1 Corinthians 14:16
Verse (Click for Chapter)
New International Version
Otherwise when you are praising God in the Spirit, how can someone else, who is now put in the position of an inquirer, say "Amen" to your thanksgiving, since they do not know what you are saying?

New Living Translation
For if you praise God only in the spirit, how can those who don't understand you praise God along with you? How can they join you in giving thanks when they don't understand what you are saying?

English Standard Version
Otherwise, if you give thanks with your spirit, how can anyone in the position of an outsider say “Amen” to your thanksgiving when he does not know what you are saying?

Berean Study Bible
Otherwise, if you speak a blessing in spirit, how can someone who is uninstructed say "Amen" to your thanksgiving, since he does not know what you are saying?

Berean Literal Bible
Otherwise if you bless with the spirit, how will the one filling the place of the uninstructed say the "Amen" at your thanksgiving, since he knows not what you say?

New American Standard Bible
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?

King James Bible
Else when thou shalt bless with the spirit, how shall he that occupieth the room of the unlearned say Amen at thy giving of thanks, seeing he understandeth not what thou sayest?

Holman Christian Standard Bible
Otherwise, if you praise with the spirit, how will the uninformed person say "Amen" at your giving of thanks, since he does not know what you are saying?

International Standard Version
Otherwise, if you say a blessing with your spirit, how can an otherwise uneducated person say "Amen" to your thanksgiving, since he does not know what you're saying?

NET Bible
Otherwise, if you are praising God with your spirit, how can someone without the gift say "Amen" to your thanksgiving, since he does not know what you are saying?

New Heart English Bible
Otherwise if you bless with the spirit, how will he who fills the place of the unlearned say the "Amen" at your giving of thanks, seeing he does not know what you say?

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
Otherwise, if you say a blessing in The Spirit, how will he who fills the place of the unlearned say amen for your giving of thanks, because he does not know what you said?

GOD'S WORD® Translation
Otherwise, if you praise God only with your spirit, how can outsiders say "Amen!" to your prayer of thanksgiving? They don't know what you're saying.

New American Standard 1977
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?

Jubilee Bible 2000
Else when thou shalt bless with the spirit, how shall he that occupies the place of the ignorant say, Amen, at thy giving of thanks, seeing he understands not what thou sayest?

King James 2000 Bible
Else when you shall bless with the spirit, how shall he that occupies the place of the unlearned say Amen at your giving of thanks, seeing he understands not what you said?

American King James Version
Else when you shall bless with the spirit, how shall he that occupies the room of the unlearned say Amen at your giving of thanks, seeing he understands not what you say?

American Standard Version
Else if thou bless with the spirit, how shall he that filleth the place of the unlearned say the Amen at thy giving of thanks, seeing he knoweth not what thou sayest?

Douay-Rheims Bible
Else if thou shalt bless with the spirit, how shall he that holdeth the place of the unlearned say, Amen, to thy blessing ? because he knoweth not what thou sayest.

Darby Bible Translation
Since otherwise, if thou blessest with [the] spirit, how shall he who fills the place of the simple [Christian] say Amen, at thy giving of thanks, since he does not know what thou sayest?

English Revised Version
Else if thou bless with the spirit, how shall he that filleth the place of the unlearned say the Amen at thy giving of thanks, seeing he knoweth not what thou sayest?

Webster's Bible Translation
Else, when thou shalt bless with the spirit, how shall he that occupieth the room of the unlearned say Amen at thy giving of thanks, seeing he understandeth not what thou sayest?

Weymouth New Testament
Otherwise, if you bless God in spirit only, how shall he who is in the position of an ungifted man say the 'Amen' to your giving of thanks, when he does not know what your words mean?

World English Bible
Otherwise if you bless with the spirit, how will he who fills the place of the unlearned say the "Amen" at your giving of thanks, seeing he doesn't know what you say?

Young's Literal Translation
since, if thou mayest bless with the spirit, he who is filling the place of the unlearned, how shall he say the Amen at thy giving of thanks, since what thou dost say he hath not known?
Study Bible
Prophecy and Tongues
15What then shall I do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will also pray with my mind. I will sing with my spirit, but I will also sing with my mind. 16Otherwise, if you speak a blessing in spirit, how can someone who is uninstructed say “Amen” to your thanksgiving, since he does not know what you are saying? 17You may be giving thanks well enough, but the other one is not edified.…
Cross References
Deuteronomy 27:15
Cursed is the man who makes an idol or a molten image, an abomination to the LORD, the work of the hands of the craftsman, and sets it up in secret.' And all the people shall answer and say, 'Amen.'

1 Chronicles 16:36
Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel, From everlasting even to everlasting. Then all the people said, "Amen," and praised the LORD.

Nehemiah 5:13
I also shook out the front of my garment and said, "Thus may God shake out every man from his house and from his possessions who does not fulfill this promise; even thus may he be shaken out and emptied." And all the assembly said, "Amen!" And they praised the LORD. Then the people did according to this promise.

Nehemiah 8:6
Then Ezra blessed the LORD the great God. And all the people answered, "Amen, Amen!" while lifting up their hands; then they bowed low and worshiped the LORD with their faces to the ground.

Psalm 106:48
Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel, From everlasting even to everlasting. And let all the people say, "Amen." Praise the LORD!

Jeremiah 11:5
in order to confirm the oath which I swore to your forefathers, to give them a land flowing with milk and honey, as it is this day."'" Then I said, "Amen, O LORD."

Jeremiah 28:6
and the prophet Jeremiah said, "Amen! May the LORD do so; may the LORD confirm your words which you have prophesied to bring back the vessels of the LORD'S house and all the exiles, from Babylon to this place.

Matthew 15:36
Taking the seven loaves and the fish, He gave thanks and broke them. Then He gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people.

2 Corinthians 1:20
For all the promises of God are "Yes" in Christ. And so through Him, our "Amen" is spoken to the glory of God.

Revelation 5:14
And the four living creatures said, "Amen," and the elders fell down and worshiped.
Treasury of Scripture

Else when you shall bless with the spirit, how shall he that occupies the room of the unlearned say Amen at your giving of thanks, seeing he understands not what you say?

bless.

1 Corinthians 14:2,14 For he that speaks in an unknown tongue speaks not to men, but to …

unlearned.

1 Corinthians 14:23,24 If therefore the whole church be come together into one place, and …

Isaiah 29:11,12 And the vision of all is become to you as the words of a book that …

John 7:15 And the Jews marveled, saying, How knows this man letters, having never learned?

Acts 4:13 Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that …

Amen.

1 Corinthians 11:24 And when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, Take, eat: this …

1 Corinthians 16:24 My love be with you all in Christ Jesus. Amen.

Numbers 5:22 And this water that causes the curse shall go into your bowels, to …

Deuteronomy 27:15 Cursed be the man that makes any graven or molten image, an abomination …

1 Kings 1:36 And Benaiah the son of Jehoiada answered the king, and said, Amen: …

1 Chronicles 16:36 Blessed be the LORD God of Israel for ever and ever. And all the …

Psalm 41:13 Blessed be the LORD God of Israel from everlasting, and to everlasting. …

Psalm 72:19 And blessed be his glorious name for ever: and let the whole earth …

Psalm 89:52 Blessed be the LORD for ever more. Amen, and Amen.

Psalm 106:48 Blessed be the LORD God of Israel from everlasting to everlasting: …

Jeremiah 28:6 Even the prophet Jeremiah said, Amen: the LORD do so: the LORD perform …

Matthew 6:13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For your …

Matthew 28:20 Teaching them to observe all things whatever I have commanded you: …

Mark 16:20 And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with …

John 21:25 And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, …

Revelation 5:14 And the four beasts said, Amen. And the four and twenty elders fell …

Revelation 22:20 He which testifies these things said, Surely I come quickly. Amen. …

at.

1 Corinthians 1:4-8 I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which …

(16) Else when thou shalt bless with the spirit.--In this and the following verse the Apostle speaks in the second person, for they refer, not to his practice, but to that of some in Corinth. Their conduct and its results are introduced parenthetically here, in contrast with what he is laying down as his own earnest desire and practice.

He that occupieth the room of the unlearned.--Better, he that is in the position of a private individual; as we should say, a "layman"--the one who comes as a private person to the assembly, and does not lead the prayer and thanksgiving. How can he say "Amen" when he does not know what is being said? and he cannot know if you speak in a tongue, without interpreting. It would seem from this verse that from the earliest apostolic times the practice has been for the congregation to join in the thanksgiving by uttering "Amen" (the Hebrew "So be it") at the conclusion.

Verse 16. - That occupieth the room of the unlearned; that is, "one in the position of an ordinary worshipper, who has no spiritual gifts." An idiotes is a private person; one who does not possess the skill or the knowledge which is immediately in question. Say Amen; rather, say the Amen. The custom of ratifying prayer and praises with the "Amen" of hearty assent and participation existed in the Jewish (Deuteronomy 27:15. Nehemiah 5:13; Revelation 5:14; Philo, 'Fragm.,' p. 630) as well as in the Christian Church (Justin Martyr, 'Apol.,' 2:97). The sound of the loud unanimous "Amen" of early Christian congregations is compared to the echo of distant thunder.

"Et resonaturum ferit aethera vocibus Amen." Being the answer of the congregation, the "Amen" was regarded as no less important than the prayer itself. Else when thou shall bless with the spirit,.... Which must be understood of giving thanks to God, not in a private way, in the family and at meals, but in a public manner before the whole congregation, for mercies temporal and spiritual, especially the latter; and that not with the breath, or voice only; nor with the affections of the heart, with the soul, and all that is within it, though that is what should be; nor with the common assistance of the Spirit, and under the influence of his grace, which excites to true gratitude; but with the extraordinary gift of the Spirit, pronouncing the blessing, or expressing the thanksgiving with divers tongues, or in an unknown language: when this part of divine service, which by the way is distinct from singing, is performed in this manner,

how shall he that occupieth the room of the unlearned; "idiot". The word "idiot", is often used by the Jewish writers, and signifies a plebeian, one of the common people; and is sometimes indeed distinguished from a wise man, or a learned man; but frequently signifies a private person, whether learned or unlearned, that is not in so high a post as others; hence we read (c) , "of private judges", which were not of the great sanhedrim, and of private men, as distinguished from kings (d);

"there are three kings, and four "private men", (the Jews say,) that have no part in the world to come; the three kings are Jeroboam, Ahab, and Manasseh; the four private persons are Balsam, Doeg, Ahithophel, and Gehazi:''

here a private man is distinguished from the public minister that blesses, or gives thanks in the name of the people; and not to be understood of a single person, whose place and office it was to say "Amen", at the minister's giving of thanks, and who stood in some particular place for that purpose; but of the whole body of the people, who, in distinction from the minister, were in the condition of private men, and all joined, as will be seen hereafter, in saying "Amen"; now the apostle's question is, that if thou who art a public minister, givest blessing and praise, or returnest thanks to God in an unknown tongue, how shall the common people, or anyone that is in a private capacity,

say Amen at thy giving of thanks, seeing he understandeth not what thou sayest? It was usual to say "Amen" at blessing, or giving of thanks privately at meals, by those that were present, concerning which are the following rules (e);

"he that breaks the bread, might not break it until the "Amen" was finished out of the mouth of those that answered; Rab Chasdai says out of the mouth of the major part of those that answer:''

and elsewhere (f) it is said,

"they answer "Amen" after an Israelite has blessed, but they do not answer "Amen" after a Cuthite (a Samaritan, or any Gentile, or Christian) hath blessed, unless the whole blessing is heard:''

but of this kind of blessing the apostle speaks not, but of blessing in public: upon which all the people, and not a single person only, as with one united voice, said Amen; see 1 Chronicles 16:36 to this practice the apostle refers; concerning which the rule (g) is;

"that the congregation may not answer "Amen", until the blessing is finished out of the mouth of the priests; and the priests may not begin the other blessing, until the "Amen" is finished out of the mouth of the congregation.''

There were different sorts of "Amen", or rather different pronunciations of it; of which the Jews say (h),

"they may not answer with a fatherless "Amen"; nor with a sudden or violent "Amen"; (pronounced quick and in haste;) nor with an "Amen" cut off, or asunder (the last letter of it not pronounced): says Ben Azzai, whoever answers with a fatherless "Amen", his children shall be fatherless; with a quick "Amen", his days will be short; with an "Amen" cut off, his days shall be cut off; and whoever prolongs "Amen", his days and years shall be prolonged.''

Now, , "a fatherless Amen", was when a person answered, and he did not know what he answered (i) to; and such an "Amen", in the case here, must a private man answer with, at the giving of thanks in an unknown tongue; and to answer "Amen" to what was said in a language not understood, was not allowed of; so the woman suspected of adultery was to be sworn and examined by the priest in a language she understood; and was to say "Amen, Amen", to what was said, in a language known to her (k); for if she did not understand it, how could she say "Amen?" which is the apostle's reasoning here: but was this an affair of such importance, to be instanced in and argued upon in this manner? with the Jews it was, who say (l),

"that greater is he that answers "Amen", than he that blesses:''

continued...16. Else … thou—He changes from the first person, as he had just expressed his own resolution, "I will pray with the understanding," whatever "thou" doest.

bless—the highest kind of prayer.

occupieth the room of the unlearned—one who, whatever other gifts he may possess, yet, as wanting the gift of interpretation, is reduced by the speaking in an unknown tongue to the position of one unlearned, or "a private person."

say Amen—Prayer is not a vicarious duty done by others for us; as in Rome's liturgies and masses. We must join with the leader of the prayers and praises of the congregation, and say aloud our responsive "Amen" in assent, as was the usage of the Jewish (De 27:15-26; Ne 8:6) and Christian primitive churches [Justin Martyr, Apology, 2. 97].14:15-25 There can be no assent to prayers that are not understood. A truly Christian minister will seek much more to do spiritual good to men's souls, than to get the greatest applause to himself. This is proving himself the servant of Christ. Children are apt to be struck with novelty; but do not act like them. Christians should be like children, void of guile and malice; yet they should not be unskilful as to the word of righteousness, but only as to the arts of mischief. It is a proof that a people are forsaken of God, when he gives them up to the rule of those who teach them to worship in another language. They can never be benefitted by such teaching. Yet thus the preachers did who delivered their instructions in an unknown tongue. Would it not make Christianity ridiculous to a heathen, to hear the ministers pray or preach in a language which neither he nor the assembly understood? But if those who minister, plainly interpret Scripture, or preach the great truths and rules of the gospel, a heathen or unlearned person might become a convert to Christianity. His conscience might be touched, the secrets of his heart might be revealed to him, and so he might be brought to confess his guilt, and to own that God was present in the assembly. Scripture truth, plainly and duly taught, has a wonderful power to awaken the conscience and touch the heart.
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