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“Saint Paul,…says that he would rather address five comprehensible words to the Church, for the benefit of others than thousands of words in a language no-one understands.” (St. Gregory of Nyssa)

“If you…don’t learn to speak to people in the world around you…You may attract a few converts who are looking for some esoteric brand of Christianity, but eventually you’ll [your church will] disappear… meaning needs to be made clear and comprehensible… if the Son of God came as “the Word,” He did so to reveal and to enlighten: to make the Truth known, understandable and accessible to us all.” (Fr. John Breck)

“Paul’s rule is that all that is said and done in the church must be understood…“understanding” here is the Greek term for “mind,” the faculty of reasoning and knowing…Thus, the term refers to the mind’s understanding. It especially denotes the mind’s ability to comprehend the will and ways of God. Therefore, the “mind” should not be despised. Paul says that “I will pray with the spirit and I will pray with understanding” (1 Cor. 14:15)…The truth of God cannot be communicated except through the mind’s understanding. This is true whether revelation, knowledge, or proclamation expresses the message (1 Cor. 14:6). If the hearers of the divine truth are to respond to the proclamation of the Word of God, they must first comprehend it. Therefore, Paul rules that everything said in the church must be intelligible so that it will speak to others, edify them, and build them up in their spirit (1 Cor. 14:12).” (Fr. Basil)

“Many Christian writers, certainly the mystics, wrote about states of ecstasy during praise and worship, of seeing visions of God's heavenly kingdom, of what they perceived eternal life with Christ to be, of how the Holy Spirit spoke to them and through them, to others. But theirs was always understood, intelligible, comprehensible communication. Perhaps they could not describe in earthly and material frames of reference, what they saw and experienced, but they were conscious and fully aware of what was happening. They were not in some state of senselessness. Even the monks on Mount Athos who experience divine communication and have reached a plateau of holiness, do not speak in tongues. They speak in words that are intelligible and utter clear words in hymn and praise of God and His truth.” (Greek Orthodox Archdiocese)

“A scholar in a state of the art library with internet access who speaks a dozen languages is at no advantage in knowing and following God, or in understanding His Creation, over an illiterate monk in a cave. If the Holy Spirit is dwelling in both, if anything, the simple monk has the advantage of fewer distractions to his prayer and less temptation to pride. If this is true, and we all have the Truth within us, why does true wisdom and understanding seem so rare, and why do so many of us still struggle to find it?...In order to understand the things of the Spirit, St. Paul tells us, we need to learn to think about things in a spiritual way, rather than a fleshly (or carnal) way. This distinction which St. Paul makes between the Spirit and the flesh is one which is greatly misunderstood in our time and place…He is not seeking to oppose spiritual things on one hand with material things on the other, or to separate the way we live or daily lives from some kind of esoteric spiritual experiences we might have. Rather, the difference is one of perspective. To see things spiritually is to see things in the Holy Spirit, meaning to see them from God's perspective, to see people and things as the Lord sees them.” (Fr. Stephen De Young)


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