|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.
Verse 29. - Two or three. If more than two or three preached, the congregation would get weary. Let the other judge; rather, let the rest discriminate the value of what is said. "Prophesyings" are not to be despised, but we are only to hold fast what is good (1 Thessalonians 5:20, 21), and we are "to try the spirits" (1 John 4:1). St. Paul is not encouraging the Corinthians to the consoriousness of conceited and incompetent criticism, but only putting them on their guard against implicit acceptance of all they hear; which was a very necessary caution at a place where so many teachers sprang up.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Let the prophets speak, two or three,.... The apostle having finished the rules for streaking with an unknown tongue, proceeds to lay down some for the gift of prophesying; and observes, that where there are a number of prophets, as very likely there were in the church at Corinth, two or three of them might prophesy, or explain the prophecies of the Old Testament, or preach the Gospel at one opportunity or meeting: he does not use that restrictive clause, "at most", as before, because if there was any necessity or occasion for it, more might be employed, so that care was taken not to burden the people, and send them away loathing; and this they were to do, as before, in course, one after another, otherwise it would be all confusion, nor could they be heard to edification. Though some have thought that they might speak together at one and the same time, in different parts of the church:
and let the other judge: the other prophets that sit and hear, and all such as have a spirit of discerning, whether what the prophets say comes from their own spirits, or from a lying spirit, from the spirit of antichrist, or whether from the Spirit of God; and even the body of the people, private members of the church, and hearers, might judge of the doctrine for themselves, according to the word of God, the standard of faith and practice; and were not to believe every spirit, but try them, whether they were of God, and their doctrines by his word, whether they were true or false; for the spiritual man is in a measure capable of judging all things of a spiritual kind, through that spiritual experience he has of the word of God, and divine things, and by the assistance of the Spirit of God.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
29. two or three—at one meeting (he does not add "at the most," as in 1Co 14:27, lest he should seem to "quench prophesyings," the most edifying of gifts), and these "one by one," in turn (1Co 14:27, "by course," and 1Co 14:31). Paul gives here similar rules to the prophets, as previously to those speaking in unknown tongues.
judge—by their power of "discerning spirits" (1Co 12:10), whether the person prophesying was really speaking under the influence of the Spirit (compare 1Co 12:3; 1Jo 4:13).
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