1Corinthians 14:18-19 I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than you all: Yet in the church I had rather speak five words with my understanding, that by my voice I might teach others also, than ten thousand words in an unknown tongue.
‘I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than you all’ – Paul admits his ability to talk in tongues, yet says there is a time and place for tongues.
Six times not to speak in tongues: When not impelled by love (13:1-3). When there is no interpreter present (14:5, 27-28). When it is time to give truth to the public (14:6-13, 19, 14:23-25). When invited to say grace at the table (14:16-17). When others speak in tongues and people are present who would stumble over such action (14:23-25). After two or three messages in tongues have been given and interpreted (14:27).
‘Yet in the church I had rather speak five words with my understanding, that by my voice I might teach others also, than ten thousand words in an unknown tongue.’ This does not belittle tongues or make them unimportant in their place, but it shows that the public will not get as much truth in 10,000 words in a language they cannot understand as they would get from 5 words they could understand. Most people try to impress others of their higher spiritual status when speaking or in a tongue, which is only used for self-edification, and means that God can heal and restore the speaker. Praying in tongues is also a new addition to the fallacies surrounding the use of the gifts, for no one in Scripture ever did so or was commanded to do so.
‘Teach others also’ – This emphasizes the purposes of all gifts and public Christian services. At least 20 out of 40 verses in this chapter emphasize the importance of public good, not the personal display of one’s gifts (14:1, 3-9, 11-13, 15-17, 19, 23-25, 26-28, 31, 40). The speaking of tongues is not a sign of your status as a Christian, rather a necessity for the broken who needs edification of their spirits.