Skip to main content

Christian Spirituality: 1 Cor 14v26-40

  • What is the goal of anyone's contribution to a meeting?
  • How are tongues to be exercised?
  • How should prophecy be exercised?
  • How and why should it be tested?
  • What will be women's role in this?
  • Why this role?
  • What is Paul's conclusion to these chapters (v39-40)?
  • What does it mean, from ch12-14 (and in view of ch1-4), to be fitting and orderly?
  • What specific challenges must we take action on from these studies?
Contributing without chaos
Every contribution is to be for strengthening the body. People may bring all sorts of contributions, a song, a word, whatever someone contributes it is not for themselves but for the benefit of the body, for its growth in the gospel, in unity in Christ.

Tongues are limited to two or three and must be translated. Without that the person must be silent... without clarity there is no benefit to the body.

Again, two or three are to share prophecy. Like tongues the gift is under the control of the person exercising the gifts. A prophet prophesies for the benefit of the church not self-seekingly (which would lack love). If another prophecy comes while one is speaking they can step aside - they do not need to have their say, its about hearing God not about hearing them.

What is given must be tested by the congregation. This implies that prophecy doesn't have any authority. There is no room for the prophet to attach words like thus says the Lord to their prophecy. They cannot do that. Prophecy needs testing. The authority lies with the congregation who weigh it.

What is it tested against? Scripture, what else! This should remind us that we shouldn't pursue prophecy to the exclusion of doctrinal depth. How can we say we're serious about God's word if we wont study the written word and only pursue contemporary revelation. Churches most serious about prophecy should be the most serious about careful teaching of God's word. Note also that much Old Testament prophecy is rebuke and call to repentance, and is never ego-massaging....

Prophecy is:
  • Gospel-centred - confessing Christ and calling for repentance (though it may also be more specifically directive, from NT example)
  • For the common good to strengthen others faith - the contribution of any Christian to the congregation must be for this purpose (this presupposes the next qualification...)
  • Clear and intelligible. Those who hear it must be able to understand it sensibly in their own language. Faith does not grow by ignorance or merely observing a phenomena.
  • Non-authoritative. It must be tested and weighed by those present (though it would seem not with wives testing their own husbands prophecy, for the sake of order)
  • Given by male or female. It can be given by male or female members of the congregation. The prophet is in control of themselves when speaking and can stop speaking to allow another to speak. Only prophecy given in love is useful so a prophet will be happy to step aside for the good of others.
  • Not Bible teaching but spontaneous revelation.


Popular posts from this blog

"Big eyes full of wonder"

Books. Fiction. Libraries. Second only to churches as are the best gateways in your community to ultimate reality and new possibilities.

Our local library has just re-opened after refurbishment, and I love that our boys have spent several mornings there during the summer holidays, discovering some wonderful new stories.

I realised a few months back that I wasn't reading enough fiction. My work necessitates reading a lot of non-fiction, a mix of historical and contemporary thinking, biblical studies and theology. But fiction is the cinderella. Easily overlooked, and yet able to awaken my imagination and show me the way things are meant to be.

So I've picked up a few more lately - bought and borrowed. Not every book attempted flies, and that's ok. These have been winners though.

Ink. This is Alice Broadway's debut novel. It's young adult fiction and tells the story of Leora who lives in a world where the events of your life are tattooed on your skin. Nothing gets hid…

Uniquely Matthew

Reading gospel accounts in parallel is sometimes used to blur the differences in perspective between the evangelists, seeking to harmonise the texts and find a definitive historical account of what happened. No such thing exists because every account is biased and limited. You simply can't record everything. You have to hold a vantage point. And that's not a problem.

Matthew, Mark and Luke take a very different vantage point to John who was of course an eyewitness himself of the events. Comparing the text of Matthew, Mark and Luke across the death and resurrection of Jesus yields two steps.

Firstly, the common ground. All three accounts tell of...
Simon of Cyrene carrying the cross…. · Jesus labelled as King of the Jews…. · Criminals crucified with Jesus… · Darkness in the daytime… · Jesus' loud final cry… The women who witnessed Jesus death, and Jesus' burial… · The tomb lent to Jesus by Joseph of Arimithea… · The women who went to the tomb on the morning of the…

Songs we're singing in Church

Christians are a singing people, it's part of what we do when we gather.

Our church meets morning an evening on a Sunday - normally using 5 songs in each service. So, over the year that's about 520 song-slots available. The report from the database system we use ( tells us that in the past year we've sung about 150 different songs.

Our current most used song has been sung 11 times in the last year, just under once a month. Our top 10 are used about every 6 weeks. By #30 we're talking about songs used every two months. The tail is long and includes loads of classic hymns from across the centuries, plus other songs from the past 40 years, that we have used around once a term or less.

1. Rejoice - Dustin Kensrue

2. Come Praise & Glorify - Bob Kauflin

3. Man of Sorrows - Hillsong

4. Cornerstone - Hillsong

Rejoice was a song I didn't previously know, along with a couple of others that have quickly become firm favourites for me: Chri…