1 Corinthians 14:1-25
The Rules and The Wonder
1 The Rules
A first reading of this chapter will reveal rules (or guidance) on how the spoken gifts of the Holy Spirit are to be used in a church meeting.
We should remember, when we read this, that what we imagine as a church may be very different to a church then. Their meetings were often small, gathering in home groups or the like.
When early 20th century Pentecostalism burst onto the scene it did so with little experience so apart from scripture there was little experience to learn from. However much we do not know or do not understand, we should understand this, that prophecy and speaking in tongues is to do good for the individual who is exercising the gifts and those hearing the gifts used.
1 Corinthians 14:3-4
Verse 3 …the one who prophesies speaks to people for their upbuilding and encouragement and consolation. 4 The one who speaks in a tongue builds up himself…
2 The Wonder
- a) God Speaks
We should not be distracted by a study of the guidance in this chapter so much that we miss the underlying assumption by Paul as he wrote this – God speaks to his people. This must have been such a revelation to the believers in Corinth.
Why does God speak?
- Because He is the Word, Voice. All creation speaks of the creator. The incarnation is a form of the speech of God as John was saying in his gospel “In the beginning was the Word…”
- Because he cares. He builds us up.
- Because he is always drawing us into relationship.
How can we be used by God to speak his word? This is what is being taught here.
- b) God Can Be Heard
How can we hear from God?
We can read scripture and a word or phrase can seem to leap out to us. Or we can imagine something that we think has been placed in our imagination by God. In a situation of trusted relationships such as a home group someone may suggest that it is for someone other than the one who first imagined it. If they speak it out and it passes through the filter of verse 3 (…the one who prophesies speaks to people for their upbuilding and encouragement and consolation.) those who hear may conclude it is the Holy Spirit addressing them.
For reflection and prayer this week
As you pray, try paying attention to the thoughts that come to you. As you listen you may recognise when it is Jesus speaking to you.
1 “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber. 2 But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. 3 To him the gatekeeper opens. The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice.