|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 32. - And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets. Into this golden aphorism St. Paul compresses the whole force of his reasoning. The articles are better omitted: "Spirits of prophets are under the control of prophets." Mantic inspirations, the violent possession which threw sibyls and priestesses into contortions - the foaming lip and streaming hair and glazed or glaring eye - have no place in the self-controlling dignity of Christian inspiration. Even Jewish prophets, in the paroxysm of emotion, might lie naked on the ground and rave (1 Samuel 19:24); but the genuine inspiration in Christian ages never obliterates the self consciousness or overpowers the reason; It abhors the hysteria and simulation and frenzy which have sometimes disgraced revivalism and filled lunatic asylums.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets. Meaning either that the doctrines which the prophets deliver, the explanations they give of passages of Scriptures, the revelations they declare, are subject to the examination, judgment, and censure of other prophets; who have a right to try and judge them, either according to a more clear revelation they may have, or rather according to the sure word of prophecy, the Scriptures of truth; and indeed they are subject to the trial and judgment of the whole church, and therefore ought not to be stiff in their own sentiments, and obstinately persist in them, but cheerfully and readily submit them to be examined, and approved or disapproved by others; and particularly when one that sits by signifies he has something revealed to him, which will better explain, or give further light into what the speaker is upon, he ought to submit and give way to him; and thereby truth may be made manifest and established, instruction, edification, and comfort promoted, and peace and order preserved: or else the sense is, that the spiritual gifts of the prophets, and the inspirations and instincts by which they are acted, and the affections which are excited in them, are subject to themselves, so that they can use, or not use those gifts; though they have the word of the Lord they can forbear speaking, as Jeremy did, for a while, and as the case of Jonah shows; or they can refrain themselves and be silent, and wait till they have proper opportunity of speaking, being not like the prophets of false gods, who are acted by an evil spirit, and observe no order or decorum, but with a sort of fury and madness deliver involuntarily what is suggested to them: but such is not the case of true prophets that are influenced and directed by the Spirit of God, who will give way to one another; one will be silent while the other speaks, and by turns prophesy one after another; and where there is not such a subjection, it is a sign that the Spirit of God is not in them, for the reason that follows.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
32. And—following up the assertion in 1Co 14:31, "Ye can (if ye will) prophesy one by one," that is, restrain yourselves from speaking all together; "and the spirits of the prophets," that is, their own spirits, acted on by the Holy Spirit, are not so hurried away by His influence, as to cease to be under their own control; they can if they will hear others, and not demand that they alone should be heard uttering communications from God.
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