1 Corinthians 14:24
But if all prophesy, and there come in one that believes not, or one unlearned, he is convinced of all, he is judged of all:
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(24) But if all prophesy.—There is no danger of exaggeration regarding this gift. Each one uttering prophecy, telling forth the gospel truth, and revealing the mind of God, will have a message that will be useful to the unbeliever. As one after another they utter the words of divine truth, they each send something that pierces into his soul. By all of them he is convicted in his own conscience of some sin. He is condemned in his own eyes, a searching light is turned upon his heart. The secrets of his heart are made manifest, and he makes terrible discoveries of his guilt (Hebrews 4:12-13).

14:15-25 There can be no assent to prayers that are not understood. A truly Christian minister will seek much more to do spiritual good to men's souls, than to get the greatest applause to himself. This is proving himself the servant of Christ. Children are apt to be struck with novelty; but do not act like them. Christians should be like children, void of guile and malice; yet they should not be unskilful as to the word of righteousness, but only as to the arts of mischief. It is a proof that a people are forsaken of God, when he gives them up to the rule of those who teach them to worship in another language. They can never be benefitted by such teaching. Yet thus the preachers did who delivered their instructions in an unknown tongue. Would it not make Christianity ridiculous to a heathen, to hear the ministers pray or preach in a language which neither he nor the assembly understood? But if those who minister, plainly interpret Scripture, or preach the great truths and rules of the gospel, a heathen or unlearned person might become a convert to Christianity. His conscience might be touched, the secrets of his heart might be revealed to him, and so he might be brought to confess his guilt, and to own that God was present in the assembly. Scripture truth, plainly and duly taught, has a wonderful power to awaken the conscience and touch the heart.But if all prophesy - See the note at 1 Corinthians 14:1. If all, in proper order and time, shall utter the truths of religion in a language intelligible to all.

Or one unlearned - One unacquainted with the nature of Christianity, or the truths of the gospel.

He is convinced of all - He will be convinced by all that speak. He will understand what is said; he will see its truth and force, and be will be satisfied of the truth of Christianity. The word here rendered "convinced" (ἐλέγχετἀι elengchetai) is rendered "reprove" in John 16:8, "And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin," etc. Its proper meaning is to "convict," to show one to be wrong; and then to rebuke, reprove, admonish, etc. Here it means, evidently, that the man would be convicted, or convinced of his error and of his sin; he would see that his former opinions and practice had been wrong; he would see and acknowledge the force and truth of the Christian sentiments which should be uttered, and would acknowledge the error of his former opinions and life. The following verse shows that the apostle means something more than a mere convincing of the understanding, or a mere conviction that his opinions had been erroneous. He evidently refers to what is now known also as "conviction" for sin; that is, a deep sense of the depravity of the heart, of the errors and follies of the past life, accompanied with mental anxiety, distress, and alarm. The force of truth, and the appeals which should be made, and the observation of the happy effects of religion, would convince him that he was a sinner, and show him also his need of a Saviour.

He is judged by all - By all that speak; by all that they say. The "effect" of what they say shall be, as it were, to pass a "judgment" on his former life; or to condemn him. What is said will be approved by his own conscience, and will have the effect to condemn him in his own view as a lost sinner. This is now the effect of faithful preaching, to produce deep self-condemnation in the minds of sinners.

24. all—one by one (1Co 14:31).

prophesy—speak the truth by the Spirit intelligibly, and not in unintelligible tongues.

one—"anyone." Here singular; implying that this effect, namely, conviction by all, would be produced on anyone, who might happen to enter. In 1Co 14:23 the plural is used; "unlearned or unbelievers"; implying that however many there might be, not one would profit by the tongues; yea, their being many would confirm them in rejecting the sign, as many unbelieving men together strengthen one another in unbelief; individuals are more easily won [Bengel].

convinced—convicted in conscience; said of the "one that believeth not" (Joh 16:8, 9).

judged—His secret character is opened out. "Is searched into" [Alford]. Said of the "one unlearned" (compare 1Co 2:15).

But if all prophesy: all here certainly is not to be understood of every one in the assembly, for all were not prophets, 1 Corinthians 12:29, nor could the speaking of a great number be judged orderly by the light of nature: it here must signify any, one or more, successively, interpret or apply the Holy Scriptures.

He is convinced of all; the heathens will see an order in this, and will stand still to hear and be convinced.

He is judged of all; seeing their wicked life and false religion judged and condemned by all those that so prophesy. But if all prophecy,.... That is, all that speak publicly in the church, not together, but in their order, one after another, as is hereafter directed:

and there come in one that believeth not, or one unlearned; an unbeliever that has only the knowledge of his mother tongue, in which prophesying or preaching is used:

he is convinced of all, he is judged of all; of all the prophets or preachers; they all reprove him, and detect his secret, as the Arabic version renders the words; and to the same purport the Ethiopic. This must be understood of such persons whom the Spirit of God, under, and by the ministry of the word, powerfully works upon; whose hearts he opens to receive the word, and to whom he effectually applies it; whom he convinces of sin, righteousness, and judgment, shows the evil of their hearts and ways, reproves their errors, convicts them of their mistakes, and informs their judgments, and condemns all their principles and practices which are not agreeably to the word of God.

But if all prophesy, and there come in one that believeth not, or one unlearned, he is convinced of all, he is judged of all:
1 Corinthians 14:24-25. How wholly different, on the other hand, will the effect of general prophetic speaking be upon such persons! Arrested and humbled before God, they will declare themselves believer.

ἐὰν δὲ πάντες προφ.] is to be completed in accordance with 1 Corinthians 14:23 : ἐὰν δὲ συνέλθῃ ἡ ἐκκλ. ὅλη ἐπὶ τὸ αὐτὸ κ. πάντες προφ.

ἰδιώτης] according to the context: one not prophetically gifted, and, indeed, coming likewise from an extraneous church. Comp. on 1 Corinthians 14:23.

Prophecy, from its nature, was generally intelligible; but whoever had not its χάρισμα could not speak prophetically, and such a one was in presence of this gift an idiotes.

ἐλέγχεται ὑπὸ πάντ.] The characteristic power of prophecy (1 Corinthians 14:22), by which you all mutually edify yourselves, thus exercises such an overmastering influence upon his mind, that he is convinced by all, i.e. brought to a consciousness of the guilt of his sins. Comp. John 16:9. All produce this impression upon him, because each speaks prophetically, and the fundamental character of prophetic address—the penetrating into the depths of the human heart for wholesome admonition (comp. 1 Corinthians 14:3)—is alike in all.

After the first aggregate impression of the ἔλεγξις, he experiences and is conscious of the moral sifting and unveiling of his innermost life. A striking clima.

ἀνακρίνεται] for in the judgment of the human heart, which the prophets deliver, he hears a judgment upon his own heart and his own moral conditio.

τὰ κρυπτὰ τῆς καρδίας κ.τ.λ.] i.e. the moving springs, inclinations, plans, etc., of his whole inner active life, which had been hitherto known to no other, are brought to light, inasmuch as the prophets depict the hidden thoughts and strivings of the human spirit, with apocalyptically enlightened depth of insight, so truly and strikingly, that the listener sees the secrets of his own heart laid bare before all who are there presen.

καὶ οὕτω] result: and in such form, namely, convinced, judged, and made manifest, as has been just sai.

ἀπαγγέλλων] announcing, i.e. declaring aloud, and not first at home (Beza).

ὄντως] really, opposite of what is merely pretended or semblance. Comp. Mark 11:32; Galatians 3:21, al.

ἐν ὑμῖν] in animis vestris, in which He works this enlightenment and spiritual power. “Argumentum pro veritate religionis ex operationibus divinis efficacissimum” (Bengel). Through this presence of God in the individuals (by means of the Spirit) He dwells in the church, which thereby is His temple (1 Corinthians 3:16; 2 Corinthians 6:16; Ephesians 2:20 f.).1 Corinthians 14:24-25. How diff[2136] (δέ) and how blessed the result, “if all should be prophesying and there should enter some unbeliever or stranger to Christianity (ἰδιώτης: see previous note), he is convicted by all, he is searched by all, the secret things of his heart become manifest; and so he will fall on his face and worship God, reporting that verily God is among you!” This brings out two further notes of eminence in the charism of Prophecy when compared with Tongues: (1) The former edifies the Church (1 Corinthians 14:3 ff.); (2) it employs a man’s rational powers (1 Corinthians 14:14-19); (3) it can be exercised safely by the whole Church, and (4) to the conversion of sinners. That “all” should “prophesy” is a part of the Messianic ideal, the earnest of which was given in the descent of the Spirit at Pentecost: see Numbers 11:23-29, Joel 2:28, Acts 2:4; Acts 2:15 ff.; the speaking of Pentecost Peter identifies with prophesying, whereas P. emphatically distinguishes the Cor[2137] Glossolalia therefrom. Prophecy is an inspired utterance proceeding from a supernatural intuition, which penetrates “the things of the man,” “the secrets of his heart,” no less than “the things of God” (1 Corinthians 2:10 ff.): the light of heart searching knowledge and speech, proceeding from every believer, is concentrated on the unconverted man as he enters the assembly. His conscience is probed on all sides; he is pierced and overwhelmed with the sense of his sin (cf. John 4:29, also John 1:48, 1 Corinthians 8:9, Acts 8:18 ff; Acts 25:25). This form of Prophecy abides in the Church, as the normal instrument for “convicting the world of sin” (John 16:8 ff.); it belongs potentially to “all” Christians, and is in fact the reaction of the Spirit of Christ in them upon the unregenerate (cf. John 20:22 f.); ἐλέγχεται is the precise word of John 16:8.—Ἀνακρίνω (see 1 Corinthians 2:14 and parls.) denotes not to judge, but to put on trial, to sift judicially. God alone, through Christ, is the judge of “the heart’s secrets” (1 Corinthians 4:5, Romans 2:16); but the God-taught word of man throws a searching light into these recesses. In 1 Corinthians 14:24 the ἄπιστος precedes the ἰδιώτης (cf. 1 Corinthians 14:23), since in his case the arresting effect of Prophecy is the more signal.—προσκυνήσει and ὄντως ὁ Θεὸς κ.τ.λ. are a reminiscence of Isaiah 45:14, following the Heb. txt. rather than the LXX (cf. note on 1 Corinthians 14:21).—ἀπ-αγγέλλων, “taking word away,” reporting, proclaiming abroad (cf. parls.), thus diffusing the impression he has received (cf. John 4:29).—ὄντως (revera, Cv[2138]), really, in very deed—contradicts denials of God’s working in Christianity, such as the ἄπιστος himself formerly had made.—πεσών (aor[2139] ptp[2140], of an act leading up to that of principal vb[2141] and forming part of the same movement) indicates the prostration of a soul suddenly overpowered by the Divine presence. To convince men that “God is in the midst of her” is the true success of the Church.

[2136] difference, different, differently.

[2137] Corinth, Corinthian or Corinthians.

[2138] Calvin’s In Nov. Testamentum Commentarii.

[2139] aorist tense.

[2140] participle

[2141] verb24. he is convinced of all] Rather, he is convinced by all, i.e. the prophets whose discourses he hears. The word signifies (1) to prove by argument, and comes therefore to be used (2) of the conviction produced by argument. Cf. St John 16:8, where the word however is rendered reprove. For an instance of the word ‘of’ in the sense of ‘by’ see Shakspeare, Much Ado about Nothing, Act i. Scene 1, ‘I am loved of all, only you excepted.’

he is judged of all] Rather, he is examined by all. The exhortations of the preacher place him, as it were, upon his trial. For the word here used see ch. 1 Corinthians 2:14-15, 1 Corinthians 4:3-4, 1 Corinthians 9:3, 1 Corinthians 10:25; 1 Corinthians 10:27, and notes.1 Corinthians 14:24. Πάντες, all) one by one, 1 Corinthians 14:31.—εἰσέλθῃ, there come in) We have an example of this at 1 Samuel 19:20-21.—ἄπιστος, one that believeth not) To this word we refer is convinced, comp. John 16:9.—ἰδιώτης, an unlearned person) to this word we refer is judged: comp. 1 Corinthians 2:15. That conviction of unbelief, and that judgment of unlearned rudeness is accomplished by the power of this very prophecy, although this be done without application to individuals. And these are two successive steps; the third follows, the secrets, etc.Verse 24. - All prophesy. If one after another speak the word of spiritual exhortation. He is convinced of all, he is judged of all; literally, he is being convicted by all, he is being examined by all; in other words, each address is calculated to awaken conviction in him and to search his heart. Thus the address of St. Peter pierced the consciences of his hearers, when the glossolaly even of Pentecost produced no effect beyond that of irreverent wonder (Acts 2:37). It is easy to see that the style and method of worship in the assemblies of Christians at this early epoch resembled that now prevalent among Quakers. The teaching was not left to recognized pastors, but any Christian might speak who had gifts which moved him to address his brethren. The externals of worship are of no eternal signifiance, but are best left to be moulded by the requirements of time and place, with reference to the teachings of past experience. No doubt St. Paul's depreciation of glossolaly led to its rapid disappearance when it had done its work of being "a sign to unbelievers." But if ancient modes of worship were too independent of rigid conditions, modern modes are, on the other hand, too stereotyped and inelastic. Convinced (ἐλέγχεται)

Of his sins. See on tell him his fault, Matthew 18:15; see on convinced, James 2:9; see on reproved, John 3:20. Rev., reproved: convicted in margin.

Judged (ἀνακρίνεται)

Examined and judged. The word implies inquiry rather than sentence. Each inspired speaker, in his heart-searching utterances, shall start questions which shall reveal the hearer to himself. See on discerned, 1 Corinthians 2:14. On the compounds of κρίνω, see on 1 Corinthians 11:29, 1 Corinthians 11:31, 1 Corinthians 11:32.

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