1 Corinthians 14:18 I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than ye all: 19 Yet in the church I had rather speak five words with my understanding, that by my voice I might teach others also, than ten thousand words in an unknown tongue.
Paul could speak with tongues more than anyone in the Corinthian church. Does this mean that he could blabber better than the rest of them? Does it mean that he could blabber longer than they could? No, he is not talking about speaking IN tongues, he said “WITH” tongues. He is talking about being thankful for the ability to speak in more different languages than anyone in the Corinthian church could speak in. If it does not mean that, then it makes no sense that he says, “…more than ye all.”
Even though Paul had the gift of tongues more than anyone in the Corinthian church, he would rather speak 5 words of understanding with his own voice than 10,000 words in an unknown tongue. Why does he feel this way? Because he wanted to teach others so that they might also have the knowledge that he had about God. His desire was to educate people about God, NOT to edify himself.
When Paul says, “…Yet in the church…” this does NOT mean that when he is outside of the church, he would rather speak in tongues instead of teaching people. He still wanted the people to learn the message of God, and to understand what they were learning. Outside of the church there may be times when he is talking to someone, while other bystanders do not speak the same language. In this case, he is thankful for the gift of speaking with tongues. Inside the church he means that there should be a special emphasis on speaking the same thing so there is a clear understanding of what is being taught.
How does a person account for all this arguing about tongues being right or wrong with verse 19 looking them right in the face? What is a person going to do with that verse? According to this passage, IF all the people who claim to have tongues are in fact baptized by the Holy Ghost and speaking by the Holy Spirit, it still wouldn’t be worth taking the time to look at it. IF every tongue talker in the world was speaking in genuine tongues, it would not be worth wasting five minutes of your time to even look at it, according to the apostle Paul. However, if you could stand up in a building and say five words a man can understand, you would do more for the body of Christ than a Charismatic could do in a whole week of talking in tongues.
This Commentary has done “better” for the Body of Christ than every charismatic in the world has done for the past ten years—according to verse 19. When we say something like that, we know that somebody will blow their top. “Well, who does he think he is…? Blah blah blah blah.” Well, God put verse 20 in the Bible for that somebody.