1 Corinthians 14

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1 Corinthians 14
POxy1008 (1Co 7.33-8.4).jpg
1 Corinthians 7:33-8:4 in Papyrus 15, written in the 3rd century.
Book First Epistle to the Corinthians
Bible part New Testament
Order in the Bible part 7
Category Pauline epistles

1 Corinthians 14 is the fourteenth chapter of the First Epistle to the Corinthians in the New Testament of the Christian Bible. It is authored by Paul the Apostle and Sosthenes in Ephesus.[1][2] In this chapter, Paul writes about the gift of prophesy and about speaking in tongues. Biblical scholar F. Dale Bruner states that "edification becomes the theme of this chapter: in Paul's thought, the ultimate criterion for a gift of the Spirit is this: Does it upbuild the church?"[3]



The New King James Version organises this chapter as follows:

Verse 2[edit]

New King James Version

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.[4]

King James Version

For he that speaketh in an unknown tongue speaketh not unto men, but unto God: for no man understandeth him; howbeit in the spirit he speaketh mysteries.[5]
  • For he that speaketh in an unknown tongue

Or with tongues, as some copies and the Ethiopic version read: Dr. Lightfoot thinks, that the Hebrew tongue, which was become a dead language, and understood but by few, is here meant, and that not without reason; seeing the public prayers, preaching, and singing of psalms among the Jews, were in this languages;[6] in imitation of whom, such ministers, who had the gift of speaking this language, read the Scriptures, preached, prayed, and sung psalms in it, which were no ways to the edification of the people, who understood it not; upon which account the apostle recommends prophesying, praying, and singing, in a language that was understood: otherwise he[7]

  • speaketh not unto men;

to the understanding, profit, and edification of men: but unto God: to his praise and glory, and he only knowing, who knows all languages, and every word in the tongue what is said; excepting himself, unless there should be any present capable of interpreting:[7]

  • for no man understandeth him:

or "heareth him": that is, hears him, so as to understand him; he may hear a sound, but he cannot tell the meaning of it, and so it is of no use and advantage to him:[7]

  • howbeit in the Spirit he speaketh mysteries;

though under the influence and by the extraordinary gift of the Spirit he has, and to his own Spirit and understanding, and with great affection and devotion within himself, he speaks of the deep things of God, and the mysteries of his grace, the most glorious truths of the Gospel, yet the meaning of his voice and words not being known, he is a barbarian to them that hear him; and though what he delivers are truths of the greatest importance, they are a mere jargon to others, being unintelligible.[7]

Verse 21[edit]

Cross reference: Isaiah 28:11,12.

Paul writes "In the law it is written":

With men of other tongues and other lips
I will speak to this people;
And yet, for all that, they will not hear Me

The quotation comes from the book of Isaiah, "but the term "the Law" was applied generally to the Old Testament".[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Halley, Henry H. Halley's Bible Handbook: an Abbreviated Bible Commentary, 23rd edition. Zondervan Publishing House. 1962.
  2. ^ Holman Illustrated Bible Handbook. Holman Bible Publishers, Nashville, Tennessee. 2012.
  3. ^ Bruner, F. D., A Theology of the Holy Spirit, quoted in Buls, H. H. 1 Corinthians 1:12-20: Speak to be Understood, accessed 9 April 2017
  4. ^ 1 Corinthians 14:2
  5. ^ 1 Corinthians 14:2
  6. ^ Vid. Gloss. in Talmud Bab. Beracot, fol. 3. 1. & in Yoma, fol. 20. 2.
  7. ^ a b c d John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible, - 1 Corinthians 14:2
  8. ^ Pulpit Commentary on 1 Corinthians 14, accessed 10 April 2017

External links[edit]