Re: 1Cor. 14:14

From: Kenneth Litwak (
Date: Mon Oct 09 1995 - 09:51:23 EDT


   I'm afarid that I don't agree with your understanding of the passage
here at all. By ecstatic, I see someone who is not in control of
what is happening. This would apply to someone in the Gospels who
speaks while demon-possessed, or rather the demon speaks through
them, in spite of the wishes of the individual who is possessed.
In 1 Cor 12, Paul lists several spiritual gifts, including speaking in
tongues, and lists them as though theywere all equal. THen he says that
"I"ll show you the best way to use them (following van UNNIK in understanding
this as NOT meaning "and yet I show you a more excellent way", as though
Paul was contrasting acting in lvoe with exercising spiritual
gifts). Then in 1 Cor 14, Paul deals with two subjects: glossalalia and
prophecy. He argues that for public worship, prophecy is better, if there
is no interpreter present. He states that the spirits of the prophets are
subject to the prophets, which I understand, from Paul's argument, to apply
equally to those who speak in tongues. He tells those who do the later that
they can do so in a worship service if there are interpreters present, and
then only two or three at one meeting (at least that's what I take his
words to mean). Paul gives the clear impression, I think, that tongues
are not just permissible, but good. At the same time, those who use them
are perfectly in control of the use of this gift. They apppear able to
turn it on or shut it off at will. That's not ecstasy. If you
are speaking in toungues and decide that you should finish, that's not ecstatsy.
Ecstasy would leave you incapable of controlling what you were doing. That's
not the situation that Paul desciribes at all. He simply describes a situation
where one person speaks in tongues,
just as someone else prophesys, or someone uses the gift of wisdom or
healing. The Spirit works through the individual, but that never seems
to indicate that the person is not in control or doesn't knwo
exactly what's happening. That is rad into the text IMO, not out of it.
Finally, I might note, contrary to what some have expressed, Paul does NOT
treat tongues as somehow lesser. He boasts that "I speak in tongues more
than y'all (a Southern Greek dialiect doubtless)".

Ken Litwak
Bezerkley, CA

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