Sunday, January 20, 2013

1 Corinthians Bible Study Notes- Chapter 14

1 Corinthians 14


-Paul outlines the order for a proper and in order church service here in the 14th chapter of his letter to the Corinthians. His first exhortation is to pursue love and to earnestly (diligently) desire these spiritual gifts that he delineated in chapter 12. His primary concern is that they prophesy, this is speaking the Word of God with intelligible tongue from the Scriptures and in complete congruence with the Scriptures. It could at times be foretelling (speaking God’s future plans and events), but is in most cases forthtelling (teaching directly from the Word of God). The purpose of prophesy for the church is to build it up in Christ Jesus, the Head. Paul has to curb some misuses of the spiritual gifts here as he gives the proper manner for which to speak in unknown languages, or tongues, given to some in the church as their spiritual language in communion with God. This was probably the main source of contention and where arrogant attitudes that were causing divisions were coming from. Tongues were unintelligible and had no purpose for the building up of the church unless there was an interpretation. It was Paul’s encouragement that they all speak in tongues, but even more to prophesy (1 Corinthians 14:5). The issue was connection with the unbelievers and helping them understand the message of Christ that was being presented in a church service. If there was chaos and confusion the unbelievers that would come into the hearing of the Christian believers would more than likely be turned off by this incoherent communication. Therefore, Paul says he would rather speak five words with his mind than ten thousand words in a tongue, which no one could understand (1 Corinthians 14:19). Paul is certainly not against speaking in tongues during a church service of gathered saints as he makes clear, but there is a proper order for given so that the church may be built up rather than torn down by chaos and confusion (1 Corinthians 14:39). A word in tongues is allowed as long as there is someone to interpret; otherwise, the one who speaks in a spiritual language should remain silent speaking to himself and to God (1 Corinthians 14:28). There were to be two or three prophets who would speak while the congregation would weigh (discriminate, judge, evaluate) what was being said. The spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets with discernment (1 Corinthians 14:32). There was to be one-by-one revelation and prophecy spoken so that all may learn and be encouraged for God is not a God of confusion but of peace (1 Corinthians 14:30-32). *Application* Nothing stirs up unease and spiritual distress in a congregation more than when things are chaotic and out of order. Paul is telling us that the Lord will only bring peace and proper process in the speaking of His Word to the church. If something is going on in a church service that distracts from the clear teaching of His Word, it is improper and should be handled with spiritual discernment and action by those who are lead by the Holy Spirit. We must understand that when we are dealing in a spiritual realm, there is an enemy who would like to come in and tear down the good work of God and create confusion and mistrust of the things of the Holy Spirit. This is a warning for us to heed. “All things should be done decently and in order (1 Corinthians 14:40).”


Verse to Memorize- 1 Corinthians 14:40

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