1 Corinthians 14:21-30
1 Cor 14:21 (KJV)
In 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.

An interesting insertion is made by Paul under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit which seemingly has nothing to do with the flow of discourse in Chapter 14. Paul makes reference to Isaiah 28:11-12 which was a warning to Jerusalem.

(Isa 28:11-12 KJV) For with stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to this people. {12} To whom he said, This is the rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest; and this is the refreshing: yet they would not hear.

They rejected the words of God’s prophets which were sent to them on their own language and now judgment was to come on them. The vehicle of judgment God used were the fierce Babylonians who spoke in a different language or tongue. What must be transferred from the Babylonian epic is the principle God is enunciating, which is the fact that judgment did happen. Now what does that have to do with tongues? Let’s see. The fact that God mentions the destruction of Judah in conjunction with the church must be seriously considered. There is nothing written in the Bible incidentally, ALL has a reason for being there.

As Paul continually brings to light that edification of the people is more important than tongues, this teaching must be factored into the equation. When a person walks into a church where people are speaking in tongues, they are not edified but confused. Since God is not the author of confusion (1 Cor. 14:33), the confusion of tongues in the modern church must be of different origin.

(1 Cor 14:33 KJV) For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.

The event of tongues in the modern church causes divisions which means it cannot be of God. The awesome principle which God is transferring from the Babylonian captivity of Judah to the church is that the judgment of God is on all those churches which have willingly accepted tongues as part of their spiritual composition. Those churches who accept tongues have widened their authority from the Bible alone to the Bible plus! The same principle applies to the church as it did to Judah. Why? Look at the following verse which the charismatics always misuse to foster their tongues belief.

(Heb 13:8 KJV) Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.

Jesus is the Great I Am of Sinai and the Great I Am does not tolerate disobedience nor spiritual fornication, whether yesterday, today, or tomorrow. Many churches have rejected the Bible as their sole authority which was written in their own language resulting in God judging them by the vehicle of other tongues. "Other tongues" is the Greek word "heteroglossos" [eteroglwssos] and this is the only place in the New Testament this word is used.

Those churches which have widened their authority are false churches. They are under the judgment of God and have had their candlestick removed.

(Rev 2:5 KJV) Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.

One of the most devastating verses in the Bible which is aimed at the local church is Revelation 3:3:

(Rev 3:3 KJV) Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee.

This verse states the Lord Jesus Christ will visit a church in judgment and that church will be unaware of the moment they went from being a true church to a false church. When a church accepts tongues normally other false signs will follow. It is these which cause a church to go from true to false. This is the primary reason God placed verse 21 in the midst of the tongues discourse. It is a testing program for the church to see whether they will remain faithful to the Scriptures or will seek other revelations which will cause it to become adulterous. If they fail the test, they become a false church and you must leave quickly.

1 Cor 14:22 (KJV)
Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not: but prophesying serveth not for them that believe not, but for them which believe.

Here the Bible gives another serious principle regarding tongues. It says they are a sign for those who do not believe. The word "sign" is the Greek word "semeion" [shmeion] which means an indication of a sign, wonder, token, or miracle. So we see that tongues are a miraculous phenomenon to those who are unbelievers. He also says that prophesying (declaring God’s Word) is for believers. Those who seek signs and wonders are unbelievers because they are seeking what God has forbidden plus they are attempting to widen the authority of the Bible which God has completed with the book of Revelation. Jesus deals with this mindset in Matthew 12 as he faced the Scribes and Pharisees who wanted a sign of His authority and authenticity. The same word for sign in Matthew 12:38-39 is used in this verse.

(Mat 12:38-39 KJV) Then certain of the scribes and of the Pharisees answered, saying, Master, we would see a sign from thee. {39} But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas:

How did Jesus respond to this? He told them to refer to Jonah. How would they refer to Jonah? By reading the Hebrew Scriptures. What principle is Jesus giving us? The principle is, DO NOT LOOK OUTSIDE THE SCRIPTURES FOR UNDERSTANDING THE THINGS OF GOD.

This is precisely what those in the tongues movement do, they search outside the Bible for revelation from God and as a result they are considered adulterous by God. Have no union with the teachings of the Charismatic Movement. If you find yourself seeking the supernatural phenomenon of this movement, the possibility exists you were never saved. If you were truly saved, you would be seeking what God allows not what He forbids.

(2 Th 2:11 KJV) And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:

1 Cor 14:23 (KJV)
If therefore the whole church be come together into one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in those that are unlearned, or unbelievers, will they not say that ye are mad?

Now Paul gives them the hard truth that if an unbeliever or someone who is uneducated in the Christian Faith comes into a church where everybody is speaking in tongues, then since no common, understandable language is being spoken, they will believe that it is an assembly of crazy people. The word “mad” may also be translated as “crazy.” Those in today’s charismatic churches who partake in tongues or even their unholy laughter, will be deemed an assembly of crazy people by those on the outside. Even if legitimate languages are being spoken, the presence of so many different languages will sound like an insane asylum.

1 Cor 14:24 (KJV)
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:

Now if an unlearned person or unbeliever comes into the assembly and hears the word being preached in his mother tongue, then that person, if they are God’s Elect, will become convicted by the hearing of the Word and if the person is not God’s Elect, they will be judged according to that Word. If the entire assembly is in one accord teaching the true Gospel in an understandable language, then that person will either be convicted by all the true teaching or they will be condemned by it.

1 Cor 14:25 (KJV)
And thus are the secrets of his heart made manifest; and so falling down on his face he will worship God, and report that God is in you of a truth.

(Heb 4:12 KJV) For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. When the true Word of God is preached and is able to be understood, the person who becomes saved will realize that they can hide nothing from God as we read in Hebrews 4:12. Not only will that person become saved but they will also give an open declaration that the true word of God is being preached from that congregation. It will be a great testimony rather than a report that the whole congregation is mad.

1 Cor 14:26 (KJV)
How is it then, brethren? when ye come together, every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying.

Paul wants them to sum up what he has been saying. Each one that comes into the church will have a different gift and will also have a different message to deliver in a different style, such as a psalm or a doctrine, one is sung and one is spoken. The idea, is that with so much spiritual diversity, that everything needs to be done with edification of the hearers in mind. It would be like a Korean going into a church, he is welcomed in Spanish, the hymns are sung in Hungarian, the pastoral prayer is in Lithuanian, the sermon is in Dutch, and the dismissal is in Portuguese. That Korean would not be edified and would probably leave shaking his head.

1 Cor 14:27 (KJV)
If any man speak in an unknown tongue, let it be by two, or at the most by three, and that by course; and let one interpret.

Now Paul says that if any are speaking in the church in a different language, even up to three speakers, there must be one available to interpret what is being spoken. Paul says they must speak by course, which means they need to speak in succession of each other. If you look at today’s charismatic churches, you can hear hundreds at a time speaking in pathetic dribble calling it language. Paul is saying that if there are speakers scheduled, and they do not speak in the language of the hearers, then an interpreter must be present, or else edification will not take place. Let me give an analogy, would you go to a doctor who went to medical school and heard everything in a different language, without an interpreter. Would you still want to be treated by him or her? Well why would someone want to listen to unknown babble in today’s churches and make believe they are being edified, when they know they are not.

1 Cor 14:28 (KJV)
But if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the church; and let him speak to himself, and to God.

If there is no one to interpret the language, then that person should not speak and must remain silent in the church. He may pray silently and speak to God in his language for God will understand him. Without an interpreter, it would be a valueless message to everyone and to prevent confusion, Paul tells them they must be silent until such a time that an interpreter is present.

1 Cor 14:29 (KJV)
Let the prophets speak two or three, and let the other judge.

Paul now turns to prophesying that if any in the congregation has a prophecy from God, then the other prophets in the congregation are to judge that message to make sure that the message was not a fake message but a real prophetic message from the Lord. Remember, the early church was also plagued by false teachers and the messages had to be judged. In fact, the word judged can also be understood to mean “discerning.” Let us bring this up to today. Whenever someone declares the Word of God, the whole congregation needs to discern what is being taught because there are many false teachings in the world and much of it is finding its way into the churches because unqualified clergy have no discernment, so it is up to the congregants to be astute, for their own spiritual protection.

1 Cor 14:30 (KJV)
If any thing be revealed to another that sitteth by, let the first hold his peace.

Now in case one of the listening prophets hears the message and is able to make the meaning clearer, then the one who spoke it should allow this prophet to clarify the point. We see that principle in action with Priscilla and Aquilla.
(Acts 18:26 KJV) And he began to speak boldly in the synagogue: whom when Aquila and Priscilla had heard, they took him unto them, and expounded unto him the way of God more perfectly. Here, these two, had heard the message of Apollos and further explained his own message to him. Teachers and Preachers of the Gospel can take a lesson from this principle. If you preach a message, and someone comes up to you with a clarification, it doesn’t mean that you were wrong, but God may have allowed them to see your point differently and by bringing it up, they are further edifying the congregation.