1 Corinthians 14:18

This past week’s Ham’s for the Lamb yielded another request on expounding on scripture.  This time it is 1 Corinthians 14:18 (KJV) “I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than ye all.” Speaking in tongues is a hot button topic in the Christian faith.  Some ascribe to that it was only the Church Father’s that had the gifts; while others say it is still present today.  I know not which is right.  I only know what Scripture says as well as the history of St. Paul. 

St. Paul was an educated man and was a man of many languages (we know not the number of languages he actively spoke though).   

Let’s look at the context of the text. 1 Corinthians 14:18 (KJV) Context:

15What is it then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also: I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also. 16Else when thou shalt bless with the spirit, how shall he that occupieth the room of the unlearned say Amen at thy giving of thanks, seeing he understandeth not what thou sayest? 17For thou verily givest thanks well, but the other is not edified. 18I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than ye all: 19Yet in the church I had rather speak five words with my understanding, that by my voice I might teach others also, than ten thousand words in an unknown tongue. 20Brethren, be not children in understanding: howbeit in malice be ye children, but in understanding be men. 21In the law it is written, With men of other tongues and other lips will I speak unto this people; and yet for all that will they not hear me, saith the Lord.

Let’s go to Strong’s definition.
Strong’s Greek 1100: The tongue; by implication, a language.

The Commentary
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
18. tongues—The oldest manuscripts have the singular, “in a tongue [foreign].”

Matthew Poole’s Commentary:
“Our Saviour, in the parable of the good shepherd, gives us this as his character, that the sheep hear his voice, and follow him, John 10:4; and we shall observe this great apostle every where propounding himself for imitation to them. They are bad shepherds over God’s flock, that must only be heard, but not followed. The apostle lets them know, that God had not left him without the gift of speaking with divers tongues, nay, he had it in a more eminent manner than them all; put them all together, they could not speak with so many tongues as he did.

Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible

I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than you all. This the apostle says, to observe to them that he did not despise speaking with tongues: nor did he endeavour to beat them off, and dissuade them from desiring them, or envied their having them, because he was destitute of them himself; for he had this gift in a very eminent manner, and oftentimes made use of it, and was frequently under a necessity of so doing; he could speak with more tongues than any of those that had them, and spoke them oftener than they did; having occasion for them through his travelling into different countries, and preaching the Gospel to people of divers languages; and this he mentions also not in a boasting manner, but in great humility, giving thanks to God, and acknowledging him to be the author of this gift.

Barnes’ Notes on the Bible
I thank my God – Paul here shows that he did not undervalue or despise the power of speaking foreign languages. It was with him a subject of thanksgiving that he could speak so many; but he felt that there were more valuable endowments than this; see the next verse.

With tongues more than ye all – I am able to speak more foreign languages than all of you. “How many” languages Paul could speak, he has no where told us. It is reasonable, however, to presume that he was able to speak the language of any people to whom God in his providence, and by his Spirit, called him to preach. He had been commissioned to preach to the “Gentiles,” and it is probable that he was able to speak the languages of all the nations among whom he ever traveled. There is no account of his being under a necessity of employing an interpreter wherever he preached.

One thought on “1 Corinthians 14:18

  1. Padre Tatro, Thank you for expounding in depth on 1 Corinthians 14:18 (KJV), “I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than ye all.” From time to time the subject of speaking in tongues comes up in Church &, yet, no one except YOU elaborates. Thank you for taking on this discussion. Phil

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