I’m continuing to talk about Paul’s teaching to the Corinthian church concerning the public use of prayer in the spirit (tongues) and prophecy. The apostle now gets into some technical guidelines for their worship service.
What then shall we say, brothers? When you come together, everyone has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. All of these must be done for the strengthening of the church.
1 Corinthians 14:26
This verse gives us some insight into the early church. It seems that they were a lot like us. There was music, preaching, and prayer.
The difference is that they looked for the supernatural move of the Holy Spirit in their services. They wanted to hear a revelation from God either through prophecy or tongues and interpretation.
I don’t know why there are people today who feel that the supernatural has no place in a church service. Paul says that all of these need to be done for the strengthening of the church. Does the church not need strengthening anymore? Of course, it does!
But on the other hand, Paul doesn’t want there to be so many unexplainable things happening that outsiders are scared off. There needs to be spiritual decorum.
So, Paul continues with his advice. He starts with the gift of tongues and interpretation.
If anyone speaks in a tongue, two — or at the most three — should speak, one at a time, and someone must interpret. If there is no interpreter, the speaker should keep quiet in the church and speak to himself and God.
1 Corinthians 14:27-28
Please remember, this verse is referring to when there’s one main person praying in tongues. Everyone else is focused on them. In that case, there must be someone with the gift of interpretation. If there’s no one to interpret, then no one should be leading out in their prayer language.
But there’s more to this passage. It also tells me that I can pray in the spirit silently – within myself. That’s a good thing to know. There are times that I need to build myself up in the spirit when it’s not appropriate to pray out loud. These could be times when I’m at school or at work.
Paul also talks about prophecy.
Two or three prophets should speak, and the others should weigh carefully what is said. And if a revelation comes to someone who is sitting down, the first speaker should stop. For you can all prophesy in turn so that everyone may be instructed and encouraged. The spirits of prophets are subject to the control of prophets. For God is not a God of disorder but of peace. As in all the congregations of the saints…
1 Corinthians 14:29-33
We need the revelation of God in our church gathering. But the key is that it’s for our edification. Therefore, the Lord wants everything done in a decent and orderly way.
There is never a time when anyone will be “out of control.” The Holy Spirit is a gentleman. He never takes you over and makes you do things against your will. You always have the choice to flow with Spirit or ignore Him.
I believe that God wants to show up in our worship services. Our generation needs to be more open and receptive to the move of the Spirit.
That requires God’s people to spend more quality time in His presence. The more time we spend with the Lord in private, the more prepared we are for His public appearance.
Question: What experiences, good or bad, have you had with the spiritual gifts in the church?
© 2019 Nick Zaccardi