"THE FIRST EPISTLE TO THE CORINTHIANS" Chapter Fourteen OBJECTIVES IN STUDYING THIS CHAPTER 1) To understand the proper use of tongues, especially their use in the assembly 2) To understand the principles which are to govern the assembly of the church SUMMARY In this chapter Paul concludes his discussion of spiritual gifts. In comparing the gift of prophesying with that of speaking in tongues, he points out that prophesying excels when it comes to the edification of the church (1-5). In fact, unless the speaking of tongues is properly interpreted, it does little good (6-19). Designed to convince unbelievers, improper use of speaking in tongues in the assembly can even bring reproach on the church (20-25). Therefore Paul regulates the proper use of spiritual gifts in the assembly with a series of instructions, including commandments from the Lord about the place of women (26-40). OUTLINE I. SPIRITUAL GIFTS: PROPHESYING AND SPEAKING IN TONGUES (1-25) A. PROPHESYING VERSUS SPEAKING IN TONGUES (1-5) 1. A call to love, but also spiritual gifts, especially the gift of prophecy (1) 2. Speaking in tongues (as done at Corinth) is speaking to God and is speaking mysteries (2) 3. Whereas prophesying edifies, exhorts, and comforts others (3) 4. Speaking in tongues (as done at Corinth) was not edifying the church, thus the desire that they had the gift of prophecy more than the gift of tongues (4-5) B. USING TONGUES IN A PROFITABLE WAY (6-19) 1. Even Paul would not benefit them if he came and spoke to them in tongues uninterpreted (6) 2. Like playing an instrument without giving any distinction in the sounds (7-9) 3. Without interpretation, it is no better than a foreigner speaking to you (10-11) 4. Therefore the admonitions: a. To excel in the area of edifying the church (12) b. For those who speak in tongues to pray that they may be able to interpret (13) c. To be able to pray and sing with both the spirit and the understanding, that all might be edified (14-19) C. ANOTHER COMPARISON BETWEEN TONGUES AND PROPHESYING (20-25) 1. Tongues are a sign for unbelievers, while prophesying is for believers (20-22) 2. Tongues in the assembly (without interpreters) will give people the wrong impression (23) 3. But prophesying in the assembly can bless even the unbeliever and uninformed person (24-25) II. SPIRITUAL GIFTS: REGULATING THEIR USE (26-40) A. LET ALL THINGS BE DONE FOR EDIFICATION (26) B. REGULATING THE USE OF TONGUES (27-28) 1. Two or three may speak, in turn, and let one interpret (27) 2. If there is no interpreter, keep silent in church (28) C. REGULATING THE USE OF PROPHESYING (29-33) 1. Two or three prophets may speak, and others may discern (29) 2. To be done in turn, that all may learn, for the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets (30-32) 3. God is not the author of confusion but of peace, in all the churches (33) D. REGULATING THE PLACE OF WOMEN IN THE ASSEMBLY (34-38) 1. They are to keep silent in the assemblies (34) 2. Let them ask husbands at home if they have questions (35a) 3. For it is shameful for women to speak in church (35b) 4. These are commandments of the Lord which must be recognized as such (36-38) E. FINAL COMMENTS (39-40) 1. Desire to prophesy, and do not forbid to speak with tongues (39) 2. Let all things be done decently and in order (40)
REVIEW QUESTIONS FOR THE CHAPTER Move your mouse pointer underneath each question to see the answer.
1) List the main points of this chapter. 2) As being practiced at Corinth, what did speaking in tongues accomplish? (2,4) 3) What is the value of prophesying? (3) 4) What is necessary for speaking in tongues to be of value in the assembly? (13) 5) What is the purpose of speaking in tongues? (22) 6) What restrictions does Paul place on speaking in tongues in the assembly? (27-28) 7) What restriction does Paul place on women in the assemblies? (34-35) 8) What two basic principles are to govern the assembly of the church? (26,40) 9) What principles in this chapter does Sunday School violate?