Linguae multas significant
Tongues’ meaning variable
14:5 Volo autem omnes vos loqui linguis: magis autem prophetare. Nam major est qui prophetat, quam qui loquitur linguis; nisi forte interpretetur ut Ecclesia aedificationem accipiat. [n. 820]
14:5 And I would have you all to speak with tongues, but more to prophesy. For greater is he who prophesies than he who speaks with tongues: unless perhaps he interprets, that the Church may receive edification. [n. 820]
14:6 Nunc autem, fratres, si venero ad vos linguis loquens: quid vobis prodero, nisi vobis loquar aut in revelatione, aut in scientia, aut in prophetia, aut in doctrina? [n. 823]
14:6 But now, brethren, if I come to you speaking with tongues, what shall I profit you, unless I speak to you either in revelation or in knowledge or in prophecy or in doctrine? [n. 823]
14:7 Tamen quae sine anima sunt vocem dantia, sive tibia, sive cithara; nisi distinctionem sonituum dederint, quomodo scietur id quod canitur, aut quod citharizatur? [n. 827]
14:7 Even things without life that give sound, whether pipe or harp, except they give a distinction of sounds, how shall it be known what is piped or harped? [n. 827]
14:8 Etenim si incertam vocem det tuba, quis parabit se ad bellum? [n. 829]
14:8 For if the trumpet gives an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle? [n. 829]
14:9 Ita et vos per linguam nisi manifestum sermonem dederitis: quomodo scietur id quod dicitur? eritis enim in aëra loquentes.
14:9 So likewise you, except you utter by the tongue plain speech, how shall it be known what is said? For you shall be speaking into the air.
14:10 Tam multa, ut puta genera linguarum sunt in hoc mundo: et nihil sine voce est. [n. 830]
14:10 There are, for example, so many kinds of tongues in this world: and none is without voice. [n. 830]
14:11 Si ergo nesciero virtutem vocis, ero ei, cui loquor, barbarus: et qui loquitur, mihi barbarus. [n. 832]
14:11 If then I know not the power of the voice, I shall be to him to whom I speak a barbarian: and he who speaks a barbarian to me. [n. 832]
14:12 Sic et vos, quoniam aemulatores estis spirituum, ad aedificationem Ecclesiae quaerite ut abundetis. [n. 833]
14:12 So you also, forasmuch as you are zealous of spirits, seek to abound unto the edifying of the Church. [n. 833]
820. Hic apostolus excludit obiectionem seu falsum intellectum, qui posset esse circa praemissa. Possent enim aliqui credere, quod ex quo apostolus praefert prophetiam dono linguarum, quod donum linguarum esset contemnendum. Unde, ut hoc excludat, dicit volo autem vos, et cetera. Ubi
820. Here the Apostle excludes an objection or false understanding, which could occur in respect to the foregoing. For some might believe that since the Apostle prefers prophecy to the gift of tongues, the latter should be scorned. Hence, to exclude this he says: and I would have you all, where
primo ostendit, quid intenderit insinuare;
he first shows what he intends to insinuate;
secundo rationem horum assignat, ibi nam maior, et cetera.
second, he gives the reason, at for greater is he.
821. Dicit ergo: licet haec, quae dicta sunt supra, dixerim, non tamen volo vos donum linguarum spernere, sed volo vos omnes loqui linguis, tamen magis volo ut prophetetis. Num. XI, 29: quis tribuat ut omnis populus, et cetera.
821. He says, therefore: although I said the things stated above, I do not wish to spurn the gift of tongues, but I would have you all to speak with tongues, but more to prophesy: would that the Lord’s people were prophets (Num 11:29).
822. Cuius rationem assignat, cum dicit nam maior, etc., quasi dicat: ideo volo ut magis prophetetis, quia maior est, et cetera.
822. He assigns the reason for this when he says: for greater is he who prophecies. As if to say: the reason I wish that you would prophesy more is that it is greater.
Et huius ratio est, quia aliquando aliqui moventur a Spiritu Sancto loqui aliquid mysticum, quod ipsi non intelligunt; unde isti habent donum linguarum. Aliquando autem non solum loquuntur linguis, sed etiam ea, quae dicunt, interpretantur. Et ideo dicit nisi forte interpretetur.
The reason for this is that some are sometimes moved by the Holy Spirit to speak something mystical, which they do not understand. Hence, they have the gift of tongues. But sometimes they not only speak in tongues, but also interpret what they say. Hence he says: unless perhaps he interprets.
Nam donum linguarum cum interpretatione est melius quam prophetia; quia, sicut dictum est, interpretatio cuiuscumque ardui pertinet ad prophetiam. Unde qui loquitur et qui interpretatur propheta est et donum linguarum habet, et interpretatur, ut Ecclesiam Dei aedificet; ideo dicit ut Ecclesia, etc., id est non solum intelligat se, sed etiam ut Ecclesia aedificetur. Rom. XIV, 19: quae aedificationis sunt invicem custodiamus. Et Rom. XV, v. 2: unusquisque proximo suo placeat in bonum ad aedificationem.
For the gift of tongues with interpretation is better than prophecy, because as has been said, the interpretation of anything arduous pertains to prophecy. Hence, one who speaks and interprets is a prophet and has the gift of tongues, and he interprets in order to edify the Church. Hence he says, that the Church may receive edification, i.e., that he not only understand himself but also edify the Church: let us pursue what makes for mutual edification (Rom 14:19); let each of you please the neighbor for his good to edify him (Rom 15:2).
823. Nunc autem, fratres, et cetera. Hic probat donum prophetiae esse excellentius quam donum linguarum, per exempla, et hoc tripliciter.
823. Then when he says: now, brethren, he proves by examples that the gift of prophecy is more excellent than the gift of tongues, and this in three ways:
Primo per exemplum a seipso sumptum;
first, by giving an example taken from himself;
secundo per exemplum sumptum a rebus inanimatis, ibi tamen quae sine anima, etc.;
second, by an example taken from inanimate things, at even things without life;
tertio per exemplum sumptum ab hominibus diversimode loquentibus, ibi tam multa, et cetera.
third by an example taken from men speaking different language, at there are, for example.
824. Ex seipso autem argumentatur sic: constat ergo quod ego non minus habeo donum linguarum quam vos; sed si loquerer vobis solum linguis, et non interpretarer, nihil vobis prodessem. Ergo nec vos ab invicem.
824. Using himself as an example he argues this: consequently, it is clear that I do not have the gift of tongues less than you. But if I were to speak to you only in tongues and did not interpret, you would not profit at all. Therefore, neither would you from one another.
Et hoc est quod dicit nunc autem, fratres, si venero ad vos linguis loquens. Hoc dupliciter potest intelligi, scilicet vel linguis ignotis, vel, ad litteram, quibuscumque signis non intellectis.
And this is what he says: now brethren, if I come to you speaking with tongues. This can be understood in two ways, namely, either by an unknown language, or literally, by whatever sign that is not understood.
825. Quid vobis prodero, nisi loquar vobis aut in revelatione, et cetera.
825. What shall I profit you, unless I speak to you either in revelation or in knowledge or in prophecy or in doctrine?
Ubi notandum quod ista quatuor, scilicet aut in revelatione, etc., possunt dupliciter distingui.
It should be noted that those four things, namely, revelation, knowledge, prophecy, doctrine, can be distinguished in two ways:
Uno modo penes ea de quibus sunt. Et sic sciendum est, quod illustratio mentis ad cognoscendum, est de quatuor, quia vel est de divinis, et haec illustratio pertinet ad donum sapientiae. Divinorum enim, ut supra dictum est II, 11 est revelatio, quia, quae sunt Dei, nemo novit, et cetera. Et ideo dicit in revelatione, qua scilicet illuminatur mens ad cognoscendum divina.
in one way according to the things they concern. In this way, it should be noted that the illumination of the mind for understanding concerns four things, because it is either about divine things, and this illumination of the mind pertains to the gift of wisdom. For, as was stated above, revelation is concerned with divine things, because the things of God no one knows except the Spirit of God (1 Cor 2:11). Therefore, he says: in revelation, by which the mind is enlightened to know divine things.
Vel est de terrenis, et non de quibuscumque, sed de illis tantum, quae sunt ad aedificationem fidei, et hoc pertinet ad donum scientiae, et ideo dicit in scientia, non geometriae, nec astrologiae, quia haec non pertinent ad aedificationem fidei, sed in scientia quae est sanctorum. Sap. X, 10: dedit illi scientiam sanctorum, et cetera.
Or it is about earthly things, and not just any but only about those which pertain to the building up of faith: and this pertains to the gift of knowledge. Therefore he says: in knowledge, not geometry or astronomy, because these do not pertain to the building up of the faith, but in knowledge of holy things: he gave them knowledge of holy things (Wis 10:10).
Vel est de eventibus futurorum, et hoc pertinet ad donum prophetiae; et ideo dicit aut in prophetia. Sap. VIII, 8: signa et monstra scit antequam fiant, et eventus temporum et saeculorum.
Or it is about future events, and this pertains to the gift of prophecy: hence he says: or in prophecy: she has foreknowledge of signs and wonders and of the outcome of seasons and of times (Wis 8:8).
Notandum autem quod prophetia non accipitur hic communiter, scilicet secundum quod supra dictum est, sed accipitur hic particulariter prout est manifestatio futurorum tantum. Et secundum hoc diffinitur a Cassiodoro: prophetia est divina inspiratio rerum futura immobili veritate denuntians. Eccli. XXIV, 46: adhuc doctrinam quasi prophetiam effundam, et cetera.
It should be noted that prophecy is not taken here as it is generally used and was explained above, but it is taken here in a special sense, as a manifestation of future events only. In this sense it is defined by Cassiodorus: prophecy is divine inspiration announcing with infallible truth the future of things. I will again pour out teaching like prophecy (Sir 24:33).
Vel est de agendis moralibus, et hoc pertinet ad doctrinam; et ideo dicit aut in doctrina. Rom. XII, 7: qui docet in doctrina. Prov. XIII, 15: doctrina bona dabit gratiam.
Or is it is about moral acts, and this pertaining to teaching; therefore he says: or in doctrine: he who teaches, in teaching (Rom 12:7); good teaching wins favor (Prov 13:15).
826. Alio modo possunt haec distingui penes diversos modos acquirendi cognitionem.
826. They can be distinguished in another way according to the various ways that knowledge is acquired.
Et sic sciendum est quod omnis cognitio aut est a supernaturali principio, scilicet Deo, aut naturali, scilicet lumine naturali intellectus nostri.
And thus it should be known that all knowledge is either from a supernatural source, namely, God, or from a natural, i.e., the natural light of the intellect.
Si autem a supernaturali principio, scilicet lumine divino infuso, hoc potest esse dupliciter, quia aut infunditur subito cognitio, et sic est revelatio; aut infunditur successive, et sic est prophetia, quam non subito habuerunt prophetae, sed successive et per partes, ut eorum prophetiae ostendunt.
If it is from a supernatural principle, namely, by a divinely infused light, it can happen in two ways: because it is either infused by sudden knowledge, and then it is revelation; or it is infused successively, and then it is prophecy, which the prophets did not have suddenly but successively and by parts, as their prophecies show.
Si vero cognitio acquiratur a naturali principio, hoc est aut per studium proprium, et sic pertinet ad scientiam; aut traditur ab alio, et sic pertinet ad doctrinam.
But if the knowledge is acquired by a natural principle, this is either through one’s own study and then it pertains to knowledge, or it is presented by someone else, and then it pertains to teaching.
827. Tamen quae sine anima, et cetera. Hic ostendit idem per exempla sumpta ex rebus inanimatis, scilicet per instrumenta quae videntur vocem habere. Et
827. Even things without life that give sound. Here he shows the same thing with examples taken from inanimate things, namely, instruments which seem to have a voice:
primo per instrumenta gaudii;
first, with instruments of joy;