1 Corinthians 14:25 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

1 Corinthians 14:25, NIV: as the secrets of their hearts are laid bare. So they will fall down and worship God, exclaiming, 'God is really among you!'

1 Corinthians 14:25, ESV: the secrets of his heart are disclosed, and so, falling on his face, he will worship God and declare that God is really among you.

1 Corinthians 14:25, KJV: And thus are the secrets of his heart made manifest; and so falling down on his face he will worship God, and report that God is in you of a truth.

1 Corinthians 14:25, NASB: the secrets of his heart are disclosed; and so he will fall on his face and worship God, declaring that God is certainly among you.

1 Corinthians 14:25, NLT: As they listen, their secret thoughts will be exposed, and they will fall to their knees and worship God, declaring, 'God is truly here among you.'

1 Corinthians 14:25, CSB: The secrets of his heart will be revealed, and as a result he will fall facedown and worship God, proclaiming, "God is really among you."

What does 1 Corinthians 14:25 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

How would an unbelieving outsider respond if he or she came into a Christian worship service? What would his impression of Christians be? What would she think of our God? What would they feel about their own responsibility to God?

Paul has described a worship service in which everyone has and is displaying the gift of tongues, the supernatural ability to speak in unknown languages. The result, in that case, would be a conclusion on the part of the unbeliever that the Christians were out of their minds. Since they cannot understand any of the words, they would receive no message from God and no incentive to learn more about Him. The problem would not be one of conviction, or spirituality—it would simply be that the message is entirely gibberish.

Next, Paul pictured a roomful of Christians displaying the gift of prophecy: supernaturally declaring God's messages to those assembled. He insists the result may be very different. Prophecy would involve intelligible words and statements the hearers can all understand. The unbeliever is much more likely to feel convicted about his sins and realize that he is accountable for them.

Now Paul adds that the secrets of this unbeliever's heart would be disclosed. It is unclear if this phrase describes an inner conviction about personal sin, with those secrets being revealed to the unbeliever himself. Or, perhaps, those exercising the gift of prophecy in Paul's day would speak, by God's power, about the unbeliever's sins out loud for all to hear. If so, the unbeliever may experience shame, but also amazement that God knows his heart and deepest sins.

In either case, the result is repentance and worship. Paul describes the unbeliever as falling on his face in the position of the worship of a deity. He worships the one true God along with all the Christians in the room. He declares openly his belief that God is present with them. In short, he comes to faith in Christ through witnessing the display of the gift of prophecy, a far better result than seeing all the believers speaking in tongues with nobody to interpret what is said.