2

In 1 Corinthians 14:15 Paul is admonishing the Corinthians for "wasting their breath" by addressing God and others (including unbelievers) in languages that were not understood by the hearers:

[1Co 14:15 KJV] 15 What is it then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also: I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also.

There appears to me to be a clear link with Psalm 46 LXX (Psalm 47 Masoretic):

     7 *Sing psalms to our God! Sing psalms! 
       Sing psalms to our King! Sing psalms! 
     8 *For God is the King of all of the earth. 
       Sing psalms intelligently! 


Brannan, R., Penner, K. M., Loken, I., Aubrey, M., & Hoogendyk, I. (Eds.). (2012). The Lexham English Septuagint (Ps 46:7–8). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

However, neither Romans 12:1 where Paul speaks of "reasonable worship" nor in the Corinthian passage is the same word for "intelligently".

So is this an allusion and if so:

  • what did the Psalm originally intend?
  • why didn't Paul use the actual words?
  • how does seeing a parallel to this particular Psalm enhance our understanding of either the Psalm, Romans 12:1 or 1 Corinthians 14?
1

The text of 1 Cor 14:15b is:

ψαλῶ δὲ καὶ τῷ νοΐ , which I would translate as "but I will sing praises also with the mind"

The LXX text of Ps 46:8 (LXX) is:

ψάλατε συνετῶς , which translates as "sing praises with understanding".

Note that the only single word in common here is the verb ψαλῶ (psalō). This word is very common in the Psalms (for obvious reasons). Note that the construction and grammar of both verses is entirely different. They only share the word, "understand" in English because of the translation of some versions in English. However, the Greek is different.

The context of the two statements is also quite different. In 1 Cor 14:15, Paul is making a point about singing "in the spirit"; while the cause of praise and song in Ps 46:8 is the greatness of God, specifically, His sovereignty of the earth.

In Rom 12:1, "reasonable worship", as far as I can tell, only comes from Weymouth's translation. The actual phrase is λογικὴν λατρείαν which is literally, "reasonable (or logical) service". Again, a completely different word in the Greek. Further, Rom 12:1 is discussing the way Christians are to use their bodies and does not even consider worship or praise.

While I totally agree that our private and corporate worship should be with the mind, reasonable, and with understanding, I struggle to see a parallel between 1 Cor 14:15 and Ps 46:8 (LXX) text.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.