Now, brethren, if I come unto you speaking with tongues,
&c.] The apostle exemplifies this matter in himself, and supposes it his own case, that should he who was the apostle of the Gentiles, and to be received by them as such, when he came to them, come with this gift of tongues, which he was capable of, as much, or more than any, see ( 1 Corinthians 14:18 ) and only make use of that,
what shall I profit you?
of what use would my ministry be to you? what instruction, comfort, and edification, could you receive by it?
except I shall speak to you, either by revelation;
by the revelation of Jesus Christ, whereby he received the Gospel he preached; or by the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Christ, and the mysteries of his grace, by which they were made known unto him at first, or by a fresh immediate revelation from heaven:
or by knowledge;
the word of knowledge, one of the peculiar gifts of the Spirit, ( 1 Corinthians 12:8 ) .
Or by prophesying;
the gift of prophecy, another of the extraordinary gifts of the Spirit, mentioned in the same chapter, ( 1 Corinthians 12:10 ) and already explained:
or by doctrine?
the same with the word of wisdom, another gift of the same Spirit, in ( 1 Corinthians 12:8 ) . The apostle intimates, that by the use and exercise of these gifts, he might be profitable to them, to lead them into a clearer view of the doctrines of the Gospel, and for the further improvement of their knowledge in the Scriptures of truth, which could never be done by bare speaking with tongues, and with tongues they understood not.