1 Corinthians 14:1-40
1 Pursue love, and desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy.
2 For he who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God, for no one understands him; however, in the spirit he speaks mysteries.
3 But he who prophesies speaks edification and exhortation and comfort to men.
4 He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself, but he who prophesies edifies the church.
5 I wish you all spoke with tongues, but even more that you prophesied; for he who prophesies is greater than he who speaks with tongues, unless indeed he interprets, that the church may receive edification.
6 But now, brethren, if I come to you speaking with tongues, what shall I profit you unless I speak to you either by revelation, by knowledge, by prophesying, or by teaching?
7 Even things without life, whether flute or harp, when they make a sound, unless they make a distinction in the sounds, how will it be known what is piped or played?
8 For if the trumpet makes an uncertain sound, who will prepare for battle?
9 So likewise you, unless you utter by the tongue words easy to understand, how will it be known what is spoken? For you will be speaking into the air.
10 There are, it may be, so many kinds of languages in the world, and none of them is without significance.
11 Therefore, if I do not know the meaning of the language, I shall be a foreigner to him who speaks, and he who speaks will be a foreigner to me.
12 Even so you, since you are zealous for spiritual gifts, let it be for the edification of the church that you seek to excel.
13 Therefore let him who speaks in a tongue pray that he may interpret.
14 For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my understanding is unfruitful.
15 What is the conclusion then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will also pray with the understanding. I will sing with the spirit, and I will also sing with the understanding.
16 Otherwise, if you bless with the spirit, how will he who occupies the place of the uninformed say “Amen” at your giving of thanks, since he does not understand what you say?
17 For you indeed give thanks well, but the other is not edified.
18 I thank my God I speak with tongues more than you all;
19 yet in the church I would rather speak five words with my understanding, that I may teach others also, than ten thousand words in a tongue.
20 Brethren, do not be children in understanding; however, in malice be babes, but in understanding be mature.
21 In the law it is written: “WITH MEN OF OTHER TONGUES AND OTHER LIPS I WILL SPEAK TO THIS PEOPLE; AND YET, FOR ALL THAT, THEY WILL NOT HEAR ME,” says the Lord.
22 Therefore tongues are for a sign, not to those who believe but to unbelievers; but prophesying is not for unbelievers but for those who believe.
23 Therefore if the whole church comes together in one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in those who are uninformed or unbelievers, will they not say that you are out of your mind?
24 But if all prophesy, and an unbeliever or an uninformed person comes in, he is convinced by all, he is convicted by all.
25 And thus the secrets of his heart are revealed; and so, falling down on his face, he will worship God and report that God is truly among you.
26 How is it then, brethren? Whenever you come together, each of you has a psalm, has a teaching, has a tongue, has a revelation, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification.
27 If anyone speaks in a tongue, let there be two or at the most three, each in turn, and let one interpret.
28 But if there is no interpreter, let him keep silent in church, and let him speak to himself and to God.
29 Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others judge.
30 But if anything is revealed to another who sits by, let the first keep silent.
31 For you can all prophesy one by one, that all may learn and all may be encouraged.
32 And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets.
33 For God is not the author of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints.
34 Let your women keep silent in the churches, for they are not permitted to speak; but they are to be submissive, as the law also says.
35 And if they want to learn something, let them ask their own husbands at home; for it is shameful for women to speak in church.
36 Or did the word of God come originally from you? Or was it you only that it reached?
37 If anyone thinks himself to be a prophet or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things which I write to you are the commandments of the Lord.
38 But if anyone is ignorant, let him be ignorant.
39 Therefore, brethren, desire earnestly to prophesy, and do not forbid to speak with tongues.
40 Let all things be done decently and in order.
For any spiritual gift utilized in a public gathering, there is a need to yield to the order and purpose of that service. For any who will operate in a gift, there is a necessity of being filled with the Spirit, which is accompanied with tongues as evidence. It is from this personal edifying of one’s own spirit that there is even a capacity to speak by the Spirit’s inspiration and beyond the natural mind. However, when the purpose of the gathering is to grow in revelation and understanding, there is a need for speech in an understood language. The reference here to prophetic speech is not confining it to some kind of foretelling or special word of wisdom spoken to individuals, but is to include any speech that edifies, exhorts or comforts. This should include the teaching of the Word, that it be by the Spirit and not just the thoughts of men. Paul repeatedly emphasizes that his intent is not to deny or refuse tongues altogether, but to defer one’s personal edification to that of the congregation. He is addressing a tendency for people to speak out almost competitively, as if their gift entitles them to utter things randomly, whenever so inclined. This was probably most prevalent among the women, who are frequently more sensitive to the Spirit and may naturally feel less restraint. While there is great reliance on the Spirit for direction and revelation in every gathering, it should never be the individual gift that determines that direction, if it is producing confusion and conflicting messages or purpose. When the Holy Spirit is truly guiding, it will be evident in the order that flows to edify the body as a whole, with little emphasis on the “gifted”. Love, again, is the driving force that brings legitimacy to any movement of the Spirit, and love never seeks its own or becomes offended when it doesn’t get its way. There is no forbidding of tongues – just guiding it to its function and service of producing life and revelation in those for whom it inspires, and not just through whom.
That’s so good. Love never seeks its own. Never puffs itself up. The moving of the
Spirit is never about one person. Edifying us all. So important to remember.
This is a chapter that gets misused quite a bit, at least when I was growing up.
This is the basis where I was taught that tongues were wrong and women shouldn’t be in the ministry and so on.
They completely missed the whole point of what Paul is writing.
Everyone was self seeking edification and in doing so their services were running amok. There was confusion and disorder and it became unprofitable to all because of their heart set.
Our services are to remain in order with our pastors at the helm steering the ship. It is our mandate as the flock, to listen and obey the direction that each service goes and to seek to honor God and not ourselves.
We should want all the gifts God has for us, But we should want them because of what I could do for his kingdom and how it could touch others, not how it could make us look for other people.
The Call for Order in the Church, HOLY SPIRIT FULLNESS. In the midst of God’s working by the power of the Holy Spirit, two points of human vulnerability to confusion sometimes occur: excessive “reserve” or excessive “liberty.” The first comes from the temptation of some to disregard any expression of the Holy Spirit’s manifestation (in this text, speaking with tongues). The second comes from the temptation of some to mistakenly believe their freedom to respond to their sense of God’s presence owes no concern for those around them, or no accountability to leadership. To both, this text gives a warning: neither let reserve “forbid,” nor permit liberties that violate “decency” or “order.” The alternatives are either inconsideration and disruption in the congregation, or a fearful human subduing of God’s Holy Spirit in favor of “order” that is humanly prescribed in the services. Either chaos or human fear can both result in a restriction on the work of the Holy Spirit and a distraction to God’s larger purposes for a congregation. It’s important we trust AND follow the leading of leadership in this area. That’s one of the reasons God has set those in place, to keep the balance and order in the service for the good of all. Never to subdue or reject others gifts but for order and edification to all.