Paul begins the application of the argument of unintelligible
ean gar proseucwmai glwssh to pneuma
if For I pray in a tongue the spirit
mou proseucetai o de nouV mou akarpoV estin
of me prays but the mind of me unfruitful is
Notice the “mou” or the “of me” in reference to “spirit” in verse 14 compared to only “spirit” in verse 15. But, “spirit” should be kept in context with “mind” in verse 15.
“unfruitful” “akarpoV” means clearly “unfruitful”
A poor comment from a commentary says concerning this verse:
“The gift of Tongues is inferior to other gifts, because in it the reason has no control; and the Apostle has misgivings about devotions in which the reason has no part. (see verse 14:19) Strange that Corinthians should need to be told that intellect is not to be ignored, but ought to be brought to full development (see verse 14:20) ‘Feeling is a precious gift; but when men parade it and give way to it, it is weakness instead of strength (Robertson)’ ” (Driver, Plummer, Briggs in The International Critical Commentary)
ti oun estin proseuxomai tw pneumati
What therefore is it I will pray with the spirit
(future middle is assertive or volitive
expressing the determined decisioin of Paul’s will)
proseuxomai de kai to noi yalw tw pneumati
I will pray and also with the mind I will sing with the spirit
yalw de kai tw noi
I will sing and also with the mind
epei ean euloghV en pneumati o anaplhrwn
otherwise if you bless in spirit the one occupying
ton topon tou idiwtou pwV erei to amhn
the place of the uninstructed how will he say the amen
epi th sh eucaristia epeidh ti legeiV ouk oiden
at - your giving thanks since what you say not he knows
NIV “those who do not understand” is literally “uninstructed” or Greek “idiwtou”.
“Amen” “amhn” was a Jewish and early Christian custom to express agreement in prayer.
The previous section (13-19) basically makes tongues inappropriate for public use since it is incapable of edifying in church meaning among a group of assembled believers.
Now Paul discusses the effects of tongues on the unbelievers.
This is what follows:
14:20 – an exhortation
14:21 – OT text
14:22 – Application
14:23 – Example of the above application of the effect of tongues on unbelievers
14:24-25 – Example of above application of effect of prophecy on unbelievers.
Notice the discussion still focuses on an assembled group of people not on tongues in private for self edification.
Just like tongues does not edify the believer in a group setting,
So tongues does not lead an unbeliever to repentance
What occurs when tongues are used among unbelievers is a fulfillment of Isaiah 28:11-12. In that case the fact that the people in Isaiah’s day did not understand the language was an indication of judgment.
1) Do not be children in your thinking
a. The Corinthians thought speaking in tongues in public was a sign they had reached the height of spirituality.
b. Do not be like the people (children) of Isaiah’s day who rejected the word of God.
2) Be infants in evil
a. Selfish behavior, self-promotion, jealousy are areas you should be undeveloped in.
b. Be infants in pursuing tongues spoken in public since it does not edify the people but instead serves to draw meaningless attention to the person speaking.
3) Point: In your thinking be adults
a. Take this information and figure this out!
The “tongues” of Isaiah’s day was a sign that judgment had come and the people had no idea why it was happening nor what was being said.
Paul adapts this Isaiah passage and applies it to the effect of tongues on an unbeliever.
These are the adaptations Paul makes to Isaiah 28:11-12:
point: The Assyrian language made no
sense and brought no change to
“so then” or “then” indicates Paul is about to make his point or application of the Isaiah verse.
The Corinthians thought tongues were “proof” or a “sign” that the Christian speaking in tongues was spiritual.
Point of Doctrine:
Here we have another indication of what an early church service would have been like.
Notice the use of “all” or “everyone” is to describe speaking in tongues:
“you are out of your mind” is not the response we want to present to unbelievers or the uneducated believer.
Understand, there will be people who flock after the chaotic, emotional, super-natural atmosphere of an entire room of people speaking in tongues (etc.) but that does not mean they should nor does it mean the church should act this way to draw people. Paul did not say no one would stay. Certain people are drawn to this as is seen in cults around the world and through out history including false churches. Paul says they would not repent indicating they could not find Christ there.
Now “everybody is prophesying” indicating the potential of Joel 2:28-30 and Acts 2:17-18
Not all are prophets but potentially all can prophesy.
In this case the unbeliever is “elegcetai” or “he is convicted”