VINCENT'S WORD STUDIES
1 CORINTHIANS 14
PREVIOUS - NEXT CHAPTER - INDEX
Robertson's Word Pictures in the NT - Greek NT
Harp (kiqara). See on Apoc. v. 8.
Distinction (diastolhn). Proper modulation. Compare the use of the word in Rom. iii. 22; x. 12.
Sounds (fqoggoiv). The distinctive sounds as modulated. See on Romans x. 18.
Sound (fwnhn). Rev., much better, voice, preserving the distinction between the mere sound of the trumpet and the modulated notes. The case might be illustrated by the bugle calls or points by which military commands are issued, as distinguished from the mere blare of the trumpet.
Barbarian. Supposed to be originally a descriptive word of those who uttered harsh, rude accents - bar bar. Homer calls the Carians, barbarofwnoi barbar-voiced, harsh-speaking ("Illiad," 2, 867). Later, applied to all who did not speak Greek. Socrates, speaking of the way in which the Greeks divide up mankind, says: "Here they cut off the Hellenes as one species, and all the other species of mankind, which are innumerable and have no connection or common language, they include under the single name of barbarians" (Plato, "Statesman," 262). So Clytaemnestra of the captive Cassandra: "Like a swallow, endowed with an unintelligible barbaric voice" (Aeschylus, "Agamemnon," 1051). Prodicus in Plato's "Protagoras" says: "Simonides is twitting Pittacus with ignorance of the use of terms, which, in a Lesbian, who has been accustomed to speak in a barbarous language, is natural" (341).
Aristophanes calls the birds barbarians because they sing inarticulately ("Birds," 199); and Sophocles calls a foreign land aglwssov without a tongue. "Neither Hellas nor a tongueless land" ("Trachiniae," 1060). Later, the word took the sense of outlandish or rude.
Understanding (nouv). See on Rom. vii. 23.
Is unfruitful (akarpov estin). Furnishes nothing to others.
The unlearned (idiwtou). Only once outside of the Corinthian Epistles: Acts iv. 13 (see note). In the Septuagint it does not occur, but its kindred words are limited to the sense of private, personal. Trench ("Synonyms") illustrates the fact that in classical Greek there lies habitually in the word "a negative of the particular skill, knowledge, profession, or standing, over against which it is antithetically set; and not of any other except that alone." As over against the physician, for instance, he is ijdiwthv in being unskilled in medicine. This is plainly the case here - the man who is unlearned as respects the gift of tongues. From the original meaning of a private individual, the word came to denote one who was unfit for public life, and therefore uneducated, and finally, one whose mental powers were deficient. Hence our idiot. Idiot, however, in earlier English, was used in the milder sense of an uneducated person. Thus "Christ was received of idiots, of the vulgar people, and of the simpler sort" (Blount). "What, wenest thou make an idiot of our dame?" (Chaucer, 5893). "This plain and idiotical style of Scripture." "Pictures are the scripture of idiots and simple persons" (Jeremy Taylor).
Amen. Rev., correctly, the Amen. The customary response of the congregation, adopted from the synagogue worship. See Deuteronomy xxvii. 15 sqq.; Neh. viii. 6. The Rabbins have numerous sayings about the Amen. "Greater is he who responds Amen than he who blesses."
"Whoever answers Amen, his name shall be great and blessed, and the decree of his damnation is utterly done away." "To him who answers Amen the gates of Paradise are open." An ill-considered Amen was styled "an orphan Amen." "Whoever says an orphan Amen, his children shall be orphans." The custom was perpetuated in Christian worship, and this response enters into all the ancient liturgies. Jerome says that the united voice of the people in the Amen sounded like the fall of water or the sound of thunder.
Originally, in a physical sense, the diaphragm. Denoting the reasoning power on the reflective side, and perhaps intentionally used instead of nouv (ver. 15), which emphasizes the distinction from ecstasy.
Children - be ye children (paidia - nhpiazete). The A.V. misses the distinction between children and babes, the stronger term for being unversed in malice. In understanding they are to be above mere children. In malice they are to be very babes. See on child, ch. xiii. 11.
Malice (kakia). See on Jas. i. 21.
Men (teleioi). Lit., perfect. See on ch. ii. 6.
Judged (anakrinetai). 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, ch. ii. 14. On the compounds of krinw, see on ch. xi. 29, 31, 32.
Are subject. "People speak as if the divine authority of the prophetic word were somehow dependent on, or confirmed by, the fact that the prophets enjoyed visions.... In the New Testament Paul lays down the principle that, in true prophecy, self-consciousness, and self-command are never lost. 'The spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets'" (W. Robertson Smith, "The Prophets of Israel").
As in all the churches of the saints. Many connect these words with let the women, etc. The old arrangement is retained by Rev. and by Westcott and Hort, though the latter regard the words and the spirits - of peace as parenthetical. I see no good reason for departing from the old arrangement.