, “By people of strange tongues and by the lips of foreigners I will speak to this people; yet even then they will not listen to me,”

Grammatical Analysis (Zerwick/BDAG, meanings in this context):

γέγραπται : it stands written, perfect passive of γράφω write.
ὅτι = "...
ἑτερόγλωσσος : one speaking another tongue.
χεῖλος : lip ; plural Hebraism ἐν χείλεσιν ἑτέρων by the lips of foreigners.
λαλήσω : future of λαλέω speak.
εἰσακούσονταί : future middle of εἰσακούω (τινός) listen to, obey (one).

Commentary from the first edition of The First Epistle to the Corinthians (NICNT: Eerdmans, 1987), by Gordon D. Fee (via Accordance; footnotes and introductory paragraphs omitted):


21 Paul begins redirecting their thinking by adapting a passage from Isa. 28:11–12 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=isa+28%3A11-12&version=RSV), which he introduces as a citation from “the Law.” The citation itself is not precise; it seems to have been chosen for two interrelated reasons: the occurrence of the language “other tongues” and the fact that in the OT context this “speaking in tongues” by foreigners did not effect belief in Israel indeed, it both led to and was part of their judgment. To bring out his own concerns Paul does four things with the Isaiah passage. (1) He inverts the order of “stammering lips” and “other tongues” to put his interest, “other tongues,” in first position. (2) He changes “stammering lips” to “the lips of others”; the “others” now being the Corinthian believers, whose speaking in tongues would have a deleterious effect on unbelievers. (3) In keeping with the MT, but against the LXX, Paul changes “the Lord will speak” to “I will speak” and concludes with the formula “says the Lord,” probably to increase its impact on the Corinthians. (4) Most significantly, he skips a considerable section in the Isaiah passage, picking up at the end of verse 12, where he changes “and they would not hear (akouō),” referring to the intelligible words of the Lord, to “and even so [referring now to the ‘other tongues’] they will not obey (eisakouō) me.” In Paul’s context this refers to the outsiders of verse 23, who on hearing the Corinthians speaking in tongues would declare them mad. Paul’s point seems to be that such a reaction would be a “fulfillment” of this “word of the Lord” to the effect that tongues do not lead sinners to obedience.

John Reece
08-11-2015, 02:48 PM
Text: (NA27):

ὥστε αἱ γλῶσσαι εἰς σημεῖόν εἰσιν οὐ τοῖς πιστεύουσιν ἀλλὰ τοῖς ἀπίστοις, ἡ δὲ προφητεία οὐ τοῖς ἀπίστοις ἀλλὰ τοῖς πιστεύουσιν.

Transliteration (Accordance):

hōste hai glōssai eis sēmeion eisin ou tois pisteuousin alla tois apistois, hē de prophēteia ou tois apistois alla tois pisteuousin.

Translation (RSV):

Thus, tongues are a sign not for believers but for unbelievers, while prophecy is not for unbelievers but for believers.

Grammatical Analysis (Zerwick/BDAG, meanings in this context):

ὥστε : for this reason, therefore, so.
εἰς : for predicate nominative as.
πιστεύουσιν : dative plural participle of πιστεύω: οἱ πιστεύοντες the believers.
ἄπιστος : unbelieving.
προφητεία : gift of prophesying.

Commentary from the first edition of The First Epistle to the Corinthians (NICNT: Eerdmans, 1987), by Gordon D. Fee (via Accordance; footnotes and introductory paragraphs omitted):


22 With the strong inferential conjunction “so then,” Paul deduces two antithetical assertions from the Isaiah passage just quoted. But what he says has become a notorious crux. The problem is twofold: (1) the meaning of “sign,” including whether he intended it to be repeated for the second assertion, and if so, what it also meant there; and (2) how to square what is said here with the illustrations that follow, especially the second assertion with the second illustration. As noted above, the solution to this lies primarily in the recognition that Paul’s point in the paragraph is made in verses 23–25 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+cor+14%3A23-25&version=RSV) and especially in the way verse 23 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+cor+14%3A23&version=RSV) “fulfills” the Isaiah passage. This means that, contrary to many interpretations, this text (verse 22 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+cor+14%3A22&version=RSV)) needs to be understood in light of what follows, not the other way around.

The first assertion flows directly from the quotation itself: “Tongues are a sign, not for believers but for unbelievers.” Although it cannot be finally proven, the flow of the argument from verse 20 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+cor+14%3A20&version=RSV), including the strong “so then” of this sentence, suggests that Paul is setting up this antithesis with the Corinthians’ own point of view in mind. That is, “In contrast to what you think, this word of the Lord from Isaiah indicates that tongues are not meant as a sign for believers. They are not, as you make them, the divine evidence of being pneumatikos, nor of the presence of God in your assembly. To the contrary, in the public gathering uninterpreted tongues function as a sign for unbelievers.” The question is, What kind of sign? In light of verse 21 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+cor+14%3A21&version=RSV), for which this is the inferential deduction, “sign” in this first sentence can only function in a negative way. That is, it is a “sign” that functions to the disadvantage of unbelievers, not to their advantage.

Most likely Paul is using the word in a way that is quite in keeping with his Judaic background, where “sign” functions as an expression of God’s attitude; something “signifies” to Israel either his disapproval or pleasure. In this case, it is his disapproval that is in view; but not in the sense that God intends unbelievers during this time of grace to receive his judgment. To the contrary, tongues function that way as the result of their effect on the unbeliever, as the illustration in verse 23 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+cor+14%3A23&version=RSV) will clarify. Because tongues are unintelligible, unbelievers receive no revelation from God; they cannot thereby be brought to faith. Thus by their response of seeing the work of the Spirit as madness, they are destined for divine judgment just as in the OT passage Paul has quoted. This, of course, is not the divine intent for such people; hence Paul’s urgency is that the Corinthians cease thinking like children, stop the public use of tongues, since it serves to drive the unbeliever away rather than to lead him or her to faith.

With a balancing antithetical clause Paul adds that “prophecy, however,” also functions as a sign, but “not for unbelievers, but for believers.” With this sentence he once again picks up the contrast between tongues and prophecy that was last expressed in verses 1–6 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+cor+14%3A1-6&version=RSV) (although it is alluded to in verse 19 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+cor+14%3A19&version=RSV) in anticipation of this argument). This is also the clause in which all the difficulties have arisen, since in the illustration that corresponds to this assertion (verses 24–25 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+cor+14%3A24-25&version=RSV)) he does not so much as mention believers but indicates only how prophecy affects unbelievers, and in a way that would make one think that it is really a sign for them, that is, to their advantage.

The solution again lies first of all in the nature of the conflict between Paul and the Corinthians. Over against their preference for tongues, he asserts that it is prophecy, with its intelligibility and revelatory character, that functions as the sign of God’s approval, of God’s presence, in their midst. The evidence of this is to be found in the very way that it affects unbelievers. By the revelatory word of prophecy they are convicted of their sins, and falling on their faces before God they will exclaim, “God is really among you!” That exclamation as a response to prophecy is a “sign” for believers, the indication of God’s favor resting upon them.

Thus, tongues and prophecy function as “signs” in two different ways, precisely in accord with the effect each will have on unbelievers who happen into the Christian assembly.

John Reece
08-12-2015, 11:49 AM
Text: (NA27):

Εὰν οὖν συνέλθῃ ἡ ἐκκλησία ὅλη ἐπὶ τὸ αὐτὸ καὶ πάντες λαλῶσιν γλώσσαις, εἰσέλθωσιν δὲ ἰδιῶται ἢ ἄπιστοι, οὐκ ἐροῦσιν ὅτι μαίνεσθε;

Transliteration (Accordance):

Ean oun synelthȩ̄ hē ekklēsia holē epi to auto kai pantes lalōsin glōssais, eiselthōsin de idiōtai ē apistoi, ouk erousin hoti mainesthe?

Translation (RSV):

If, therefore, the whole church assembles and all speak in tongues, and outsiders or unbelievers enter, will they not say that you are mad?

Grammatical Analysis (Zerwick/BDAG, meanings in this context):

εὰν οὖν : if therefore.
συνέλθῃ : aorist subjunctive of συνέρχομαι come together, gather, meet.
ἐπὶ τὸ αὐτό : in one place, together.
λαλῶσιν : subjunctive of λαλέω speak.
εἰσέλθωσιν : aorist subjunctive of εἰσέρχομαι enter.
ἰδιώτης : unlearned, uninitiated, untutored, outsider.
ἐροῦσιν : future of λέγω say.

Commentary from the first edition of The First Epistle to the Corinthians (NICNT: Eerdmans, 1987), by Gordon D. Fee (via Accordance; footnotes and introductory paragraphs omitted):


23 With this sentence and the next Paul proceeds to illustrate the two assertions of verse 22 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+cor+14%3A22&version=RSV) in terms of the effect of each on unbelievers. Both sentences take the same form: a present general condition in which the protasis expresses the hypothetical situation of the gathered church into which unbelievers enter and the apodosis expresses their response first to tongues, then to prophecy. Although hypothetical, and probably overstated, the protases must nonetheless be taken seriously as real possibilities; otherwise the argument is to no avail. Thus these illustrations give us several insights into an early Christian gathering for worship.

(1) The language for their assembling together is nearly identical to that found in 11:20 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+cor+11%3A20&version=RSV): “the whole church comes together at the same place.” Along with the salutation and the evidence from Rom. 16:23 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=rom+16%3A23&version=RSV), this implies that all the believers from all the house churches met together in some way. Given the limitations of size in even the most commodious of well-to-do homes, does this imply that the church was somewhat smaller than we might tend to think? Or is it possible that one of the houses was considerably larger than archeology has uncovered in Corinth to this point? We simply do not know.

(2) Both this text and verse 26 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+cor+14%3A26&version=RSV), as well as 11:2–16 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+cor+11%3A2-16&version=RSV), where women are praying and prophesying in the assembly, indicate that at least one expression of their worship was “charismatic,” in the twofold sense that there was general participation by all the members, including the women, and that there was considerable expression of the more spontaneous gifts of utterance.

Two things should be noted in regard to the language “and all speak in tongues.” (a) Even though this is probably overstated, one can hardly escape the implication that all of the believers could potentially do so. This means that Paul’s point in 12:29–30 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+cor+12%3A29-30&version=RSV), as we noted there, was to discourage “all” from doing so; he did not mean that only a few could be so gifted (cf. verse 5 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+cor+14%3A5&version=RSV)). The same is true of prophecy. (b) Again, even though it is overstatement, this is probably a generally realistic description of the current scene in Corinth. Not that all were necessarily speaking in tongues at the same time; nonetheless the guidelines in verses 27–33 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+cor+14%3A27-33&version=RSV) seem to imply that many were doing so on a regular basis. If so, then not only did the unintelligibility lead to the exclamation of “madness,” but so also would the general chaos of so much individualized worship with no concern for the general edification of the body as a whole.

(3) These gatherings of the “whole church” were also accessible to unbelievers. The term “unbeliever” is the same as in verse 22 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+cor+14%3A22&version=RSV), making it certain that these verses serve as illustrations for those assertions. Added to “unbeliever” in both instances is the word idiōtēs from verse 16 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+cor+14%3A16&version=RSV). The close ties of this word with “unbeliever” and the nature of their response to tongues and prophecy indicate that such people are not believers. It is also doubtful for the same reasons that it is a technical term for an “inquirer,” someone who stands in some kind of halfway position. Most likely, as before, it carries the nontechnical sense of anyone who is “unlearned,” in this case “untutored” with regard to the Christian faith. Indeed, it is possible that Paul did not intend to designate a second kind of person at all; rather, he simply begins his description of unbelievers in general with this word. Thus, the visiting “unbeliever” is also “untutored” in the faith. As noted earlier, Paul may very well have in mind an unbelieving spouse accompanying the believer to his or her place of worship. Such a person is both outside of Christ and as yet uninstructed in Christ.

(4) The response of the unbeliever to the community’s collective speaking in tongues is to equate the Christian gathering with the mania that attended some of the mystery cults. “Madness,” they will say. For Paul such a response is totally unworthy of the gospel of Christ. Hence tongues fulfills the prophetic word of Isaiah, that with “other tongues” God will speak to “this people,” yet even so they will not obey. This is Paul’s final word about uninterpreted tongues in the assembly; with it he is once more urging them to stop such activity. Not only do tongues not edify; they are also not the “evidence” the Corinthians think they are. To the contrary, this response would be sure evidence that they have quite missed what it means to be God’s “Spirit people” in the new age that has dawned with Christ.

John Reece
08-13-2015, 01:18 PM
Post repeated to add inadvertently omitted vocabulary word.

Text: (NA27):

Εὰν οὖν συνέλθῃ ἡ ἐκκλησία ὅλη ἐπὶ τὸ αὐτὸ καὶ πάντες λαλῶσιν γλώσσαις, εἰσέλθωσιν δὲ ἰδιῶται ἢ ἄπιστοι, οὐκ ἐροῦσιν ὅτι μαίνεσθε;

Transliteration (Accordance):

Ean oun synelthȩ̄ hē ekklēsia holē epi to auto kai pantes lalōsin glōssais, eiselthōsin de idiōtai ē apistoi, ouk erousin hoti mainesthe?

Translation (RSV):

If, therefore, the whole church assembles and all speak in tongues, and outsiders or unbelievers enter, will they not say that you are mad?

Grammatical Analysis (Zerwick/BDAG, meanings in this context):

εὰν οὖν : if therefore.
συνέλθῃ : aorist subjunctive of συνέρχομαι come together, gather, meet.
ἐπὶ τὸ αὐτό : in one place, together.
λαλῶσιν : subjunctive of λαλέω speak.
εἰσέλθωσιν : aorist subjunctive of εἰσέρχομαι enter.
ἰδιώτης : unlearned, uninitiated, untutored, outsider.
ἐροῦσιν : future of λέγω say.
μαίνομαι : be mad or raving.

Commentary from the first edition of The First Epistle to the Corinthians (NICNT: Eerdmans, 1987), by Gordon D. Fee (via Accordance; footnotes and introductory paragraphs omitted):


23 With this sentence and the next Paul proceeds to illustrate the two assertions of verse 22 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+cor+14%3A22&version=RSV) in terms of the effect of each on unbelievers. Both sentences take the same form: a present general condition in which the protasis expresses the hypothetical situation of the gathered church into which unbelievers enter and the apodosis expresses their response first to tongues, then to prophecy. Although hypothetical, and probably overstated, the protases must nonetheless be taken seriously as real possibilities; otherwise the argument is to no avail. Thus these illustrations give us several insights into an early Christian gathering for worship.

(1) The language for their assembling together is nearly identical to that found in 11:20 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+cor+11%3A20&version=RSV): “the whole church comes together at the same place.” Along with the salutation and the evidence from Rom. 16:23 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=rom+16%3A23&version=RSV), this implies that all the believers from all the house churches met together in some way. Given the limitations of size in even the most commodious of well-to-do homes, does this imply that the church was somewhat smaller than we might tend to think? Or is it possible that one of the houses was considerably larger than archeology has uncovered in Corinth to this point? We simply do not know.

(2) Both this text and verse 26 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+cor+14%3A26&version=RSV), as well as 11:2–16 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+cor+11%3A2-16&version=RSV), where women are praying and prophesying in the assembly, indicate that at least one expression of their worship was “charismatic,” in the twofold sense that there was general participation by all the members, including the women, and that there was considerable expression of the more spontaneous gifts of utterance.

Two things should be noted in regard to the language “and all speak in tongues.” (a) Even though this is probably overstated, one can hardly escape the implication that all of the believers could potentially do so. This means that Paul’s point in 12:29–30 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+cor+12%3A29-30&version=RSV), as we noted there, was to discourage “all” from doing so; he did not mean that only a few could be so gifted (cf. verse 5 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+cor+14%3A5&version=RSV)). The same is true of prophecy. (b) Again, even though it is overstatement, this is probably a generally realistic description of the current scene in Corinth. Not that all were necessarily speaking in tongues at the same time; nonetheless the guidelines in verses 27–33 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+cor+14%3A27-33&version=RSV) seem to imply that many were doing so on a regular basis. If so, then not only did the unintelligibility lead to the exclamation of “madness,” but so also would the general chaos of so much individualized worship with no concern for the general edification of the body as a whole.

(3) These gatherings of the “whole church” were also accessible to unbelievers. The term “unbeliever” is the same as in verse 22 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+cor+14%3A22&version=RSV), making it certain that these verses serve as illustrations for those assertions. Added to “unbeliever” in both instances is the word idiōtēs from verse 16 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+cor+14%3A16&version=RSV). The close ties of this word with “unbeliever” and the nature of their response to tongues and prophecy indicate that such people are not believers. It is also doubtful for the same reasons that it is a technical term for an “inquirer,” someone who stands in some kind of halfway position. Most likely, as before, it carries the nontechnical sense of anyone who is “unlearned,” in this case “untutored” with regard to the Christian faith. Indeed, it is possible that Paul did not intend to designate a second kind of person at all; rather, he simply begins his description of unbelievers in general with this word. Thus, the visiting “unbeliever” is also “untutored” in the faith. As noted earlier, Paul may very well have in mind an unbelieving spouse accompanying the believer to his or her place of worship. Such a person is both outside of Christ and as yet uninstructed in Christ.

(4) The response of the unbeliever to the community’s collective speaking in tongues is to equate the Christian gathering with the mania that attended some of the mystery cults. “Madness,” they will say. For Paul such a response is totally unworthy of the gospel of Christ. Hence tongues fulfills the prophetic word of Isaiah, that with “other tongues” God will speak to “this people,” yet even so they will not obey. This is Paul’s final word about uninterpreted tongues in the assembly; with it he is once more urging them to stop such activity. Not only do tongues not edify; they are also not the “evidence” the Corinthians think they are. To the contrary, this response would be sure evidence that they have quite missed what it means to be God’s “Spirit people” in the new age that has dawned with Christ.[/QUOTE]

John Reece
08-13-2015, 02:15 PM
Text: (NA27):

ἐὰν δὲ πάντες προφητεύωσιν, εἰσέλθῃ δέ τις ἄπιστος ἢ ἰδιώτης, ἐλέγχεται ὑπὸ πάντων, ἀνακρίνεται ὑπὸ πάντων, τὰ κρυπτὰ τῆς καρδίας αὐτοῦ φανερὰ γίνεται, καὶ οὕτως πεσὼν ἐπὶ πρόσωπον προσκυνήσει τῷ θεῷ ἀπαγγέλλων ὅτι ὄντως ὁ θεὸς ἐν ὑμῖν ἐστιν.

Transliteration (Accordance):

ean de pantes prophēteuōsin, eiselthȩ̄ de tis apistos ē idiōtēs, elegchetai hypo pantōn, anakrinetai hypo pantōn, ta krypta tēs kardias autou phanera ginetai, kai houtōs pesōn epi prosōpon proskynēsei tō̧ theō̧ apaggellōn hoti ontōs ho theos en hymin estin.

Translation (RSV):

But if all prophesy, and an unbeliever or outsider enters, he is convicted by all, he is called to account by all, the secrets of his heart are disclosed; and so, falling on his face, he will worship God and declare that God is really among you.

Grammatical Analysis (Zerwick/BDAG, meanings in this context):

προφητεύωσιν : subjunctive of προφητεύω prophesy.
ἐλέγχεται : passive of ἐλέγχω point out ; convince, convict.
ἀνακρίνεται : passive of ἀνακρίνω inquire into ; challenge.
κρυπτός : hidden, secret.
φανερός : clear, evident.
πεσὼν : aorist participle of πίπτω fall.
προσκυνήσει : future of προσκυνέω (τινί) worship (one).
ἀπαγγέλλων : participle of ἀπαγγέλλω declare.
ὅτι = "...
ὄντως : in reality, really, truly.

Commentary from the first edition of The First Epistle to the Corinthians (NICNT: Eerdmans, 1987), by Gordon D. Fee (via Accordance; footnotes and introductory paragraphs omitted):


24-25 Once more prophecy is set forth as the alternative to the unintelligibility of uninterpreted tongues. In this case it is viewed as leading directly to the conversion of the visiting unbeliever. This passage in particular implies that prophesying is potentially available to all believers since all are Spirit people. That is, Paul does not say, “If the prophets all prophesy …,” but, “If all prophesy … the unbeliever will be convicted by all [not all the prophets] … and he will be judged by all.” The nature of this argumentation seems to exclude the option that this gift was limited to a group of authoritative people who were known in the community as “the prophets.” Again, as with tongues, it does not mean that Paul expects everyone to prophesy; it does imply the extensive involvement of the whole community in worship, especially in the manifestation of the gifts of inspired utterance.

In contrast to the negative response in verse 23 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+cor+14%3A23&version=RSV), here Paul offers a considerable description of the unbeliever’s response to such prophesying. One cannot tell from what is said whether these prophecies would be similar to those in verse 3 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+cor+14%3A3&version=RSV) that edified believers, or whether some of the prophecies would be more specifically directed toward the unbeliever as such. In either case, quite in keeping with the OT view of prophecy, Paul views the inspired word as penetrating deeply into the moral consciousness of the hearers. There are several dimensions to this.

First, the unbeliever is “convicted by all, is called to account by all.” These two verbs together imply the deep probing work of the Holy Spirit in people’s lives, exposing their sins and thus calling them to account before the living God. Lying behind the word “convicted” is the OT view that one is exposed before the living God through the prophetic word; inherent in such “exposure” is the call to repentance, the summons to have one’s exposed sins forgiven by a merciful God.

The second word appeared previously in this letter to describe the Corinthians’ “examination” of Paul and his apostleship (4:3–4 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+cor+4%3A3-4&version=RSV); 9:3 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+cor+9%3A3&version=RSV)); it is also used in 2:14–15 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+cor+2%3A14-15&version=RSV) to describe the proper sphere of activity of the “spiritual person,” meaning something like “discern.” Perhaps there is an intended deflection by the use of this word here. Instead of “examining” Paul on their grounds of spirituality, they should seek to prophesy in the assembly so that the proper “examining” might take place, that of the Spirit in the heart of the unbeliever, bringing him or her to a place of repentance.

The result of this convicting process begins as an internal work in the sinner: “the secrets of his heart will be laid bare.” The emphasis here is on the revelatory aspect of the prophetic utterance. The story of the Fall suggests that one of its first effects on humanity is their great sense of need to hide from the living God; it is the folly of our sinfulness that allows us to think we can. Thus, one of the sure signs of the presence of God in the believing community is this deep plowing work of the Spirit, whereby through prophetic revelation the secrets of the heart are laid bare. No wonder the Corinthians preferred tongues; it not only gave them a sense of being more truly “spiritual” but it was safer!

The final result of such exposure before God is conversion, which is what Paul’s language unmistakably intends. The language is thoroughly steeped in the OT. First, “he will thus fall on his face and worship God.” This is biblical language for obeisance and worship. That Paul intends this to mean conversion is indicated by the final exclamation, which is a conscious reflection of Isa. 45:14 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=isa+45%3A14&version=RSV) (cf. Zech. 8:23 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=zech+8%3A23&version=RSV)): God, speaking through the prophet, says that the Egyptians will come over to you, and “will worship” before you, and say, “Surely God is with you.” Paul simply changes the singular “with you,” referring to Israel, into a plural, “among you,” referring to the gathered community. This final confession of the unbeliever is thus the “sign” that prophecy is for “believers”; it is sure evidence of God’s favor resting on his people.

With these powerful words Paul brings to a conclusion his argument against both the use of uninterpreted tongues in the assembly and the thinking that lay behind it. He insists that in the gathered community only what is intelligible is permissible because what is intelligible, especially prophecy, both edifies God’s people and leads to the conversion of others. But this is only part of the problem. Their use of tongues was apparently also disorderly, so to that question he now turns before concluding the argument with a direct confrontation with the Corinthians over his right so to order them and over who in fact is truly pneumatikos.

Along with the great need for local communities to be edified, the reason set forth in this paragraph ought to be sufficient to lead the church to pray for the renewal of the prophetic gift in its ongoing life. It is not simply the presence of prophecy itself that signifies God’s presence among his gathered people, but the powerful revealing work of the Spirit that convicts of sin and leads to repentance. Perhaps in our domestication of the Spirit we have also settled for a “safer” expression of worship, one in which very few are ever led to exclaim that “Surely God is among you.” Seeing that actually take place leads to prayer that verse 1 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+cor+14%3A1&version=RSV) might be the church’s ongoing portion: love, spiritual gifts, especially prophecy.

John Reece
08-14-2015, 02:43 PM
Text: (NA27):

Τί οὖν ἐστιν, ἀδελφοί; ὅταν συνέρχησθε, ἕκαστος ψαλμὸν ἔχει, διδαχὴν ἔχει, ἀποκάλυψιν ἔχει, γλῶσσαν ἔχει, ἑρμηνείαν ἔχει· πάντα πρὸς οἰκοδομὴν γινέσθω.

Transliteration (Accordance):

Ti oun estin, adelphoi? hotan synerchēsthe, hekastos psalmon echei, didachēn echei, apokalypsin echei, glōssan echei, hermēneian echei; panta pros oikodomēn ginesthō.

Translation (RSV):

What then, brethren? When you come together, each one has a hymn, a lesson, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification.

Grammatical Analysis (Zerwick/BDAG, meanings in this context):

τί οὖν ἐστιν; : how do matters stand then?
συνέρχησθε : subjunctive of συνέρχομαι come together as a group, gather, assemble.
διδαχή : instruction.
ἀποκάλυψις : revelation.
ἑρμηνεία : see on 12:10 (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?7074-1-Corinthians-12-14&p=208270&viewfull=1#post208270).
πρός : for.
γινέσθω : let...be done! ...is to be done, imperative 3rd singular of γίνομαι.

Commentary from the first edition of The First Epistle to the Corinthians (NICNT: Eerdmans, 1987), by Gordon D. Fee (via Accordance; footnotes and introductory paragraphs omitted):


26 The combination of the formula “What then is the upshot of all this?” and the vocative “brothers [and sisters]” signals a shift in the argument, but in this case one that seems intended to tie together several loose ends. The verb “you come together,” spoken now in the second person plural (as in 11:18 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+cor+11%3A18&version=RSV), 20 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+cor+11%3A20&version=RSV), 33–34 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+cor+11%3A33-34&version=RSV)), picks up the argument from verses 23–25 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+cor+14%3A23-25&version=RSV). The first sentence, which offers a description of what should be happening at their gatherings, echoes the concerns of chapter 12, that each one has opportunity to participate in the corporate ministry of the body. The second sentence, the exhortation that all of the various expressions of ministry described in the first sentence be for edification, echoes the basic concern of chapter 14 as well as of chapter 13. Thus these concluding guidelines bring both sections of the preceding argument into focus.

Like all the former lists in these chapters, this final one is ad hoc; it is intended neither to give the “order” of service nor to be exhaustive of what “each one has” to offer by way of ministry. Given the fact that neither prayer nor prophecy and “discernment” is listed (cf. 11:4–5 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+cor+11%3A4-5&version=RSV)) yet in the following sentences the latter two are “regulated,” this list in particular seems capable of yielding to an et cetera at the end. Each of these items has appeared in the previous discussion; most likely they represent various types of verbal manifestations of the Spirit that should occur in their assembly. Since the latter three are Spirit-inspired utterances, and are therefore spontaneous, it is likely that the first two are to be understood in that way as well, although that is not certain.

For a discussion of the “hymn” see on verse 15 (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?7074-1-Corinthians-12-14&p=226839&viewfull=1#post226839); very likely this word stands for “prayer” as well, although the interpreted tongue could also fit that category. For “word of instruction” and “revelation” see on verse 6 (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?7074-1-Corinthians-12-14&p=223277&viewfull=1#post223277). As suggested there, the latter could very easily be a cover word for all other forms of intelligible inspired speech, including the “prophecies” of verses 29–32 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+cor+14%3A29-32&version=RSV), especially since the verb “revealed” occurs in the context of prophecy and discernment in verse 30 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+cor+14%3A30&version=RSV). For “tongue” and “interpretation” see on 12:10 (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?7074-1-Corinthians-12-14&p=208270&viewfull=1#post208270). On the “charismatic” nature of this worship, see on verse 23 (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?7074-1-Corinthians-12-14&p=230422&viewfull=1#post230422). What is striking in this entire discussion is the absence of any mention of leadership or of anyone who would be responsible for seeing that these guidelines were generally adhered to. The community appears to be left to itself and the Holy Spirit. What is mandatory is that everything aim at edification..

John Reece
08-15-2015, 12:39 PM
Text: (NA27):

εἴτε γλώσσῃ τις λαλεῖ, κατὰ δύο ἢ τὸ πλεῖστον τρεῖς καὶ ἀνὰ μέρος, καὶ εἷς διερμηνευέτω·

Transliteration (Accordance):

eite glōssȩ̄ tis lalei, kata dyo ē to pleiston treis kai ana meros, kai heis diermēneuetō;

Translation (Thiselton (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?7074-1-Corinthians-12-14&p=204450&viewfull=1#post204450)):

Thiselton prefaces a comment on his translation (in bold emphasis as follows) with "As we have argued, we should be cautious about assuming that each in speaking in tongues denotes a different speaker from the one who puts the tongue speaking into words. Hence I have translated verse 27: If it is in a tongue that someone speaks, let only two or at the most three speak in turn, and let the one who is speaking put it [their utterance] into words."

Grammatical Analysis (Zerwick/BDAG, meanings in this context):

εἴτε : without a second εἴτε if.
κατὰ δύο ἢ ... τρεῖς : two or ... three at one time, i.e. during one meeting.
πλεῖστος : superlative of πολύς, neuter used adverbially, at most.
μέρος : part, ἀνὰ μέρος in turn.
διερμηνευέτω : imperative of διερμηνεύω interpret; or, as Thiselton argues, articulate, put into intelligible words (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?7074-1-Corinthians-12-14&p=208270&viewfull=1#post208270).

Commentary from the first edition of The First Epistle to the Corinthians (NICNT: Eerdmans, 1987), by Gordon D. Fee (via Accordance; footnotes and introductory paragraphs omitted):


27 Having commanded that “all things (i.e., the various ministries in the preceding list) be done for the edification of the church,” Paul proceeds to show how this may be accomplished for tongues and prophecy, the two gifts that have been at the forefront of the preceding discussion. He begins with the problem child, tongues. Three guidelines are given.

First, “two or at the most three should speak.” One cannot be sure whether this means “at any one service” or “before there is an interpretation.” In favor of the former is the phrase “at the most,” plus the overall concern of the chapter that tongues not dominate the assembly; therefore in this guideline Paul is suggesting that such manifestations be limited in any given meeting. In favor of the latter is the similar recommendation for prophecies in verses 29–31 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+cor+14%3A29-31&version=RSV), which on the basis of verses 24 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+cor+14%3A24&version=RSV) and 31 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+cor+14%3A31&version=RSV) is intended to limit the number of speakers in sequence, not the number of prophecies at any given service. On the whole, this is not easy to decide, but probably the word “at the most,” which is missing in the guidelines for prophecies, tips the balance in favor of the former.

Second, “and one at a time.” Two observations are in order. (a) There seems to be no good reason for such a word unless it is intended to be corrective. Along with verse 23 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+cor+14%3A23&version=RSV), the implication is that the Corinthians were doing otherwise. Not only did they have a singular passion for this gift, but apparently they had allowed it to dominate their gatherings in a way that reflected pagan ecstasy far more than the gospel of Christ. (b) This guideline clearly removes tongues from all forms of pagan ecstasy, as far as Paul’s understanding is concerned. The admonition in verse 32 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+cor+14%3A32&version=RSV) is probably intended as much for this gift as for prophecy. Whatever else, Christian inspiration, including both tongues and prophecy, is not “out of control.” The Spirit does not “possess” or “overpower” the speaker; he is subject to the prophet or tongues-speaker, in the sense that what the Spirit has to say will be said in an orderly and intelligible way. It is indeed the Spirit who speaks, but he speaks through the controlled instrumentality of the believer’s own mind and tongue. In this regard it is no different from the inspired utterances of the OT prophets, which were spoken at the appropriate times and settings.

Third, “and someone must interpret.” This simply repeats what has already been said in verses 6 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+cor+14%3A6&version=RSV) and 13 (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?7074-1-Corinthians-12-14&p=225835&viewfull=1#post225835), except that in those two passages it is assumed that the tongues-speaker will also receive the interpretation; whereas here and in 12:10 (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?7074-1-Corinthians-12-14&p=208270&viewfull=1#post208270) and 28–30 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+cor+14%3A26-30&version=RSV) it is assumed that the interpretation will be given to someone else. What cannot be decided is whether “one” is to interpret after each utterance in tongues or whether both of the first guidelines are also intended to limit the number of expressions in tongues before there is an interpretation. Probably the latter, but there is no way to determine. This guideline receives further qualification in the next verse.

John Reece
08-16-2015, 12:16 PM
Text: (NA27):

ἐὰν δὲ μὴ ᾖ διερμηνευτής, σιγάτω ἐν ἐκκλησίᾳ, ἑαυτῷ δὲ λαλείτω καὶ τῷ θεῷ.

Transliteration (Accordance):

ean de mē ȩ̄ diermēneutēs, sigatō en ekklēsia̧, heautō̧ de laleitō kai tō̧ theō̧.

Translation (Thiselton (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?7074-1-Corinthians-12-14&p=204450&viewfull=1#post204450)):

Thiselton prefaces a comment on his translation (in bold emphasis as follows) with "The NRSV renders verse 28, "But if there is no one to interpret, let them be silent in church and speak to themselves and to God," while NIV similarly has, "If there is no interpreter, the speakers should keep quiet." [note the "politically correct" use of plurals in both versions, to avoid translating masculine singular words that are in the Greek -JR]. Since the Greek uses a noun here (NIV, "an interpreter"; Greek diermēneutēs, this might seem to favor, after all, the notion of a separate person who interprets, alongside the tongues speaker. But the Greek word occurs only here in the New Testament, and not again until the Byzantine period centuries later (F. W. Danker Greek English Lexicon 3rd edit., p. 244). Some later Western variants (D*, F, G) read hermēneutēs, also only here in the New Testament. It would be hazardous to assume that either of these words necessarily denotes one who receives the gift of "interpreting" tongues spoken by another. It may simply denote one who has learned by reflection to put his deepest experience into words. In this case, the meaning of verse 28 is: If he or she cannot express this deep experience in words let [that person] remain silent in the assembled congregation, and address God privately. This is perhaps the only verse that might possibly support the more usual view, but it is hazardous to place such weight on a single verse, the meaning of which leaves room for doubt.

Grammatical Analysis (Zerwick/BDAG, meanings in this context):

ᾖ : subjunctive of εἰμί be.
διερμηνευτής : interpreter; or, as Thiselton argues, "one who has learned by reflection to put his deepest experience into words."
σιγάτω : imperative 3rd singular of σιγάω keep silent.
λαλείτω : imperative 3rd singular of λαλέω speak.

John Reece
08-17-2015, 01:37 PM
Post repeated to correct an error on my part.

Text: (NA27):

ἐὰν δὲ μὴ ᾖ διερμηνευτής, σιγάτω ἐν ἐκκλησίᾳ, ἑαυτῷ δὲ λαλείτω καὶ τῷ θεῷ.

Transliteration (Accordance):

ean de mē ȩ̄ diermēneutēs, sigatō en ekklēsia̧, heautō̧ de laleitō kai tō̧ theō̧.

Translation (Thiselton (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?7074-1-Corinthians-12-14&p=204450&viewfull=1#post204450)):

Thiselton prefaces a comment on his translation (in bold emphasis as follows) with "The NRSV renders verse 28, "But if there is no one to interpret, let them be silent in church and speak to themselves and to God," while NIV similarly has, "If there is no interpreter, the speakers should keep quiet." [note the "politically correct" use of plurals in both versions, whereas the words thus translated are singular in the Greek -JR]. Since the Greek uses a noun here (NIV, "an interpreter"; Greek diermēneutēs, this might seem to favor, after all, the notion of a separate person who interprets, alongside the tongues speaker. But the Greek word occurs only here in the New Testament, and not again until the Byzantine period centuries later (F. W. Danker Greek English Lexicon 3rd edit., p. 244). Some later Western variants (D*, F, G) read hermēneutēs, also only here in the New Testament. It would be hazardous to assume that either of these words necessarily denotes one who receives the gift of "interpreting" tongues spoken by another. It may simply denote one who has learned by reflection to put his deepest experience into words. In this case, the meaning of verse 28 is: If he or she cannot express this deep experience in words let [that person] remain silent in the assembled congregation, and address God privately. This is perhaps the only verse that might possibly support the more usual view, but it is hazardous to place such weight on a single verse, the meaning of which leaves room for doubt.

Grammatical Analysis (Zerwick/BDAG, meanings in this context):

ᾖ : subjunctive of εἰμί be.
διερμηνευτής : interpreter; or, as Thiselton argues, "one who has learned by reflection to put his deepest experience into words."
σιγάτω : imperative 3rd singular of σιγάω keep silent.
λαλείτω : imperative 3rd singular of λαλέω speak.

John Reece
08-17-2015, 03:48 PM
Text: (NA27):

προφῆται δὲ δύο ἢ τρεῖς λαλείτωσαν καὶ οἱ ἄλλοι διακρινέτωσαν

Transliteration (Accordance):

prophētai de dyo ē treis laleitōsan kai hoi alloi diakrinetōsan

Translation (RSV):

Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others weigh what is said.

Grammatical Analysis (Zerwick/BDAG, meanings in this context):

λαλείτωσαν : imperative 3rd plural of λαλέω speak.
διακρινέτωσαν : imperative of διακρίνω distinguish ; use one's discernment/judgment.

Commentary from the first edition of The First Epistle to the Corinthians (NICNT: Eerdmans, 1987), by Gordon D. Fee (via Accordance; footnotes and introductory paragraphs omitted):


29 Paul now turns to give similar guidelines for the exercise of the gift of prophecy. Because of the similarities with what was said about tongues, some have suggested that there were difficulties with this gift in Corinth as well. More likely, however, he advances these guidelines because this is the gift he has been arguing for throughout vis-à-vis tongues; since he has just “regulated” their gift, he goes on to do the same for the one he has been plumping for in its place. Hence the similarities.

He begins with the same ordering as in verse 27 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+cor+14%3A27&version=RSV): “Two or three prophets should speak.” This does not mean that in any given gathering there must be a limit of two or three prophecies. Even though that is commonly suggested, it lies quite beyond Paul’s concern and makes little sense at all of verse 24 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+cor+14%3A24&version=RSV). But if all prophesy, and an unbeliever or outsider enters, he is convicted by all, he is called to account by all (“when you come together and all prophesy”), nor of the concern in verse 31 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+cor+14%3A31&version=RSV) that all have opportunity to participate. Rather, it means that there should be no more than three at a time before “the others weigh carefully what is said.” This latter item is the verb for “distinguishing between spirits” in 12:10 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+cor+12%3A10&version=RSV) (q.v.). As noted there, this is probably to be understood as a form of “testing the spirits,” but not so much in the sense of whether “the prophet” is speaking by a foreign spirit but whether the prophecy itself truly conforms to the Spirit of God, who is also indwelling the other believers. Other than in 12:3 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+cor+12%3A3&version=RSV), no criterion is here given as to what goes into the “discerning” process, although in Rom. 12:6 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=rom+12%3A6&version=RSV) we are told that prophecies are to be “according to the analogy of faith,” which probably means “that which is compatible with their believing in Christ.” Nor is there any suggestion as to how it proceeds. At best one can argue that prophecies did not have independent authority in the church, but must always be the province of the corporate body, who in the Spirit were to determine the sense or perhaps viability of what had been said.

Some have argued, on the basis of 12:28 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+cor+12%3A28&version=RSV), that “prophets” refers to the special group of authoritative persons in the community who have been given this gift. “The others” in this case means “the other prophets,” so that the whole text is intended to regulate the activities of the prophets, vis-à-vis regulating “prophecies” per se. But nearly everything else in the argument stands over against such a view. (a) The argument from verse 1 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+cor+14%3A1&version=RSV) has been in the second plural, addressing the entire community. He urges all of them “eagerly [to] desire spiritual gifts, especially that you prophesy,” without a hint that this gift is limited to the “prophets.” (b) So with the rest of the argument; for example, in verse 12 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+cor+14%3A12&version=RSV) he exhorts, “Since you are zealous for spiritual manifestations (referring to their collective enthusiasm for tongues), seek to excel in the building up of the church (meaning especially the gift of prophecy).” (c) The evidence in verse 24 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+cor+14%3A24&version=RSV), even though hypothetical, is especially telling. As in verse 23 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+cor+14%3A23&version=RSV), Paul implies a situation that could conceivably occur, namely that “all prophesy,” so that the unbeliever is convicted by all and judged by all. (d) So also in verse 31 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+cor+14%3A31&version=RSV) he urges orderliness, “for you may all prophecy in turn so that all may learn and all be encouraged/exhorted.” It is gratuitous to suggest that the first “all” means “all the prophets” while the next two refer to the whole community.

This does not mean, of course, that all will or do prophesy. It is simply to note that Paul’s concern here is not with a group of prophets, but with the functioning of prophecy in the assembly. The noun “prophets,” therefore, is to be understood as functional language, similar to the use of “interpreter” in verse 28 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+cor+14%3A28&version=RSV), and means, as in verse 3 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+cor+14%3A3&version=RSV), “the one who is prophesying.” Although he uses a noun in this case, which he does not do with “the one who speaks in a tongue,” the structure of the two sentences (verses 27 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+cor+14%3A27&version=RSV) and 29 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+cor+14%3A29&version=RSV)) calls for a similar understanding in both cases and does not imply that he is now speaking about a special group of persons.

John Reece
08-18-2015, 12:59 PM
Text: (NA27):

ἐὰν δὲ ἄλλῳ ἀποκαλυφθῇ καθημένῳ, ὁ πρῶτος σιγάτω. δύνασθε γὰρ καθ᾿ ἕνα πάντες προφητεύειν, ἵνα πάντες μανθάνωσιν καὶ πάντες παρακαλῶνται.

Transliteration (Accordance):

ean de allō̧ apokalyphthȩ̄ kathēmenō̧, ho prōtos sigatō. dynasthe gar kath’ hena pantes prophēteuein, hina pantes manthanōsin kai pantes parakalōntai.

Translation (RSV):

If a revelation is made to another sitting by, let the first be silent. For you can all prophesy one by one, so that all may learn and all be encouraged

Grammatical Analysis (Zerwick/BDAG, meanings in this context):

ἀποκαλυφθῇ : a revelation is made, aorist passive subjunctive of ἀποκαλύπτω reveal.
καθημένῳ : participle of κάθημαι sit, ἄλλῳ καθημένῳ to another sitting by.
καθ᾿ ἕνα : one by one.
προφητεύειν : infinitive of προφητεύω prophesy.
μανθάνωσιν : subjunctive of μανθάνω learn.
παρακαλῶνται : passive subjunctive of παρακαλέω encourage.

Commentary from the first edition of The First Epistle to the Corinthians (NICNT: Eerdmans, 1987), by Gordon D. Fee (via Accordance; footnotes and introductory paragraphs omitted):


30-31 These two sentences offer a further guideline for this gift, so that everything will be “done in a fitting and orderly way” (verse 40 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+cor+14%3A40&version=RSV)). The requirement seems to be aimed at those who might tend to dominate the meeting, although that is not certain. In any case, Paul presupposes that while one is speaking, “a revelation [may come] to someone who is sitting down.” The use of the verb “reveal” in this context suggests that for Paul this was the essential character of what was spoken in a prophecy. See on verses 6 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+cor+14%3A6&version=RSV), 24–25 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+cor+14%3A24-25&version=RSV), and 26 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+cor+14%3A26&version=RSV). When this happens then “the first speaker,” meaning the one already speaking, “should stop.” The grounds for such a regulation will be given in verse 32 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+cor+14%3A32&version=RSV); neither the tongues-speaker nor the prophet is out of control.

The “for” that begins verse 31 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+cor+14%3A31&version=RSV) may be either explanatory, offering an elucidation of what has just been said, or causal, giving its reason. In either case, Paul now offers a justification for the preceding regulation: “you can all prophesy in turn.” As noted above, (1) “all” does not mean that everyone has this gift; the implication is that it is potentially available to everyone; and (2) this language makes almost no sense at all if he is referring to what should take place over several different meetings; the concern throughout, beginning with the verb “you assemble” in verse 26 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+cor+14%3A26&version=RSV), is with what takes place in a given gathering.

The appeal is both to self-control and to deference. It is difficult to imagine two people prophesying simultaneously. But since they apparently were doing so with tongues, this at least anticipates their also doing so with prophecy as well perhaps as keeping it in the category of “controlled” speech in contrast to pagan varieties.

The reason for such orderliness is given in a final purpose clause. Paul is emphatic: “All may prophesy, so that all may be instructed and all may be encouraged.” As in chapter 12 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+cor+12&version=RSV), and again in verse 26 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+cor+14%3A26&version=RSV) with which this paragraph began, this reflects a concern for edification in which everyone contributes. Since the whole of the divine revelation is not given to just one or a few or in simply one kind of manifestation the concern is that all, including those who speak prophetically, should learn from and be encouraged or exhorted by what the Spirit has given to others. The result of such orderliness, therefore, is that the opening exhortation is fulfilled, that “everything be done for the edification of the church” (verse 26 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+cor+14%3A26&version=RSV)).

John Reece
08-19-2015, 11:27 AM
Text: (NA27):

καὶ πνεύματα προφητῶν προφήταις ὑποτάσσεται.

Transliteration (Accordance):

καὶ πνεύματα προφητῶν προφήταις ὑποτάσσεται.

Translation (RSV):

and the spirits of prophets are subject to prophets.

Grammatical Analysis (Zerwick/BDAG, meanings in this context):

πνεύματα : plural of πνεῦμα spirit.
ὑποτάσσεται : passive of ὑποτάσσω subject ; passive be under the control of (dative).

Commentary from the first edition of The First Epistle to the Corinthians (NICNT: Eerdmans, 1987), by Gordon D. Fee (via Accordance; footnotes and introductory paragraphs omitted):


32 With this crucial sentence Paul offers his justification for the preceding regulations of the activities of both speaking in tongues and prophesying. Along with its theological basis given in the next verse (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+cor+14%3A33&version=RSV), these two sentences bring this section to a fitting conclusion. With these words Paul lifts Christian “inspired speech” out of the category of “ecstasy” as such and offers it as a radically different thing from the mania of the pagan cults. There is no seizure here, no loss of control; the speaker is neither frenzied nor a babbler. If tongues is not intelligible, it is nonetheless inspired utterance and completely under the control of the speaker. So too with prophecy.

As noted earlier, the phrase “spirits of prophets” means “the prophetic Spirit” by which each of them speaks through his or her own spirit. Paul’s point is that the utterances are subject to the speakers in terms of timing; the content is understood to be the product of the Divine Spirit who inspires such utterances. Thus he justifies their speaking one at a time, being silent with regard to tongues when no interpreter [see below -JR] is present, and ceasing for the sake of another when a prophetic revelation is given to someone else. All of this is possible because “the spirits of prophets are subject to prophets.”

Apparently, Fee is unaware of, or disagrees with, or decided not to mention, Thiselton's exegesis of the terms ἑρμηνευτής ("interpreter" [Fee] or "one who gives articulate expression to what is spoken in tongues" [Thiselton]) and ἑρμηνεία (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?7074-1-Corinthians-12-14&p=208270&viewfull=1#post208270) ("interpretation" [Fee] or "articulate expression of what is spoken in tongues" [Thiselton]). Fee's comment in his original/first edition (above) is unchanged in the 2014 second edition. I am inclined to accept Thiselton's exegesis.

John Reece
08-20-2015, 04:42 PM
Text: (NA27):

οὐ γάρ ἐστιν ἀκαταστασίας ὁ θεὸς ἀλλὰ εἰρήνης.

Transliteration (Accordance):

ou gar estin akatastasias ho theos alla eirēnēs.

Translation (RSV):

For God is not a God of confusion but of peace.

Grammatical Analysis (Zerwick/BDAG, meanings in this context):

ἀκαταστασία : disorder, unruliness, confusion..

Commentary from the first edition of The First Epistle to the Corinthians (NICNT: Eerdmans, 1987), by Gordon D. Fee (via Accordance; footnotes and introductory paragraphs omitted):


33 To conclude Paul adds a significant theological justification for the foregoing guidelines. Everything has to do with the character of God and what God has already established to be true of his divine activity in the rest of the churches. First, “for God is not a God of disorder but of peace.” This sentence, along with the final appeal in verse 40 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+cor+14%3A40&version=RSV), seems to corroborate the suggestion made on verse 23 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+cor+14%3A23&version=RSV) that the Corinthian assembly had become unruly in its expression of tongues. Now Paul is arguing that the basis of all these instructions is ultimately theological. It has to do with the character of God, probably vis-à-vis the deities of the cults, whose worship was characterized by frenzy and disorder. The theological point is crucial: the character of one’s deity is reflected in the character of one’s worship. The Corinthians must therefore cease worship that reflects the pagan deities more than the God whom they have come to know through the Lord Jesus Christ (cf. 12:2–3 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+cor+12%3A1-3&version=RSV)). God is neither characterized by disorder nor the cause of it in the assembly.

The interesting opposite of “disorder,” however, is not quietness or propriety, or even “order,” but “peace.” Minimally this refers to the sense of harmony that will obtain in a Christian assembly when everyone is truly in the Spirit and the aim of everything is the edification of the whole (verse 26 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+cor+14%3A26&version=RSV)). It is tempting once again, as in 7:15 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+cor+7%3A15&version=RSV) (q.v.), to see here a reflection of Paul’s Jewish background, in which God’s people are called to live, in this case worship, “for the sake of peace,” that is, in such a way as to win the favor of others.

Second, what is true of God in terms of Christian worship is so “in all the congregations of the saints.” Because of some apparent awkwardness in speaking of God in this way, the NIV follows a number of scholars who prefer to take this final phrase with verses 34–35 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+cor+14%3A34-35&version=RSV). But there are a number of reasons for taking it as the concluding word to these instructions on “order.” (a) As will be noted in the next section, there is substantial evidence that verses 34–35 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+cor+14%3A34-35&version=RSV) are not authentic, and therefore that Paul could not have intended it to go with what he did not write. In any case, the very early textual evidence in the Western church indicates that this phrase was not considered to be part of verses 34–35 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+cor+14%3A34-35&version=RSV). (b) The two rhetorical questions in verse 36 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+cor+14%3A36&version=RSV), both of which begin with “or,” make best sense when understood as referring directly to this statement. That is, “All the churches of the saints are intended to be orderly as we have just described, or did the word of God originate with you?” This seems to be the proper understanding of the rhetoric of verse 36 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+cor+14%3A36&version=RSV), even if verses 34–35 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+cor+14%3A34-35&version=RSV) are authentic. (c) To take this phrase with verse 34 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+cor+14%3A34&version=RSV) creates an even clumsier sentence: “As in all the churches of the saints women should remain silent in the churches.” That is a redundancy that is nearly intolerable even the NIV tries to alleviate it with a different translation for the two clauses. (d) This is now the fourth appeal of this kind in the letter (see 4:17 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+cor+4%3A17&version=RSV); 7:17 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+cor+7%3A17&version=RSV); 11:16 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+cor+11%3A16&version=RSV)); in each of the other instances this appeal concludes its sentence, and in two cases (4:17 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+cor+4%3A17&version=RSV); 11:16 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+cor+11%3A16&version=RSV) it functions as an addendum just as it does here. (e) Finally, and most importantly, this concern that they be like the other churches is more fitting at the conclusion of the major concern of this argument, as in chapters 1–4 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+cor+1-4&version=RSV) and 11:2–16 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+cor+11%3A2-16&version=RSV), than with something that if authentic is an aside at best.

Thus, this final appeal continues the theological word with which the sentence began. God is not only like this, but he has so ordered that his character be appropriately displayed in worship in all the churches. This particular appeal, which in this letter began with the opening words of salutation (see 1:2 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+cor+1%3A2&version=RSV)), is an indication to the Corinthians that their view of tongues and spirituality that has allowed this kind of disorderly conduct is out of keeping with what God is doing elsewhere through the gospel. They are marching to their own drum; Paul is urging them not only to conform to the character of God, but also to get in step with the rest of his church.

By and large the history of the church points to the fact that in worship we do not greatly trust the diversity of the body. Edification must always be the rule, and that carries with it orderliness so that all may learn and all be encouraged. But it is no great credit to the historical church that in opting for “order” it also opted for a silencing of the ministry of the many. That, it would seem, is at least the minimal point of the paragraph.

The most important word in this paragraph is the final one. Some Pentecostal and charismatic assemblies would do well to heed these directives; confusion and disorder is simply not in keeping with the character of God. On the other hand, verse 26 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+cor+14%3A26&version=RSV) makes it clear that the “peace” and “order” of verse 33 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+cor+14%3A33&version=RSV) do not necessarily mean somber ritual, as though God were really something of a “stuffed shirt.” If our understanding of God’s character is revealed in our worship, then it must be admitted that God is not often thought of in terms of allowing spontaneity or of joy.

John Reece
08-21-2015, 02:33 PM
Text: (NA27):

αἱ γυναῖκες ἐν ταῖς ἐκκλησίαις σιγάτωσαν· οὐ γὰρ ἐπιτρέπεται αὐταῖς λαλεῖν, ἀλλὰ ὑποτασσέσθωσαν, καθὼς καὶ ὁ νόμος λέγει.

Transliteration (Accordance):

hai gynaikes en tais ekklēsiais sigatōsan; ou gar epitrepetai autais lalein, alla hypotassesthōsan, kathōs kai ho nomos legei.

Translation (RSV):

the women should keep silence in the churches. For they are not permitted to speak, but should be subordinate, as even the law says.

Grammatical Analysis (Zerwick/BDAG, meanings in this context):

σιγάτωσαν : 3rd plural of σιγάω say nothing, keep still, keep silent.
ἐπιτρέπεται : passive of ἐπιτρέπω (τινί) with infinitive allow (one to)...
λαλεῖν : infinitive of λαλέω to speak.
ὑποτασσέσθωσαν : passive imperative of ὑποτάσσω to cause to be in a submissive relationship, to subject, to subordinate.

Commentary from the first edition of The First Epistle to the Corinthians (NICNT: Eerdmans, 1987), by Gordon D. Fee (via Accordance; footnotes and introductory paragraphs omitted):


34 These two verses together have a singular concern, that women “remain silent” in the congregational meetings, which is further defined as “not being permitted to speak” (verse 34) because it is “shameful” for them to do so (verse 35). The structure of the argument bears this out. It begins with “a sentence of holy law,” the absolute nature of which is very difficult to get around. Two reasons are then given for such a proscription, which are intended to be two sides of the same reality. On the one hand, “it is not permitted for them to speak”; on the other hand, “let them be in submission.” To this final reason there is added the further justification, “even as the Law says.” This is followed by the allowance that they should learn at home by asking questions of their own husbands, for which the concluding reason is that “it is shameful for them to speak in the church.” Thus:


The rule: The women must be silent
in the churches.
The reasons: For
1) It is not permitted them to speak;
2) But let them be in submission,
even as the Law says.
The provision: If they wish to learn,
let them ask their own husbands at home.
The reasons: For
It is shameful for a woman to speak
in the assembly.

Despite protests to the contrary, the “rule” itself is expressed absolutely. That is, it is given without any form of qualification. Given the unqualified nature of the further prohibition that “the women” are not permitted to speak, it is very difficult to interpret this as meaning anything else than all forms of speaking out in public. Someone apparently was concerned to note by way of a gloss that all the previous directions given by the apostle, including the inclusive “each one” of verse 26 and the “all” of verse 31, were not to be understood as including women.

The problems with seeing this as authentic are obvious. If Paul himself is responsible for such a “corrective,” it is surprising that he should add it here, yet allow them to pray and prophesy in 11:5 and 13. What is also surprising is the sudden shift from the problem of disorder in the congregation in Corinth to a rule that is to be understood as universal for all the churches. The problem is not so much with Paul’s setting forth such a rule as with his suddenly doing so here in the present argument. Some, who have also taken verse 33b as the beginning of this sentence, have argued that “in the churches” means “in all the congregational meetings of the Corinthian church.” But that will not work. Paul invariably says “in assembly” when that is what he means; both the plural and the definite article indicate that the author (whether Paul or an interpolator) intended this to be a rule for all Christian churches. We have already noted above that this rule of unqualified silence stands in a considerably different category from the two expressions of “silence” in verses 28 and 30.

The first reason for the rule comes in the form of a prohibition: “They are not permitted to speak.” What kind of speaking is intended depends on one’s view, both of authorship and, if authentic, of its place in the present argument. The only internal suggestion is that of verse 35, that they should ask questions at home if they wish to learn. If authentic, this unqualified use of the verb seems to tell against the probability that only a single form of speech is being prohibited. Elsewhere Paul has said “speak in tongues” when that is in view, and when he means “discern” he says “discern,” not “speak.” Again, as with the opening “rule,” the plain sense of the sentence is an absolute prohibition of all speaking in the assembly. This again makes sense as the glossator’s concern, but very little as Paul’s.

More difficult yet is the flip side of the reason, namely that they “must be in submission, as the Law says.” Some have argued that “let them be in submission” refers to verse 32, that their “spirit of prophecy” is to be in submission. But that plays havoc with the grammar, which points to the women themselves as being in subjection, not to their having control over their own “prophetic spirit.” What is not clear is whether the women are to be subject to their own husbands or to the church as a whole in its worship. More likely it is the latter.

Real problems for Pauline authorship lie with the phrase “even as the Law says.” First, when Paul elsewhere appeals to “the Law,” he always cites the text (e.g., 9:8; 14:21), usually to support a point he himself is making. Nowhere else does he appeal to the Law in this absolute way as binding on Christian behavior. More difficult yet is the fact that the Law does not say any such thing. Gen. 3:16 is often appealed to, but that text does not say what is here argued. If that were the case, then one must admit that Paul is appealing not to the written Torah itself but to an oral understanding of Torah such as is found in rabbinic Judaism. A similar usage is reflected in Josephus, who says, “The woman, says the Law, is in all things inferior to the man. Let her accordingly be submissive.” This usage suggests that the provenance of the glossator was Jewish Christianity. Under any view this is difficult to reconcile with Paul.

The author of this piece seems intent on keeping women from joining in the vocal worship of the churches. The rule he wishes to apply he sees as universal and supported by the Law. It is difficult to fit this into any kind of Pauline context.

John Reece
08-22-2015, 01:05 PM
Text: (NA27):

εἰ δέ τι μαθεῖν θέλουσιν, ἐν οἴκῳ τοὺς ἰδίους ἄνδρας ἐπερωτάτωσαν· αἰσχρὸν γάρ ἐστιν γυναικὶ λαλεῖν ἐν ἐκκλησίᾳ.

Transliteration (Accordance):

ei de ti mathein thelousin, en oikō̧ tous idious andras eperōtatōsan; aischron gar estin gynaiki lalein en ekklēsia̧.

Translation (RSV):

If there is anything they desire to know, let them ask their husbands at home. For it is shameful for a woman to speak in church.

Grammatical Analysis (Zerwick/BDAG, meanings in this context):

μαθεῖν : aorist infinitive of μανθάνω learn.
ἐν οἴκῳ : at home.
ἴδιος : pertaining to belonging or being related to oneself, one’s own ; in Hellenistic Greek often = his, her, their.
ἐπερωτάτωσαν : imperative of ἐπερωτάω ask one a question.
αἰσχρός : disgrace.

Commentary from the first edition of The First Epistle to the Corinthians (NICNT: Eerdmans, 1987), by Gordon D. Fee (via Accordance; footnotes and introductory paragraphs omitted):


35 But the author is not against women finding their “proper place,” as he understands it, within the Christian community. The implication of this provision is twofold: First, the author assumes that the women would not understand what is being said in the community, probably with regard to the spiritual utterances being addressed in this chapter. Second, he wants them to learn, but they are to do so at home from their own husbands. It is certainly possible that for the glossator some form of asking questions was going on in the church that he wanted to stop. But that is not a necessary implication from what is said. It is also possible that this is simply a proviso: “If their wanting to learn is the reason for them to speak out, then.…”

On the other hand, if Paul is the author, this seems yet to be the best of all the options, that some form of disruptive speaking out was going on, which then qualifies the apparent absolutes of verse 34 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+cor+14%3A34&version=RSV). Nonetheless, as noted above, such a view is loaded with its own set of difficulties.

The final reason given for their being silent in the assembly is that speaking in church, apparently for the reasons given in verse 34 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+cor+14%3A34&version=RSV), is “shameful,” in the sense of being inconsistent with accepted standards of modesty. Again, as with the rule and prohibition in verse 34 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+cor+14%3A34&version=RSV), the statement is unqualified: It is shameful for a woman to speak in church, not simply to speak in a certain way.

Thus, in keeping with the textual questions, the exegesis of the text itself leads to the conclusion that it is not authentic. If so, then it is certainly not binding for Christians. If not, the considerable doubts as to its authenticity ought to serve as a caution against using it as an eternal prohibition in a culture where such speaking by women in the assembly would not be a shameful thing. What seems hermeneutically questionable is the denial of all the surrounding matter as applicable to the church on prior hermeneutical grounds while selecting this single and probably inauthentic passage as a word for all time in all settings.

Note: In Fee's second (2014) edition, he excises the entirety of verses 34-35 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+cor+14%3A34-35&version=RSV) from the text, and places these two verses at the end of his exegesis of 1 Cor 12-14 ― at the head of a two-page small-print excursus titled On women remaining silent (14:34-35 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+cor+14%3A34-35&version=RSV)), explaining the rationale for treating the unit (14:34-35 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+cor+14%3A34-35&version=RSV)) as an inauthentic, i.e. non-Pauline, interpolation into Paul's letter. Fee notes that his first field of expertise is text-criticism, and that this matter has always been for him a text-critical issue.

John Reece
08-23-2015, 11:22 AM
Text: (NA27):

ἢ ἀφ᾿ ὑμῶν ὁ λόγος τοῦ θεοῦ ἐξῆλθεν, ἢ εἰς ὑμᾶς μόνους κατήντησεν;

Transliteration (Accordance):

ē aph’ hymōn ho logos tou theou exēlthen, ē eis hymas monous katēntēsen?

Translation (RSV):

What! Did the word of God originate with you, or are you the only ones it has reached?

Grammatical Analysis (Zerwick/BDAG, meanings in this context):

ἢ : or.
ἀφ᾿ ὑμῶν : emphatic position, was it from you that?
κατήντησεν : aorist of καταντάω come down or to.

Commentary from the first edition of The First Epistle to the Corinthians (NICNT: Eerdmans, 1987), by Gordon D. Fee (via Accordance; footnotes and introductory paragraphs omitted):


36 These two questions are a direct confrontation with the Corinthians over their attitude toward Paul on some issue, in which he tries to give them perspective by reminding them of their own place in the history of “the word of God” (i.e., the gospel of Christ). “Did the message of Christ originate with you?” he asks with sarcasm. “Are you the fountainhead from which all Christian truth derives that you can act so in this matter?” “Are you the only ones to whom it has come,” he asks further, “so that you can carry on in your own individualistic way, as if there were no other believers in the world?” This is biting rhetoric, which flows directly from the (probably immediately) preceding clause, “as in all the churches of the saints.” Who do they think they are anyway? is the implication; has God given them a special word that allows them both to reject Paul’s instructions, on the one hand, and be so out of touch with the other churches, on the other?

But to what does this rhetoric refer? Probably not to verses 34–35 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+cor+14%3A34-35&version=RSV), which are unlikely to be authentic; in any case, one can make far better sense of the argument by seeing this as referring to the larger matter at hand, namely to their and his disagreements over the nature of being pneumatikos and the place of tongues in the assembly. Both questions begin with the conjunction “or,” implying that the first question flows directly from the immediately preceding sentence. This conjunction in fact goes very poorly with verse 35 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+cor+14%3A35&version=RSV), but makes excellent sense following verse 33 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+cor+14%3A33&version=RSV): “For God is not a God of disorder but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints; or did the word of God originate from you? Or are you the only people it reached?” They are dead wrong on this matter; this rhetoric, therefore, is not only an attempt to get them to see that they are out of step with the other churches, but also leads directly to the two conditional sentences that follow.

John Reece
08-24-2015, 03:22 PM
Text: (NA27):

Εἴ τις δοκεῖ προφήτης εἶναι ἢ πνευματικός, ἐπιγινωσκέτω ἃ γράφω ὑμῖν ὅτι κυρίου ἐστὶν ἐντολή

Transliteration (Accordance):

Ei tis dokei prophētēs einai ē pneumatikos, epiginōsketō ha graphō hymin hoti kyriou estin entolē

Translation (RSV):

If any one thinks that he is a prophet, or spiritual, he should acknowledge that what I am writing to you is a command of the Lord.

Grammatical Analysis (Zerwick/BDAG, meanings in this context):

εἰ : if.
δοκέω : to consider as probable, think, believe, suppose, consider.
πνευματικός : spiritual.
ἐπιγινωσκέτω : imperative of ἐπιγινώσκω recognize.

Commentary from the first edition of The First Epistle to the Corinthians (NICNT: Eerdmans, 1987), by Gordon D. Fee (via Accordance; footnotes and introductory paragraphs omitted):


37 This is now the third instance in this letter where Paul attacks their own position head-on with the formula “If anyone thinks he is …” (see on 3:18 and 8:2). Each occurs in one of the three major sections of the letter (chaps. 1–4; 8–10; 12–14); and the argument in each case indicates that by this formula Paul is zeroing in on the Corinthians’ perspective as to their own spirituality. They do indeed think of themselves as “the wise” (3:18) and as “having knowledge” (8:2), probably in both cases because they also think of themselves as being pneumatikoi (see on 2:15 and 3:1).

In this case, however, it is probably not the Corinthians as a whole whom he is taking on, although they are certainly in view as well; more likely, as in 4:18 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+cor+4%3A18&version=RSV) and 9:3 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+cor+9%3A3&version=RSV), he is speaking directly to those who have been leading the church in its anti-Pauline sentiments. These people consider themselves to be “prophets” and “Spirit people.” These two words are probably to be understood as closely linked. In contrast to the functional use of “prophet” in the immediately preceding argument, the word “prophet” here reverts back to the usage in 12:28 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+cor+12%3A28&version=RSV), where it refers to those who had a “ranked” position of ministry in the local assembly. Crucial here is the addition “or pneumatikos” (=”spiritual” or “a person of the Spirit”). As argued throughout the commentary, this is the central issue. There seems to be no other good reason for Paul to have spoken to them in this way if they did not consider themselves to be “spiritual,” the primary evidence of which was the gift of tongues. They were sure that they themselves were Spirit people; they were less sure of the apostle.

But in 12:28 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+cor+12%3A28&version=RSV) Paul has already anticipated what he says here. God has placed in the church first apostles, second prophets. He is not denying that those who oppose him are prophets, nor that the Corinthians as a whole are pneumatikoi. He seems to be arguing that he is first of all an apostle, that he is therefore also a prophet, and that thus he is “writing to you the Lord’s command.” The emphasis in Paul’s word order is on “the Lord” (referring of course to Christ) as the source of what he has been writing. The word “command” therefore is most likely a collective singular referring to all that he has written on this present matter, especially their need for intelligibility and order in the assembly so that all may be edified. Since both he and they have the Spirit, the true “person of the Spirit” will thus “acknowledge” that what Paul writes is from the Lord.

John Reece
08-25-2015, 12:31 PM
Text: (NA27):

εἰ δέ τις ἀγνοεῖ, ἀγνοεῖται.

Transliteration (Accordance):

ei de tis agnoei, agnoeitai.

Translation (RSV):

Anyone who does not recognize this is not to be recognized.

Grammatical Analysis (Zerwick/BDAG, meanings in this context):

ἀγνοέω : not to know, here not to acknowledge God's precepts ; passive he is not...

Commentary from the first edition of The First Epistle to the Corinthians (NICNT: Eerdmans, 1987), by Gordon D. Fee (via Accordance; footnotes and introductory paragraphs omitted):


38 With the authority of the same Lord from whom he received the “command,” Paul pronounces sentence on those who do not recognize the Spirit in what he writes: “If anyone (i.e., the one who thinks he is a Spirit person) ignores this, he himself will be ignored.”

Paul’s point is clear; the precise meaning of the repeated verb is slightly less so. He seems to be making a double play on words. The verb “to ignore” is here the antonym of “acknowledge” in verse 37 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+cor+14%3A37&version=RSV). Thus, a spiritual person should “recognize” what Paul writes as “from the Lord”; if anyone “fails to acknowledge” it as such, that person will in turn not be “recognized/acknowledged.” Although it is possible that Paul meant the subject of this last clause to be himself or the church (= “not recognized to be a prophet or spiritual”), more likely “God” is intended. That is, failure to recognize the Spirit in Paul’s letter will lead to that person’s failure to be “recognized” by God (cf. 8:2–3 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+cor+8%3A2-3&version=RSV)). Hence it is a prophetic sentence of judgment on those who fail to heed this letter.

John Reece
08-26-2015, 01:39 PM
Text: (NA27):

Ὥστε, ἀδελφοί [μου], ζηλοῦτε τὸ προφητεύειν καὶ τὸ λαλεῖν μὴ κωλύετε γλώσσαις· πάντα δὲ εὐσχημόνως καὶ κατὰ τάξιν γινέσθω.

Transliteration (Accordance):

hŌste, adelphoi [mou], zēloute to prophēteuein kai to lalein mē kōlyete glōssais; panta de euschēmonōs kai kata taxin ginesthō.

Translation (RSV):

So, my brethren, earnestly desire to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in tongues; but all things should be done decently and in order.

Grammatical Analysis (Zerwick/BDAG, meanings in this context):

ὥστε : for this reason, therefore, so.
ζηλοῦτε : imperative of ζηλόω (τι) be zealous for (something).
κωλύετε : imperative of κωλύω hinder, discourage ; sometimes a present imperative in a prohibition retains the durative character of the present, not "stop..." but never.
εὐσχημόνως : pertaining to being appropriate, correctly.
κατὰ τάξιν : in order.

Commentary from the first edition of The First Epistle to the Corinthians (NICNT: Eerdmans, 1987), by Gordon D. Fee (via Accordance; footnotes and introductory paragraphs omitted):


39-40 Since the rhetorical confrontation in verses 36–38 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+cor+14%3A36-38&version=RSV) is something of an aside although in Paul never irrelevant! he brings the preceding argument to a conclusion by way of a three-part summation. It is signaled by the strong inferential conjunction “so then,” common to this letter, and yet another vocative. After the rhetoric of the preceding verses, in this case he adds the personal possessive, “my brothers [and sisters]” (see on 1:10).

The first clause repeats the imperative with which Paul began in verse 1 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+cor+14%3A1&version=RSV): “eagerly desire to prophesy.” The second speaks to their favorite: “and do not forbid speaking in tongues.” As in the argument itself, he is not to be understood as forbidding tongues, nor will he allow anyone else to take the preceding correction as prohibition. Tongues are permissible in the assembly when accompanied by interpretation, and may be experienced as much as one wishes in private. These two clauses together thus summarize verses 1–25 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+cor+14%3A1-25&version=RSV).

The third clause (verse 40 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+cor+14%3A40&version=RSV)) summarizes the argument of verses 26–33 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+cor+14%3A26-33&version=RSV): “Everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way.” The word “fitting” argues again for propriety in the assembly (cf. 11:13 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+cor+11%3A13&version=RSV)); the word “orderly” echoes its opposite, “disorder,” from verse 33 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+cor+14%3A33&version=RSV), and along with that verse strongly implies that the assembly in Corinth was in disarray. The implication of the argument throughout has been that speaking in tongues is the guilty party. With these words, therefore, the argument is brought to a fitting conclusion.

But the letter itself is not finished. Lying behind their view of spirituality is not simply a false view of spiritual gifts, but a false theology of spiritual existence as such. Since their view of “spirituality” had also brought them to deny a future resurrection of the body, it is fitting that this matter be taken up next. The result is the grand climax of the letter as a whole, at least in terms of its argument.

It is of some interest that people who believe so strongly in the Bible as the Word of God should at the same time spend so much energy getting around the plain sense of verses 39–40 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+cor+14%3A39-40&version=RSV). Surely there is irony in that. What Paul writes in these chapters he claims to be the command of the Lord; one wonders how he might have applied verse 38 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+cor+14%3A38&version=RSV) to those who completely reject this command.