1 Corinthians 14:3
But he that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort.
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(3) Edification, and exhortation, and comfort.—They communed with God by the speaking with tongues; they communed with the brethren by prophecy—building up, stirring up, cheering up, as each required.

14:1-5 Prophesying, that is, explaining Scripture, is compared with speaking with tongues. This drew attention, more than the plain interpretation of Scripture; it gratified pride more, but promoted the purposes of Christian charity less; it would not equally do good to the souls of men. What cannot be understood, never can edify. No advantage can be reaped from the most excellent discourses, if delivered in language such as the hearers cannot speak or understand. Every ability or possession is valuable in proportion to its usefulness. Even fervent, spiritual affection must be governed by the exercise of the understanding, else men will disgrace the truths they profess to promote.But he that prophesieth - See the note at 1 Corinthians 14:1. He that speaks under the influence of inspiration in the common language of his hearers. This seems to be the difference between those who spoke in foreign languages and those who prophesied. Both were under the influence of the Holy Spirit; both might speak the same truths; both might occupy an equally important and necessary place in the church; but the language of the one was intelligible to the church, the other not; the one was designed to edify the church, the other to address those who spoke foreign tongues, or to give demonstration, by the power of speaking foreign languages, that the religion was from God.

Speaketh unto men - So as to be understood by those who were present.

To edification - See the note at 1 Corinthians 10:8, note at 1 Corinthians 10:23. Speaks so as to enlighten and strengthen the church.

And exhortation - See the note at Romans 12:8. He applies and enforces the practical duties of religion, and urges motives for a holy life.

And comfort - Encouragement. That is, he presents the promises and the "hopes" of the gospel; the various considerations adapted to administer comfort in the time of trial. The other might do this, but it would be in a foreign language, and would be useless to the church.

3. But—on the other hand.

edification—of which the two principal species given are "exhortation" to remove sluggishness, "comfort" or consolation to remove sadness [Bengel]. Omit "to."

Speaketh unto men; that is, to the understanding of men, and for the good and profit of men.

To edification; for their increase in knowledge and all habits of grace.

And exhortation; to quicken them in the exercise and practice of such duties as God hath, in his word, required of, them.

And comfort; and for the relief of them under their burdens, to support and uphold their troubled or wounded spirits. These expressions make it probable, that the apostle, by prophecy in this text, understands ministerial preaching; which more properly tends to edification, exhortation, and comfort, than the foretelling of things to come.

But he that prophesieth,.... Preaches, prays, or sings, in a language understood by the common people:

speaketh unto men to edification; to the building of them up in Christ, and on their most holy faith, so that they grow up as an holy temple to the Lord: and exhortation; to the more vigorous exercise of grace, and the more cheerful and fervent discharge of duty:

and comfort; of distressed minds, either through the temptations of Satan, or divine desertions, or inward corruptions, or outward afflictions; for all which ends and purposes the Scriptures are written, and gifts are bestowed on men to explain them; and which ends are answered when God gives a blessing to the word; but can never be expected, if delivered in a language not understood. This bears hard upon the Papists performing any part of divine worship in a language unintelligible to the common people.

But he that prophesieth speaketh unto men to {d} edification, and exhortation, and comfort.

(d) Which may further men in the study of godliness.

1 Corinthians 14:3. Οἰκοδομὴν, edification) Two principal species are added to this genus; παράκλησις, exhortation, takes away sluggishness; παραμυθία, consolation takes away sadness.

Verse 3. - To edification, and exhortation, and comfort. The "to" should be omitted. His words build up the Christian soul, by rousing its efforts and consoling its sorrows. The "Son of prophecy" (Barnabas) is, as Stanley points out, also "a Son of consolation" (Acts 4:36). "Support" (paraklesis) involves "comfort," i.e. strength and calm. 1 Corinthians 14:3To edification - exhortation - comfort (οἰκοδομὴν - παράκλησιν - παραμυθίαν)

Omit to. For edification see on build up, Acts 20:32. Exhortation, so American Rev. Rev., comfort. See on Luke 6:24. Παραμυθία comfort, Rev., consolation, occurs only here in the New Testament. Παραμύθιον, which is the same, in Philippians 2:1. The two latter words are found together in Philippians 2:1, and their kindred verbs in 1 Thessalonians 2:11. The differences in rendering are not important. The words will bear either of the meanings in the two Revisions. If παράκλησιν be rendered as Rev., comfort, παραμυθία might be rendered incentive, which implies exhortation. Consolation and comfort border a little too closely on each other.

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