Friday, November 25, 2011

Volume 2 Lesson 6 Be Empowered By the Spirit, Part 2

BE EMPOWERED By The Spirit, Part II
A Story of Being Empowered
Read Acts 16:6-18

The Definition
What does it mean to be empowered by the Spirit?
Acts 15:1-31

John 4:7-19

Acts 16:16-19

...effective ministers of Christ’s authority and power.
Life Book Volume 2, Shibley/Evrist, Global Advance Resources, p.39-40
...power gifts found in 1 Corinthians 12

A word of wisdom is an inspired message that reveals God’s plan for the
wisest and most effective way to approach a given situation.
Life Book Volume 2, Shibley/Evrist, Global Advance Resources, p.39-40

A word of knowledge is an inspired message of knowledge concerning a
person or situation that could only be revealed by God.
Life Book Volume 2, Shibley/Evrist, Global Advance Resources, p.39-40
In John 4, when Jesus ministered ....

Discerning of spirits is inspired understanding of whether an activity is
of the Holy Spirit, a demonic spirit or the human will.
Life Book Volume 2, Shibley/Evrist, Global Advance Resources, p.39-40
Why do I need to be empowered by the Spirit?
James 1:5

2 John 1:7-11

How can I be empowered by the Spirit?
Acts 10:1-35

1 John 3:24 - 4:6

Add caption

In Acts 10:9-22 , Peter is on the roof ....


1 Corinthians 12:1-6,

1 Corinthians 12:1-6

The Memorizing of Scripture
Follow these guidelines as you commit 1 Corinthians 12:7 to memory.

Go Further
Here are some additional readings for you as you are empowered by the

To get possession of the pearl of great price, the merchant man had to sell all that he had. The full blessing of Pentecost is to be obtained at no smaller price. He who would have it must sell all, must forsake all. Sin to its smallest item; the love of the world in its most innocent forms; selfwill
in its simplest and most natural expressions—every faculty of our nature, every moment of our life, every pleasure that feeds our selfcomplacency, every exercise of our body, soul, and spirit—all must be surrendered to the power of the Spirit of God. In nothing can independent control or independent force have a place; everything—everything, I say—must be under the leading of the Spirit. One must indeed say: “Cost what it may, I am determined to have this blessing.” Only the vessel that is utterly empty of everything can be filled and overflow with this living water. We know that there is oftentimes a great gulf between the will and the deed. Even when God has produced the willing, the doing does not always come at once. But it will come whenever a man surrenders himself to God’s supreme will and openly expresses his consent in the presence of God.
Andrew Murray, The Full Blessing of Pentecost, CLC Publications, 2005.
Andrew Murray: The Full Blessing of Pentecost

There are various gifts, and various offices to perform, but all proceed from one God, one Lord, one Spirit; that is, from the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, the origin of all spiritual blessings. No man has them merely for himself. The more he profits others, the more will they turn to his own account. The gifts mentioned appear to mean exact understanding, and uttering the doctrines of the Christian religion; the knowledge of mysteries, and skill to give advice and counsel. Also the gift of healing the sick, the working of miracles, and to explain Scripture by a peculiar gift of the Spirit, and ability to speak and interpret languages. If we have any knowledge of the truth, or any power to make it known, we must give all the glory of God. The greater the gifts are, the more the possessor is exposed to temptations, and the larger is the measure of grace needed to keep him humble and spiritual; and he will meet with more painful experiences and humbling dispensations. We have little cause to glory in any gifts bestowed on us, or to despise those who have them not.

Matthew Henry Commentary on 1 Corinthians 12:1-11
Matthew Henry Concise Commentary

1 Corinthians 12:4-11 MESSAGE
God's various gifts are handed out everywhere; but they all originate in God's Spirit. God's various ministries are carried out everywhere; but they all originate in God's Spirit. God's various expressions of power are in action everywhere; but God himself is behind it all. Each person is given something to do that shows who God is: everyone gets in on it, everyone benefits. All kinds of things are handed out by the Spirit, and to all kinds of people! The variety is wonderful:
wise counsel
clear understanding
simple trust
healing the sick
miraculous acts
distinguishing between spirits
interpretation of tongues.
All these gifts have a common origin, but are handed out one by one by the one Spirit of God. He decides who gets what, and when.
1 Corinthians 12:4-11 MESSAGE
The Message

1 Corinthians 12:1-11 The New Testament: An Expanded Translation

1–7 Now, concerning the spiritual gifts, brethren, I do not desire you to be ignorant. You all know that when you were Gentiles you were led astray to the idols, which do not have the faculty of speech, as on different occasions you would be led. Wherefore, I make known to you that no individual speaking by means of God’s Spirit says, Jesus is anathema [accursed], and no person is able to say, Jesus is Lord, except by means of the Holy Spirit. Now, there are different distributions of spiritual gifts, these gifts being diverse from one another, but there is the same Spirit. And there are different distributions of various kinds of ministries, but the same Lord. And there are different distributions of divine energy motivating these gifts in their operation, but the same God who by His divine energy operates them all in their sphere. But to each one there is constantly being given the clearly seen operations of the Spirit with a view to the profit [of all].

8–11 For to one is given through the intermediate agency of the Spirit a word of wisdom, and to another a word of knowledge according to the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, and to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, and to another the working of miracles, and to another the giving forth of divine revelations, and to another the correct evaluation of those individuals who give forth divine revelations, and to another various kinds of languages, and to another the interpretation of languages. But all these the one and same Spirit is by divine energy putting into operation, dividing to each one separately even as He desires.

1 Corinthians 12:1-11 The New Testament: An Expanded Translation
The New Testament: An Expanded Translation

 1 Corinthians 12:1 Now concerning spiritual (gifts), brethren, I would not have you ignorant. Instead of beginning with, in the second place, in continuance of the enumeration begun in 11:17, he passes to the second ground of censure, by the simple now (δέ) as the particle of transition. The misuse of the spiritual gifts, especially of the gift of tongues, was the next topic of rebuke. Concerning spiritual, whether men or gifts, depends on the context, as the word may be either masculine or neuter. The latter is the more natural and common explanation, because the gifts rather than the persons are the subject of discussion; and because in v. 31, and 14:1, the neuter form is used. I would not have you ignorant, i.e. I wish you to understand the origin and intent of these extraordinary manifestations of divine power, and to be able to discriminate between the true and false claimants to the possession of them. <{{{><
1 Corinthians 12:2 Ye know that ye were Gentiles, carried away unto these dumb idols, even as ye were led. Here, as in Ephesians 2:11, the apostle contrasts the former with the present condition of his readers. Formerly, they were Gentiles, now they were Christians. Formerly, they were the worshippers and consulters of dumb idols, now they worshipped the living and true God. Formerly, they were swayed by a blind, unintelligent impulse, which carried them away, they knew not why nor whither; now they were under the influence of the Spirit of God. Their former condition is here adverted to as affording a reason why they needed instruction on this subject. It was one on which their previous experience gave them no information. Ye know that 22 ye were Gentiles. This is the comprehensive statement of their former condition. Under it are included the two particulars which follow. First, they were addicted to the worship of dumb idols, i.e. voiceless, comp. Habakkuk 2:18, 19, “Woe unto him that saith unto the wood, Awake; unto the dumb stone, Arise, it shall teach,” and Psalm 115:5; 135:16. To worship dumb idols, gods who could neither hear nor save, expresses in the strongest terms at once their folly and their misery. Secondly, they were carried away to this worship just as they were led, i.e. they were controlled by an influence which they could not understand or resist. Compare, as to the force of the word here used, Galatians 2:13; 2 Peter 3:17. It is often spoken of those who are led away to judgment, to prison, or to execution. Mark 14:53. John 18:13. Matthew 27:21. Paul means to contrast this (ἀπάγεσθαι) being carried away, as it were, by force, with the (ἄγεσθαι πνεύματι), being led by the Spirit. The one was an irrational influence controlling the understanding and will; the other is an influence from God, congruous to our nature, and leading to good. <{{{><
1 Corinthians 12:3 Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and (that) no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost. Wherefore, i.e. because I would not have you ignorant on this subject. The first thing which he teaches is the criterion or test of true divine influence. This criterion he states first negatively and then positively. The negative statement is, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed. To speak by (or in) the Spirit, is to speak under the influence of the Spirit, as the ancient prophets did. Matthew 22:43. Mark 12:36. No one speaking (λαλῶν, using his voice), calleth (λέγει pronounces) Jesus to be accursed. Or, according to another reading, utters the words, “Jesus is accursed.” By Jesus, the historical person known among men by that name is indicated. And, therefore, Paul uses that word and not Christ, which is a term of office. Accursed, i.e. anathema. This word properly means something consecrated to God; and as among the Jews what was thus consecrated could not be redeemed, but, if a living thing, must be put to death, Leviticus 27:28, 29, hence the word was used to designate any person or thing devoted to destruction; and then with the accessory idea of the divine displeasure, something devoted to destruction as accursed. This last is its uniform meaning in the New Testament. Romans 9:3. Galatians 1:8, 9; 1 Corinthians 16:22. Hence to say that Jesus is anathema, is to say he was a malefactor, one just condemned to death. This the Jews said who invoked his blood upon their heads. The affirmative statement is, no man can say Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost. The word κύριος, Lord, is that by which the word Jehovah is commonly rendered in the Greek version of the Old Testament. To say Jesus is the Lord, therefore, in the sense of the apostle, is to acknowledge him to be truly God. And as the word Jesus here as before designates the historical person known by that name, who was born of the Virgin Mary, to say that Jesus is Lord, is to acknowledge that that person is God manifest in the flesh. In other words, the confession includes the acknowledgment that he is truly God and truly man. What the apostle says, is that no man can make this acknowledgment but by the Holy Ghost. This of course does not mean that no one can utter these words unless under special divine influence; but it means that no one can truly believe and openly confess that Jesus is God manifest in the flesh unless he is enlightened by the Spirit of God. This is precisely what our Lord himself said, when Peter confessed him to be the Son of God. “Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona; for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 16:17. The same thing is also said by the apostle John. “Hereby know ye the Spirit of God; every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: and every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God,” 1 John 4:2, 3; and in v. 15, “Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God.” To blaspheme Christ, maledicere Christo, Plin. Epist. X. 97, was the form for renouncing Christianity before the Roman tribunals; and saying, “I believe that Jesus is the Son of God,” Acts 8:37, was the form of professing allegiance to Christ. Men acknowledged themselves to be Christians, by acknowledging the divinity of Christ. These passages, therefore, teach us first, whom we are to regard as Christians, viz., those who acknowledge and worship Jesus of Nazareth as the true God; secondly, that the test of the divine commission of those who assume to be teachers of the gospel, is not external descent, or apostolic succession, but soundness in the faith. If even an apostle or angel teach any other gospel, we are to regard him as accursed, Galatians 1:8. And Paul tells the Corinthians that they were to discriminate between those who were really the organs of the Holy Ghost, and those who falsely pretended to that office, by the same criterion. As it is unscriptural to recognize as Christians those who deny the divinity of our Lord; so it is unscriptural for any man to doubt his own regeneration, if he is conscious that he sincerely worships the Lord Jesus. <{{{><
1 Corinthians 12:4-6 Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all. The second thing which the apostle teaches concerning these gifts is, their diversity of character in connection with the unity of their source and design. He is not, however, to be understood as here dividing these gifts into three classes, under the heads of gifts, ministrations, and operations; but as presenting them each and all under three different aspects. Viewed in relation to the Spirit, they are gifts; in relation to the Lord, they are ministrations; and in relation to God, they are operations, i.e. effects wrought by his power. And it is the same Spirit, the same Lord, and the same God who are concerned in them all. That is, the same Spirit is the giver; it is he who is the immediate and proximate author of all these various endowments. It is the same Lord in whose service and by whose authority these various gifts are exercised. They are all different forms in which he is served, or ministered to. And it is the same God the Father, who having exalted the Lord Jesus to the supreme headship of the church, and having sent the Holy Ghost, works all these effects in the minds of men. There is no inconsistency between this statement and v. 11, where the Spirit is said to work all these gifts; because God works by his Spirit. So in one place we are said to be born of God, and in another to be born of the Spirit. Thus, the doctrine of the Trinity underlies the whole scheme of redemption in its execution and application as well as in its conception. Those who understand this passage as describing three distinct classes of gifts, one as derived from the Spirit, the other from the Son, and the other from the Father, suppose that to the first class belong wisdom, knowledge, and faith; to the second, church-offices; and to the third, gift of miracles. But this view of the passage is inconsistent with the constant and equal reference of these gifts to the Holy Spirit; they all come under the head of “spiritual gifts;” and with what follows in vv. 8-10, where a different classification is given. That is, the nine gifts there mentioned are not classified in reference to their relation to the Father, Son, and Spirit; and therefore it is unnatural to assume such a classification here. They are all and equally gifts of the Spirit, modes of serving the Son, and effects due to the efficiency of the Father. <{{{><
1 Corinthians 12:7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. But, i.e. notwithstanding these gifts have the same source, they are diverse in their manifestations. To each one, i.e. to every believer, or every recipient of the Holy Ghost, is given a manifestation of the Spirit. That is, the Spirit who dwells in all believers as the body of Christ, manifests himself in one way in one person, and in another way in another person. The illustration which the apostle subsequently introduces is derived from the human body. As the principle of life manifests itself in one organ as the faculty of vision, and in another as the faculty of hearing, so the Holy Ghost manifests himself variously in the different members of the church; in one as the gift of teaching, in another as the gift of healing. This is one of those pregnant truths, compressed in a single sentence, which are developed in manifold forms in different parts of the word of God. It is the truth of which this whole chapter is the exposition and the application. To profit withal (πρὸς τὸ συμφέρον), i.e. for edification. This is the common object of all these gifts. They are not designed exclusively or mainly for the benefit, much less for the gratification of their recipients; but for the good of the church. Just as the power of vision is not for the benefit of the eye, but for the man. When, therefore, the gifts of God, natural or supernatural, are perverted as means of self-exaltation or aggrandizement, it is a sin against their giver, as well as against those for whose benefit they were intended. With regard to the gifts mentioned in the following verses, it is to be remarked, first, that the enumeration is not intended to include all the forms in which the Spirit manifested his presence in the people of God. Gifts are elsewhere mentioned which are not found in this catalogue; comp. Romans 12:4-8, and v. 28 of this chapter. Secondly, that although the apostle appears to divide these gifts into three classes, the principle of classification is not discernible. That is, we can discover no reason why one gift is in one class rather than in another; why, for example, prophecy, instead of being associated with other gifts of teaching, is connected with those of healing and working miracles. The different modes of classification which have been proposed, even when founded on a real difference, cannot be applied to the arrangement given by the apostle. Some would divide them into natural and supernatural. But they are all supernatural, although not to the same degree or in the same form. There are gifts of the Spirit which are ordinary and permanent, such as those of teaching and ruling, but they are not included in this enumeration, which embraces nothing which was not miraculous, or at least supernatural. Others, as Neander, divide them into those exercised by word, and those exercised by deeds. To the former class belong those of wisdom, knowledge, prophecy, and speaking with tongues; and to the latter the gifts of healing and miracles. Others, again, propose a psychological division, i.e. one founded on the different faculties involved in their exercise. Hence they are distinguished as those which concern the feelings, those which pertain to the intelligence, and those which relate to the will. But this is altogether arbitrary, as all these faculties are concerned in the exercise of every gift. It is better to take the classification as we find it, without attempting to determine the principle of arrangement, which may have been in a measure, so to speak, fortuitous, or determined by the there association of ideas, rather than by any characteristic difference in the gifts themselves. The Scriptures are much more like a work of nature than a work of art; much more like a landscape than a building. Things spring up where we cannot see the reason why they are there, rather than elsewhere, while every thing is in its right place. <{{{><

1 Corinthians 12:8 For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; In v. 7, he had said, “To each one is given a manifestation of the Spirit,” for to one is given one gift, and to another, another. What follows, therefore, is the illustration and confirmation of what precedes. The point to be illustrated is the diversity of forms in which the same Spirit manifests himself in different individuals. “To one is given the word of wisdom, to another the word of knowledge.” The word of wisdom, is the gift of speaking or communicating wisdom; and the word of knowledge is the gift of communicating knowledge. As to the difference, however, between wisdom and knowledge, as here used, it is not easy to decide. Some say the former is practical, and the latter speculative. Others, just the reverse; and passages may be cited in favor of either view. Others say that wisdom refers to what is perceived by intuition, i.e. what is apprehended (as they say) by the reason; and knowledge what is perceived by the understanding. The effect of the one is spiritual discernment; of the other, scientific knowledge; i.e. the logical nature and relations of the truths discerned. Others say that wisdom is the gospel, the whole system of revealed truth, and the word of wisdom is the gift of revealing that esteem as the object of faith. In favor of this view are these obvious considerations, 1. That Paul frequently uses the word in this sense. In ch. 2 he says, we speak wisdom, the wisdom of God, the hidden wisdom which the great of this world never could discover, but which God has revealed by his Spirit. 2. That gift stands first as the most important, and as the characteristic gift of the apostles, as may be inferred from v. 28, where the arrangement of offices to a certain extent corresponds with the arrangement of the gifts here presented. Among the gifts, the first is the word of wisdom; and among the offices, the first is that of the apostles. It is perfectly natural that this correspondence should: be observed at the beginning, even if it be not carried out. This gift in its full measure belonged to the apostles alone; partially, however, also, to the prophets of the New Testament. Hence apostles and prophets are often associated as possessing the same gift, although in different degrees. “Built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets,” Ephesians 2:20. “As now revealed unto the holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit,” Ephesians 3:5; see also 4:11. The characteristic difference between these classes of officers was, that the former were endowed with permanent and plenary, the latter with occasional and partial, inspiration. By the word of knowledge, as distinguished from the word of wisdom, is probably to be understood the gift which belonged to teachers. Accordingly, they follow the apostles and prophets in the enumeration given in v. 28. The word of knowledge was the gift correctly to understand and properly to exhibit the truths revealed by the apostles and prophets. This agrees with 13:8, where the gift of knowledge is represented as pertaining to the present state of existence. By the same Spirit, literally, according to the same Spirit, i.e. according to his will, or as he sees fit; see v. 11. The Spirit is not only the author, but the distributor of these gifts. And therefore sometimes they are said to be given (διά) by, and sometimes (κατά) according to, the Spirit. <{{{><

1 Corinthians 12:9 To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; There is a distinction indicated in the Greek which is not expressed in our version. The main divisions in this enumeration seem to be indicated by ἕτερος, and the subordinate ones by ἄλλος, though both words are translated by another; the former, however, is a stronger expression of difference. Here, therefore, where ἑτέρῳ is used, a new class seems to be introduced. To the first class belong the word of wisdom and the word of knowledge; to the second, all that follow except the last two. To another faith. As faith is here mentioned as a gift peculiar to some Christians, it cannot mean saving faith, which is common to all. It is generally supposed to mean the faith of miracles to which our Lord refers, Matthew 17:19, 20, and also the apostle in the following chapter, “Though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains,” 13:2. But to this it is objected, that the gift of miracles is mentioned immediately afterwards as something different from the gift of faith. Others say it is that faith which manifests itself in all the forms enumerated under this class, that is, in miracles, in healing, in prophecy, and in discerning of spirits. But then it is nothing peculiar; it is a gift common to all under this head, whereas it is as much distinguished from them, as they are from each other. Besides, no degree of faith involves inspiration which is supposed in prophecy. In the absence of distinct data for determining the nature of the faith here intended, it is safest, perhaps, to adhere to the simple meaning of the word, and assume that the gift meant is a higher measure of the ordinary grace of faith. Such a faith as enabled men to become confessors and martyrs, and which is so fully illustrated in Hebrews 11:33-40. This is something as truly wonderful as the gift of miracles. To another the gifts of healing, i.e. gifts by which healing of the sick was effected, Acts 4:30. This evidently refers to the miraculous healing of diseases.  <{{{><

1 Corinthians 12:10 To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another (divers) kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues: Working of miracles, literally, effects which are miraculous, or which consist in miracles. This is more comprehensive than the preceding gift. Some had merely the gift of healing the sick, while others had the general power of working miracles. This was exemplified in the death of Ananias, in raising Dorcas, in smiting Elymas with blindness, and in many other cases. To another prophecy. The nature of this gift is clearly exhibited in the 14th chapter. It consisted in occasional inspiration and revelations, not merely or generally relating to the future, as in the case of Agabus, Acts 11:28, but either in some new communications relating to faith or duty, or simply an immediate impulse and aid from the Holy Spirit, in presenting truth already known, so that conviction and repentance were the effects aimed at and produced; comp. 14:25. The difference, as before stated, between the apostles and prophets, was, that the former were permanently inspired, so that their teaching was at all times infallible, whereas the prophets were infallible only occasionally. The ordinary teachers were uninspired, speaking from the resources of their own knowledge and experience. To another discerning of spirits. It appears, especially from the epistles of the apostle John, that pretenders to inspiration were numerous in the apostolic age. He therefore exhorts his readers, “to try the spirits, whether they be of God; for many false prophets are gone out into the world,” 1 John 4:1. It was therefore of importance to have a class of men with the gift of discernment, who could determine whether a man was really inspired, or spoke only from the impulse of his own mind, or from the dictation of some evil spirit. In 14:29, reference is made to the exercise of this gift. Compare also 1 Thessalonians 5:20, 21. To another divers kinds of tongues. That is, the ability to speak in languages previously unknown to the speakers. The nature of this gift is determined by the account given in Acts 2:4-11, where it is said, the apostles spoke “with other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance;” and people of all the neighboring nations asked with astonishment, “Are not all these that speak Galileans? And how hear we every man in our own tongue wherein we were born?” It is impossible to deny that the miracle recorded in Acts consisted in enabling the apostles to speak in languages which they had never learnt. Unless, therefore, it be assumed that the gift of which Paul here speaks was something of an entirely different nature, its character is put beyond dispute. The identity of the two, however, is proved from the sameness of the terms by which they are described. In Mark 16:17, it was promised that the disciples should speak “with new tongues.” In Acts 2:4, it is said they spoke “with other tongues.” In Acts 10:46, and 19:6, it is said of those on whom the Holy Ghost came, that “they spake with tongues.” It can hardly be doubted that all these forms of expression are to be understood in the same sense; that to speak “with tongues” in Acts 10:46, means the same thing as speaking “with other tongues,” in Acts 2:4, and that this again means the same as speaking “with new tongues,” as promised in Mark 16:17. If the meaning of the phrase is thus historically and philologically determined for Acts and Mark, it must also be determined for the Epistle to the Corinthians. If tongues means languages in the former, it must have the same meaning in the latter. We have thus two arguments in favor of the old interpretation of this passage. First, that the facts narrated in Acts necessitate the interpretation of the phrase “to speak with other tongues” to mean to speak with foreign languages. Second, that the interchange of the expressions, new tongues, other tongues, and tongues, in reference to the same event, shows that the last mentioned (to speak with tongues) must have the same sense with the two former expressions, which can only mean to speak in new languages. A third argument is, that the common interpretation satisfies all the facts of the case. Those facts are, 1. That what was spoken with tongues was intelligible to those who understood foreign languages, as appears from Acts 2:11. Therefore the speaking was not an incoherent, unintelligible rhapsody. 2. What was uttered were articulate sounds, the vehicle of prayer, praise, and thanksgiving, 1 Corinthians 14:14-17. 3. They were edifying, and therefore intelligible to him who uttered them, 1 Corinthians 14:4, 16. 4. They admitted of being interpreted, which supposes them to be intelligible. 5. Though intelligible in themselves, and to the speaker, they were unintelligible to others, that is, to those not acquainted with the language used; and consequently unsuited for an ordinary Christian assembly. The folly which Paul rebuked was, speaking in Arabic to men who understood only Greek. The speaker might understand what he said, but others were not profited, 1 Corinthians 14:2, 19. 6. The illustration employed in 1 Corinthians 14:7, 11 from musical instruments, and from the case of foreigners, requires the common interpretation. Paul admits that the sounds uttered were “not without signification,” v. 10. His complaint is, that a man who speaks in an unknown tongue is to him a foreigner, v. 11. This illustration supposes the sounds uttered to be intelligible in themselves, but not understood by those to whom they were addressed. 7. The common interpretation is suited even to those passages which present the only real difficulty in the case; viz., those in which the apostle speaks of the understanding as being unfruitful in the exercise of the gift of tongues, and those in which he contrasts praying with the spirit and praying with the understanding, 14:14, 15. Although these passages, taken by themselves, might seem to indicate that the speaker himself did not understand what he said, and even that his intellect was in abeyance, yet they may naturally mean only that the understanding of the speaker was unprofitable to others; and speaking with the understanding may mean speaking intelligibly. It is not necessary, therefore, to infer from these passages, that to speak with tongues was to speak in a state of ecstasy, in a manner unintelligible to any human being. 8. The common interpretation is also consistent with the fact that the gift of interpretation was distinct from that of speaking with tongues. If a man could speak a foreign language, why could he not interpret it? Simply, because it was not his gift. What he said in that foreign language, he said under the guidance of the Spirit; had he attempted to interpret it without the gift of interpretation, he would be speaking of himself, and not “as the Spirit gave him utterance.” In the one case he was the organ of the Holy Ghost, in the other he was not. Fourth argument. Those who depart from the common interpretation of the gift of tongues, differ indefinitely among themselves as to its true nature. Some assume that the word tongues (γλῶσσαι) does not here mean languages, but idioms or peculiar and unusual forms of expression. To speak with tongues, according to this view, is to speak in an exalted poetic strain, beyond the comprehension of common people. But it has been proved from the expressions new and other tongues, and from the facts recorded in Acts, that the word γλῶσσαι (tongues) must here mean languages. Besides, to speak in exalted language is not to speak unintelligibly. The Grecian people understood the loftiest strains of their orators and poets. This interpretation also gives to the word γλῶσσαι a technical sense foreign to all scriptural usage, and one which is entirely inadmissible, at least in those cases where the singular is used. A man might be said to speak in “phrases,” but not in “a phrase.” Others say that the word means the tongue as the physical organ of utterance; and to speak with the tongue is to speak in a state of excitement in which the understanding and will do not control the tongue, which is moved by the Spirit to utter sounds which are as unintelligible to the speaker as to others. But this interpretation does not suit the expressions other tongues and new tongues, and is irreconcilable with the account in Acts. Besides it degrades the gift into a mere frenzy. It is out of analogy with all Scriptural facts. The spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets. The Old Testament seers were not beside themselves, and the apostles in the use of the gift of tongues were calm and rational, speaking the wonderful works of God in a way which the foreigners gathered in Jerusalem easily understood. Others, again, admit that the word tongues means languages, but deny that they were languages foreign to the speaker. To speak with tongues, they say, was to speak in an incoherent, unintelligible manner, in a state of ecstasy, when the mind is entirely abstracted from the external world, and unconscious of things about it, as in a dream or trance. This, however, is liable to the objections already adduced against the other theories. Besides, it is evident from the whole discussion, that those who spake with tongues were self-controlled. They could speak or not as they pleased. Paul censures them for speaking when there was no occasion for it, and in such a manner as to produce confusion and disorder. They were, therefore, not in a state of uncontrollable excitement, unconscious of what they said or did. It is unnecessary to continue this enumeration of conjectures; what has already been said would be out of place if the opinions referred to had not found favor in England and in our own country. The arguments against the common view of the nature of the gift of tongues, (apart from the exegetical difficulties with which it is thought to be encumbered,) are not such as to make much impression upon minds accustomed to reverence the Scriptures. 1. It is said the miracle was unnecessary, as Greek was understood wherever the apostles preached. This, no doubt, is in a great degree true. Greek was the language of educated persons throughout the Roman empire, but it had not superseded the national languages in common life; neither was the preaching of the apostles confined to the limits of the Roman empire. Besides, this supposes that the only design of the gift was to facilitate the propagation of the gospel. This was doubtless one of the purposes which it was intended to answer; but it had other important uses. It served to prove the presence of the Spirit of God; and it symbolized the calling of the Gentiles and the common interest of all nations in the gospel. See the remarks on Acts 2:4. 2. It is said God is not wont by miracles to remove difficulties out of the way of his people, which they can surmount by labor. 3. Others pronounce it impossible that a man should speak in a language which he had never learnt. But does it thence follow that God cannot give him the ability? 4. It appears that Paul and Barnabas did not understand the speech of Lycaonia, Acts 14:11-14. The gift of tongues, however, was not the ability to speak all languages. Probably most of those who received the gift, could speak only in one or two. Paul thanked God that he had the gift in richer measure than any of the Corinthians. 5. The gift does not appear to have been made subservient to the missionary work. It certainly was in the first instance, as recorded in Acts, and may have been afterwards. 6. Paul, in 1 Corinthians 14:14-19, does not place speaking with tongues and speaking in one’s own language in opposition; but speaking with the understanding and speaking with the spirit; and therefore to speak with tongues, is to speak without understanding, or in a state of ecstasy. This is a possible interpretation of this one passage considered in itself, but it is in direct contradiction to all those passages which prove that speaking with tongues was not an involuntary, incoherent, ecstatic mode of speaking. The passage referred to, therefore, must be understood in consistency with the other passages referring to the same subject. Though there are difficulties attending any view of the gift in question, arising from our ignorance, those connected with the common interpretation are incomparably less than those which beset any of the modern conjectures. To another, the interpretation of tongues. The nature of this gift depends on the view taken of the preceding. Commonly, at least, the man using a foreign language was able to understand it, see 14:2, 4, 16, and may have had the gift of interpretation in connection with the gift of tongues. It is possible, however, that in some cases he did not himself understand the language which he spoke, and then of course he would need an interpreter. But even when he did understand the language which he used, he needed a distinct gift to make him the organ of the Spirit in its interpretation. If speaking with tongues was speaking incoherently in ecstasy, it is hard to see how what was said could admit of interpretation. Unless coherent it was irrational, and if irrational, it could not be translated. <{{{><

1 Corinthians 12:11 But all these worketh that one and the self-same Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will. But all these, etc., i.e. notwithstanding the diversity of these gifts they have a common origin. They are wrought by the same Spirit. What therefore in v. 6 is referred to the efficiency of God, is here referred to the efficiency of the Spirit. This is in accordance with constant scriptural usage. The same effect is sometimes attributed to one, and sometimes to another of the persons of the Holy Trinity. This supposes that, being the same in substance (or essence) in which divine power inheres, they cooperate in the production of these effects. Whatever the Father does, he does through the Spirit. The Holy Ghost not only produces these gifts in the minds of men, but he distributes them severally (ἰδίᾳ) to every man as he will, i.e. not according to the merits or wishes of men, but according to his own will. This passage clearly proves that the Holy Spirit is a person. Will is here attributed to him, which is one of the distinctive attributes of a person. Both the divinity and personality of the Holy Ghost are therefore involved in the nature of the work here ascribed to him. <{{{><

Commentary on the First Epistle to the Corinthians by Charles Hodge


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