God’s order in using the gift of tongues
Scripture reading for September 13th: 1st Corinthians 14
Key Scriptures: 1st Corinthians 14:1-5 “Pursue love, and earnestly desire the spiritual gifts, especially that you may prophesy. For one who speaks in a tongue speaks not to men but to God; for no one understands him, but he utters mysteries in the Spirit. On the other hand, the one who prophesies speaks to people for their upbuilding and encouragement and consolation. The one who speaks in a tongue builds up himself, but the one who prophesies builds up the church. Now I want you all to speak in tongues, but even more to prophesy. The one who prophesies is greater than the one who speaks in tongues, unless someone interprets, so that the church may be built up.”
Paul was writing to bring some order and understanding to the exercise of the gifts of the Holy Spirit in the church. Evidently, in the services, many were speaking in tongues in a public manner and no one was interpreting. Speaking in tongues is good for the individual believer and it edifies or builds him or her up. But when used in the body, without interpretation, it doesn’t help anyone but the speaker. When tongues are interpreted, then, like prophesy, the church is edified and built up because all can understand what the Spirit is saying. That’s why Paul says that they should desire especially to prophesy (give a message in a known language) or to speak in a tongue and interpret. All must be done in love and for the common good. Tongues are a sign gift for the unbeliever to speak to his heart by the Spirit. Prophesy is for the church to speak to God’s people.
1st Corinthians 14:21-22 “In the Law it is written, “By people of strange tongues and by the lips of foreigners will I speak to this people and even then they will not listen to Me, says the Lord.” Thus tongues are a sign not for believers but for unbelievers, while prophecy is a sign not for unbelievers but for believers.”
Faith confession and prayer: Father God, thank you for the gifts of the Spirit. Each one is given by You as You will for the purpose You intend and are always filled and empowered by love. Help me to understand the Holy Spirit and allow Him to use me in the gifts that are appropriate and to instruct others in Your body on the proper use of these gifts. Thank You for speaking to Your people and the lost!
1st Corinthians 14:26-28 “What then, brothers? When you come together, each one has a hymn, a lesson, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation. Let all things be done for building up. If any speak in a tongue, let there be only two or at most three, and each in turn, and let someone interpret. If there is no one to interpret, let each of them keep silent in church and speak to himself and to God.”