1 Corinthians 14:13-25

Scripture

1 Corinthians 14:13-25

Observation

  • Based on what Paul has just argued about using gifts in a way that benefits everyone, he says that those who have the gift of tongues should ask the Holy Spirit for the ability to interpret the foreign tongue
  • If one prays in tongues his spirit is encouraged but his mind lays fallow
  • The solution would be to encourage both spirit and mind by speaking in tongues and interpreting its meaning
  • For even though ones spirit is encouraged, everyone around him can’t give thanks for the encouragement because they don’t understand the tongue.
  • It’s good to be edified, but not at the expense of those around you who aren’t
  • Paul is not putting the gift of tongues down, for he uses the gift often himself
  • But as a principle, in the church, Paul would rather speak a few words that encourages everyone, than 10,000 that only benefits himself
  • Paul encourages then not to think like children, they can be babies with regard to evil, but in tings of the church they need to think like adults.
  • Paul quotes Isaiah 28:11&12 which says that the Lord would speak in strange tongues that did not lead to belief
  • Paul gives an example that if an unbeliever comes into the church and everyone is speaking an unknown language they would conclude everyone has gone crazy.
  • However, if they were speaking on behalf of God in prophesy the unbeliever (or someone without the gift of tongues) would understand the truth and might be led to conviction, repentance, and decide to worship God because it was clear that God was moving among them.

Application

There are many languages in the world, and people who speak different languages can rarely understand each other. It is the same with speaking in tongues. Although this gift is helpful to many people in private worship and in public worship with interpretation, Paul wrote that the point of using a gift in public is to encourage everyone. We are confronted with some basic questions: Do we pay attention in worship? Do we seek to be clear in what we say? Are we sensitive to making worship always understandable to others?

Unusual or unexpected spiritual events can be exciting in a church service, but they work against the point of coming together if those from outside the church culture are left bewildered at what is going on and why. We don't need to ask God to get our attention in some strange new way; instead, we need to ask for fresh attention to the amazing ways God has already made himself known. Instead of looking for something dynamic, we should simply follow what God has clearly communicated to us.

Prayer

Father, thank you for Your amazing power and work in my life. I appreciate the miracles You do in my life. Please forgive me for always seeking the spectacular and missing the power of a simple clear truth. As a leader of Your people, guide me on how we can gather and be clear, encouraging, and engage everyone who is present. May we experience the genuine move of the Holy Spirit through changed lives as a result of good news. In Jesus name I pray, AMEN.

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