1 Corinthians 14:1 “…especially that you may prophesy”
Not just foretelling events, but also preaching, proclaiming. Some people have a gift for telling others things in such a way that they want to hear, just as some have a gift for teaching that makes it easy for others to learn. Paul considered prophecy the better gift as it was for the benefit of others, not just the owner of it. Not sure why he compares it to tongues. Perhaps the Corinthians had asked about it in a previous letter. Perhaps some considered that having it put them in a special group or club. Even today, some denominations make a big deal out of the gift. But Paul is going to set the record straight. Gifts were and are to be used for the building of God’s family, not the exaltation of any one member.
12 “…since you are zealous for spiritual gifts, let it be for the edification of the church that you seek to excel”
13 “…let him who speaks in a tongue pray that he may interpret”
Tongues was useless to others unless one interpreted what was said.
28 “…if there is no interpreter, let him keep silent…”
Since gifts are for the edification of the church, if you can’t edify anyone, don’t use it. We use the gifts, they don’t control us.
34 “Let your women keep silent in the churches…”
Loaded verses if there ever were some. Must be careful not to belittle or dismiss what Paul actually says, but I think there is a little wriggle room here. I think the idea is respect and submission. In that time, for a woman to speak in public showed a lack of respect and submission toward her husband. Just as a woman would wear or not wear certain clothing to show respect, her behavior would do the same thing. As I said, I don’t want to belittle or dismiss what Paul says about women not speaking. While I don’t have a problem with women speaking in church as our traditions and societal views are a little different, I think one can still certainly show great respect and submission toward her husband by not doing so at particular times. I think we need to be more concerned with others than ourselves. Today we all want our rights, we all want to be affirmed for who and what we are. And we think the idea of submission means we have missed out on our fair share. That is not the case. We must keep Christ as our focus and seek to be His servant. After that, the other stuff should fall into place.
36 “…did the word of God come originally from you? Or was it you only that it reached?”
Something of a sarcastic rebuke. Coming right after the previous verses makes me think someone had said something differently to Paul regarding women speaking at some point. As he has said before, God is the source of all knowledge and understanding, and He is not the author of confusion. He would not say one thing to Paul and another to someone else who was supposed to be a prophet of God. So, if anyone claims to be a prophet, but comes up with doctrine contradicting what Paul has brought, ignore him. He obviously doesn’t speak the truth.
40 “Let all things be done decently and in order.”
Good advice always as long as our definition comes from God Himself.
I hope you enjoy reading and studying His word. May it accomplish what He desires. Please feel free to comment or post questions. Thanks for reading!
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.