Thursday, June 6, 2013

1 Corinthians 14 - Edification and Order in Church

LINK: 1 Corinthians 14


There are some who do not believe that speaking in tongues is a gift that is relevant for today because the apostolic age has ended and the church is established. Others believe that all the gifts mentioned in the Bible are still relevant for today. In the APPLICATION section, I have suggested two books on each side of the issue for your future study. I will not take a position. I will just give background to what Paul taught in this chapter. No matter where you stand on this issue, remember LOVE is the most important thing!

Paul tells the Corinthians to seek love but earnestly desire prophecy. Why? Because prophecy edifies, encourages, and consoles all. Edify is a word borrowed from architecture and means "to build up."  Prophecy can sometimes involve future events, but most of the time, it means to speak out God’s truth from direct, divine inspiration of the Spirit. It is to declare purposes of God, whether for reproving and admonishing the wicked or confronting the afflicted. Paul tells the Corinthians that prophecy and teaching are for the building up and good of the body of Christ and more important than tongues.

Speaking in tongues (glossa) means to speak in another ethnic language without learning it or to speak in ecstatic language. Speaking in tongues was a concern in the Corinthian church because the use of this gift had caused disorder in worship. The Corinthian believers were using it as a sign of spiritual superiority rather than exercising this gift to bring unity in the body of Christ.  Paul teaches that if one talks to people in a language they do not understand, it will mean nothing. It gives primary benefit to the speaker and not the whole church. If one speaks in tongues, it needs to have an interpretation so that others can know what it means and be edified (built up). Everything was to be done properly and in order.  

Order in the church also includes women being silent and asking their husbands at home instead of blurting things out during the church meetings. The context of this passage indicates that married women are in view here since submission is mentioned in other parts of the New Testament in connection with married women being subject to their husbands (Ephesians 5:22; Colossians 3:18; Titus 2:5; 1 Peter 3:1, 5).  It is clear from 1 Corinthians 11:5 that women prayed and prophesied in the Corinthian church. So, the prohibition against speaking was in connection with speaking out of turn. In the Corinthian culture, women were not allowed to confront men in public. Apparently, women were taking advantage of their freedom in Christ by questioning the men during worship. This was becoming disruptive and women were encouraged to ask the questions at home instead of interrupting the worship. 


This book supports the position that tongues are relevant for today:

Surprised by the Power of the SpiritSurprised by the Power of the Spirit

This book supports the position that tongues are not relevant for today: 

The Truth about Tongues Study Notes - 1 Corinthians 13: 8 - 14: 40The Truth about Tongues Study Notes - 1 Corinthians 13: 8 - 14: 40


Lord, thank You for the beauty of Your church with all its various gifts. Help us to walk in unity with one another. We pray this in Jesus' name. Amen. 
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