1 Corinthians 13:1 'If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.'
1 Corinthians 13:1
ESV - 1 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.
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First, you have to know Paul's audience--the Corinthian church was divisive and everyone wanted the dramatic and showy gifts of languages. Paul always referred to HUMAN languages when he used "tongues" in the plural. "Tongues of men" = languages. You must admit, that's a pretty "showy" gift to have--to be able to speak in a foreign language. But the Corinthians wanted it for all of the wrong reasons. The "tongues of angels" is just Paul being hypothetical "(If I speak..."). There is no biblical teaching of any special angelic language that people could learn to speak. The whole point Paul was trying to make was that without love for each other as Christians, a church has NOTHING. The showy spiritual gifts don't make you a Christian and are not given to one-up the person next to you. Paul was trying to get them to re-focus on what gives them commonality, Jesus Christ, instead of comparing spirit gifts.
Since the next verse is another contrast of a spiritual gift, prophesy, Paul is saying in this verse 'Whenever I (or anyone) is exercising the spiritual gift of tongues by speaking in the language of men or even of angels, without love it is just noise.' In other words, don't be so concerned with whether or not you have a particular spiritual gift, rather that you are presenting Christ through your spiritual gifts. I don't think Paul was referring to an actual angelic language, rather, he was giving the full range of what could come from our mouths. Ordinary speech all the way to words of angels. Hyperbole to make his point. Therefore none of those hearing his message could say "let me speak because I speak in tongues better than you".
An angel is a messenger used by God. A different being than we are. They are spirit that can take on human form and appear visibly to us. Consider Genesis 19:1 "And there came two angels to Sodom...Lot seeing them...bowed himself...vs. 3 they...entered into his house...vs 12 And the men said unto Lot...." The angels spoke! Vs. 15. "And when the morning arose, then the angels hastened Lot, saying. Arise..." Exodus 3:2, "And the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a flame of fire.." Numbers 22:23,.."And the ass saw the angel of the Lord..." Animals can see angels! Judges 2:1"And an angel of the Lord came up from Gilgal...and said, I made you to go up out of Egypt..." 1 Chronicles 21:16, "And David lifted up his eyes, and saw an angel of the Lord stand between earth and heaven, having a drawn sword in his hand..." Matthew 1:20 "But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, Joseph..." Acts 12:7 "And behold, the angel of the Lord came upon him, and a light shined in the prison: and he smote Peter on the side, and he raised him up saying, Arise up quickly..." I could go on and on! However, we see that angels have many gifts and they do God's bidding. I think this passage is saying that although...well let me quote again, 1 Corinthians 13:12,13 "For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then I shall know even as I am known. And now abideth these three; but the greatest of these is charity." There is so much more than we in our human experience now know. Angels are powerful and speak and are near. God is watching, God knows all! We are limited. HAVE FAITH!
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