The Meaning of 1 Corinthians 14:16 Explained

1 Corinthians 14:16

KJV: Else when thou shalt bless with the spirit, how shall he that occupieth the room of the unlearned say Amen at thy giving of thanks, seeing he understandeth not what thou sayest?

YLT: since, if thou mayest bless with the spirit, he who is filling the place of the unlearned, how shall he say the Amen at thy giving of thanks, since what thou dost say he hath not known?

Darby: Since otherwise, if thou blessest with the spirit, how shall he who fills the place of the simple Christian say Amen, at thy giving of thanks, since he does not know what thou sayest?

ASV: Else if thou bless with the spirit, how shall he that filleth the place of the unlearned say the Amen at thy giving of thanks, seeing he knoweth not what thou sayest?

What does 1 Corinthians 14:16 Mean?

Context Summary

1 Corinthians 14:13-25 - Understanding Promotes Edifying
The Apostle here gives two practical directions, in order to restore the rule of the understanding above the babble of incoherent sounds, which was confusing the Corinthian church.
The first was that worship should be conducted in a form that the assembled congregation could understand. To utter prayer or thanksgiving to which the audience could give no assent; to utter sounds which were meaningless, was inconsistent with the true nature of Christian worship. It was therefore from this chapter that the Reformers drew their arguments against the practice of conducting the services of the Church in Latin. The second was that instruction was a most necessary part of worship, 1 Corinthians 14:19.
The effect of prophesying, that is, preaching, is set forth very forcibly and beautifully in the closing verses of our reading. We must always have in mind the unbelieving and the unlearned. If he hears the solemn voice of God speaking through human lips to his conscience, stirring its depths, moving it to repentance and faith, he will bear speedy testimony to the truth of what he has heard. We must seek to have in our assemblies the convincing power of God's Word, accompanied by the corroborating witness of the unhindered Spirit. [source]

Chapter Summary: 1 Corinthians 14

1  Prophecy is commended,
2  and preferred before speaking in tongues,
6  by a comparison drawn from musical instruments
12  Both must be referred to edification,
22  as to their true and proper end
26  The true use of each is taught,
27  and the abuse rebuked
34  Women in the churches

Greek Commentary for 1 Corinthians 14:16

Else if thou bless with the spirit [επει εαν ευλογηις εν πνευματι]
Third class condition. He means that, if one is praying and praising God (1 Corinthians 10:16) in an ecstatic prayer, the one who does not understand the ecstasy will be at a loss when to say “amen” at the close of the prayer. In the synagogues the Jews used responsive amens at the close of prayers (Nehemiah 5:13; Nehemiah 8:6; 1 Chronicles 16:36; Psalm 106:48). [source]
He that filleth the place of the unlearned [ο αναπληρων τον τοπον του ιδιωτου]
Not a special part of the room, but the position of the ιδιωτου — idiōtou (from ιδιος — idios one‘s own), common from Herodotus for private person (Acts 4:13), unskilled (2 Corinthians 11:6), uninitiated (unlearned) in the gift of tongues as here and 1 Corinthians 14:23. At thy giving of thanks (επι τηι σηι ευχαριστιαι — epi tēi sēi eucharistiāi). Just the prayer, not the Eucharist or the Lord‘s Supper, as is plain from 1 Corinthians 14:17. [source]
At thy giving of thanks [επι τηι σηι ευχαριστιαι]
Just the prayer, not the Eucharist or the Lord‘s Supper, as is plain from 1 Corinthians 14:17. [source]
The place [τὸν τόπον]
Some explain of a particular seat in the assembly. Rather it expresses the condition of those who are unintelligent as regards the utterance in an unknown tongue. [source]
The unlearned [ἰδιώτου]
Only once outside of the Corinthian Epistles: Acts 4:13(see note). In the Septuagint it does not occur, but its kindred words are limited to the sense of private, personal. Trench (“Synonyms”) illustrates the fact that in classical Greek there lies habitually in the word “a negative of the particular skill, knowledge, profession, or standing, over against which it is antithetically set; and not of any other except that alone.” As over against the physician, for instance, he is ἰδιώτης in being unskilled in medicine. This is plainly the case here - the man who is unlearned as respects the gift of tongues. From the original meaning of a private individual, the word came to denote one who was unfit for public life, and therefore uneducated, and finally, one whose mental powers were deficient. Hence our idiot. Idiot, however, in earlier English, was used in the milder sense of an uneducated person. Thus “Christ was received of idiots, of the vulgar people, and of the simpler sort” (Blount). “What, wenest thou make an idiot of our dame?” (Chaucer, 5893). “This plain and idiotical style of Scripture.” “Pictures are the scripture of idiots and simple persons” (Jeremy Taylor). [source]
Amen []
Rev., correctly, the Amen. The customary response of the congregation, adopted from the synagogue worship. See Deuteronomy 27:15sqq.; Nehemiah 8:6. The Rabbins have numerous sayings about the Amen. “Greater is he who responds Amen than he who blesses.” “Whoever answers Amen, his name shall be great and blessed, and the decree of his damnation is utterly done away.” “To him who answers Amen the gates of Paradise are open.” An ill-considered Amen was styled “an orphan Amen.” “Whoever says an orphan Amen, his children shall be orphans.” The custom was perpetuated in Christian worship, and this response enters into all the ancient liturgies. Jerome says that the united voice of the people in the Amen sounded like the fall of water or the sound of thunder. [source]

Reverse Greek Commentary Search for 1 Corinthians 14:16

Matthew 13:14 Is fulfilled [αναπληρουται]
Aoristic present passive indicative. Here Jesus points out the fulfilment and not with Matthew‘s usual formula The verb αναπληροω — anaplēroō occurs nowhere else in the Gospels, but occurs in the Pauline Epistles. It means to fill up like a cup, to fill another‘s place (1 Corinthians 14:16), to fill up what is lacking (Philemon 2:30). Here it means that the prophecy of Isaiah is fully satisfied in the conduct of the Pharisees and Jesus himself points it out. Note two ways of reproducing the Hebrew idiom (infinitive absolute), one by ακοηι — akoēi the other by βλεποντες — blepontes Note also the strong negative ου μη — ou mē with aorist subjunctive. [source]
Acts 4:13 Ignorant [ἰδιῶται]
Originally, one in a private station, as opposed to one in office or in public affairs. Therefore one without professional knowledge, a layman; thence, generally, ignorant, ill-informed; sometimes plebeian, common. In the absence of certainty it is as well to retain the meaning given by the A. V., perhaps with a slight emphasis on the want of professional knowledge. Compare 1 Corinthians 14:16, 1 Corinthians 14:23, 1 Corinthians 14:24; 2 Corinthians 11:6. [source]
1 Corinthians 10:16 The cup of blessing [τὸ ποτήριον τῆς εὐλογίας]
Lit., the blessing: the cup over which the familiar formula of blessing is pronounced. Hence the Holy Supper was often styled Eulogia (Blessing). For blessing, see on blessed, 1 Peter 1:3. It is the same as eucharistia (thanksgiving ), applied as the designation of the Lord's Supper: Eucharist. See 1 Corinthians 14:16; 1 Timothy 4:4, 1 Timothy 4:5. The cup is first mentioned, perhaps, because Paul wishes to dwell more at length on the bread; or possibly, because drinking rather than eating characterized the idol-feasts. [source]
2 Corinthians 11:6 Rude [ἰδίωτης]
See on 1 Corinthians 14:16. [source]
2 Corinthians 1:20 The Amen [το Αμην]
In public worship (1 Corinthians 14:16). [source]
2 Corinthians 11:6 Rude in speech [ιδιωτης τωι λογωι]
Locative case with ιδιωτης — idiōtēs for which word see note on Acts 4:13; note on 1 Corinthians 14:16, note on 1 Corinthians 14:23, and 1 Corinthians 14:24. The Greeks regarded a man as ιδιωτης — idiōtēs who just attended to his own affairs (τα ιδια — ta idia) and took no part in public life. Paul admits that he is not a professional orator (cf. 2 Corinthians 10:10), but denies that he is unskilled in knowledge (αλλ ου τηι γνωσει — all' ou tēi gnōsei). [source]
Galatians 6:2 Fulfil [αναπληρωσατε]
First aorist active imperative of αναπληροω — anaplēroō to fill up, old word, and see note on Matthew 23:32; note 1 Thessalonians 2:16; and note 1 Corinthians 14:16. Some MSS. have future indicative (αναπληρωσετε — anaplērōsete). [source]
Colossians 1:24 Fill up [ἀνταναπληρῶ]
Only here in the New Testament. Lit., fill up in turn. Rev., on my part ( ἀντί ) Ἁναπληρόω tofill up occurs 1 Corinthians 14:16; 1 Corinthians 16:17; Galatians 6:2, and elsewhere. The double compound προσαναπληρόω tofill up by adding, 2 Corinthians 9:12(note); 2 Corinthians 11:9. Ἁντί onmy part offsets Christ in the next clause. Lightfoot explains well: “It signifies that the supply comes from an opposite quarter to the deficiency, and so describes the correspondence of the personal agents,” and not merely the correspondence of the supply with the deficiency. [source]

What do the individual words in 1 Corinthians 14:16 mean?

Otherwise if you bless with the spirit the [one] filling the place of the uninstructed how will he say the Amen at - your thanksgiving since what you say not he knows
ἐπεὶ ἐὰν εὐλογῇς [ἐν] πνεύματι ἀναπληρῶν τὸν τόπον τοῦ ἰδιώτου πῶς ἐρεῖ τὸ Ἀμήν ἐπὶ τῇ σῇ εὐχαριστίᾳ ἐπειδὴ τί λέγεις οὐκ οἶδεν

ἐπεὶ  Otherwise 
Parse: Conjunction
Root: ἐπεί  
Sense: when, since.
εὐλογῇς  you  bless 
Parse: Verb, Present Subjunctive Active, 2nd Person Singular
Root: εὐλογέω 
Sense: to praise, celebrate with praises.
[ἐν]  with  the 
Parse: Preposition
Root: ἐν 
Sense: in, by, with etc.
πνεύματι  spirit 
Parse: Noun, Dative Neuter Singular
Root: πνεῦμα  
Sense: a movement of air (a gentle blast.
  the  [one] 
Parse: Article, Nominative Masculine Singular
Sense: this, that, these, etc.
ἀναπληρῶν  filling 
Parse: Verb, Present Participle Active, Nominative Masculine Singular
Root: ἀναπληρόω  
Sense: to fill up, make full, e.
τόπον  place 
Parse: Noun, Accusative Masculine Singular
Root: τόπος 
Sense: place, any portion or space marked off, as it were from surrounding space.
τοῦ  of  the 
Parse: Article, Genitive Masculine Singular
Sense: this, that, these, etc.
ἰδιώτου  uninstructed 
Parse: Noun, Genitive Masculine Singular
Root: ἰδιώτης  
Sense: a private person as opposed to a magistrate, ruler, king.
πῶς  how 
Parse: Adverb
Root: πῶς  
Sense: how, in what way.
ἐρεῖ  will  he  say 
Parse: Verb, Future Indicative Active, 3rd Person Singular
Root: λέγω  
Sense: to utter, speak, say.
Ἀμήν  Amen 
Parse: Hebrew Word
Root: ἀμήν  
Sense: firm.
ἐπὶ  at 
Parse: Preposition
Root: ἐπί  
Sense: upon, on, at, by, before.
τῇ  - 
Parse: Article, Dative Feminine Singular
Sense: this, that, these, etc.
σῇ  your 
Parse: Personal / Possessive Pronoun, Dative Feminine 2nd Person Singular
Root: σός  
Sense: thy, thine.
εὐχαριστίᾳ  thanksgiving 
Parse: Noun, Dative Feminine Singular
Root: εὐχαριστία  
Sense: thankfulness.
ἐπειδὴ  since 
Parse: Conjunction
Root: ἐπειδή  
Sense: when now, since now.
λέγεις  you  say 
Parse: Verb, Present Indicative Active, 2nd Person Singular
Root: λέγω 
Sense: to say, to speak.
οἶδεν  he  knows 
Parse: Verb, Perfect Indicative Active, 3rd Person Singular
Root: οἶδα  
Sense: to see.