1 Corinthians 14:25
And thus are the secrets of his heart made manifest; and so falling down on his face he will worship God, and report that God is in you of a truth.
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(25) And thus are the secrets of his heart made manifest.—Better, and the secrets of his heart are made manifest—such being the reading of the best MSS. It is the third result of the prophetic utterances explained in previous Note. His complete conversion is evidenced by his worshipping God and recognising the presence of God in that assembly of Christians: “He will confess that you are not mad, but that God is truly in you, and that He is the true God who is in you” (Bengel). It is to be noticed that though the Apostle speaks in this passage of an “unlearned” person (i.e., a private person, one who has no gift of prophecy or tongues), or an “unbeliever,” it is the latter that is most prominently before his mind, and the former only so far as he shared in common with the latter his ignorance and inability to understand.

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.And thus are the secrets of his heart made manifest - Made manifest to himself in a surprising and remarkable manner. He shall be led to see the "real" designs and motives of his heart. His conscience would be awakened; he would recall his former course of life; he would see that it was evil; and the present state of his heart would be made known to himself. It is possible that he would "suppose that the speaker was aiming directly at him, and "revealing" his feelings to others; for such an effect is often produced. The convicted sinner often supposes that the preacher particularly intends "him," and wonders that he has such an acquaintance with his feelings and his life; and often supposes that he is designing to disclose his feelings to the congregation. It is possible that Paul here may mean that the prophets, by inspiration, would be able to reveal some secret facts in regard to the stranger; or to state the ill design which he might have had in coming into the assembly; or to state some things in regard to him which could be known only to himself; as was the case with Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5:1, seq.); but perhaps it is better to understand this in a more general sense, as describing the proper and more common effect of truth, when it is applied by a man's own conscience. Such effects are often witnessed now; and such effects show the truth of religion; its adaptedness to people; the omniscience and the power of God; the design of the conscience, and its use in the conversion of sinners.

And so falling down on his face - The usual posture of worship or reverence in eastern countries. It was performed by sinking on the knees and hands, and then placing the face on the ground. This might be done publicly; or the apostle may mean to say that it would lead him to do it in private.

He will worship God - He will be converted, and become a Christian.

And report that God ... - Will become your friend, and an advocate for the Christian religion. An enemy will be turned to a friend. Doubtless this was often done. It is now often done. Paul's argument is, that they should so conduct their public devotions as that they should be adapted to produce this result.

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.

God either, by an extraordinary providence, discovering to him that prophesieth the secrets of such a sinner’s heart, and causing him that prophesieth to make them manifest; or, by a more ordinary providence, (often experienced at this day), directing the preacher to such subjects and discourses, as he that cometh to hear shall think directed to himself, and confess that he is the man, and be convinced of his errors, and converted, and turn to the Christian religion, and report that God indeed is amongst you. So as prophesying will have these two great advantages of speaking with tongues, God will be more glorified, and the souls of others will be more profited; which makes the gift of prophesying much preferable to the gift of tongues.

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.

And thus are the secrets of his heart made manifest; and so falling down on his face he will worship God, and report that God is in you of a truth.
25. and thus are the secrets of his heart made manifest] The nature of Christian prophecy is here plainly shewn. See note on 1 Corinthians 14:1. ‘And thus’ is omitted by most modern editors.

that God is in you of a truth] Literally, that God is really in you (or among you). This description of the effect of prophecy upon the unbeliever is in no way contrary to the assertion in 1 Corinthians 14:22. There the Apostle is speaking of a sign to attract the attention of the unbeliever; here his attention is already attracted. He has come to the Christian assembly, and is listening to the words spoken there in the name of Jesus Christ. Unless his conscience is ‘seared with a hot iron’ there will be no further need of signs to induce him to give his attention to what is spoken.

1 Corinthians 14:25. Τὰ κρυπτὰ τῆς καρδίας αὐτοῦ, the secrets of his heart) all the inmost thoughts of the heathen’s heart, which has never experienced such feelings, and has now for the first time become acquainted with itself and makes confession concerning itself: for the unbeliever is here principally intended. The unlearned man is added by the way, on account of his case being not altogether dissimilar. Any one with the lowest degree of faith before entering an assembly of that kind knew, that God is truly in believers.—αὐτοῦ, of him) the unbelieving stranger.—φανερὰ γίνεται, are made manifest) Daniel 2:30 at the end.—οὕτω) so, at last.—πεσὼν, falling down) a public declaration on the part of those, who feel and experience in themselves the power of the word, is generally made too sparingly in our times.—ἀπαγγέλλων, declaring) spontaneously, clearly, expressly announcing this fact either in the Church, or even out of it elsewhere: comp. on this word, Greg. Paneg. § 123 cum Annot.—ὅτι, that) comp. Daniel 2:46-47. A most conclusive argument for the truth of religion, from the operations of God on godly men.—ὄντως, indeed) He will confess, that you are not mad, but that God is truly in you, and that He is the true God, who is in you.

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."

(Goldsmith.) 1 Corinthians 14:25
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