1 Corinthians 14:15


Thursday, 29 January 2015

What is the conclusion then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will also pray with the understanding. I will sing with the spirit, and I will also sing with the understanding. 1 Corinthians 14:15

The previous verse said, “For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my understanding is unfruitful.” Anytime someone prays in a foreign language, they have no change in their mental state concerning the prayer. If a person doesn’t understand Latin, but knows prayers in Latin (a very common occurrence), there is no edification in uttering the prayer. They are just meaningless words which come off the tongue but which serve no actual purpose for the one praying. Nor do they serve any purpose for the one hearing if that person doesn’t speak Latin.

This was the case in the Roman Catholic Church for eons. Until 1965, the Catholic Mass was completely in Latin and nobody was edified. It was a useless gesture to go to Mass in order to learn about Christ because there was nothing to learn. There were just incoherent words coming from the priest. This is still true with portions of many services and it actually serves no valid purpose according to Paul. In response to such ostentation, he asks an obvious question. “What is the conclusion then?”

He is asking those at Corinth (and thus us!) to think this issue through. What good at all is such a display other than to have the one making it feel good about speaking in a tongue no one understands? Or even worse, to withhold vital information from the hearer. This was the case in the Roman Catholic Church. The liturgy was intentionally kept in Latin to keep congregants in the dark as to their spiritual needs. Instead of learning about Christ, they were kept dependent on the church. It became a dark and sinister practice of bondage.

In response to such unfruitfulness, Paul proclaims, “I will pray with the spirit, and I will also pray with the understanding.” There needs to be a uniting of the spirit (the breath, meaning the words issued off the tongue) and the mind, or understanding. If not, then there has been only wasted effort on the part of the one praying. But continuing further, and in a point that we should not miss, he says, “I will sing with the spirit, and I will also sing with the understanding.”

Paul, speaking in the first person, but using it as a tool to mean all people individually, includes singing along with speaking. It is an important thing he has said here to refute the doctrine of speaking in incoherent tongues, such as are heard in Charismatic churches. His words demonstrate conclusively that the “tongues” Paul is speaking about are known languages. As he combines prayer and singing in one verse which is discussing the same subject, it shows that the sounds that he has been, is, and will continue to be speaking of are known languages, not made up sounds.

Songs are written in known languages. They may not be known to the hearers, but they always have a known message by the one composing them. This was addressed by Paul earlier when speaking of the three aspects of sound – voice, distinction, and sound. Together, these are combined with words which then produce a song. It is more than unreasonable to assume that Paul means anything other than a real song which uses known words. To claim otherwise would be done so based on a presupposition which is not supported at all by his commentary in this chapter.

Life application: 才能薰陶,一個人需要說話連貫和指令的接收者可理解的語言。Paul 要求我們用陶冶和與別人建立良好的詞。讓我們努力永遠這樣做。Oh, I’m sorry. What I said is, “In order to be edified, one needs to speak coherently and in a language that the receiver of the instruction understands. Paul asks us to use words which edify and build others up. Let us endeavor to always do so.”

My precious Lord, the words “Just a closer walk with Thee” can’t even begin to explain how much I want You near. I don’t just want to walk with You, but to be filled with You. And I don’t want this in a given measure, but in an ever-increasing measure. Fill me even to overflowing with Your goodness and Your grace. Cover me in Your perfect righteousness, and surround me in Your infinite glory. May the beauty of Your majesty envelop me so that You are all that the world sees. This is my heart’s desire, O God. Amen.



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