Any time we need more than the preached Word to authenticate our faith in or about the crucified Christ, we are wanting too much!! We become open to the possibility of being led astray by the sensational, the emotional, the intellectual, and the auto-suggested. The demonstration of the Spirit and power is the preached Word about Jesus, the Lord. 1 Corinthians 2:6-13 This preached Word is POWERFUL. Romans 1:16. 10:13,14; Ephesians 6:18, John 16:8; John 12:48
From the Isaiah 28 study, Paul makes an analogy to the Corinthian situation in which people were evidently elevated by the presence of foreign languages ABOVE the preached word. If not, why refer to Isaiah 28? Paul concludes from the Isaiah 28 incident that “tongues are for a sign, not to those who believe, but to the unbelievers; but prophecy is a sign not to the unbelievers, but to those who believe”. 1 Corinthians 14:22 What does he mean by “unbelievers” and “believers”? Was he talking about “outsiders” or believers with “inside” association? As seen in the Isaiah 28 reference, both the believers and unbelievers are INSIDE the pale of God’s people. But there are two kinds of people inside—those who believe God’s Word is enough, and those who do not—these are the unbelievers in verse 22. They want something. To seek something more is a confession that God’s Word is inadequate. To them, the resurrection of Christ (chapter 15) is not enough evidence to say “Jesus is Lord” Chapter 12:3 Some find it hard to believe that the Word is powerful enough to convict people. Isaiah 28 makes it clear that when God brought in the foreign language, He recognized that this kind of people did not believe His words. They were immature (Isaiah 28:9). The Corinthians are also called immature. (3:1;13:1; 14:20) Prophecy, however, was a sign to the “believer”. This is the insider who believes that God’s Word IS ENOUGH. God’s verbal promises are validated because of the God who made them. To know THAT is enough!! Yet, like the modern day Pentecostals, some Corinthians wanted MORE than instruction, they wanted a DISPLAY of the super-natural. For this they were scolded!!
In verse 23, Paul discusses the effect tongues has upon the unbeliever who is NOT within the membership of God’s family. He makes it clear that he has switched to the outsider-kind-of-believer by adding the word “unlearned”. The word “unlearned” also means an unskilled person, it is the word idiotes. Some take this meaning to refer to those fellow Christians who were unskilled in speaking in a different language because they did not have the gift. They would not understand, but would consider their Christian brothers who spoke in tongues to be mad. This seems unlikely since Christians after Pentecost DID know this gift was from God. It is the unbelieving “outsider, unlearned” who would be turned off from God’s power of salvation upon hearing un-translated languages (not gibberish, mambo-jumbo) in the assembly!! The new-comer would think the group had gone mad. That is exactly what many thought about those in the 1st century pagan religions who practiced ecstatic utterances!!
In argument, if an outsider entered the assembly and heard preaching being dome in his own language, he was convicted of his sins, acknowledged God was in that place, and worship God! This argument is well taken, today. IF we want an outsider to be convicted of his or her sin, we would want the people to see a demonstration of God’s presence in our assembly by PREACHING THE WORD, not muttering some unknown, un-translatable, or illiterate mumbling!! AMEN-WALLS!! 1 Corinthians 14:24-25 We forget, the Spirit is present in the preached Word; the Word is powerful BECAUSE?