Bless with the spirit (1 Cor. 14:16)

“If you bless

With the spirit,

How can anyone

In the position

Of an outsider say

The ‘Amen’

To your thanksgiving,

When he does not know

What you are saying?”

ἐπεὶ ἐὰν εὐλογῇς πνεύματι, ὁ ἀναπληρῶν τὸν τόπον τοῦ ἰδιώτου πῶς ἐρεῖ τὸ Ἀμήν ἐπὶ τῇ σῇ εὐχαριστίᾳ; ἐπειδὴ τί λέγεις οὐκ οἶδεν·

Paul then asked another question.  If you bless with the spirit (ἐπεὶ ἐὰν εὐλογῇς πνεύματι), how can any uninformed or uninitiated outsider there (ὁ ἀναπληρῶν τὸν τόπον τοῦ ἰδιώτου) say (πῶς ἐρεῖ) “Amen (τὸ Ἀμήν)” to your thanksgiving (ἐπὶ τῇ σῇ εὐχαριστίᾳ), when he does not know (οὐκ οἶδεν) what you are saying (ἐπειδὴ τί λέγεις)?  Paul continued to ask questions when he knew the answer.  If you blessed with the spirit or ecstatic emotional prayer, how could a non-initiated who did know what you are saying respond with an “Amen”, the traditional Jewish response when a person agreed with what was said.  Literally, it meant “So be it!”  The problem of an outsider looking in is that he would be in a state of confusion, since he could not understand what was being said.  They were called the unlearned ones, so that our English word idiot comes from this Greek word ἰδιώτου.  How could you agree with something that you do not understand?

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