Love and Intelligibility


This week we will consider 1 Corinthians 14:1-25.  In the text, Paul continues on the themes of love and spiritual gifts by urging the Corinthian church to use their gifts to build one another up in Christ, rather than as a display of superiority.  


Take a few minutes to read through 1 Corinthians 14:1-25 if you can.  Below is an excerpt:

1 Pursue love, and earnestly desire the spiritual gifts, especially that you may prophesy. 2 For one who speaks in a tongue speaks not to men but to God; for no one understands him, but he utters mysteries in the Spirit. 3 On the other hand, 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, but the one who prophesies builds up the church. 5 Now I want you all to speak in tongues, but even more to prophesy. The one who prophesies is greater than the one who speaks in tongues, unless someone interprets, so that the church may be built up. 6 Now, brothers, if I come to you speaking in tongues, how will I benefit you unless I bring you some revelation or knowledge or prophecy or teaching? 7 If even lifeless instruments, such as the flute or the harp, do not give distinct notes, how will anyone know what is played? 8 And if the bugle gives an indistinct sound, who will get ready for battle? 9 So with yourselves, if with your tongue you utter speech that is not intelligible, how will anyone know what is said? For you will be speaking into the air.
— 1 Corinthians 14:1-9


Few things are more controversial in the church today than the gift of speaking in tongues, particularly the use of the gifts in corporate worship services.  Have you gotten a "whiff" of the controversy surrounding the use of tongues in corporate worship?  Or do you simply have questions regarding their use?  

On Sunday we will look at God's Word together and see what it has to say regarding these issues.  Paul is not going to address whether tongues exist today or not but rather how they are used.  Paul is going to show us that there are more important concerns when we are together, especially with unbelievers present, that should direct our practice. 

Think it Through

One of Paul's main lines of argument is that the church cannot be built-up when there is no clear intelligible speaking of God's Word. What are some of the challenges to hearing God's Word clearly in corporate church gatherings today? Comment below.