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Paul declares that Tongues must be Interpreted in the Church Part 3
1 Corinthians 14:14-19 For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my mind is unfruitful. What is the outcome then? I will pray with the spirit and I will pray with the mind also; I will sing with the spirit and I will sing with the mind also. Otherwise if you bless in the spirit only, how will the one who fills the place of the ungifted say the “Amen” at your giving of thanks, since he does not know what you are saying? For you are giving thanks well enough, but the other person is not edified. I thank God, I speak in tongues more than you all; however, in the church I desire to speak five words with my mind so that I may instruct others also, rather than ten thousand words in a tongue. NKJV
Paul now uses a conditional particle “if” to declare or testify or make the point to these Corinthian believers that he is not so slain or overwhelmed or dominated by God the Holy Spirit to the point of being “out of control” and induced to some form of weird and bizarre behavior. Paul does declare that when he is moved so in prayer to God the Father by the Power of God the Holy Spirit in the Name of God the Son (our Lord Jesus), then sometimes he utters words from his empowered “spirit” or the Greek word pneuma meaning as he uses it here his human spirit that has been regenerated and born again. Paul testifies that when he speaks so from his spirit in a tongue or unknown language in prayer, his own understanding or the Greek word nous meaning as he uses it here his human intellect or his renewed mind with its thoughts, feelings, will and comprising alike the faculties of perceiving and understanding (2 Corinthians 4:16 & Ephesian 4:23 & Colossians 3:10). In other words, Paul acknowledges with these words that he himself is not even privy at all times or on every occasion when he prays in tongues what he is communicating to God the Father as God the Spirit empowers him in prayer.
This is black ink on white paper and it cannot be rationalized away or out of existence, Paul says “his spirit” prays in some form or fashion that the words spoken by him are not intelligible to his own mind, this is deep but it is true and Paul does not pull out this truth and apply it only to himself as we will see in just a couple of verses. Not only does Paul proclaim he himself does not understand what he says, but he declares these words prayed out of his spirit to be unfruitful or the Greek word akarpos meaning as he uses it here words that are barren or without fruit or benefit to his mind. Paul has already written to these Corinthian believers and us declaring what speaking in tongues accomplishes when one is moved by God the Holy Spirit to speak in such a manner when he wrote this, “For he who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God, for no one understands him; however, in the spirit he speaks mysteries” (1 Corinthians 14:2). Paul by no means is denying the reality of these Corinthian believers speaking in tongues nor does he write here in any way that this “in the spirit speaking mysteries to God” was only for him and not the Corinthian lay people or any future generations of regenerated born again Spirit filled believers in our Lord Jesus Christ.
Paul sums up this discourse by saying here is his conclusion of the matter of the appropriate or desired use of the gift of tongues being exercised “in the church” by believers and that is that they would not try to deny or suppress or subdue praying in the spirit and singing in the spirit, but when moved by the Spirit they would not blurt out loudly these words in the general or collective assembly without interpretation from God the Holy Spirit of what they are saying, but instead when moved to pray or sing in tongues “in the church” they should do it in this manner as he wrote to the Ephesians, “Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord” (Ephesians 5:19). The prompting or moving of God the Holy Spirit to any one of the Corinthian believers and to us today to speak or sing in tongues in our spirits speaking or singing mysteries to our Heavenly Father can be done so “in our hearts” as to not disturb the public worship with words absent interpretation. Paul with simple and practical language declares that there is no way for some other brother or sister “in Christ” standing by listening to the unintelligible words of prayer or song to say an Amen to what has been said, seeing that the words cannot be understood.
Although the person speaking or singing in tongues is being blessed “in his or her spirit” giving thanks to God the Father and showing Him love and gratitude, the person occupying the place of unlearned or ungifted ability from God the Holy Spirit to discern what is being spoken or sung is not blessed at all by your unintelligible words as Paul has already declared to them and us in 1 Corinthians 14:6. Paul acknowledges that he is enabled, energized, and empowered by God the Holy Spirit to speak in tongues “more” than any of these Corinthian believers. Paul does not write that he (the Apostle) only is gifted by God the Holy Spirit to speak in tongues, he just said he did it “more” than them, but his number one desire is to preach or teach “in the church” with his understanding (the same Greek word nous he used above in 1 Corinthians 14:14). Paul’s conclusion is that it is perfectly pleasing to God the Father for one of His sons or daughters as moved by God the Holy Spirit to speak “in their spirit” directly to Him mysteries for He is the One making this speech possible, but Paul is adamant that “in the church” they speak by revelation, speak by knowledge, speak by prophesying, and speak by doctrine at all times with intelligible, perceivable, and understandable words for the edifying and building up of Christ’s Mystical Body His Church.
“When a believer has crossed into the domain of the spiritual he daily ought to maintain a combat attitude in his spirit, praying therewith for the overthrow of all the works of satan done through the evil powers. Everyone who believes in God must have His revelation in his spirit, or else what he believes is not God but mere human wisdom, ideals or words. Such faith cannot endure the test.” Watchman Nee
“Paul was so far from valuing himself upon talking languages, or making ostentation of his talents of this kind, that he had rather speak five intelligible words, to benefit others, than make a thousand, ten thousand fine discourses, that would do no one else any good, because they did not understand them. Note, A truly Christian minister will value himself much more upon doing the least spiritual good to men’s souls than upon procuring the greatest applause and commendation to himself. This is true grandeur and nobleness of spirit; it is acting up to his character; it is approving himself the servant of Christ, and not a vassal to his own pride and vanity.” Matthew Henry
“Paul concludes his discourse to these Corinthian believers correcting their chaotic and disorganized form of public worship by affirming their gift of tongues, but sternly putting it in its place ‘in the church’ clearly declaring to them that it is always and at all times much more important to have people speak in the public assemblies that communicate clearly, concisely, and in a classical manner being recognized by the entire Body of Believers as a man under the authority of Christ Jesus our Lord and declaring His truth in love without reservation.” 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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