1 Corinthians 14:2
Verse (Click for Chapter)
New International Version
For anyone who speaks in a tongue does not speak to people but to God. Indeed, no one understands them; they utter mysteries by the Spirit.

New Living Translation
For if you have the ability to speak in tongues, you will be talking only to God, since people won't be able to understand you. You will be speaking by the power of the Spirit, but it will all be mysterious.

English Standard Version
For one who speaks in a tongue speaks not to men but to God; for no one understands him, but he utters mysteries in the Spirit.

Berean Study Bible
For he who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men, but to God. Indeed, no one understands him; he utters mysteries in the Spirit.

Berean Literal Bible
For the one speaking in a tongue speaks not to men, but to God. For no one hears, but in the Spirit he utters mysteries.

New American Standard Bible
For one who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God; for no one understands, but in his spirit he speaks mysteries.

King James Bible
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.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
For the person who speaks in another language is not speaking to men but to God, since no one understands him; however, he speaks mysteries in the Spirit.

International Standard Version
For the person who speaks in a foreign language is not actually speaking to people but to God. Indeed, no one understands him, because he is talking about secrets by the Spirit.

NET Bible
For the one speaking in a tongue does not speak to people but to God, for no one understands; he is speaking mysteries by the Spirit.

New Heart English Bible
For he who speaks in another language speaks not to men, but to God; for no one understands; but in the Spirit he speaks mysteries.

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
For whoever speaks in languages does not speak to men, but he is speaking to God, for no man understands what he speaks, but by The Spirit he speaks mysteries.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
When a person speaks in another language, he doesn't speak to people but to God. No one understands him. His spirit is speaking mysteries.

New American Standard 1977
For one who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men, but to God; for no one understands, but in his spirit he speaks mysteries.

Jubilee Bible 2000
For he that speaks in an unknown tongue speaks not unto men, but unto God, for no one understands him, even though by the Spirit he speaks mysteries.

King James 2000 Bible
For he that speaks in an unknown tongue speaks not unto men, but unto God: for no man understands him; but in the spirit he speaks mysteries.

American King James Version
For he that speaks in an unknown tongue speaks not to men, but to God: for no man understands him; however, in the spirit he speaks mysteries.

American Standard Version
For he that speaketh in a tongue speaketh not unto men, but unto God; for no man understandeth; but in the spirit he speaketh mysteries.

Douay-Rheims Bible
For he that speaketh in a tongue, speaketh not unto men, but unto God: for no man heareth. Yet by the Spirit he speaketh mysteries.

Darby Bible Translation
For he that speaks with a tongue does not speak to men but to God: for no one hears; but in spirit he speaks mysteries.

English Revised Version
For he that speaketh in a tongue speaketh not unto men, but unto God; for no man understandeth; but in the spirit he speaketh mysteries.

Webster's Bible Translation
For he that speaketh in an unknown language, speaketh not to men, but to God: for no man understandeth him; yet in the spirit he speaketh mysteries.

Weymouth New Testament
For he who speaks in an unknown tongue is not speaking to men, but to God; for no one understands him. Yet in the Spirit he is speaking secret truths.

World English Bible
For he who speaks in another language speaks not to men, but to God; for no one understands; but in the Spirit he speaks mysteries.

Young's Literal Translation
for he who is speaking in an unknown tongue -- to men he doth not speak, but to God, for no one doth hearken, and in spirit he doth speak secrets;
Study Bible
Prophecy and Tongues
1Earnestly pursue love and eagerly desire spiritual gifts, especially the gift of prophecy. 2For he who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men, but to God. Indeed, no one understands him; he utters mysteries in the Spirit. 3But he who prophesies speaks to men for their edification, encouragement, and comfort.…
Cross References
Mark 16:17
And these signs will accompany those who believe: In My name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues;

1 Corinthians 12:10
to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in various tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues.

1 Corinthians 12:28
And in the church God has appointed first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then workers of miracles, and those with gifts of healing, helping, administration, and various tongues.

1 Corinthians 13:1
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a ringing gong or a clanging cymbal.

1 Corinthians 13:2
If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have absolute faith so as to move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.

1 Corinthians 14:18
I thank God that I speak in tongues more than all of you.

1 Corinthians 14:26
What then shall we say, brothers? When you come together, everyone has a psalm or a teaching, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation. All of these must be done to build up the church.

1 Corinthians 14:27
If anyone speaks in a tongue, two, or at most three, should speak in turn, and someone must interpret.
Treasury of Scripture

For he that speaks in an unknown tongue speaks not to men, but to God: for no man understands him; however, in the spirit he speaks mysteries.

he that.

1 Corinthians 14:9-11,16,21,22 So likewise you, except you utter by the tongue words easy to be …

Genesis 11:7 Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they …

Genesis 42:23 And they knew not that Joseph understood them; for he spoke to them …

Deuteronomy 28:49 The LORD shall bring a nation against you from far, from the end …

2 Kings 18:26 Then said Eliakim the son of Hilkiah, and Shebna, and Joah, to Rabshakeh, …

Acts 2:4-11 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak …

Acts 10:46 For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter,

Acts 19:6 And when Paul had laid his hands on them, the Holy Ghost came on …

understandeth. Gr. heareth.

Acts 22:9 And they that were with me saw indeed the light, and were afraid; …

howbeit.

1 Corinthians 2:7,10 But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, …

1 Corinthians 13:2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, …

1 Corinthians 15:51 Behold, I show you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall …

Psalm 49:3,4 My mouth shall speak of wisdom; and the meditation of my heart shall …

Psalm 78:2 I will open my mouth in a parable: I will utter dark sayings of old:

Matthew 13:11 He answered and said to them, Because it is given to you to know …

Mark 4:11 And he said to them, To you it is given to know the mystery of the …

Romans 16:25 Now to him that is of power to establish you according to my gospel, …

Ephesians 3:3-9 How that by revelation he made known to me the mystery; (as I wrote …

Ephesians 6:19 And for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my …

Colossians 1:26,27 Even the mystery which has been hid from ages and from generations, …

Colossians 2:2 That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, …

1 Timothy 3:9,16 Holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience…

Revelation 10:7 But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall …

(2) For he that speaketh in an unknown tongue.--Better, For he that speaketh in a tongue. The word "unknown" is not in the original, but it has been inserted in connection with the word tongue "all through this chapter, so as to make the various passages seem to be consistent with the theory that the gift of tongues was a gift of languages. This is not the place to enter into the question of what particular external manifestation of this gift was evidenced on the Day of Pentecost. (See Acts 2:1-13.) Still, believing that the gift of tongues here spoken of is identical with the gift of tongues which was first bestowed at Pentecost, I would say that the phenomena described as occurring then must be explained by the fuller and more elaborate account of the nature of the gift which is given to us here. Against the theory that the gift was one of a capacity to speak various languages we have three considerations. (1) The word dialectos, which is repeatedly used to express languages (Acts 1:19; Acts 2:6; Acts 2:8; Acts 21:40; Acts 22:2; Acts 26:14), is never used by St. Paul or by the author of the Acts in reference to the utterances of those who possessed the gift of tongues, but the other word, glossa, which is, literally, the physical organ of speech--as if the utterances were simply sounds that proceeded from it. (2) There is no trace whatever of this knowledge of languages having been ever used for the purpose of preaching to those who spoke foreign languages. The language of the Lycaonians was evidently not understood by the Apostles when they were addressed in it (see Acts 14:11), and they did not speak in it. That the hearers at Pentecost said they heard those who were filled with the Spirit "speak in our own language" would only imply, either that the outpouring on Pentecost had for the moment a miraculous effect, which immediately ceased, or that "all the various elements of Aramaic and Hellenistic speech, latent in the usual language of the time, were quickened, under the power of this gift, into a new life, sometimes intelligible, sometimes unintelligible to those who heard it, but always expressive of the vitality and energy of the Spirit by which it was animated." (3) The description of the gift in this chapter is utterly inconsistent with it being a gift of languages. The gift was the result of a quickened spiritual power by the action of the Holy Ghost (see also Acts 2:4; Acts 10:44-46; Acts 19:6); it poured itself forth in wild, impassioned utterances, which were sometimes mistaken for delirium (1Corinthians 14:23); and these were the expressions, not of thoughts, but of feelings, unintelligible always, if uninterpreted, to the listener, and sometimes to the utterer himself.

It is to be observed that very notable spiritual phenomena, not unlike what are recorded here, accompanied many periods of great spiritual revival. The histories of the early work of Wesley and Whitfield, and of Irving--to take examples in England alone--afford some very remarkable illustrations. The general subject of the first part of this chapter (1Corinthians 14:1-25) is the Gift of Tongues, and is thus dealt with:--

I.PROPHECY IS SUPERIOR TO THE GIFT OF TONGUES (1Corinthians 14:2-11)

Because (1)Tongues are the means of communion between the individual and God, whereas prophecy is communion with other men (1Corinthians 14:2-3).

(2)Tongues do yourself good; prophecy does good to others (1Corinthians 14:4-6).

This truth is illustrated (a) by the variety of musical instruments (1Corinthians 14:7); (b) by the distinction of musical notes (1Corinthians 14:8-9); (c) by the varieties of human language (1Corinthians 14:10-11).

II.PRACTICAL APPLICATION OF THE FOREGOING (1Corinthians 14:11-19).

(1)What the aim and object of the Christians should be (1Corinthians 14:12-13).

(2)His own example (1Corinthians 14:14-19).

III.FURTHER APPEAL TO THEIR INTELLIGENCE AS TO THIS TRUTH (1Corinthians 14:21-25).

(1)The Old Testament teaches the same principle (1Corinthians 14:21-22).

(2)The gift of prophecy is a means of spreading Christianity, and the gift of tongues is not (1Corinthians 14:23-25).

In the spirit he speaketh mysteries.--The utterances come, not from his mind, but from his spirit, stirred by the Holy Spirit; and he speaks mysteries unintelligible to others.

Verse 2. - In an unknown tongue. The interpolation of the word "unknown" in our Authorized Version is quite unjustifiable, and shows the danger of giving way to the bias of mere conjectures. Probably it is this word, not found in the original, which has given rise to the perplexing, unhistoric, and unwarranted theory that "the gift of tongues" was a power of speaking in foreign languages. Speaketh not unto men. Because, as a rule, no one understands anything that he says. The word literally means "hears." It may, perhaps, imply that no special attention was given to those who gave way to these impulses of utterance. The whole of this chapter proves in a most striking way the close analogy between "the tongue" and the impassioned soliloquies of inarticulate utterance which were poured forth in tones of thrilling power among the Montanists, and in modern times among the Irvingites. In the spirit. It is uncertain whether this means "in his own spirit," or "in the Spirit of God," i.e. as a result of inspiration. Probably the former (John 4:24; Romans 8:13, etc.). Perhaps, however, the two imply the same thing. The spirit is the one Divine part of our human being, and when a man is a true Christian his spirit is in union with, is as it were lost in, the Spirit of God. St. Paul recognizes the true tongue - for it might be simulated by hysteria and even by mere physical imposture - as a result of inspiration, that is, of the overpowering dominance of the human spirit by a supernatural power. Nevertheless, he points out the extreme peril of yielding to or self inducing these emotions public, or in leaving them uncontrolled. Mysteries. Secrets revealed possibly to him, but unrevealed by this strange "tongue" to others. 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 (x); 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

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:

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:

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.

(x) Vid. Gloss. in T. Bab. Beracot, fol. 3. 1. & in Yoma, fol. 20. 2.2. speaketh … unto God—who alone understands all languages.

no man understandeth—generally speaking; the few who have the gift of interpreting tongues are the exception.

in the spirit—as opposed to "the understanding" (1Co 14:14).

mysteries—unintelligible to the hearers, exciting their wonder, rather than instructing them. Corinth, being a mart resorted to by merchants from Asia, Africa, and Europe, would give scope amidst its mixed population for the exercise of the gift of tongues; but its legitimate use was in an audience understanding the tongue of the speaker, not, as the Corinthians abused it, in mere display.14:1-5 Prophesying, that is, explaining Scripture, is compared with speaking with tongues. This drew attention, more than the plain interpretation of Scripture; it gratified pride more, but promoted the purposes of Christian charity less; it would not equally do good to the souls of men. What cannot be understood, never can edify. No advantage can be reaped from the most excellent discourses, if delivered in language such as the hearers cannot speak or understand. Every ability or possession is valuable in proportion to its usefulness. Even fervent, spiritual affection must be governed by the exercise of the understanding, else men will disgrace the truths they profess to promote.
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