Excel in gifts that build up the church!
Scripture reading for August 21st: 1st Corinthians 14:1-17
“Follow the way of love and eagerly desire spiritual gifts, especially the gift of prophecy. For anyone who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God. Indeed, no one understands him; he utters mysteries with his spirit. But everyone who prophesies speaks to men for their strengthening, encouragement and comfort.” (1st Corinthians 14:1-3)
As we seek to live in love, we can eagerly desire spiritual gifts. The one gift that Paul commends to these believers is the gift of prophecy. The gift of prophecy that Paul talked about was not the giving of personal words of knowledge or wisdom to individuals, but the gift of expounding God’s will and word in a manner that the church could understand. Prophecy always is in line with the word of God. It is intended by God to comfort or encourage the recipients and strengthen them for God’s service.
The Corinthians were evidently fascinated by speaking in other tongues. They were all speaking in tongues at once and people visiting their meetings were confused. Not all the tongues were being interpreted and this left the church without understanding of what was God was saying. This was not acting in the way of love! Paul told them to continue to speak in tongues for their own edification, but in the church to prophesy so that all might be edified.
According to Paul, we can and should pray and sing in other tongues. When a person prays or sings in another tongue, they are speaking by the Holy Spirit directly to God. This is a good thing. But in the church, people who do not have the gifts will not understand what you are saying. “Since you are eager to have spiritual gifts, try to excel in gifts that build up the church.” (1st Corinthians 14:12)
If pubic tongues were given, they must be interpreted. Two or three could speak, one at a time and then one must interpret. In this way, all could be edified. When tongues were used with interpretation, the same effect as prophecy would occur. God would use that combination to give a sign to unbelievers and to edify believers. All could profit and order would confirm God’s presence to all. (1st Corinthians 14:13-17) Are you seeking the spiritual gifts? Do you seek be used to build up the body of Christ?