Yes, life is busy.
Thanks for providing the link to this guy’s writing on I. Cor. 14.
Surely, before we ever get to what he says about I Cor. 14: 2, we are on our guard. He consistently engages in eisegesis of the worst sort. One doesn’t have to search his website(s) to find out why: he is a cessationist—although if one bothers to search, he proclaims it over and over again: speaking in tongues is one of the “temporary” gifts. These gifts supposedly ceased when the canon of Scripture was closed.
This idea comes, of course from the “interpretation” [read “eisegesis”] of I Cor. 13: 8-10, that claims that “the perfect” is the canon. In my view, anyone who is willing to treat this passage of Scripture this way is a dyed-in-the-wool, born-and bred, tried-and-true [insert additional clichés here] eisegete. There is absolutely no textual, contextual, or common sense basis for reading “the canon” into this passage.
And sure enough, as you read the entire article that you linked to, it is full of eisegesis long before we get to the part about 14:2. The article is also marred by many other kinds of problems. As just the easiest early example to give, he claims Apollos was the second leader f the Corinthian church. The passage he cites for support speaks of a VISIT Apollos made to Corinth, which is how standard commentaries characterize it. He later claims Paul SENT Apollos to Corinth, whereas the verses he cited clearly state that Apollos went due to his own desire and that if anyone “sent” him, it was the church at Ephesus.
Time does not permit to give any other examples of errors like these or of his eisegesis—the article is non-stop full of them. I’ll just give one more example of, well . . . I don’t know what:
Mario Velez wrote: “In the same manner as many Christians today, the Corinthians looked on the incest as part of their Christian freedom . . . .”
I’ve NEVER met a Christian who thought incest was part of his Christian liberty. What kind of crowd does this guy hang out with?! (Which is not to say that EVERYTHING is wrong; there is certainly SOME correct material in his article.)
Now we come to what he says about spiritual gifts. In his background on I Cor. 12, he writes:
Mario Velez wrote:All spiritual gifts are a decision of God the Holy Spirit at the moment we are born-again, as discussed in chapter 1. Today Christians run around begging for other gifts after they have already been born-again. This is due to misapplication and misexegesis of scripture.
As he states, he had made this same claim earlier. If you are interested, you can go back and look at his eisegesis there. In a nutshell, he claims that I Cor. 1:7 proves that any spiritual gifts we will ever receive/have/exercise, are given to us at the moment we are born again.
Here he adds to (or clarifies) his error. First, not all spiritual gifts come from the Holy Spirit. Romans 12:3-8 speaks of gifts given by “God.” Almost always when “God” is used unqualifiedly,or unless context indicates otherwise, it means God the Father or sometimes God the Trinity. Ephesians 4:7-11 speaks of gifts given by the Son (since He is the One Who descended and ascended). II Cor. 12:4-11 speaks of gifts of the Spirit. (No time to chase the rabbit of what difference it makes which Person of the Godhead give which gifts and what do we do about the overlap? BUT just as it is wrong to say the Holy Spirit died on the cross, so it is wrong to say the Holy Spirit gives gifts that are actually given by the Father and the Son.)
Meanwhile some of the Scriptures he has brought into his discussion, including some of those about Apollos, show that the baptism of the Holy Spirit is often a different experience from salvation. The gifts given by the Spirit are generally given with or after that baptism AND we are told to “desire” (i.e., be zealous for, burn with desire for, PURSUE ardently) these gifts in I Cor. 14:1. In other words we are to do exactly what he claims we are not to do. And—surprise—he tries to get around this by his eisegesis of I Cor 14:1.
So he has shown that he is (by his self definition) a cessationist; and (in my opinion) an eisegete, a mis-handler of Scripture, and ignorant of basic principles of spiritual gifts.
Now we come to what he says about tongues.
First, he claims:
Mario Velez wrote:In continuance, we now read that “whether there be tongues, they shall cease.” At the time of the destruction of Jerusalem and the dispersion of the Jewish people in AD 70, the gift of tongues was the first to be suspended.”
Really?? Well, I guess I just believe that because you say so. NOT!
But when we look at the larger context of this passage, it is even more puzzling:
Mario Velez wrote:In continuance, we now read that “whether there be tongues, they shall cease.” At the time of the destruction of Jerusalem and the dispersion of the Jewish people in AD 70, the gift of tongues was the first to be suspended. The words “they shall cease” is used for the Greek verb [pausontai] meaning, “to stop, prohibit, be done with, cut off, come to an end.” [Pausontai] is in the middle voice (subject is benefited by the action of the verb) and in the indicative mood (mood of reality; indicates that an event actually occurred as indicated). We have seen some of the problems that the misuse of tongues had caused the Corinthian Church. The termination of this gift would benefit the Corinthians in that these problems would cease once the gift terminated. The indicative mood declares the reality of the termination of this gift. The attempted practice of tongues today has resurfaced many of the problems that plagued the Corinthian Church, from strife to inferiority and superiority complexes (12:15-16; 12:21).
This may be a little hard to follow because English doesn’t have a middle voice (only active and passive), but the point is, he seems to be saying (although it may just be sloppy writing) that tongues had ALREADY ceased (“an event actually occurred as indicated”). Even were someone to believe him about the tongues-destruction of Jerusalem connection, what does this have to do with a letter written about 15 years before the destruction?
And God’s gift must be terminated for the good of the Church??
Anyway, we finally arrive at his “interpretation” of 14:2. The key to it (in addition to his cessationist bias) is that he believes Paul is writing sarcastically. I don’t buy it.
Then he claims that the Greek word “laleo” can mean "to babble." This was only true in classical Greek, not Koine (NT) Greek. Furthermore this meaning is contraindicated by its connection with “tongues” which indicates language, i.e., not something made up nor unintelligent (the point being that it is intelligible to God).
I’ve already covered his “we are never commanded” argument, or at least the argument it should be: “we are never told to seek.”
AND FINALLY, what he says about “God” vs. “a god.” (I ignore his strange use of the word “antecedent.”) According to him, John 1:1 can only omit the definite article and still mean “God” because there is an “antecedent” reference to “God” with the definite article. This is absolutely untrue, as the following examples of “theos” without the definite article will show. If his were the true reason, we would need to translate “a god” in—as just a few examples—these passages in which “theos” occurs without the article: Matthew 6:24, II Cor. 1:1 (apparently Paul is the apostle of Christ and a god), II Cor. 5:19, Gal. 2:19, and in many passages where the Greek goes back and forth fairly routinely between the article and no article, yet we cannot say that in every case the “antecedent” of “God” is “the God.” Thus, in those passages we would make mincemeat of the passage, translating “God” in some sentences and “a god” in other sentences. One example is the Nativity narrative in Luke 2. CONTEXT, of course, not ANTECEDENTS tells us that the reference every time is to “God.” The same is true in I Cor. 14:2, as every translation shows. Only by twisting the context beyond recognition and only because the word God/a god only occurs once can he make his absurd claim.