Prophetia magis quam donam linguarum
Prophecy greater than gift of tongues
14:1 Sectamini caritatem, aemulamini spiritualia: magis autem ut prophetetis. [n. 807]
14:1 Follow after charity, be zealous for spiritual gifts; but rather that you may prophesy. [n. 807]
14:2 Qui enim loquitur lingua, non hominibus loquitur, sed Deo: nemo enim audit. Spiritu autem loquitur mysteria. [n. 817]
14:2 For he who speaks in a tongue speaks not unto men, but unto God: for no man hears. Yet by the Spirit he speaks mysteries. [n. 817]
14:3 Nam qui prophetat, hominibus loquitur ad aedificationem, et exhortationem, et consolationem. [n. 818]
14:3 But he who prophesies speaks to men unto edification and exhortation and comfort. [n. 818]
14:4 Qui loquitur lingua, semetipsum aedificat: qui autem prophetat, Ecclesiam Dei aedificat. [n. 819]
14:4 He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself: but he who prophesies, edifies the Church. [n. 819]
807. Posita excellentia caritatis ad alia dona, hic consequenter apostolus comparat alia dona ad invicem, ostendens excellentiam prophetiae ad donum linguarum.
807. Having stated that charity excels the other gifts, the Apostle then compares the other gifts to each other, showing the excellence of prophecy over the gift of tongues.
Et circa hoc duo facit.
In regard to this he does two things:
Primo ostendit excellentiam prophetiae ad donum linguarum;
first, he shows that prophecy excels the gift of tongues;
secundo quomodo sit utendum dono linguarum, et prophetiae, ibi quid ergo est, fratres, et cetera.
second, how the gifts of tongues and prophecy should be used, at how is it then, brethren? (1 Cor 14:26).
Circa primum duo facit.
In regard to the first he does two things:
Primo ostendit, quod donum prophetiae est excellentius, quam donum linguarum, rationibus sumptis ex parte infidelium,
first, he shows that the gift of prophecy is more excellent than the gift of tongues with reasons taken on the part of unbelievers;
secundo ex parte fidelium, ibi fratres mei, et cetera.
second, on the part of believers, at brethren, do not become children (1 Cor 14:20).
Prima pars dividitur in duas.
The first part is divided into two:
Primo ostendit, quod donum prophetiae est excellentius dono linguarum, quantum ad usum eorum in exhortationibus seu praedicationibus;
first, he shows that the gift of prophecy is more excellent than the gift of tongues as to their use in exhortations or sermons;
secundo quantum ad usum linguarum, qui est in orando. Ad haec enim duo est usus linguae, ibi et ideo loquitur, et cetera.
second, as to the use of tongues in praying. For the use of the tongue is ordained to these two, at and therefore he who speaks (1 Cor 14:13).
808. Circa primum duo facit. Primo enim praemittit unum, per quod continuat se ad sequentia, et hoc est quod dicit: dictum est, quod caritas omnia dona excellit, si ergo ita est, sectamini, scilicet viribus, caritatem, quae est dulce et salubre vinculum mentium. I Petr. IV, 8: ante omnia caritatem, et cetera. Col. III, 14: super omnia autem caritatem habete, et cetera.
808. In regard to the first he does two things: first, he mentions one thing by which he connects the preceding to the following; and this is what he says: it has been stated that charity excels all the gifts; if, therefore, that is so, follow after charity, for it is a sweet and healthful bond of minds: above all, hold unfailing your love for one another (1 Pet 4:8); above all these things put on love which is the bond of perfection (Col 3:4).
809. Secundo subdit illud per quod continuat se ad sequentia. Et hoc est quod dicit aemulamini, et cetera. Quasi dicat: licet caritas sit maior omnibus donis, tamen alia non sunt contemnenda. Sed aemulamini, id est ferventer ametis, spiritualia dona Spiritus Sancti. I Petr. III, 13: quid est, quod vobis noceat, et cetera.
809. Second, he adds that through which he connects himself with what follows. And this is what he says: be zealous for spiritual gifts. As if to say: although charity is greater than all gifts, nevertheless the others are not to be despised. Be zealous for spiritual gifts, i.e., fervently love the spiritual gifts of the Holy Spirit: now who is there to harm you, if you are zealous for what is right? (1 Pet 3:13).
810. Licet autem aemulatio quandoque sumatur pro ferventi dilectione, quandoque pro invidia, tamen non est aequivocatio; imo unum procedit ab alio; zelari enim et aemulari designat ferventem amorem alicuius rei.
810. Although earnest desire is sometimes taken for fervent love and sometimes for envy, it is not equivocation; indeed, one proceeds from the other. For to be zealous and to be earnestly desirous designate a fervent love for something.
Contingit autem quod res amata ita diligatur ferventer ab aliquo, quod non patitur sibi consortem, sed ipse vult eam solus et singulariter. Et iste est zelus, qui secundum quosdam est amor intensus, non patiens consortium in amato. Hoc tamen contingit in spiritualibus, quae possunt perfectissime a multis participari, sed solum in illis quae non possunt a multis participari. Unde in caritate non est huiusmodi zelus non patiens consortium in amato, sed tantum in corporalibus, in quibus provenit, quod si aliquis habet illud quod ipse zelat, doleat: et ex hoc consurgit aemulatio, quae est invidia. Sicut si ego amo dignitatem seu divitias, doleo quod aliquis habet eas, unde et ei invideo. Et sic patet, quod ex zelo surgit invidia.
It happens, however, that the thing loved is loved so fervently by someone that he does not permit a sharer, but wants it alone and by himself. And this is zeal which, according to some, is intense love not allowing a participation in the one loved. Yet this occurs not in spiritual things, which can be shared most perfectly by others, but only in those which cannot be shared by many. Hence in charity there is not this sort of zeal which does not allow a participation in the one loved, but only in bodily things, in which it comes about that if anyone else has that for which I am zealous, I am sad; and from this arises earnest desire, which is envy. Just as if I love dignity or riches, I grieve if someone else has them; hence I envy him. And so it is clear that from zeal arises envy.
Cum ergo dicitur aemulamini spiritualia, non intelligitur de invidia, quia spiritualia possunt a multis haberi, sed dicit, aemulamini, ut inducat ad ferventer amandum Deum.
Therefore, when it is said: be zealous for spiritual gifts, it is not understood of envy, because spiritual things can be possessed by many; but he says: be zealous to induce them to love God fervently.
811. Et quia inter spiritualia est gradus quidam, quia prophetia excedit donum linguarum, ideo dicit magis autem, ut prophetetis, quasi dicat: inter spiritualia magis aemulamini donum prophetiae. I Thess. V, v. 19 s.: Spiritum nolite extinguere, prophetias nolite spernere.
811. And because among spiritual things there is a gradation, for prophecy exceeds the gift of tongues, he says: but rather that you may prophesy. As if to say: among spiritual gifts be more zealous for the gift of prophecy: do not quench the Spirit; do not despise prophesying (1 Thess 5:19ff).
812. Ad explanationem autem totius capitis praenotanda sunt tria, scilicet quid sit prophetia, quot modis dicatur in Scriptura sancta prophetia et quid sit loqui linguis.
812. To explain the entire chapter, three things must be mentioned beforehand, namely, what is prophecy, in how many ways is prophecy mentioned in Scripture, and what it is to speak in tongues.
Circa primum sciendum est, quod propheta dicitur, quasi procul videns, et secundum quosdam dicitur a for faris, sed melius dicitur a pharos, quod est videre. Unde I Reg. c. IX, 9 dicitur, quod qui nunc dicitur propheta, olim videns dicebatur. Unde visio eorum quae sunt procul, sive sint futura contingentia, sive supra rationem nostram, dicitur prophetia. Est igitur prophetia visio seu manifestatio futurorum contingentium, seu intellectum humanum excedentium.
In regard to the first it should be noted that prophecy is said to be ‘seeing from afar’, and according to some it is named after ‘speaking afar’, but it is better to say that it is from pharos, which is ‘to see’. Hence it is said: he who is now called a prophet was formerly called a seer (1 Sam 9:9). Hence the sight of things far off, whether they be future contingents or beyond human reason, is called prophecy. Prophecy, therefore, is the sight or manifestation of future contingents or of things transcending human understanding.
Ad huiusmodi autem visionem quatuor requiruntur. Cum enim cognitio nostra sit per corporalia et per phantasmata a sensibilibus accepta, primo exigitur quod in imaginatione formentur similitudines corporales eorum quae ostenduntur, ut Dionysius dicit quod impossibile est aliter lucere nobis divinum radium, nisi varietate sacrorum velaminum circumvelatum.
For such a sight four things are required. For since our knowledge is through bodily things and phantasms received from sensible things, it is first required that in the imagination be formed the bodily likeness of things which are shown, as Dionysius says that it is impossible otherwise for the divine ray to shine in us, unless surrounded by the variety of sacred veils.
Secundum quod exigitur est lumen intellectuale illuminans intellectum ad ea quae supra naturalem cognitionem nostram ostenduntur cognoscenda. Nisi enim ad similitudines sensibiles in imaginatione formatas intelligendas adsit lumen intellectuale, ille cui similitudines huiusmodi ostenduntur, non dicitur propheta, sed potius somniator. Sicut Pharao, qui licet viderit spicas et vaccas, quae erant indicativa futurorum quorumdam, quia tamen non intellexit quod vidit, non dicitur propheta, sed potius ille, scilicet Ioseph, qui interpretatus est. Et similiter est de Nabuchodonosor, qui vidit statuam, et non intellexit, unde nec propheta dicitur, sed Daniel. Et propter hoc dicitur, Dan. X, 1: intelligentia opus est in visione.
The second thing required is an intellectual light enlightening the intellect for knowing things shown beyond our natural knowledge. For unless an intellectual light be present for understanding the sensible likenesses formed in the imagination, the one to whom these likenesses are shown in not called a prophet but a dreamer. Thus, Pharaoh, who, although he saw ears of corn and cattle, which indicated future events, did not understand what he saw, is not called a prophet, but rather Joseph, who interpreted it. The same is true of Nebuchadnezzar, who saw a statue but did not understand it; hence, neither is he a prophet, but Daniel. For this reason it is said: understanding is needed in a vision (Dan 10:1).
Tertium quod exigitur, est audacia ad annuntiandum ea quae revelantur. Ad hoc enim Deus revelat, ut aliis denuntientur. Ier. I, 9: ecce dedi verba mea in ore.
The third thing required is the courage to announce the things revealed. For God reveals in order that it be announced to others: behold, I have put my words in your mouth (Jer 1:9).
Quartum est operatio miraculorum, quae sunt ad certitudinem prophetiae. Nisi enim facerent aliqua, quae excedunt operationem naturae, non crederetur eis in his, quae naturalem cognitionem transcendunt.
The fourth thing is the working of miracles, which lend certitude to the prophecy. For unless they did things which exceed the works of nature, they would not be believed in matters that transcend natural knowledge.
813. Secundum ergo hos modos prophetiae, dicuntur aliqui diversis modis prophetae. Aliquando enim aliquis dicitur propheta, qui habet omnia ista quatuor, scilicet quod videt imaginarias visiones, et habet intelligentiam de eis, et audacter annuntiat aliis, et operatur miracula, et de hoc dicitur Num. XII, 6: si quis fuerit inter vos propheta, et cetera.
813. Therefore, according to these modes of prophecy some are called prophets in various ways. For sometimes one is called a prophet, because he possesses all four, namely, that he sees imaginary visions, and has an understanding of them and he boldly announces to others and he works miracles. Concerning such a one it is said: if there is a prophet among you, I, the Lord, will appear to him in a dream, or will speak to him by means of a dream (Num 12:6).
Aliquando autem dicitur propheta ille, qui habet solas imaginarias visiones, sed tamen improprie et valde remote.
But sometimes one who has solely imaginary visions is called a prophet, but in an improper sense and very remotely so.
Aliquando etiam dicitur propheta, qui habet intellectuale lumen ad explanandum etiam visiones imaginarias, sive sibi, sive alteri factas, vel ad exponendum dicta prophetarum, vel Scripturas apostolorum. Et sic dicitur propheta omnis qui discernit doctorum Scripturas, quia eodem spiritu interpretatae sunt quo editae sunt. Et sic Salomon et David possunt dici prophetae, inquantum habuerunt lumen intellectuale, ad clare et subtiliter intuendum; nam visio David intellectualis tantum fuit.
Again, one is called a prophet, if he has the intellectual light to explain even imaginary visions made to himself or someone else, or for explaining the sayings of the prophets or the Scriptures of the apostles. In this way a prophet is anyone who discerns the writings of the doctors, because they have been interpreted in the same spirit as they were edited; and so Solomon and David can be called prophets, inasmuch as they had the intellectual light to understand clearly and subtly. For the vision of David was intellectual only.
Dicitur etiam propheta aliquis solum ex hoc quod prophetarum dicta denuntiat, seu exponit, seu cantat in ecclesia, et hoc modo dicitur I Reg. XIX, 24 quod Saul erat inter prophetas, id est, inter canentes dicta prophetarum.
Someone is even called a prophet merely because he announces the statements of prophets or explains them or sings in the church. This is the way Saul was counted among the prophets, i.e., among those singing the words of the prophets (1 Sam 19:24).
Dicitur etiam aliquis propheta ex miraculorum operatione, secundum illud Eccli. c. XLVIII, 14, quod corpus Elisei mortuum prophetavit, id est, miraculum fecit.
Someone is also called a prophet from working miracles: the dead body of Elijah prophesied (Sir 48:14), i.e., worked a miracle.
Quod ergo dicit hic apostolus per totum caput de prophetis, intelligendum est de secundo modo, scilicet quod ille dicitur prophetare, qui per lumen intellectuale divinum, visiones sibi et aliis factas exponit. Et secundum hoc planum erit, quod hic dicitur de prophetis.
Therefore, what the Apostle says through this chapter of the prophets must be understood in the second mode, namely, that one is said to prophesy who through a divine intellectual light explains visions made to him and others. According to this, what is said here about prophets will be plain.
814. Circa secundum sciendum est, quod quia in Ecclesia primitiva pauci erant quibus imminebat fidem Christi praedicare per mundum, ideo Dominus, ut commodius et pluribus verbum Dei annuntiarent, dedit eis donum linguarum, quibus omnibus praedicarent. Non quod una lingua loquentes ab omnibus intelligerentur, ut quidam dicunt, sed, ad litteram, quod linguis diversarum gentium, imo omnium loquerentur. Unde dicit apostolus gratias ago Deo, quod omnium vestrum lingua loquor. Et Act. II, 4 dicitur: loquebantur variis linguis, et cetera. Et hoc donum multi adepti sunt a Deo in Ecclesia primitiva. Corinthii autem, quia curiosi erant, ideo libentius volebant illud donum, quam donum prophetiae.
814. In regard to the second it should be noted that because there were few in the early Church assigned to preaching faith of Christ throughout the world, the Lord enabled them to proclaim the word to more people by giving them the gift of tongues, by which they could all preach to all. Not that they spoke in one language and were understood by all, as some say, but that they spoke the languages of different nations and, indeed, of all. Hence the Apostle says: I thank my God I speak with all your tongues (1 Cor 14:18), and it is said: they began to speak in other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance (Acts 2:4). Furthermore, many received this gift from God in the early Church. But the Corinthians, being inquisitive, were more desirous of this gift than the gift of prophecy.
Quod ergo dicitur hic loqui lingua, vult apostolus intelligi lingua ignota, et non explanata, sicut si lingua Theutonica loquatur quis alicui Gallico, et non exponat, hic loquitur lingua. Vel etiam si loquatur visiones tantum, et non exponat, loquitur lingua. Unde omnis locutio non intellecta, nec explanata, quaecumque sit illa, est proprie loqui lingua.
Therefore, when the Apostle mentions here about speaking in a tongue, he means an unknown language not interpreted; as when one might speak German to a Frenchman without an interpreter, he is speaking in a tongue. Hence, all speech not understood not explained, no matter what it is, is properly called speaking in a tongue.