In my Greek class, the professor has divided the class into groups and assigned each group a passage to write a 25 page paper on and then give a presentation. He assigned my group 1 Corinthians 14:1-19. If you are not familiar with the passage, Paul is talking about tongues and prophecy in the context of the church gathering.

Anyone seeing a bit of a divine setup here? One of the reasons I’m going to seminary is to be able to defend and present a Charismatic reading of the Bible. Right away I get to research one of the most Charismatic passages in the New Testament and present it to the class. How cool is that?

I have a lot of work to do on this passage, but here is my off the cuff translation

“Pursue love, and commit yourselves to spiritual gifts, and especially that you may prophesy. For the one who speaks in tongues is not speaking to man but to God, for no one hears, but he speaks mysteries in the Spirit. But the one who prophecies speaks to men for their edification and encouragement and comfort. The one who speaks in tongues edifies himself, but the one who prophesies edifies the church. I want all of you to speak in tongues, but more than that to prophesy. The one who prophesies is greater than the one who speaks in tongues, unless he interprets, so that the church may receive edification. But now, brothers, if I come to you speaking in tongues, how will I benefit you unless I speak in revelation or knowledge or prophecy or teaching? Yet even lifeless things give a sound, [for example consider] a flute or harp, if it does not give a distinct sound, how will it be known whether the flute or the harp is being played? And if the trumpet gives an indistinct sound, who will get ready for war? Thus also if you do not give a clear word with your tongue, how will it be known what is being said? For you will be speaking into the air. There are, doubtless, many kinds of sounds in the world and nothing is without sound. If then I do not know the meaning of a sound I will be a foreigner (barbarian) to the speaker and the speaker a foreigner (barbarian) to me. So also you, since you are Zealots of the things of the Spirit, strive that you may be rich [in them] for the edification of the church. Therefore, the one who speaks in a tongue should pray that he may interpret. If I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my mind is unfruitful. What then? I will pray with my spirit, but I will pray with my mind also. I will sing with my spirit, but I will sing with my mind also. Otherwise, if you say a blessing in the spirit, how will the person who is not operating in the gift say “Amen” to your thanksgiving when he doesn’t know what you are saying? You may be giving thanks well but the other person is not edified. I thank God I speak in tongues more than all of you, but in church I would rather speak five words with my mind to instruct others than ten thousand words in a tongue.”

“Commit yourselves” in the first sentence is a command for the church to be earnest, to set one’s heart on, to be completely intent on.

The passage translated “since you are Zealots of the things of the Spirit” says literally something like “since you are Zealots of spirit things.” The word is spirit in neuter plural which give the sense of things.