Korinthians A 14


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Excerpt from my 2004 translation of Paul’s first letter to the Korinthians which begins at And Now For Something Completely Different….

My 2012 translation of John’s first epistle begins at John A.

My 2015 translation of John’s second epistle begins at John B.

My 2015 translation of John’s third epistle begins at John Γ.

My 2015 translation of Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonians, which begins at To The Thessalonians A.

My 2015 translation of Paul’s letter to The Romans begins at To the Romans.

My 2004 translation of Mark’s gospel begins at Mark 1.

My 2004 translation of John’s gospel begins at Start With John, along with a brief explanation of my interpretive approach.

14 1 Earnestly follow after love, strive for the [gifts] of the spirit, most of all that you prophesy. 2 For the one who speaks in a [spiritual] language speaks not to men but to god; for no one can understand as the spirit speaks mysteries; 3 but the one who prophesies speaks to men, building up and encouraging [‘advocating’] and consoling. 4 The one who speaks spiritual languages builds himself up; but the one who prophesies builds up the church.

5 I wish that you all speak in spiritual languages, but even more that you prophesy; the one who prophesies is greater than the one who speaks in spiritual languages except unless he be interpreted so that the church receive upbuilding. 6 Now brothers, if I come to you speaking in spiritual languages, what benefit [is there] to you except that I speak to you whether by revelation, or by knowledge, or by prophecy or by teaching? 7 Likewise, those things giving lifeless noise, whether woodwind or stringed, if a distinction to the sounds is not given, how will we know the tune that the flute or harp plays? 8 For also, if the trumpet call should be given secretly [or ‘incoherently’], who will prepare for battle? 9 Thus also you, through the languages, unless you give a word of good omen [or ‘easily read’], how will you know what is being said? For you will be speaking into the air. 10 Such accidental [τυχοι, fr. τυγχανω] kinds of voices are in the world and [they are] uselessly inarticulate; 11 therefore, if I do not know the meaning of the sound [or ‘voice’], I am, to the one speaking, a barbarian and the one speaking [is] to me a barbarian. 12 Thus also you, when you are striving spiritually, strive for the upbuilding of the church so that you will abound [‘grow’].

13 Therefore, the one who speaks spiritual languages, let him pray that he be interpreted. 14 For if I pray in a spiritual language, my spirit is praying but my mind is unfruitful. 15 What then is one [to do]? I will pray in the spirit and also I will pray with the mind; I will play [an instrument] in the spirit and I will play [it] with my mind. 16 Else if you bless [‘eulogize’] in the spirit, how will ‘the one filling the place of the unversed’ [‘the one who is present but uninitiated,’ ‘common fellow’] say “Amen” to what you are giving thanks [for], since he does not know what you are saying? 17 for it is good that you give thanks but the other person is not built up.

18 I give thanks to god that more than all of you I speak in spiritual languages; 19 however, in church I would rather speak five intelligible words [τω νοι], that I might also inform others, than a million words in a spiritual language. 20 Brothers, do not be children conceptually [ταις φρεσιν, ‘in the seat of the psyche’], rather [do] be innocent [as children, νηπιαζετε] in [terms of] evil, but in [your] hearts [φρεσιν] be mature. 21 Because in the law it is written οτι

In other languages
and by other lips
I will speak to this people
and no one, so help me [ουτως, emphatic]
will hearken to
me [Isa 28:11-12; Dt 28:49]

says the lord. 22 Therefore the spiritual languages are as a [miraculous] sign, not for those who believe but to the unfaithful, but prophecy [is] not for the unfaithful but [for] those who believe.

23 If then, when the whole church is gathered in one place and all are speaking in spiritual languages, and an uninitiate [‘common fellow’] or unbeliever comes in, will they not question whether you are raving lunatics? 24 But if all are prophesying, and someone unfaithful or simply ignorant comes in, they are convinced by all, they are convicted by all, 25 the things hidden in their hearts will be openly known, and consequently, falling down upon [his] face he will worship god, proclaiming that, “Assuredly god is among you!”

26 What then is one to do, brothers? When you gather, each has a song, [each] has a teaching, [each] has a revelation, [each] has a spiritual language, [each] has an interpretation; let all these things be for upbuilding. 27 So if anyone speaks in a spiritual language, by two or at most three, and each in turn, and let one interpret; 28 but if there is no interpreter, let him keep silent in church and let him speak to himself and to god. 29 And let two or three prophets speak and let the others judge; 30 and if it should be revealed to another as they sit by, let the first be silent. 31 For you are all able, one at a time, to prophesy, so that all may learn and all be encouraged.

32 And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets, 33 for he is not the god of confusion [‘anarchy’] but of peace.

36 Did the word of god come out from you, or was it established in you only? 37 If someone thinks he is a prophet or spiritual, let him understand that what I write to you is the commandment of the lord; 38 but if anyone is ignorant, let him be ignorant. 39 So then, my brothers, earnestly strive to prophesy and do not forbid to speak in spiritual languages; 40 let all things be orderly and well behaved.


@gamiliel on Instagram

This translation was taken from The Greek New Testament, Kurt Aland, et. al. eds., Third Edition (corrected), United Bible Societies, (in cooperation with the Institute for New Testament Textual Research, Münster/Westphalia, Printed in West Germany by Biblia-Druck GmbH Stuttgart),1983.

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