|1st Corinthians Chapter 14
|1Co 14:1 Follow after charity, and desire spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may prophesy.
Prophesy serves those present who would benefit from hearing the word. If all of us would come together and just start worshipping in tongues, that would be great for us, but those present that need to hear a message of comfort, salvation or exhortation would be ignored. The same would be true if we all came together and just sang praise choruses without any preaching, prophecy or exhortation.
If we all went to the altar and just prayed in our own language and didn't give the word to those who needed to hear it, it would be the same thing.
Worship and praise is great but the word needs to be brought forth just in case there is someone who can't pray for some reason and needs exhortation from the word of God. There is no substitute for the giving forth of the word.
Singing is great, praying both with tongues and in our own language is great, testifying is great but hearing either prophesy or preaching by those anointed to preach the word should never be neglected.
1Co 14:2 For he that speaketh in an unknown tongue speaketh not unto men, but unto God: for no man understandeth him; howbeit in the spirit he speaketh mysteries.
One of the mysteries of speaking in tongues is that we can pray in the spirit. Sometimes we just don't know what to pray for but the spirit of God knows. Speaking in tongues is a way to pray to God. It edifies the one doing the praying. It does very little for the person who may be listening and is not praying themselves. So it is between a person and God. It is wonderful but in public when its time for the word to be brought forth, the one speaking in tongues must pray quietly or wait until the preaching is done and it is time to pray. It is not wrong to pray in tongues if every one is praying together and it is time to pray. Just because you hear someone speaking in tongues out loud does not mean they are in the wrong. The only time when they should remain quiet is when it is time for the word to be preached or taught and we must all stop our singing, worship, praise etc so that the word can be heard by those that need it.
1Co 14:3 But he that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort.
1Co 14:4 He that speaketh in an unknown tongue edifieth himself; but he that prophesieth edifieth the church.
1Co 14:5 I would that ye all spake with tongues, but rather that ye prophesied: for greater is he that prophesieth than he that speaketh, with tongues, except he interpret, that the church may receive edifying.
I don't believe that Paul means that one person is greater than the other because that would contradict other scriptures. I believe he meant that in public assemblies where the word needs to be given to all present, it is better to prophesy than to speak with tongues out loud. The greater need is to prophesy. He is not downplaying speaking in tongues. How can one downplay any gift of God? He is just instructing us to keep silent when the word is brought forth so that those that need the word can be edified.
1Co 14:6 Now, brethren, if I come unto you speaking with tongues, what shall I profit you, except I shall speak to you either by revelation, or by knowledge, or by prophesying, or by doctrine?
1Co 14:7 And even things without life giving sound, whether pipe or harp, except they give a distinction in the sounds, how shall it be known what is piped or harped?
Speaking in tongues is for our own edification and is between us and God unless there is one who will interpret what we are speaking. If we are not giving a message for all to hear to be interpreted, then we must lower our voice and speak only to God when in a public assembly and the word is being preached. We should never interrupt someone preaching the word to pray out loud in tongues or in our own language. The same would be true if we interrupted the preaching or prophesying with singing, clapping, or any form of worship. Apparently the Corinthians may have thought since they could speak with tongues they could do it all the time in public hindering the preaching of the word.
1Co 14:8 For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle?
1Co 14:9 So likewise ye, except ye utter by the tongue words easy to be understood, how shall it be known what is spoken? for ye shall speak into the air.
If one got up and spoke in Latin, Spanish or by praying in the spirit when it was time for the word to be preached, it would not do the hearers any good. We have to speak in the language the hearers spoke and understood in order to edify them.
1Co 14:10 There are, it may be, so many kinds of voices in the world, and none of them is without signification.
1Co 14:11 Therefore if I know not the meaning of the voice, I shall be unto him that speaketh a barbarian, and he that speaketh shall be a barbarian unto me.
1Co 14:12 Even so ye, forasmuch as ye are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek that ye may excel to the edifying of the church.
When we remember the 13th chapter of Corinthians on love, we can see why it was so important to include it in the book of Corinthians. If we are made perfect in love, our desire would not just be our own edification but we would desire for unbelievers to receive the word and also for those that need comfort, exhortation and help to receive edification. We never should use the gifts of the spirit to puff ourselves up and bring attention or ourselves in any way. The glory belongs to God and the gifts are given to share the gospel with others and edify others. Never are they given to glorify a certain person or exalt one above another. If I lay hands on a sick person and they are healed, that doesn't make me any more holy than someone who does not. We have nothing that wasn't given from God and that isn't available to all who seek Him.
1Co 14:13 Wherefore let him that speaketh in an unknown tongue pray that he may interpret.
If we do give a public utterance in tongues, we should pray that we interpret it so that the hearers can be edified.
This clarifies a little confusion. If it was wrong to pray in tongues in public then Paul wouldn't have said this. I've heard people say that it is wrong to ever speak in tongues in church and even discredited the person to did the speaking. Paul was not saying that. If one gives forth an utterance in tongues and no one interprets it, then we must keep silent and just speak quietly to God. There is no way we can know ahead of time that there is no interpreter. So if one just speaks and there is no one to interpret, that doesn't mean he is out of God's will or out of order. If he continues to speak in tongues when it is clear that there is no interpreter, then we can say he or she may be out of order but not if just one utterance is given.
However, let us remember the 13th chapter and walk in love not accusation. Give allowances for mistakes especially for those who have not yet understood the correct order that Paul is bringing forth to us. It doesn't mean a person is, "of the devil," if they make a mistake in this area. Walk in love.
1Co 14:14 For if I pray in an unknown tongue, my spirit prayeth, but my understanding is unfruitful.
1Co 14:15 What is it then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also: I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also.
1Co 14:16 Else when thou shalt bless with the spirit, how shall he that occupieth the room of the unlearned say Amen at thy giving of thanks, seeing he understandeth not what thou sayest?
1Co 14:17 For thou verily givest thanks well, but the other is not edified.
Remember the word, "For thou verily givest thanks well." Tongues are not wrong and not a lesser gift. Some avoid it all together because they misunderstand Paul's message. He never says, not to speak with tongues. He only says that in public assemblies, we must be aware of others present and seek that they may be edified.
1Co 14:18 I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than ye all:
1Co 14:19 Yet in the church I had rather speak five words with my understanding, that by my voice I might teach others also, than ten thousand words in an unknown tongue.
1Co 14:20 Brethren, be not children in understanding: howbeit in malice be ye children, but in understanding be men.
If we walked in love these things would have a way of working out.
1Co 14:21 In the law it is written, With men of other tongues and other lips will I speak unto this people; and yet for all that will they not hear me, saith the Lord.
1Co 14:22 Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not: but prophesying serveth not for them that believe not, but for them which believe.
1Co 14:23 If therefore the whole church be come together into one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in those that are unlearned, or unbelievers, will they not say that ye are mad?
1Co 14:24 But if all prophesy, and there come in one that believeth not, or one unlearned, he is convinced of all, he is judged of all:
1Co 14:25 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.
1Co 14:26 How is it then, brethren? when ye come together, every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying.
This is the main purpose of public assemblies. To help, to edify, to comfort, or bring forth the word, to strengthen to bless others.
Love, Love, love is the key. Do all in love and for the glory of God. Don't seek just to be heard, just to glorify self or just to entertain. Seek for the good of others and for the glory of God. Will what I'm about to say help someone else or is it going to puff up myself?
1Co 14:27 If any man speak in an unknown tongue, let it be by two, or at the most by three, and that by course; and let one interpret.
1Co 14:28 But if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the church; and let him speak to himself, and to God.
He has to speak first before it can be known if there is an interpreter. Some take this to mean that no one ever should speak in tongues in church. Interpreters can be the one speaking in tongues or someone else. A person has to be yielded to the Holy Spirit at that particular time in order to interpret tongues. If there is no interpreter present, it could just mean that no one present has been spiritually prepared to interpret. To interpret tongues, I believe one has to be what we use to call, "Prayed up." He has to be spiritually in tune with what God wants at the time.
1Co 14:29 Let the prophets speak two or three, and let the other judge.
Maintain order so that others can be edified. God does not cause confusion. In saying that, we must be compassionate toward the newbie that may have not learned to yield to the spirit in a way that edifies others. If we are quick to pounce on those that make mistakes, we may discourage them from ever being used by the Holy Spirit.
Again we are reminded of the 13th chapter on love.
1Co 14:30 If any thing be revealed to another that sitteth by, let the first hold his peace.
1Co 14:31 For ye may all prophesy one by one, that all may learn, and all may be comforted.
1Co 14:32 And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets.
Although the gifts are perfect, we are not perfect. We still have control over how and when they are used. The Holy Spirit does not take over and dominate our will.
We can hold back or we can yield to the spirit.
1Co 14:33 For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.
1Co 14:34 Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law.
1Co 14:35 And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.
This has caused a lot of controversy about whether a woman can preach or prophesy. First of all let us consider other verses.
Joe 2:28 And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions:
Act 2:17 And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:
Act 21:8 And the next day we that were of Paul's company departed, and came unto Caesarea: and we entered into the house of Philip the evangelist, which was was one of the seven; and abode with him.
Act 21:9 And the same man had four daughters, virgins, which did prophesy.
Why would God give women gifts of the spirit and then tell them not to use them?
So Paul must be referring to something else.
Perhaps they had a habit of interrupting the men and asking questions in the middle of the service thereby causing confusion and disorder. Perhaps they wanted to take over the authority and were not allowing the men to use the authority given to them. We could suppose all kinds of things and we have to consider other verses. We know that women prophesied in the bible. Also Anna was a prophetess. God did use women.
1Ti 2:12 But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.
A woman should not presume to take authority over a man called of God to have authority. It couldn't be wrong for a woman to teach a Sunday School class if there were no qualified men present to teach. She may be the appointed teacher in a given situation and there may be a qualified male present but that person was not the appointed teacher, so I can't see where it would be wrong for her to teach unless she assumed that position herself and took authority that wasn't given to her or that was originally given to a man.
I personally prefer a man for the church leadership. However if we lived in a remote place and there were no saved men called of God, and there was only a woman who was saved and had a burden for the lost, how can we say that God wouldn't want the gospel to be preached because there were no qualified men who would do it?
We can't just use Paul's words to forbid women to be used of God. Its obvious to me that women were to be in subjection and not assume authority that God doesn't give them, but there are many times when God uses women. Godly women though usually are not the type to desire to be domineering over men.
1Co 14:36 What? came the word of God out from you? or came it unto you only?
1Co 14:37 If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord.
1Co 14:38 But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant.
1Co 14:39 Wherefore, brethren, covet to prophesy, and forbid not to speak with tongues.
"Forbid not to speak with tongues" is to be remembered for some have used this same chapter to do that very thing.
We must get away from the idea that tongues are strange and weird. It is a sign from God that He is among us, it is a sign that the gospel is for every tongue, tribe and nation, it is proof of the supernatural power of God and to speak by the spirit in this manner is beautiful.
The first time I spoke in tongues was on the way home from church in the back seat of my dad's car. He was driving. My step mother was beside him. I was in the back seat just thinking about God. No one was praying or even paying any attention to me. All the sudden I started saying, "Praise the Lord," quietly. I felt something take over my tongue and I began to speak in a beautiful language that I had never heard before. I could tell it was a language. The enunciation was perfect.
I never can deny the existence of God after that. That was proof to me that God exists, the bible is true and Jesus Christ is the way of salvation just like the bible teaches. I have proof every time I speak in another tongue.
1Co 14:40 Let all things be done decently and in order.
All must be done to edify the church, save the lost and bring glory to Jesus Christ. Love is the key.