Wednesday, 28 January 2015
For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my understanding is unfruitful. 1 Corinthians 14:14
Some translations insert the word “unknown” before “tongue” to provide a sense of clarity. Paul just spoke in the previous verse saying, “let him who speaks in a tongue pray that he may interpret.” This, as noted, refers to someone praying in a known language. Paul, now using the first person, says that if he prays in a known language that he doesn’t understand, then “my spirit prays, but my understanding is unfruitful.”
As seen in the analysis of the previous verse, this is not an uncommon thing. People read prayers in other languages often in churches. If they don’t know the meaning of the words, then there is no comprehension of what is being said. His words in the coming verse will continue to explain the need for understanding, both in prayer and in song. Songs, maybe even more than prayers, are often sung in other languages. It is nice to hear them and they may be great melodies, but unless the words are known, there is no comprehension of what is being sung.
If there is no understanding, then there is no fruit for the mind. There is no growth, no development, and no edification. Paul is continuously bringing his words back to development and growth in Christ. His instruction shows a desire for Christian maturity, not immaturity. If the congregation continuously focuses on tongues, there will be no growth. Instead, there will be a weak and ineffective group that is bent on self-centeredness and division, which is exactly what was to be found in Corinth.
Life application: There are several purposes for gathering in a church setting. We are there to praise and worship the Lord, we go to fellowship with others, and we also go in order to receive instruction and grow in our walk with the Lord. By clinging to childish habits in the church, we will continue on in immaturity. Let us endeavor to grow and develop in Christ each time we assemble as a body.
Lord, today I need Your hand of peace upon me. The world I live in is filled with an ever-increasing hatred of what is right and moral. Your word is ignored, it is twisted by those with evil intent in order to say what You never meant, and our leaders honor You with their lips, but their hearts are far from You. I mourn in my spirit, looking for a life that is in close fellowship with You, but these things steal my joy. Return me to a contented place in You. Help me to fix my eyes on You once again. Amen.