On the Day of Pentecost, (Acts 2:4, 6, 8) speaking in tongues (glossa) refers to individuals who spoke in dialects or languages other than their native tongue or language. That would be like me starting to speak in French or Arabic right now.
The people who heard them speak in tongues did not need the gift of interpretation to understand what they were saying, because they were speaking in their native tongue. If I were to speak in French or Arabic and an unsaved Frenchman or Arab person were here, they could tell you what I was saying. So the miracle on the Day of Pentecost was the God given ability to speak in another human language that they never spoke before.
When the word “tongue” is used in 1 Cor. 14:2, 4, 13, 19, 26, 27), it refers to the supernatural gift of The Spirit that enabled a person to speak in a language unknown to man. One who has this gift may pray, speak or sing in the spirit, but their mind may not understand what they are saying or praying. This tongue requires the supernatural gift of interpretation to understand what is being said..
The whole dissertation of the Apostle Paul on the subject of speaking in tongues is that no one should be speaking in tongues unless the hearers can understand what is being said.
14.26 How is it then, brethren? when ye come together, every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying.
Come together speaks of their gathering together on The Lord’s Day (usually the first day of the week or Sunday-1 Cor 16.1,2) for worship, the study of God’s Word and fellowship.
Paul refutes the notion of coming to church as passive spectator. When we come together, we should be looking for ways to bless one another and build one another up in the faith.
Remember that at this point in time, the churches met in people’s houses. As they would meet in these “house churches”, there would be a freedom, and a responsibility to not only receive from the pastor/teacher, but to share their gifts and insights with one another.
As a church grows numerically, this “everybody shares something with everyone else” on a Sunday morning or any other service becomes more difficult.
Among ten people, ten can share something with all the other ten. But among thirty, or sixty, or a hundred people, there isn’t time to allow everyone to share something with everyone else.
Let me say that I believe that it is a big mistake for anyone to think, “If I’m not up on the platform teaching or leading worship, then I can’t minister to someone else today.”
I would encourage every one of you to be on the look out for opportunities to pray with people, encourage people, help people, meet people, and love people every time you come to church. Then take that contact to the next level of meeting with them and others in your home.
Let all things be done unto edification. The purpose of us coming together as a church is not to be entertained or be spectators, but to build one an other up. The goal of building one another up is for the glory of God. As Paul said in Ephesians 4:12, the goal is the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.
Let all things be done unto edification looks outward. It doesn’t mean, “let everything be done for my edification.” It means, “let everyone come to church with a heart to build up someone else up in their walk with Jesus.”
If you only come to church to get, and not give, receive and not share, you will not walk away as blessed as God intended you to be.
Guidelines for speaking in tongues (27,28)
14.27 If any man speak in an unknown tongue (glossa), let it be by two, or at the most by three, and that by course; and let one interpret.
14.28 But if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the church; and let him speak to himself, and to God.
The Biblical guidelines for speaking in tongues during a church service are:
- In any one meeting, there must not be more than two or three who speak, pray or praise in tongues. And this can only be done when there is the gift of interpretation, so that others can understand and benefit from the message.
- Paul here makes it plain that the gift of tongues is under the control of the person with the gift. They are not “compelled” by the Holy Spirit to speak out in tongues. If there is no interpreter present, they should keep silent in church, and speak quietly to God.
- Please note that in verse 2 that when a person speaks in a tongue, they are talking to God. That means that if someone speaks out in a tongue, an individual gives an interpretation that sounds something like “Oh My children” or “The Lord would say to you” they do not have the gift of interpretation, because if they did, the interpretation would be man talking to God, not God to man.
In verse 28, the issue isn’t whether a person can speak in tongues during a church meeting. The issue is if there is an individual with the gift of interpretation. If not, they should remain silent but are free to speak in tongues to himself and to God.
Guideline for exercising the gift of prophecy
14.29 Let the prophets speak two or three, and let the other judge.
Having given instructions for the proper exercise of the gift of tongues, Paul moves on to other directives that also affect the order of public worship. Since he had emphasized the importance of prophecy, he points out that even this gift should be exercised in an orderly fashion.
Let two or three prophets speak, while “the others” who have the gift of prophecy should evaluate the message to ascertain that it is not false. Paul wrote to the Thessalonians 1 Thess; 5.19-21 Quench not the Spirit. Despise not prophesyings. Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.
2 Corinthians 13:1 states a principle repeated at lease six times in the Bible:By the mouth of two or three witnesses every word shall be established. The fact that Paul instructed people with the gift of prophecy to speak in turn and then await evaluation by others in attendance indicates that the kind of “prophecy” in view here is not predictive or a foretelling of future events.
Remember, some were saying “in the spirit” that Jesus was accursed!
As John said in 1 John 4:1, Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world.
14.30 If any thing be revealed to another that sitteth by, let the first hold his peace.
Notice also that prophecy was not considered an uncontrollable urge of the Spirit; the speaker could control the impulse because only one prophet could speak at a time.
14.31 For ye may all prophesy one by one, that all may learn, and all may be comforted.
14.32 And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets.
Subject- The word suggests subordination, obedience, submission, subservience, and subjection.
14.33 For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.
Sometimes people will justify odd behavior by saying the Spirit overwhelmed them. But here Paul says even while ministering in the Spirit, a man is never out of control.
The fruit of The Spirit is self control. The Holy Spirit is not the cause of chaos and confusion, the human spirit is.
Note that the opposite of confusion is peace. There will be peace, not jitters or confusion when The Spirit of God is moving.
14.34 Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law.
14.35 And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.
Okay, the service is over! Does this mean that women are forbidden to speak or participate in church services today?
It is clear from 1 Corinthians 11:5 that women prayed and prophesied in public worship.
It is also clear in chapters 12–14 that women are given spiritual gifts and that they are encouraged to exercise them in the body of Christ.
According to Paul’s letter to Timothy, a woman is not to teach doctrine in the general assembly of saints, such as today. She can pray. She can sing worship. She can give her testimony or read Scripture. But she cannot teach doctrine to men.
These verses must be understood in light of the social order and cultural issues of the day. Keep in mind that men and women were sometimes separated in worship.
The Greek word for speak in verse 34 means, “to talk, question, argue, profess, or chatter.” It would appear that during a church service, women were asking their husband across the aisle questions. Paul was simply forbidding the women to interrupt the service by asking questions that could be dealt with at home.
14.36 What? came the word of God out from you? or came it unto you only?
Paul exposes their spiritual pride. Some of the saints in Corinth believed that they were so spiritual that they did not need to be held accountable or corrected for the abuse or misuse in the operation of of spiritual gifts.
14.37 If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord.
These things that Paul writes here are the commandments of God.
14.38 But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant.
14.39 Wherefore, brethren, covet to prophesy, and forbid not to speak with tongues.
The conclusion was that the Corinthians should give special attention to the gifts which were most beneficial to the church as a whole.
Do not forbid to speak with tongues: Though Paul will carefully regulate, and even seem to caution the public use of tongues in the church, he will not forbid it.
The gift of tongues is not to be despised. Paul himself spoke and prayed in tongues, and he personally knew that it has a valuable place in personal devotional time. But without an interpreter, it was better to keep quiet and speak to God privately.
14.40 Let all things be done decently and in order.
Two extremes need to be avoided when it comes to the operation of the gifts of The Spirit: excessive “reserve” or excessive “liberty”.
Adam Clarke wrote: How often is a work of God marred and discredited by the folly of men! For nature will always, and Satan too, mingle themselves as far as they can in the genuine work of the Spirit, in order to discredit and destroy it.”
Decent and in order means following the instructions that are given here in Scripture. It doesn’t describe a straight jacket.
These verses are a concise summary of chapter 14. The gifts of the Spirit are never to be made the focus of congregational life.Worship and the Word are the focus, and the gifts flow under God’s direction around the focus of worship and the Word.
And when The Spirit of God is moving, Christ will be exalted, The Father will be magnified, and the people of God will be comforted, corrected, challenged, edified and encouraged in their walk with Jesus.
Two questions that I am asked about KF. Are you Reformed? Do you believe in the gifts of The Spirit for today? My answer. We are semi-Reformed and charismatic with a seal belt on.
My question for you today is this. Have you been born again? Do you know that your sins are forgiven and that have been saved from the wrath to come?
Romans 10.1-13 Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved. For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth. For Moses describeth the righteousness which is of the law, That the man which doeth those things shall live by them. But the righteousness which is of faith speaketh on this wise, Say not in thine heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? (that is, to bring Christ down from above:) Or, Who shall descend into the deep? (that is, to bring up Christ again from the dead.) But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.