|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
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.
Verse 25. - The secrets of his heart. "The Word of God is quick and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword,.., and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart" (Hebrews 4:12). Falling down on his face. An Oriental. mode of showing humility and deep conviction (Isaiah 45:14; 1 Samuel 19:24). It does not furnish the shadow of an excuse for the encouragement of catalepsy by the mechanical excitement of revivalism. That God is in you of a truth. St. Paul is probably thinking both of Isaiah 45:14 and Zechariah 8:23, where similar phrases are used.
"Truth from his lips prevailed with double sway,
And fools, who came to scoff, remained to pray."
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And thus are the secrets of his heart made manifest,.... Not to the prophets, or preachers, or to the rest of the congregation, but to himself; the word preached being in the hands, and trader the influence, direction, and application of the Spirit of God, a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart; showing the plague and naughtiness of it, discovering the lusts that are in it, detecting the errors of the mind, and filling the conscience with a sense of guilt, and a consciousness of deserved punishment; so that the person looks upon himself as particularly spoken to, and as if the person speaking had knowledge of all that was within him, and adapted his discourse on purpose to him, and delivered it for his sake alone; concluding, that there is, and must be, something more than human in it:
and so falling down on his face: either publicly before the whole congregation; or when retired, as one ashamed of his sins and errors, and not able to look either God, or good men, in the face; and being in an adoration posture; or however, being truly humbled before God under a sense of his iniquities,
he will worship God; pray unto him, and earnestly entreat he would be merciful to him a sinner, and blot out all his transgressions, and forgive him all his sins; and will ever after acknowledge him to be the true God, embrace his Gospel, submit to his ordinances, and attend his service:
and report: or "declare", freely and openly to the church, to all men, to the world, and to his company from whence he came, and to whom he belonged,
that God is in you of a truth: that the Spirit of God, who is truly God, and searches the deep things of God, and reveals them, and the deep things of men, and makes them manifest, is in the prophets and preachers, otherwise they would never be able to make manifest the secrets of the heart as they do; and that the presence of God is in the church, and the power of God goes along with the ministration of the word: hereby, now many valuable ends are answered, a sinner is converted, God is worshipped and glorified, credit is brought to religion, the church of Christ is spoken well of, and prophets or preachers are honoured; wherefore prophesying, seeing it is both for the edification of believers, and conversion of sinners, ought to be desired, and made use of before speaking with tongues.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
25. And thus—omitted in the oldest manuscripts and versions.
secrets of his heart made manifest—He sees his own inner character opened out by the sword of the Spirit (Heb 4:12; Jas 1:23), the word of God, in the hand of him who prophesieth. Compare the same effect produced on Nebuchadnezzar (Da 2:30 and end of Da 2:47). No argument is stronger for the truth of religion than its manifestation of men to themselves in their true character. Hence hearers even now often think the preacher must have aimed his sermon particularly at them.
and so—convicted at last, judged, and manifested to himself. Compare the effect on the woman of Samaria produced by Jesus' unfolding of her character to herself (Joh 4:19, 29).
and report—to his friends at home, as the woman of Samaria did. Rather, as the Greek is, "He will worship God, announcing," that is, openly avowing then and there, "that God is in you of a truth," and by implication that the God who is in you is of a truth the God.
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