Scripture: I Corinthians 14

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READ and STUDY the WORD

Gifts of Prophecy and Tongues

1 Corinthians 14:1-25 (WEB) 1 Follow after love and earnestly desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy. For he who speaks in another language speaks not to men, but to God; for no one understands; but in the Spirit he speaks mysteries. But he who prophesies speaks to men for their edification, exhortation, and consolation. He who speaks in another language edifies himself, but he who prophesies edifies the assembly. Now I desire to have you all speak with other languages, but rather that you would prophesy. For he is greater who prophesies than he who speaks with other languages, unless he interprets, that the assembly may be built up.  But now, brothers, if I come to you speaking with other languages, what would I profit you, unless I speak to you either by way of revelation, or of knowledge, or of prophesying, or of teaching? Even things without life, giving a voice, whether pipe or harp, if they didn’t give a distinction in the sounds, how would it be known what is piped or harped? For if the trumpet gave an uncertain sound, who would prepare himself for war? So also you, unless you uttered by the tongue words easy to understand, how would it be known what is spoken? For you would 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 meaning. 11 If then I don’t know the meaning of the language, I would be to him who speaks a foreigner, and he who speaks would be a foreigner to me. 12 So also you, since you are zealous for spiritual gifts, seek that you may abound to the building up of the assembly. 13 Therefore let him who speaks in another language pray that he may interpret. 14 For if I pray in another language, my spirit prays, but my understanding is unfruitful.  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. 16 Otherwise if you bless with the spirit, how will he who fills the place of the unlearned say the “Amen” at your giving of thanks, seeing he doesn’t know what you say? 17 For you most certainly give thanks well, but the other person is not built up. 18 I thank my God, I speak with other languages more than you all. 19 However in the assembly I would rather speak five words with my understanding, that I might instruct others also, than ten thousand words in another language.  20 Brothers, don’t be children in thoughts, yet in malice be babies, but in thoughts be mature. 21 In the law it is written, “By men of strange languages and by the lips of strangers I will speak to this people. They won’t even hear me that way, says the Lord.” 22 Therefore other languages are for a sign, not to those who believe, but to the unbelieving; but prophesying is for a sign, not to the unbelieving, but to those who believe. 23 If therefore the whole assembly is assembled together and all speak with other languages, and unlearned or unbelieving people come in, won’t they say that you are crazy? 24 But if all prophesy, and someone unbelieving or unlearned comes in, he is reproved by all, and he is judged by all. 25 And thus the secrets of his heart are revealed. So he will fall down on his face and worship God, declaring that God is among you indeed.

For other translations of these verses visit: https://classic.biblegateway.com/

Questions and Answers:

1. What did Paul encourage the Corinthian believers to do (I Corinthians 14:1)? Paul encourages the Corinthians to follow after love and earnestly desire spiritual gifts, especially that they might prophesy.

2. To whom is someone who is prophesying speaking and why (I Corinthians 14:3)? He who is prophesying is speaking to men for their edification (strengthening), exhortation (encouragement) and consolation (comfort).

3. Who does the one who speaks in another language edify (I Corinthians 14:4)? He who speaks in another language edifices (strengthens) himself.

4. Though Paul desired every one to speak in tongues, what did he say he would rather they do and why (I Corinthians 14:5)? Paul desired for all the Corinthian believers to prophesy. For Paul believed he who prophesied was greater than he who spoke with other languages.  That is unless the one speaking in another language interpreted what he was saying for then the speaker would be building up those assembled.

5. How did Paul say speaking in tongues should profit the church (I Corinthians 14:6)? Paul said speaking in another language should bring revelation, knowledge, prophesying or teaching.  

6. Since Paul believed the Corinthians were zealous for spiritual gifts, what did he tell them to seek (I Corinthians 14:12)? Paul told them to seek that they might excel in gifts that would build up the assembly (church).  

7. What did Paul say those who spoke in another language should do (I Corinthians 14:13-14)? Paul said let those who speak in another language pray that they might interpret what they were saying. For if they pray in another language, their spirit prays, but their understanding is unfruitful.

8. How did Paul say he would pray and sing (I Corinthians 14:15)? Paul said he would pray with the spirit and with understanding.  He would sing with the spirit and with understanding.

9. Who were not built up when the Corinthians sang or prayed in another language (I Corinthians 14:15-17)? The one who didn’t understand what was being said.

10. Though Paul was grateful to God that he could speak in another language, what would Paul rather do (I Corinthians 14:18-19)? Paul would rather speak five words that he could understand and that he could instruct others with than speak 10,000 words in another language.

11. What did Paul tell the Corinthians to not do and to do (I Corinthians 14:20)? Paul told the Corinthians to not think like children.  In regard to malice (evil) be babies (infants), but in their thinking to be mature (adults).

12. To whom are other languages a sign (I Corinthians 14:22a)? Other languages (when interpreted) are for a sign, not to those who believe, but to the unbelieving.

13. To whom is prophesying a sign (I Corinthians 14:22b-23)?  Prophesying is for a sign, not to the unbelieving but to those who believe.

14. If an unbeliever or unlearned person comes in and hears others prophesying what could happen (I Corinthians 14:24-25)? If an unbeliever or someone who does not understand comes in while everybody is prophesying, he will be convinced by all that he is a sinner and will be judged by all, and the secrets of his heart will be laid bare. So he will fall down and worship God. And exclaim God is among them.

Orderly Worship

I Corinthians 14:26-40 (WEB) 26 What is it then, brothers? When you come together, each one of you has a psalm, has a teaching, has a revelation, has another language, or has an interpretation. Let all things be done to build each other up. 27 If any man speaks in another language, let it be two, or at the most three, and in turn; and let one interpret. 28 But if there is no interpreter, let him keep silent in the assembly, and let him speak to himself, and to God. 29 Let the prophets speak, two or three, and let the others discern. 30 But if a revelation is made to another sitting by, let the first keep silent. 31 For you all can prophesy one by one, that all may learn, and all may be exhorted. 32 The spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets, 33 for God is not a God of confusion, but of peace, as in all the assemblies of the saints. 34 Let the wives be quiet in the assemblies, for it has not been permitted for them to be talking except in submission, as the law also says, 35 if they desire to learn anything. “Let them ask their own husbands at home, for it is shameful for a wife to be talking in the assembly.” 36 What!? Was it from you that the word of God went out? Or did it come to you alone?  37 If any man thinks himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him recognize the things which I write to you, that they are the commandment of the Lord. 38 But if anyone is ignorant, let him be ignorant.  39 Therefore, brothers, desire earnestly to prophesy, and don’t forbid speaking with other languages. 40 Let all things be done decently and in order.

Questions and Answers:

1. What should be done to build others up (I Corinthians 14:26)? All things in the church should be done to build each other up.

2. What should be done if there is no interpreter (I Corinthians 14:27-28)? If there is no interpreter there should be no one speaking in tongues. The one who desires to speak in tongues should speak to himself and God.

3. How should prophesying be handled (I Corinthians 14:29-31)? All who want to prophesy should do so in an orderly manner.

4. Who are subject to the prophets (I Corinthians 14:32)? The spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets.

5. What is God not and what is He (I Corinthians 14:33)? God is not a God of confusion, but of peace.

6. What was Paul’s final word (I Corinthians 14:39-40)? “Therefore, brothers, desire earnestly to prophesy, and don’t forbid speaking with other languages. Let all things be done decently and in order.”

HEAR the WORD

I Corinthians 14:2 (WEB) For he who speaks in another language speaks not to men, but to God; for no one understands; but in the Spirit he speaks mysteries. 

I Corinthians 14:22-25 (WEB) 22 Therefore other languages are for a sign, not to those who believe, but to the unbelieving; but prophesying is for a sign, not to the unbelieving, but to those who believe. 23 If therefore the whole assembly is assembled together and all speak with other languages, and unlearned or unbelieving people come in, won’t they say that you are crazy? 24 But if all prophesy, and someone unbelieving or unlearned comes in, he is reproved by all, and he is judged by all. 25 And thus the secrets of his heart are revealed. So he will fall down on his face and worship God, declaring that God is among you indeed.

I Corinthians 14:34-35 (WEB) 34 Let the wives be quiet in the assemblies, for it has not been permitted for them to be talking except in submission, as the law also says, 35 if they desire to learn anything. “Let them ask their own husbands at home, for it is shameful for a wife to be talking in the assembly.” 

MEDITATE on the WORD

Ponder I Corinthians 14:2 above.  My Bible notes: The gift of speaking in a tongue was a concern of the Corinthian church because the use of the gift had caused disorder in worship.  Speaking in tongues is a legitimate gift of the Holy Spirit, but the Corinthian believers were using it as a sign of spiritual superiority rather than as a means to spiritual unity.  Spiritual gifts are beneficial only when they are properly used to help everyone in the church.  We should not exercise them only to make ourselves feel good. 

Ponder I Corinthians 14:22-25 above. My Bible notes: The way the Corinthians were speaking in tongues was helping no one because believers did not understand what was being said, and unbelievers thought that the people speaking in tongues were crazy.  Speaking in tongues was supposed to be a sign to unbelievers as it was in Acts 2.  After speaking in tongues believers were supposed to explain what was said and give the credit to God.  The unsaved people would then be convinced of a spiritual reality and motivated to look further into the Christian faith.  While this is one way to reach unbelievers, Paul said that clear preaching is usually better (see 14:5).

Ponder I Corinthians 14:34-35 above.  My Bible notes: Does this mean women should not speak in church services today?  It is clear from 11:5 that woman prayed and prophesied in public worship.  It is also clear in chapters 12-14 that women are given spiritual gifts and are encouraged to exercise them in the body of Christ.  Women have much to contribute and can participate in worship services. In the Corinthian culture, women were not allowed to confront men in public.  Apparently some of the women who had become Christians thought that their Christian freedom gave them the right to question the men in public worship.  This was causing division in the church.  Women may have been raising questions in the worship services that could have been answered at home without disrupting the services.  The purpose of Paul’s words was to promote unity, not to teach about women’s role in the church.

MEMORIZE the WORD

I Corinthians 14:1 Follow the way of love and eagerly desire spiritual gifts, especially the gift of prophecy.

LOVE and LIVE the WORD

We should eagerly desire spiritual gifts, especially the gift of prophecy.

TEACH and SHARE the WORD

Prophecy may involve predicting future events, but its main purpose is to communicate God’s message to people, providing insight, warning, correction and encouragement.

PRAY the WORD

Lord, I pray we will indeed eagerly desire spiritual gifts, especially the gift of prophecy (I Corinthians 14:1).  Lord, I pray what we say will strengthen, encourage and comfort others (I Corinthians 14:3).  Lord, I pray we excel in gifts that build up the church (I Corinthians 14:12).  Lord, if we speak in another language I pray we will be able to interpret what we say (I Corinthians 14:13).  Lord, I pray what we say will convict unbelievers (I Corinthians 14:24).  Lord, I pray whatever we do will be strengthening to our churches (I Corinthians 14:26).  Lord, I pray everything we do will be done in a fitting and orderly way (I Corinthians 14:40).  In Christ Jesus’ name I pray.  AMEN.

ENCOURAGEMENT

“May you and I strengthen, encourage and comfort other believers.” <>< Dona