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1 Corinthians 14: 18,19 – Five of ten thousand words?

25-11-2019 - Posted by Andre Piet

I thank God that I speak in a language more than all of you. But, in the ecclesia, do I want to speak five words with my mind that I should be instructing others also, or ten thousand words in a language?

Paul also knew the language miracle that took place on the day of Pentecost from his own experience. Although the book of Acts only explicitly mentions it once (19: 6). Even then it truly was a miracle of languages: the bystanders understood!

Also in the ecclesia, it was possible to speak in languages, provided it was understood. Paul proposes to himself: five words with my mind to speak for instruction or ten thousand words to speak in a language? It is a rhetorical question. Of course, the five words that are understood are by far the preferred ones over ten thousand words that may sound spectacular, but are not understood.

Paul wants above all to teach about the grace of GOD and “the secret” (2: 6,7). Would he therefore perhaps want to speak “five words” because that number speaks of GOD’s unconditional promise? Both AbraHam and SaraH therefore received a “five” (the letter “hé”) after their name. Ten thousand words, that is two thousand times as many as five. Hey … two thousand, doesn’t that also speak of the secret (Josh.3: 4)?