Today’s Reading: 1 Corinthians 14
Key Verse: 1 Corinthians 14:15
What is the conclusion then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will also pray with the understanding. I will sing with the spirit, and I will also sing with the understanding.
“All things” are to be done “decently and in order.” A former Archbishop of Canterbury said that we trip over the word “decently,” and added, “When the Spirit moves, things can become rather messy.” He was not discouraging us from exercising the gifts but pointing out that our spirits are in our control (14:32) and that “God is not the author of confusion but of peace (14:33). The public exercise of the Spirit’s gifts should always edify the congregation. In the final result, speaking in tongues and interpretation in the church service should produce the same edification as prophesy. However, it is important for a person also to build up the Spirit’s life within.
Note that praying in tongues in personal prayer, while not knowing the meaning of what one is saying, edifies one’s self. Obviously this is what Paul referred to when he wrote, “I thank my God I speak with tongues more than you all” (14:18). In the book of Acts, there are five occasions when believers are filled with the Holy Spirit. In four of those we know they spoke in tongues as an initial indication that they had experienced the Spirit in this way. In the first happening (Acts 2), people understood the tongues. In the others, it does not say they were understood. It would seem that they were being personally edified by a personal prayer language on those occasions.
PRAYER FOR TODAY:
Lord Jesus, John the Baptist said that You would baptize me with the Holy Spirit (Matt. 3:11). I’m fully open to You every day. Please immerse me in Your Spirit again today. I’m praying right now “with the Spirit” and “with the understanding.” Hallelujah!
100 PERSONAL WORDS:
My father told me of a time in Timma, Egypt, when he was preaching. A wall separated the women from the men in the church. This tradition was based on the temple in Jerusalem and on the synagogues. At one point in his sermon, a stressed-out mother yelled a question over the wall to her husband. My father quoted 14:35 and asked her to allow him to continue without interruption. She graciously complied. Some have taken this verse to forbid women in a preaching and teaching ministry. If that’s what Paul meant, then how does one explain the many women who did preach, teach, and prophesy with the blessing of the early Church.
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