1 Corinthians 14:27
Parallel Verses
New International Version
If anyone speaks in a tongue, two--or at the most three--should speak, one at a time, and someone must interpret.

New Living Translation
No more than two or three should speak in tongues. They must speak one at a time, and someone must interpret what they say.

English Standard Version
If any speak in a tongue, let there be only two or at most three, and each in turn, and let someone interpret.

New American Standard Bible
If anyone speaks in a tongue, it should be by two or at the most three, and each in turn, and one must interpret;

King James Bible
If any man speak in an unknown tongue, let it be by two, or at the most by three, and that by course; and let one interpret.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
If any person speaks in another language, there should be only two, or at the most three, each in turn, and someone must interpret.

International Standard Version
If anyone speaks in a foreign language, only two or three at the most should do so, one at a time, and somebody must interpret.

NET Bible
If someone speaks in a tongue, it should be two, or at the most three, one after the other, and someone must interpret.

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
And if any speak in languages, let two speak, or as many as three, and let each one speak and let one translate.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
If people speak in other languages, only two or three at the most should speak. They should do it one at a time, and someone must interpret what each person says.

Jubilee Bible 2000
If anyone speaks in an unknown tongue, let it be by two, or at the most by three, and that by course; and let one interpret.

King James 2000 Bible
If any man speak in an unknown tongue, let it be by two, or at the most by three, and that in turn; and let one interpret.

American King James Version
If any man speak in an unknown tongue, let it be by two, or at the most by three, and that by course; and let one interpret.

American Standard Version
If any man speaketh in a tongue, let it be by two, or at the most three, and that in turn; and let one interpret:

Douay-Rheims Bible
If any speak with a tongue, let it be by two, or at the most by three, and in course, and let one interpret.

Darby Bible Translation
If any one speak with a tongue, [let it be] two, or at the most three, and separately, and let one interpret;

English Revised Version
If any man speaketh in a tongue, let it be by two, or at the most three, and that in turn; and let one interpret:

Webster's Bible Translation
If any man speaketh in an unknown language, let it be by two, or at the most by three, and that by course; and let one interpret.

Weymouth New Testament
If there is speaking in an unknown tongue, only two or at the most three should speak, and they should do so one at a time, and one should interpret;

World English Bible
If any man speaks in another language, let it be two, or at the most three, and in turn; and let one interpret.

Young's Literal Translation
if an unknown tongue any one do speak, by two, or at the most, by three, and in turn, and let one interpret;
Parallel Commentaries
Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary

14:26-33 Religious exercises in public assemblies should have this view; Let all be done to edifying. As to the speaking in an unknown tongue, if another were present who could interpret, two miraculous gifts might be exercised at once, and thereby the church be edified, and the faith of the hearers confirmed at the same time. As to prophesying, two or three only should speak at one meeting, and this one after the other, not all at once. The man who is inspired by the Spirit of God will observe order and decency in delivering his revelations. God never teaches men to neglect their duties, or to act in any way unbecoming their age or station.

Pulpit Commentary

Verse 27. - And that by course; rather, and that in turn. He does not allow more than one glossolalist to speak at a time, and not more than three at the most in any one service. This rule alone tended to extinguish the disorderly exhibition of" tongues." To control the passion which leads to it is, sooner or later, to stop the manifestation - a result which St. Paul would probably have been the last to regret, when its purpose had been accomplished.

Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

If any man speak in an unknown tongue,.... He begins with the gift of tongues, with speaking in an unknown tongue, as the Hebrew language, because this they were desirous of: and the rule for this he would have observed is,

let it be by two, or at most by three, and that by course. The Arabic version reads it, "let him speak to two, or at most three, and separately"; as if it respected the number of persons he was to speak to at a time, and that in a separate and private manner: but the apostle's sense is, that two such persons as had the gift of speaking in an unknown tongue, or three at most, should be only employed at one opportunity, lest too much time should be taken up this way, and prevent a more useful and edifying exercise; and that these should speak not together, which would be a mere jargon and confusion, and make them took like madmen, and render them entirely useless indeed; but in course, one after another, that so an interpreter might be able to take their sense, and render what they said, and express it in a language the people understood: for it follows,

let one interpret what the two or three had said. This practice seems to be borrowed from the Jews, who had such an officer in the synagogue as a "Methurgeman", or "an interpreter". The rise of which office, and the rules to be observed in the performance of it, are as follow, delivered by Maimonides (s):

"from the times of Ezra it has been customary that an interpreter should interpret to the people what the reader reads in the law, so that they may understand the nature of things; and the reader reads one verse only, and is silent until the interpreter has interpreted it; then he returns and reads a second verse: a reader may not raise his voice above the interpreter, nor the interpreter raise his voice above the reader. The interpreter may not interpret until the verse is finished out of the mouth of the reader, and the reader may not read a verse until the interpretation is finished out of the mouth of the interpreter; and the interpreter might not lean neither upon a pillar, nor a beam, but must stand in trembling, and in fear; and he may not interpret by writing, but by mouth: and the reader may not help the interpreter; and they may not say the interpretation written in the law; and a little one may interpret by the means of a grown person, but it is no honour to a grown person to interpret by the means of a little one; and two may not interpret as one, but one reads , "and one interprets" (t).''

An interpreter might not interpret according to his own sense, nor according to the form of the words, or its literal sense; nor might he add of his own, but was obliged to go according to the Targum of Onkelos (u), which they say was the same that was delivered on Mount Sinai. The place they stood in was just before the reader; for so it is said (w),

"the interpreters stand before the wise man on the sabbath days, and hear from his mouth, and cause the multitude to hear.''

And elsewhere it is said (x),

"the interpreter stands before the wise man, the preacher, and the wise man (or doctor) whispers to him in the Hebrew language, and he interprets to the multitude in a language they hear,''

or understand. And sometimes these sat at his side, and only reported what the doctor whispered privately. So

"it is said (y), that when the son of R. Judah bar Ilai died, he went into the house of Midrash, or the school, and R. Chaniah ben Akabia went in and sat by his side, and he whispered to him, and he to the interpreter, and the interpreter caused the multitude to hear.''

And they never put any man into this office until he was fifty years of age (z). Several of the Jewish Rabbins were interpreters, as R. Chananiah before mentioned, and R. Chutzphit, and others (a).

(s) Hilchot Tephilla, c. 12 sect. 10. ll. (t) Vid. T. Bab. Roshhashana, fol. 27. 1. & Megilla, fol. 21. 2.((u) T. Bab. Kiddushin, fol. 49. 1. & Maimon. Hilchot Ishot, c. 8. sect. 4. (w) T. Bab. Pesachim, fol. 50. 2. Gloss. in ib. (x) Gloss. in T. Bab. Yoma, fol. 20. 2.((y) T. Bab. Moed Katon, fol. 21. 1.((z) Juchasin, fol. 44. 2.((a) Ib. fol. 42. 1. & 44. 1, 2.

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

27. let it be by two—at each time, in one assembly; not more than two or three might speak with tongues at each meeting.

by course—in turns.

let one interpret—one who has the gift of interpreting tongues; and not more than one.

1 Corinthians 14:27 Additional Commentaries
Context
Orderly Worship
26What is the outcome then, brethren? When you assemble, each one has a psalm, has a teaching, has a revelation, has a tongue, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification. 27If anyone speaks in a tongue, it should be by two or at the most three, and each in turn, and one must interpret; 28but if there is no interpreter, he must keep silent in the church; and let him speak to himself and to God.…
Cross References
1 Corinthians 12:10
to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues.

1 Corinthians 14:2
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.

1 Corinthians 14:5
I would like every one of you to speak in tongues, but I would rather have you prophesy. The one who prophesies is greater than the one who speaks in tongues, unless someone interprets, so that the church may be edified.

1 Corinthians 14:13
For this reason the one who speaks in a tongue should pray that they may interpret what they say.

1 Corinthians 14:28
If there is no interpreter, the speaker should keep quiet in the church and speak to himself and to God.
Treasury of Scripture

If any man speak in an unknown tongue, let it be by two, or at the most by three, and that by course; and let one interpret.

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