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Posts Tagged ‘1 Corinthians 14’

1. Where it is mentioned in Scripture: (post-Jesus’ resurrection) Acts 2:17-18; 19:6; 21:4; Romans 12:6; 1 Corinthians 12-14; Ephesians 2:20; 3:5; 4:11; 1 Thessalonians 5:19-22; 1 Timothy 1:18; 4:14; 1 John 4:1-3; Revelation 19:10. Jesus said he would send out prophets – Matthew 23:34. Examples of prophets: Agabus (and others) Acts 11:27-28; 21:10; several are named, including Barnabas and Saul (Paul) – Acts 13:1; Judas and Silas – Acts 15:32; the four daughters of Stephen – Acts 21:9.

2. What is it?

  • It is Spirit prompted: Prophecy is a “manifestation of the Spirit” – 1 Corinthians 12:7. (2 Peter 1:21; Acts 21:11.)
  • The person is in control. They can choose to speak or not – 1 Corinthians 14:29-30. “The spirits of prophets are subject to prophets” – 1 Corinthians 14:32. It can be received and then delivered later.
  • Prophecy is spoken to people, not God. It is a message from God. “One who prophesies speaks to people for their upbuilding and encouragement and consolation” – 1 Corinthians 14:3.
  • It can come in a dream (Acts 2:17), a vision (Acts 2:17; Revelation) or simply as a verbal message.
  • It is a revelation from God about a matter – 1 Corinthians 14:30. In 1 Corinthians 14 “prophecy” and “a revelation” appear to be talking about the same thing.
    • It can disclose “the secrets” of someone’s heart – 1 Corinthians 14:24-25.
    • Agabus predicted a famine – Acts 11:28.
    • Prophets in Antioch confirmed sending out Barnabas and Paul on their first missionary journey – Acts 13:2.
    • Agabus warned Paul about his coming arrest – Acts 21:11.
    • Timothy was given guidance and encouragement for ministry – 1 Timothy 1:18.
    • A gift for ministry can be given by prophesy – 1 Timothy 4:14.
    • The book of Revelation is a prophecy. It includes exhortations, admonitions and visions of the future.
  • It can come as an encouragement or as an admonition (warning, challenge, rebuke) – 1 Corinthians 14:3; 14:24-25; Revelation.
  • It is not simply a teaching or a sermon, but these can come from prophetic insights given to the teacher or preacher. Teaching is a different gift – 1 Corinthians 12:28. Although in the Old Testament much of what prophets did was teach and preach based on the revelation God gave them. Paul saw his teaching as prophetic – 1 Corinthians 14:37-38.

3. Not everyone has this gift. Paul says, “earnestly desire the spiritual gifts, especially that you may prophesy” – 1 Corinthians 14:1. He also says, “Now I want all of you to speak in tongues, but even more to prophesy” – 1 Corinthians 14:5. Nevertheless, the question he asks in 1 Corinthians 12:29, “are all prophets?” grammatically requires a “no” answer. Although each of us has the Holy Spirit in us and so at any point any of us could exercise any gift, if God so chooses, normally God gives different gifts to different people and then calls us to act as a body complimenting each other. So only some will have a regular gift of prophecy.

4. Prophecy must be evaluated. Since it purports to give a message from God, it must be tested to see if it is sound. Paul says, “do not despise prophecies, but test everything; hold fast what is good” – 1 Thessalonians 5:20-21. He says, “Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others weigh what is said” – 1 Corinthians 14:29. 1 John 4:1 says, “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.” It is evaluated by the Scriptures.

5. Prophecy does not equal Scripture. All of Scripture is inspired by God (2 Timothy 3:16) and prophecy also comes from the Spirit. But there are prophecies that are not recorded as Scripture in both Old and New Testaments (e.g. King Saul and Silas. See also Mark 13:11). And Scripture itself is made up of more than prophecy, including narratives, parables, teaching, proverbs etc. To be Scripture requires something more than just giving a prophecy. For instance, in the New Testament it has to be “apostolic.” That is, it has to be from the apostles or from the apostolic church under their guidance. They had a unique and nonreplicable role in giving us the message of Jesus. This is the foundational and irreplaceable revelation of Jesus. No prophecy today can claim this. Rather each prophecy today must be judged by the apostolic witness.

6. Rules for prophecy in church. Two or three may speak. “If a revelation is made to another sitting there, let the first be silent” – 1 Corinthians 14:29-30. Everything must be done decently and in order – 1 Corinthians 14:40. “For God is not a God of confusion, but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints” – 1 Corinthians 14:33.

7. Paul’s high view of prophecy. “Earnestly desire the spiritual gifts, especially that you may prophesy” – 1 Corinthians 14:1. “The one who prophesies is greater than the one who speaks in tongues, unless someone interprets” – 1 Corinthians 14:5. Prophecy builds up the church.

8. How is prophecy a sign to believers (1 Corinthians 14:22, 24-25)? Prophecy builds up, consoles and encourages believers – 1 Corinthians 14:3. It shows that God’s favor rests on them because he is speaking to them. Prophecy can even lead an unbeliever to become a believer – 1 Corinthians 14:24-25. And then that person will confirm that “God is really among you” – 1 Corinthians 14:25.

9. More from Acts. a) Prophecy is the larger term of which tongues is a sub-category. They all spoke in tongues and Peter said this fulfilled the prophecy that all would prophesy – Acts 2:14-17. b) Prophecy can be an outward evidence of the reception of the Spirit (Acts 2; 19:6). But so can any other Spirit manifestation/gift or no manifestation at all (Acts 13:12, 48-42; 14:21).

10. Love is more important than prophecy. “If I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge . . . but have not love, I am nothing” – 1 Corinthians 13:2. “As for prophecies, they will pass away” – 1 Corinthians 13:9. But “love never ends” – 1 Corinthians 13:8.

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1. Where it is mentioned in Scripture: Mark 16:17; Acts 2:1-18; Acts 10:45-46; Acts 19:6; 1 Corinthians 12-14.

2. What is it?

  • It is Spirit prompted: “. . . as the Spirit gave them utterance” – Acts 2:4. It is one of “the manifestation(s) of the Spirit” – 1 Corinthians 12:7.
  • The person is in control. They can choose to speak or not – 1 Corinthians 14:27-28.
  • It is spoken to God, not others. “For one who speaks in a tongue speaks not to men but to God” – 1 Corinthians 14:2. Also 1 Corinthians 14:28.
  • It is unintelligible speech:
    • It is not understood by the speaker. “For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays but my mind is unfruitful” – 1 Corinthians 14:14. This is why the speaker would need to pray for the gift of interpretation to make what he/she is saying known – 1 Corinthians 14:13.
    • It is not understood by the hearer. “. . . no one understands him, but the utters mysteries in the Spirit” – 1 Corinthians 14:2. Also 1 Corinthians 14:16. This is why the gift of interpretation is needed for tongues to be used in the church.
  • It consists of prayers, singing praises and speaking a blessing or giving thanks – 1 Corinthians 14:14-17. Also in Acts it is associated with praising God – “telling the mighty works of God” – Acts 2:11; “extolling God” – Acts 10:46. This is most likely why tongues, unlike prophecy, do not need to be tested (1 Thessalonians 5:20-22; 1 Corinthians 14:29). It is not a message from God, but praises and prayers to God.
  • Are tongues human languages? It’s not clear. They are languages. But Paul also talks about the tongues of people and angels – 1 Corinthians 13:1. In Acts 2 human languages are involved, at least in the interpretation. It was a miracle of hearing. That is, God interpreted the tongues so that each person heard the 120 speaking in their own language – Acts 2:6-11 (v. 6 – “each one was hearing them speak in his own language”). In 1 Corinthians 14 Paul assumes that no one will be present who understands the language. And so the solution is another gift of the Spirit – the gift of interpretation.

3. Not everyone has this gift. Although he says in 1 Corinthians 14:5, “I want all of you to speak in tongues,” the question he asks in 1 Corinthians 12:30, “do all speak with tongues?” grammatically requires a “no” answer. Although each of us has the Holy Spirit in us and so at any point any of us could exercise any gift, if God so chooses, normally God gives different gifts to different people and then calls us to act as a body complimenting each other. So only some will have a regular gift of tongues.

4. Tongues must always be interpreted in church. To build up the church it must be understood. This can be done by the speaker who has the gift of interpretation (1 Corinthians 14:14) or by another person with this gift (1 Corinthians 14:27-28). Otherwise the person is to speak privately – 1 Corinthians 14:28. As this verse also says, “keep silent in the church.” No one should hear it in the congregation, since otherwise this would lead outsiders to say that the believers are “out of their mind” – 1 Corinthians 14:23.

5. Someone with the gift of tongues can use it privately. This is what Paul instructs in 1 Corinthians 14:28. This builds up the individual believer – 1 Corinthians 14:4.

6. Rules for tongues in the church. We are not to forbid it – 1 Corinthians 14:39. Two or three can speak in tongues as long as it is interpreted – 1 Corinthians 14:27. Everything must be done decently and in order – 1 Corinthians 14:40.

7. Does Paul disparage tongues? No. He simply corrects the Corinthians’ over evaluation of it in the gathered meeting. It is a gift of the Spirit – 1 Corinthians 12:7. Its use in private builds up a believer – 1 Corinthians 14:4. And if it is interpreted it builds up the church – 1 Corinthians 14:5. Paul also says, “I thank God that I speak in tongues more than all of you.”

8. How are tongues without interpretation a sign to unbelievers (1 Corinthians 14:21-23)? In Isaiah 28:11-12 God tells Israel that since they didn’t listen to his message through the prophets he would speak to them with unknown tongues. That is, in an act of judgment, the Assyrians would capture them and take them away. Tongues then, are a sign of judgment (also Deuteronomy 28:49, Jeremiah 5:15). Paul applies this to the Corinthian situation. If they all speak in tongues, and an unbeliever comes into the service, it keeps the unbeliever from hearing God’s message and so they are in effect judged. They will think the Christians are out of their minds and thus leave without being called to repentance.

9. More from Acts. Three things: a) Tongues are treated as the fulfillment of Joel’s prophecy that all would prophecy – Acts 2:14-17. So here tongues are a kind of subcategory of prophecy. b) Tongues can be an outward evidence of the reception of the Spirit (Acts 2; 10:45-46; 19:6). But so can any other Spirit manifestation/gift or no manifestation at all (Acts 13:12, 48-42; 14:21). c) Acts 2 presents the reversal of what happened at the tower of Babel – Genesis 11:1-9. There all spoke one language, but God judged them by giving them different languages to scatter them. Here God interprets the various tongues to draw together one people in Christ out of the nations.

10. Love is more important than speaking in tongues. “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal” – 1 Corinthians 13:1. “Tongues will cease” but “love never ends” – 1 Corinthians 13:8.

 

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