Paul declares that Tongues must be Interpreted in the Church Part 2
1 Corinthians 14:7-9 Yet even lifeless things, either flute or harp, in producing a sound, if they do not produce a distinction in the tones, how will it be known what is played on the flute or on the harp? For if the bugle produces an indistinct sound, who will prepare himself for battle? So also you, unless you utter by the tongue speech that is clear, how will it be known what is spoken? For you will be speaking into the air. NKJV
Paul we saw last time raised his warning of them all at any time standing up in the service and speaking in tongues or other languages that the other believers in the church did not understand by asking them a question and in so doing he showed them how unprofitable speaking in tongues without interpretation of what was spoken in comparison to speaking or teaching God’s Eternal truth in the language everyone understood. Paul now illustrates for them how utterly senseless their individual self-centered and selfish desires to be seen or be recognized as highly spiritual Christians was hurting the collective Body of Christ. Paul does so by comparing their actions of random utterances of words in some tongue in the collective assembly to an inanimate or non-living object such as a musical instrument. Paul declares that if a flute or a harp just made a sound without it being discernible, what pleasure or satisfaction could someone derive or gain from it.
Their actions of people speaking in tongues all over the assembly with no one understanding a word being spoken were akin to or similar to or to be compared to a rock band or a concert orchestra or a stage band with its individual members tuning up their different instruments all at the same time with the sound being monstrous and in no harmony at all and with no beauty in the music at all and that would be sold to the viewing public as the performance they paid to hear. We do not have to wonder what the reaction of the ticket paying audience would be, they would be outraged. Likewise, how much more is God the Father outraged but more than outraged, He is saddened and disappointed at the disharmony, disunity, and disillusioned worship of these Corinthian believers speaking in tongues none of them understood and believing that they were worshipping Him in spirit and truth. Paul declares that they were doing nothing more than speaking into the air.
1 Corinthians 14:10-11 There are, perhaps, a great many kinds of languages in the world, and no kind is without meaning. If then I do not know the meaning of the language, I will be to the one who speaks a barbarian, and the one who speaks will be a barbarian to me. NKJV
Paul again acknowledges those individuals “in the church” who were able to speak in tongues and he testifies to the many different foreign languages that were in the world, but he draws the conclusion for them of how he would be perceived by others in this world of many languages, if he went about speaking to others in tongues that he did not even know the meaning of, he would be considered by them a barbarian. The English word barbarian is translated by the Greek word barbaros which means foreigner or one who at that time did not speak Greek, or one who was not a Greek, or a people or person of strange language, or one whose speech is rude, rough, and harsh as a person came to be known as such during the Persian wars. The term originally referred to stammering, stuttering, or any form of unintelligible sounds. Even the repeated syllable “bar-bar” mimics this, as declared by the Holman Bible Dictionary. Paul is warning them that this is what they would be thought of by the outside unregenerate world, if they continued to carry on in their public assemblies in this manner.
1 Corinthians 14:12-13 So also you, since you are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek to abound for the edification of the church. Therefore let one who speaks in a tongue pray that he may interpret. NKJV
Paul commends their zeal and the Greek word used here is zelotes which means one burning with zeal and marked by active interest and enthusiasm for a thing to acquire a thing, (zealous of) to defend and uphold a thing, and vehemently contending for a thing. Paul does not want to in any way quench the zeal or eager passion they exhibited for spiritual gifts, but as he said at the opening of this chapter 14 he wants their zeal and passion to be for the edifying of the collective Body of Christ by way of speaking forth God’s Wisdom and Truth to one another by prophesying and not speaking in tongues that they did not have interpretation of what was being spoken. Paul was also concerned that their eagerness and zeal for spiritual (Greek word pneuma which means figuratively a spirit) gifts would lead them into the deception of the enemy the devil and they would end up running or chasing after seducing spirits as Paul warned brother Timothy would happen in the last days when Apostasy will rear its ugly and ungodly head (1 Timothy 4:1). Paul wanted to protect them from this and therefore, he continues to exhort them to pray for the interpretation of the tongues being spoken. Paul also wrote to brother Titus and declared to him that our Lord Jesus Christ humbled Himself to the point of death on the Cross and Resurrected from the dead in order that the Corinthian believers and us would be a zealous people as he said it in this manner, “Who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds” (Titus 2:14).
“A mere blare of a trumpet, without note or modulation, conveys no meaning to the waiting ranks of soldiers; and the mere sound of an unknown tongue startles without teaching. Do not be content merely to make a sound; say something. Seek to do actual service to others is one of the three directions suggested in 1 Corinthians 14:3. Edification is the building up of the soul in truth. Comfort is for the distressed and weary. Consolation is the heartening of the soul to fresh enterprise.” F. B. Meyer
“Paul never once denounced these Corinthian believers for speaking in tongues nor did he ever once declare that some of them did not have this gift, but what he does clearly do is to bring them back from chaotic and self-seeking behavior with the use of this gift to our Lord Jesus’ desire of His Church and that is to use every spiritual gift for the benefit of the whole Body and not to appear more spiritual than others.” Clifford D. Tate, Sr.
If you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ and His amazing healing power, pray this from your heart to the Lord Jesus Christ (you speaking directly to Him), Dear Lord Jesus, I confess to You that I am a sinner and I need Your forgiveness. I believe You shed Your Blood and died for my sins. I believe that You rose from the dead proving that You alone are God. I repent of my sins. I want to turn from my sins. I ask You Dear Lord Jesus to come into my heart and take control of my life. I want You to be my Lord, Savior, and my God. Amen...
Sincerely in Christ,
Clifford D. Tate, Sr.
Author of “Silent Assassins of the Soul - Are you Broken by Pornography and Masturbation? You can be Restored by the Lord Jesus Christ and brought into Deliverance, Freedom, and Victory! A Guide for Men and Women in the Enemy’s Crosshairs” e-book available now @ Amazon Kindle, @ Apple I Bookstore for IPod, Barnes and Noble for Nook, Reader Store for Sony Reade, Kobo, Copia, Gardners, Baker and Taylor, and eBookPie…
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