1 Corinthians 14:31
For ye may all prophesy one by one, that all may learn, and all may be comforted.
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(31) For ye may all prophesy one by one.—Better, For it is in your power all to prophesy one by one. How it is in their power is explained by the following verse. This orderly prophesying will accomplish the instruction and comforting of all; words of instruction will be interspersed with words of comfort, and so the teaching be suited to every condition of mind and soul of those present.

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.For ye may all prophecy ... - There is time enough for all; there is no need of speaking in confusion and disorder. Every person may have an opportunity of expressing his sentiments at the proper time.

That all may learn - In such a manner that there may be edification. This might be done if they would speak one at a time in their proper order.

31. For ye may—rather, "For ye can [if ye will] all prophesy one by one," giving way to one another. The "for" justifies the precept (1Co 14:30), "let the first hold his peace." Ye may not all prophesy in the same day, or hour, or moment of time, but orderly and successively

ye may all prophesy, the end of it being for the instruction and consolation of all; which may mind you so to govern yourselves in the exercise of that gift, as not to lose your end,

but that all may learn, and all may be comforted. Which lets us know, that though their receiving the gift of prophecy obliged them to an exercise of it, yet it did not oblige them to an exercise of it in or at this or that particular time. judged by the law of God, or the light of nature, or the common custom of other churches, to be done indecently or confusedly, without order. It is very observable, that though the apostle, in these things, hath given rules, yet he hath determined nothing shameful or uncomely, but what he hath made to appear so, either from the Divine law, (as in the case of the women’s prophesying, 1 Corinthians 14:34), or from nature and reason, (as in the case of many speaking at the same time), it being useless to the end, which was teaching and instructing those to whom they spake, and what unbelievers would count the effect of madness, 1 Corinthians 14:23.

For ye may all prophesy one by one,.... Not every member of the church, but everyone that had the gift of prophecy; so that they were not confined to two or three prophets at a meeting, but as many as would, or as had anything to deliver, and as time would allow; only care must be taken that confusion be avoided, and order preserved by exercising in turns one after another. This was agreeably to the custom of the Jewish synagogue, in which more might read and speak, though but one at a time; for

"it is forbidden to read in the book of the law, except one only, that all may hearken, and be silent, that so they may hear the words from his mouth, as if they had heard them that very moment from Mount Sinai.''

So here,

that all may learn; more of the doctrine of Christ, and of the mind and will of God, and attain to a greater knowledge in the mysteries of the Gospel, and in the duties of religion, even prophets and teachers as well as private members and common hearers; for there are none who know ever so much, but are capable of being further taught and instructed, and that sometimes by such whose gifts are interior to them:

and all may be comforted; or exhorted, or receive exhortation. The word used signifies both; and prophecy is useful both for exhortation and comfort, and that both to preachers and people.

For ye may all prophesy one by one, that all may learn, and all may be comforted.
1 Corinthians 14:31 f. Establishment of this precept by setting forth the possibility of its observance. The principal emphasis is laid upon δύνασθε, which is for this reason placed first (not upon πάντες, as Rückert holds), for in it lies the pith of the proof. Next to it πάντες has the emphasis. The sense is: “For in my ὁ πρῶτος σιγ. I am enjoining nothing which is impossible for you; on the contrary, it stands in your power that, one after another, you may all come to give a prophetic address,” et.

καθʼ ἕνα] always one at once, singulatim. Acts 21:19; see Ast, Lex. Plat. I. p. 639 f.; Bernhardy, p. 240. The subject addressed in δύνασθε is the prophets in the church, not the members of the church generally (Hofmann), seeing that prophecy was a special χάρισμα[19] which did not belong to all (see 1 Corinthians 12:29; Acts 13:1; Ephesians 4:11). The inspiration of the prophets does not compel them to speak on without a break, so as not to allow another to take speech at all or to speak alone, but it is in their power to cease when another begins, so that by degrees all may come to speak—not, of course, in the same assembly (1 Corinthians 14:29), but in successive meetings.

And this circumstance, that καθʼ ἕνα πάντες προφητεύουσι, has for its design (ἵνα), that all the members of the church (which includes also other prophets along with the rest) may learn, etc., that none may remain without instruction and encouragement. For modes of prophetic inspiration, very different from each other in substance and form, will then find expression, whereby satisfaction will be given to the most different want.

μανθάνωσι] what God has revealed to those speaking propheticall.

παρακλ.] be encouraged, aroused. Comp. παράκλησιν, 1 Corinthians 14:3. Paul describes here the effects of prophecy from the theoretical (μανθ.) and practical (παρακαλ.) sides. The latter he had already stated more specially in 1 Corinthians 14:3.

[19] It is not correct to say, “on the contrary, whoever receives a revelation becomes a prophet” (Hofmann); for the prophetic endowment is habitual, belonging to one and not to another. Whoever has it receives revelations to be communicated for the edification of others; he is the vessel divinely prepared for this reception and communication.

1 Corinthians 14:31. By economy of time, every one who has the prophetic gift may exercise it in turn; so the Church will enjoy, in variety of exhortation, the full benefit of the powers of the Spirit conferred on all its members: “For you can (in this way) all prophesy one by one (καθʼ ἕνα: singulatim, Cv[2163]), in order that all may learn and all may be encouraged”. Stress lies on the repeated πάντες (cf. 1 Corinthians 12:12 f.): let every prophet get his turn, and every hearer will receive benefit (cf. 1 Corinthians 14:26 b); even if the Church members were all prophets, as Paul imagined in 1 Corinthians 14:24, and thinks desirable (1 Corinthians 14:1-5), by due arrangement, and self-suppression on the part of the eloquent, all might be heard.

[2163] Calvin’s In Nov. Testamentum Commentarii.

31. For ye may all prophesy one by one] Not necessarily at the same meeting of the Church, which would be in contradiction to what has just been said (1 Corinthians 14:29), nor that the permission was extended to the whole Christian body. All were not prophets, the Apostle tells us (ch. 1 Corinthians 12:29), and it is clear that none but prophets could prophesy, since prophecy (ch. 1 Corinthians 12:28, 1 Corinthians 13:2, 1 Corinthians 14:1; 1 Corinthians 14:5; 1 Corinthians 14:22) was a special gift of the Spirit.

comforted] The word has the sense of comfort and exhortation combined, and is most nearly equivalent to our encourage or cheer. See 2 Corinthians 1 where the word and the verb from which it is derived are translated indifferently comfort and consolation. In ch. 1 Corinthians 4:16 of this Epistle it is rendered beseech. In a great many passages, as for instance in Acts 2:40, it is rendered exhort. From this word is derived the title Paraclete, rendered Comforter in St John 14, 15, , 16 and Advocate in 1 John 2:1. The derivative is rendered exhortation in 3, and another word is employed for comfort,

1 Corinthians 14:31. Καθʼ ἕνα, one by one) so that one person may always give way to another.—πάντες μανθάνωσι, all may learn) by conversing, inquiring, speaking, listening: all, being prophets. A man learns by teaching: he learns by speaking, and asking questions, 1 Corinthians 14:34-35. [Many continue to be foolish and languid in spiritual things, because they almost never speak about such things.—V. g.]—παρακαλῶνται, may be comforted) Sometimes the speaking of another produces in us more awakening effect, sometimes our own.

Verse 31. - Ye may all prophesy; rather, ye all can; that is, "if you have the gift of prophesying." St. Paul has already implied that at every assembly there would be idiotai, unendowed worshippers, who only came to profit by the gifts of others, and that "all" are not prophets (1 Corinthians 12:29). May be comforted; rather, may be exhorted or cheered. 1 Corinthians 14:31
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