1 Corinthians 14:7-8, 10 AMP (7) Yet even lifeless things, whether flute or harp, when producing a sound, if they do not produce distinct [musical] tones, how will anyone [listening] know what is piped or played. (8) And if the [war] bugle produces an indistinct sound, who will prepare himself for battle?…(10) There are, I suppose, a great many kinds of languages in the world [unknown to us], and none is lacking in meaning.
In I Corinthians 14 Paul is giving instruction about the gift of tongues and interpretation of tongues. But the main point is communication. There are more ways to communicate with each other than spoken and written words. Even lifeless things like a bugle can communicate a message and each message has meaning.
God told Moses to make trumpets to communicate with the multitude. If they blew one trumpet only the princes came. Two trumpets summoned everyone to come. It’s easier to communicate to a vast multitude with a sound than the spoken or written word, especially in Moses’ day void of television, cell phones, e-mail and social media.
How can God justify sending anyone to hell, unless everyone regardless of the language they speak and the technology of the day has the same opportunity to receive faith in God the creator or faith that God is good and wants us to live. How will God communicate his message equally to a vast multitude over centuries when forms of communication and technology are constantly changing? Within my lifetime technology has advanced from a rotary phone attached to a wall to a phone in my pocket.
Romans 10:11-18 NKJ (11) For the scriptures says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.” (12) For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. (13) For “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (14) How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? (15) And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace,
Who bring glad tidings of good things!” (16) But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our report?”(17) So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. (18) But I say, have they not heard? Yes indeed: “Their sound has gone out to all the earth, And their words to the ends of the world.”
The whole world stands condemned before God for believing he is against us because faith is available to every person in a language they can understand, no matter what language they speak, no matter what culture they adhere to, no matter what technology is available.
Don’t think God gave something to Abram he has not given to you. It would not be righteous. We can get faith in God the same way Abram did. Go outside and look at the stars.
We can’t skip verse 16 nor stop reading at the end of verse 17 and understand what Paul is saying! This chapter is a condemnation of the nation of Israel for hearing the truth and refusing to obey God. If you don’t consider verse 16 it sounds like people can’t have faith unless someone is sent to preach to them. Because verse 17 says faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God.
Paul follows verse 17 asking how will we hear without a preacher and how shall they preach unless they are sent, so we assume people cannot have faith in God unless we send people to preach the gospel to them.
Who preached the gospel to Abram? God did. Whose voice did Abram hear? God’s. Yet Abram’s faith was not acknowledged by God until they were outside looking at stars.
I am not arguing against sending human preachers, I am proving to you that God shows no partiality and gives everyone the same opportunities. Faith to believe in God is distributed with equality. That is one reason we are saved by faith and not the things we can do.
Look at the word “BUT” that starts verse 16. Paul said preachers were sent to the nation God saved from oppression, but everyone did not obey. Preachers are still being sent today, all over the world and it’s the same today. Everyone does not obey.
Look at verse 17 as a new paragraph. The start of a new thought not connected with God sending people to preach the gospel. Because that was done throughout Israel’s history, and they still went astray. Based on the fact his nation went astray from God, Paul came to the conclusion that faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God), because many have come and preached the gospel but everyone did not believe.
Then Paul asked a rhetorical question in verse 18. “Surely, they have never heard, have they?” Maybe they have not all obeyed because everyone has not heard the message. Then Paul answered his own question. “Yes, indeed.”
Paul concludes they all heard. Faith in God has come to everyone. Then he quotes from the Old Testament, which is the only scripture he had, to prove a reason to have faith in God has come not only to Israel but to everyone.
In verse 18, Paul declares “Their voice has gone out into all the earth, and their words to the ends of the word.” All the earth to the ends of the world has heard, their voice that gives faith.
Whose voice? Whose voice goes out to all the earth even to the ends of the world from the day Adam and Eve were created to this present day that condemns everyone who fails to have faith in God and obey him.
How did God accomplish that? The answer is in the Psalm Paul quoted.
Psalm 19:1-4 AMP The heavens are telling of the glory of God; And the expanse [of heaven] is declaring the work of his hands. 2 Day after day pours forth speech, and night after night reveals knowledge. 3 There is no speech, nor are there [spoken] words [from the stars]; Their voice is not heard. 4 Yet their voice [in quiet evidence] has gone out through all the earth, their words to the end of the world.
The stars are not speaking with words, but things without life can speak when they are in the hands of someone who possess life. Creation is God’s trumpet calling everyone to believe in his goodness. He is for everyone. He wants everyone to live.
Just as a person might pick up a trumpet to communicate a message, God is communicating a message to us through creation. He speaks to us with a voice louder than words. HIS ACTIONS. If you can hear the voice of his actions, you will have a reason to believe God is for you and wants you to live. Paul clarified what God is saying with the voice of his actions when he tore his clothes and ran in among the multitude of Lycaonian’s who were making preparation to worship him instead of his God.
Acts 14:15-17 NAS95 (15) “Men, why are you doing these things? We are also men of the same nature as you, and preach the gospel to you that you should turn from these vain things to a living God, WHO MADE THE HEAVEN AND THE EARTH AND THE SEA AND ALL THAT IS IN THEM. (16) “In the generations gone by He permitted all the nations to go their own ways; (17) and yet He did not leave Himself without witness, in that He did good and gave you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, satisfying your hearts with food and gladness.”
Actions speak louder than words. God’s witness that we can trust is the voice of his actions. Even though humanity has forsaken God to walk in our own ways, God never stopped being good to us, he never turned off the sun, never stopped the rain from falling, never forbid the earth from producing the food we need to live.
God does not need the flesh in an apple to live. We do. The apple tree does not need to eat the flesh in the apple it produced to live. Why does the tree produce what it does not need to live?
Even in our sins and rebellion God loves us. He speaks to us in a language we can trust, because he wants us to have good things.
1 John 4:19 KJV We love him, because he first loved us.