GENEVA BIBLE 1599
The Bible of the Pilgrims who founded America and also the Bible of the Reformation.
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1 Follow (1) after love, and covet spiritual gifts, and rather that ye may (a) (*) prophesy.
(1) He inferreth now of that, which he spake before;
Therefore seeing charity is the chiefest of all, before all
things set it before you as chief and principal; And so
esteem those things as most excellent; which profit the
greater part of men (as prophecy, that is to say, the gifts
of teaching and applying the doctrine; which was contemned
in respect of other gifts, although it be the chiefest and
most necessary for the Church) and not those which for a
shew seem to be marvelous as the gifts of tongues, when a
man was suddenly endued with the knowledge of many tongues,
which made men greatly amazed, and yet of itself was not
greatly of any use, unless there were an interpreter.
(a) What prophecy is, he sheweth in the third verse.
(*) That is, to expound the word of God to the edification of the Church.
2 (2) For he that speaketh a strange (b) tongue, speaketh not unto men, but unto God; for no man (*) heareth him, howbeit in (♣) the (c) spirit he speaketh secret things.
(2) He reprehendeth their perverse judgment touching the
gift of tongues. For why was it given? To wit, to the intent
that the mysteries of God might be the better known to a
greater sort. Thereby it is evident that Prophecy, whereunto
the gift of tongues ought to serve, is better than this; and
therefore the Corinthians did judge amiss, in that they made
more account of the gift of tongues, than of prophesying;
because forsooth the gift of tongues was a thing more to be
bragged of. And hereupon followed another abuse of the gift
of tongues, in that the Corinthians used tongues in the
Congregation, without an interpreter. Which thing although
it might be done to some profit of him, that spake them, yet
he corrupted the right use of that gift, because there came
thereby no profit to the hearers; and common assemblies were
instituted and appointed not for any private man's
commodity, but for the profit of the whole company.
(b) A strange language, which no man can understand without an interpreter.
(*) Understandeth him.
(♣) By the spiritual gift, which he hath received.
(c) By that inspiration which he had received of the Spirit, which notwithstanding he abuseth, when he speaketh mysteries which none of the company can understand.
3 But he that prophesieth, speaketh unto men to (d) edifying, and to exhortation, and to comfort.
(d) Which may further men in the study of godliness.
4 He that speaketh strange language, edifieth (*) himself; but he that prophesieth, edifieth the (e) Church.
(*) For he profiteth none save himself.
(e) The company.
5 I would that ye all spake strange languages, but rather that ye prophesied; for greater is he that prophesieth, than he that speaketh divers tongues, except he expound it, that the Church may receive edification.
6 And now, brethren, if I come unto you speaking divers tongues, what shall I profit you, except I speak to you, either by (*) revelation, or by knowledge, or by prophesying, or by doctrine?
(*) The prophecy expoundeth that which God hath revealed; and the doctrine teacheth, that which he hath given us to understand.
7 (3) Moreover things without life which give a sound, whether it be a (*) pipe or a harp, except they make a distinction in the sounds, how shall it be known what is piped or harped?
(3) He setteth forth that which he said, by a similitude, which he borroweth and taketh from instruments of music, which although they speak not perfectly, yet they are distinguished by their sounds, that they may be the better used.
(*) Or, flute.
8 And also if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to battle?
9 So likewise you, by the tongue, except ye utter words that have (f) signification, how shall it be understood what is spoken? For ye shall speak in the (*) air.
(f) That do fitly utter the matter itself.
(*) Your words shall be lost; for ye shall neither glorify God thereby, nor profit man.
10 (4) There are so many kinds of voices ( (*) as it cometh to pass) in the world, and none of them (♣) is dumb.
(4) He proveth that interpretation is necessarily to be joined with the gift of tongues, by the manifold variety of languages, insomuch that if one speak to another without an interpreter, it is as if he spake not.
(*) Or, as the thing requireth.
(♣) That is, they may be able to be understood.
11 Except I know then the power of the voice, I shall be unto him that speaketh (*) a Barbarian, and he that (g) speaketh, shall be a Barbarian unto me.
(*) He condemneth the Corinthians of barbarousness in that thing, whereby they thought to have attained to the greatest praise of eloquence.
(g) As the Papists in all their sermons and they that ambitiously pour out some Hebrew or Greek words in the Pulpit before the unlearned people, thereby to get themselves a name of vain learning.
12 (5) Even so, forasmuch as ye covet spiritual gifts, seek that ye may excel unto the edifying of the Church.
(5) The conclusion: if they will excel in those spiritual gifts, as it is meet, they must seek the profit of the Church, and therefore they must not use the gift of tongues, unless there be an interpreter to expound the strange and unknown tongue, whether it be himself that speaketh, or another interpreter.
13 Wherefore, let him that speaketh a strange tongue, (h) pray that he may interpret.
(h) Pray for the gift of interpretation.
14 (6) For (i) if I pray in a strange tongue, my (k) spirit (*) prayeth, but mine understanding is (l) without (♣) fruit.
(6) A reason: Because it is not sufficient for us to speak
so in the Congregation, that we ourselves do worship God in
spirit, that is, according to the gift that we have
received, but we must also be understood of the company,
lest that be unprofitable to others which we have spoken.
(i) If I pray, when the Church is assembled together, in a strange tongue.
(k) The gift and inspiration which the spirit giveth me doth his part, but only to myself.
(*) And doeth his part.
(l) No fruit cometh to the Church by my prayers.
(♣) Not in respect of him that prayeth, but in respect of the Church, which is nothing edified thereby.
15 What is it then? I will pray with the spirit, but I will pray with the (m) understanding also; I will (*) sing with the spirit, but I will sing with the understanding also.
(m) So that I may be understood of others, and may instruct others.
(*) Or, give thanks by singing.
16 (7) Else, when thou blessest with the (n) spirit, how shall he that (o) occupieth the room of the unlearned, say (p) (*) Amen, at thy giving of thanks, seeing he knoweth not what thou sayest?
(7) Another reason: Seeing that the whole Congregation must
agree with him that speaketh, and also witness this
agreement, how shall they give their assent or agreement
which know not what is spoken?
(n) Only, without any consideration of the hearers.
(o) He that sitteth as a private man.
(p) So then one uttered the prayers, and all the company answered, Amen.
(*) One only made the prayers, and the rest of the people followed in heart his words, and when he had prayed, they all said, Amen, signifying that they believed assuredly that God world grant their requests.
17 For thou verily givest thanks well, but the other is not edified.
18 (8) I thank my God, I speak languages more than ye all.
(8) He propoundeth himself as an example, both that they may be ashamed of their foolish ambition, and also that he may eschew all suspicion of envy.
19 Yet had I rather in the Church to speak (q) five words with mine understanding, that I might also instruct others, than ten thousand words in a strange tongue.
(q) A very few words.
20 (9) Brethren, be not (*) children in understanding, but as concerning maliciousness be children, but in understanding be of a ripe age.
(9) Now he reproveth them freely for their childish folly, which see not how this gift of tongues which was given to the profit of the Church, is turned by their ambition into an instrument of cursing, seeing that this same also is contained amongst the punishments wherewith God punished the stubbornness of the people, that he dispersed them amongst strangers whose language they understood not.
(*) Matthew 18:3 .
21 In the (r) Law it is written, (*) (♣) By men of other tongues, and by other languages will I speak unto this people; yet so shall they not hear me, saith the Lord.
(r) By the Law he understandeth all the whole Scripture.
(*) Isaiah 28:11: Deuteronomy 28:49; Jeremiah 5:15; Ezekiel 3:6 .
(♣) He threateneth them most sharply, that God will punish the contempt of his word, and their counterfeit ignorance, for as much as to speak with unknown tongues is a sign of Godís curse towards the wicked.
22 (10) Wherefore strange tongues are for a (*) sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not; but prophesying serveth not for them that believe not, but for them which believe.
(10) The conclusion: Therefore the gift of tongues serveth to punish the unfaithful and unbelievers, unless it be referred to prophecy (that is to say, to the interpretation of Scripture) and that which is spoken, be by the means understood of the hearers.
(*) Of Godís curse when they are not understood.
23 (11) If therefore when the whole Church is come together in one, and all speak strange tongues, there come in they that are (s) unlearned, or they which believe not, will they not say, that ye are out of your wits?
(11) Another argument: The gift of tongues without prophecy
is not only unprofitable to the faithful, but also doth very
much hurt as well to them as to the unfaithful, which should
be won in the public assemblies. For by this means it cometh
to pass, that the faithful seem to others to be mad, much
less can the unfaithful be instructed thereby.
(s) See Acts 4:13 .
24 But if all prophesy, and there come in one that believeth not, or one unlearned, (*) he is rebuked of (♣) all men, and is judged of all;
(*) By hearing his secret faults ripped up, and his sins reproved by Godís word, he is compelled by his own conscience to praise God.
(♣) Which expound the word of God.
25 And so are the secrets of his heart made manifest, and so he will fall down on his face and worship God, and say plainly that God is in you indeed.
26 (12) What is to be done then, brethren? When ye come together, according as every one of you hath a Psalm, or hath doctrine, or hath a tongue, or hath revelation, or hath interpretation, let all things be done unto edifying.
(12) The conclusion: The edifying of the Congregation is a rule and square of the right use of all spiritual gifts.
27 (13) If any man speak a strange tongue, let it be by two, or at the (*) most, by three, and that by course, and let one interpret.
(13) The manner how to use the gift of tongues. It may be lawful for one or two, or at the most for three, to use the gift of tongues, one after another in an assembly, so that there be some to expound the same, but if there be none to expound, let him that hath that gift, speak to himself alone.
(*) Paul beareth as yet with their weakness, because also these were the gifts of God; but yet he sheweth that they should not pass this measure that first one, after another and at the utmost the third should read in a strange language which was to declare Godís miracle in the gift of tongues; but chiefly he commandeth that nothing be done without interpretation.
28 But if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the Church, which speaketh languages, and let him speak to himself, and to God.
29 (14) Let the Prophets speak, two or three, and let the others judge.
(14) The manner of prophesying: Let two or three propound, and let the others judge of that which is propoundeth, whether it be agreeable to the word of God or not. If in this examination the Lord give any man nought to speak, let them give him leave to speak. Let every man be admitted to prophesy, severally and in his order, so far forth as it is requisite for the edifying of the Church. Let them be content to be subject each to others judgment.
30 And if anything be revealed to another that sitteth by, let the first hold his peace.
31 For ye may all prophesy one by one, that all may learn, and all may have comfort.
32 And the (t) (*) spirits of the Prophets are (♣) subject to the Prophets.
(t) The doctrine which the Prophets bring which are inspired with God's Spirit.
(*) Or learning, which Godís Spirit moveth them to utter.
(♣) To the intent that others may judge of him that hath spoken, if he have passed the compass of Godís word; wherefore John commandeth to try the spirits whether they be of God.
33 For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as we see in all the Churches of the Saints.
34 (15) (*) Let your women keep (♠) silence in the Churches; for it is not permitted unto them to speak, but they ought to be subject, as also (♣) the Law saith.
(15) Women are commanded to be silent in public assemblies, and they are commanded to ask of their husbands at home.
(*) 1 Timothy 2:11-12 .
(♠) Because this disorder was in the Church, that women usurped that which was peculiar to men, the Apostle here sheweth what is mete to be done, and what is not; and albeit he mentioned this abuse afore, yet he referred it to this place to be reproved, because there he brought it in for another purpose.
(♣) Genesis 3:16 .
35 And if they will learn anything, let them ask their husbands at home; for it is a shame for women to speak in the Church.
36 (16) (*) Came the word of God out from you? Either came it unto you only?
(*) Are ye the first or the last Christians, that ye neither submit yourselves to the Churches, of whom you have received the Gospel? Nor have respect to the others to whom the Gospel doeth likewise appertain?
(16) A general conclusion of the treatise of the right use of spiritual gifts in assemblies; with a sharp reprehension, lest the Corinthians might alone seem to themselves to be wise.
37 If any man think himself to be a Prophet, or (u) (*) spiritual, let him acknowledge, that the things that I write unto you, are the commandments of the Lord.
(u) Skilful in knowing and judging spiritual things.
(*) To have understanding of spiritual things.
38 (17) (*) And if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant.
(17) The Church ought not to care for such as be stubbornly ignorant, and will not abide to be taught, but to go forward notwithstanding in those things which are right.
(*) If any man have judgment, let him acknowledge that I speak of the Spirit of God, and so let him obey; and if he have no judgment, let him acknowledge his ignorance, and trouble not the Church, but credit them that are learned.
39 (18) Wherefore, brethren, covet to prophesy, and forbid not to speak languages.
(18) Prophecy ought simply to be retained and kept in Congregations, the gift of tongues is not to be forbidden, but all things must be done orderly.
40 Let all things be done honestly, and by order.
1599 Geneva Bible Online
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1 Corinthians 14:8
And also if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to battle?
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