LISTEN TO THE SPIRIT
Spirit of God, speak to me today.
Read 1 Corinthians 14:26–40
Good Order in Worship
26 What then shall we say, brothers and sisters? When you come together, each of you has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. Everything must be done so that the church may be built up. 27 If anyone speaks in a tongue, two—or at the most three—should speak, one at a time, and someone must interpret. 28 If there is no interpreter, the speaker should keep quiet in the church and speak to himself and to God.
29 Two or three prophets should speak, and the others should weigh carefully what is said. 30 And if a revelation comes to someone who is sitting down, the first speaker should stop. 31 For you can all prophesy in turn so that everyone may be instructed and encouraged. 32 The spirits of prophets are subject to the control of prophets. 33 For God is not a God of disorder but of peace—as in all the congregations of the Lord’s people.
34 Women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the law says. 35 If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church.
36 Or did the word of God originate with you? Or are you the only people it has reached? 37 If anyone thinks they are a prophet or otherwise gifted by the Spirit, let them acknowledge that what I am writing to you is the Lord’s command. 38 But if anyone ignores this, they will themselves be ignored.
39 Therefore, my brothers and sisters, be eager to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in tongues. 40 But everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way.
New International Version (NIV)
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ReflectReflect on the way the Holy Spirit inspires the worship in your church.
Paul is still helping the people to get their worship in order. He still has the overemphasis on tongues in mind but that wasn’t the only thing that made for some rather chaotic worship. Prophecy in the New Testament refers to a word from God inspired by the Spirit. When the church met, everyone would have the opportunity to bring something (19).
To avoid it turning into a free-for-all, Paul lays down some rules. In most churches today we do things differently. Although teaching and preaching are not quite the same as prophecy, they fulfill a similar function in some churches. Paul might say something very different to some of us.
Worship is to be led by the Spirit. That is equally true for immediately inspired utterances (prophecy or tongues with interpretation) and for something prayed over and worked out beforehand. The Spirit wants freedom and he also wants order, avoiding anything disruptive. That is why Paul asks women to be silent. He wants women to pray and prophesy (11:5) but not shout out questions to their husbands in the meeting (34,35—remember, this is a very different cultural setting). When we meet we are to honor God, to make him known and to build one another up.
Ask the Lord to show you someone who needs a word of encouragement today. Let the Spirit lead you to share the light of Jesus today!
Pray for those who lead worship and speak in your church, that they may be open to what the Holy Spirit is saying.