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1 Corinthians 14:26-33 – Orderly Worship

Summary

Paul advises orderly prophesying and interpretation of speaking in tongues so that spiritual gifts offer encouragement and instruction to those present rather than providing a way for the Corinthians to show off among themselves or in the presence of unbelievers.


Analysis

Most of 1 Corinthians is concerned with issues that affect the lives of those inside the church and have little to do with anyone outside the community of believers. In chapter 14, however, Paul gives instructions to the Corinthians both so that the whole church may be edified by worship and so that those outside the church may find Christian worship intelligible. Paul acknowledges that the gift of speaking in tongues is edifying to the one who practices it. Nonetheless, because such speaking is baffling to others, Paul concludes, "I would rather speak five words with my mind, in order to instruct others also, than ten thousand words in a tongue" (1 Corinthians 14:19).

1 Corinthians 14:26-33

Orderly Worship

26 What should be done then, my friends?* When you come together, each one has a hymn, a lesson, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation. Let all things be done for building up. 27If anyone speaks in a tongue, let there be only two or at most three, and each in turn; and let one interpret. 28But if there is no one to interpret, let them be silent in church and speak to themselves and to God. 29Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others weigh what is said. 30If a revelation is made to someone else sitting nearby, let the first person be silent. 31For you can all prophesy one by one, so that all may learn and all be encouraged. 32And the spirits of prophets are subject to the prophets, 33for God is a God not of disorder but of peace.

(As in all the churches of the saints,

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