1 Corinthians14:11

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Therefore, if I do not see the power and ability

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of the sound  _______,

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I will be a barbarian

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to the one speaking, and the one speaking will be a barbarian to me.


If I come to one of your meetings and hear someone praying in what he calls a “prayer language,” I will not be able to perceive the capability of the sound of the person’s voice to produce meaning, (and meaning is what we should seek), therefore I will seem like an uncultured foreigner to the one speaking, and he will seem that way to me.


1: "power and ability":

This is the Greek word from which we get our words “dynamite and dynamic.” It means “power” in the sense of “the ability to get things done, energy, efficacy, even miraculous power.”


It seems best to assume that something was left out of the original, intended for the reader to supply. I prefer this over twisting the meaning of the word “power” to make it fit here. What is lacking is probably something about the “meaning” of the sounds being produced and heard.


This is where we get our word “barbarian” from. It meant someone who did not speak Greek (or Latin), “someone who was so uncivilized that the did not even speak Greek or follow the Greek culture.” A major emphasis of this word is the lack of culture, specifically Greek culture.


Paul seems to have been saying something like this: “Because you say that the form of tongues you have made up is a ‘prayer language’ and yet you insist on using it in a public setting, you have created a conundrum and tied yourself in knots. The problem with what you are doing is that all undeserved gifts of the Spirit are intended for the benefit of others; public tongues should be used to help convince unbelievers to believe, while private tongues should be used to work through a God-given burden until it results in helping others get closer to God. What you are doing means nothing and helps no one. You are expecting us to accept your meaningless babble as valid communication; if we accepted it, we would all turn into ignorant oafs.”