Lord, if the fire within me has become just white ash, reignite my spiritual passion and use me for your glory.
Read 1 CORINTHIANS 14:20-40
20 Brothers and sisters, stop thinking like children. In regard to evil be infants, but in your thinking be adults. 21 In the Law it is written:
“With other tongues
and through the lips of foreigners
I will speak to this people,
but even then they will not listen to me,
says the Lord.”[a]
22 Tongues, then, are a sign, not for believers but for unbelievers; prophecy, however, is not for unbelievers but for believers. 23 So if the whole church comes together and everyone speaks in tongues, and inquirers or unbelievers come in, will they not say that you are out of your mind? 24 But if an unbeliever or an inquirer comes in while everyone is prophesying, they are convicted of sin and are brought under judgment by all, 25 as the secrets of their hearts are laid bare. So they will fall down and worship God, exclaiming, “God is really among you!”
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[b] 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.[c]
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.[d]
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)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectSit in silence for three minutes (a challenge for some of us!), and then invite God to give you a listening ear today.
Paul now turns to practical advice on how to act in church meetings, in order to build others up. He continues to insist that what is said must be understandable – otherwise visitors will think believers are crazy (v 23)! Good order – rather than several speaking at once – is necessary for the sake of understanding (vs 26-33,40). Bible readers have puzzled over Paul’s instructions about women (vs 34,35). He cannot be commanding women to absolute silence, for he has spoken about women praying and prophesying earlier (11:5). The clue seems to be the instruction for wives to ask their husbands questions at home (v 35). This suggests that some wives were raising questions about their husbands’ prophetic speech during church meetings, causing some chaos. Rather, Paul wants good order when the church meets – one speaker at a time (v 31) and others should hold back, whether in tongues, interpretation or prophecy (vs 27,28,31,32).
There’s a great art to balancing contributions from different people – and different kinds of people – in church meetings, whether for worship or business. Some of us need to be humble enough to hold back and make space for others, and others courageous enough to speak up and not be silent!
Talking too much or too little can both be marks of childishness (v 20). Do you need to give others greater chance to speak, or be more courageous and speak more yourself?
Father, I rest in your ability to make the crooked places straight in the world and in my life. Help me to live rightly today.
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