After presenting LOVE as the “most excellent way” above all ministries & gifts, Paul now corrects their misuse and misunderstanding of the gift of tongues. And yeah, if you read thru this chapter and get confused, join the club, it is a much abused and misunderstood chapter. Tongues was a language, not jibberish like was being practiced, so Paul both confronts this wrong practice and explains the correct usage. 2 points:
1) Prophecy is actually of greater benefit: (1-19) – Why? Because it builds up the whole church. In our selfish, independent culture, the tendency is not to be a team player, but an individual. Paul reminds us that we are part of the body of Christ – a team. He illustrates this with musical instruments – which recently I can totally relate to. Jessica’s 4th grade class just started playing the recorder. At first, I had no idea what she was playing (so I just smiled and said good job). But now I can recognize tunes and I am truly encouraged. (side note – the only thing I can play is the mp3). Tongues encourage those speaking, but prophecy encourages everyone!
2) The Purpose of Tongues – A Sign to Unbelievers: (20-28) – Paul tells us to be mature in our thinking. Picture this – an unbeliever comes to a church and “jibberish” is going on, they think we’re freaks. But if they come in and hear the Word of God in their language – a preacher or tongues with an interpreter – he “…will be convinced by all that he is a sinner…” and believe! So, if tongues is to be used, you have to have an interpreter – there needs to be order in worship. So, use your gifts for the Lord, but in a “fitting and orderly way.” And oh, I wouldn’t go around quoting verse 34 guys……out of context and very dangerous!
*In what areas has God gifted you spiritually? Are you using them? If not and you’d like to, talk with your parents or your pastor about ways to make that happen. Remember, we, the body of Christ, NEED you! (12:21-26)
*In what ways are you involved in encouraging the body of Christ? Take some time today to send some encouragement!
*What is one way you could “prophesy” (proclaim the Word of God) this week?