The gift of tongues was a supernatural gift given by the Holy Spirit to God’s chosen servants to speak in foreign human languages for the sake of preaching the gospel. The gift of prophecy on the other hand was a word of God spoken by a prophet under the divine authority of God to His people. The Corinthian church misused both of these gifts for their own popularity and brought chaos and confusion in the public worship of God. In this passage, we learn the how the gift of tongues and prophecy were used in the early church and the practical way Paul commands to handle these gifts in the church.
The gift of tongues in the Bible always referred to foreign human languages. God’s servants and His apostles were given special authority and power through the Holy Spirit to speak in foreign languages which they have not learned, for the sake of advancing the gospel in other parts of the world. In the Corinthian church, people were misusing this gift of tongues to elevate themselves as super spiritual Christians appearing to have high status in God’s sight than those who don’t speak in tongues. In this passage, we see how the apostle Paul handles this tension and discrimination in the church and the solution he provides.
Spiritual gifts are primarily given to Christians for the benefit and the edification of the church, so that the church might be blessed with all the necessary resources through the gifts of God’s people. But it is possible for Christians to boast about themselves and their gifts and not serve others through their gifts. It is possible to make the gifts an end in themselves and not have a greater purpose. In this passage, we learn that spiritual gifts only serve to strengthen others and love people because the gifts are temporary but Love is not.
Our culture paints a picture of love only in terms of sexual attraction and romantic feeling. But according to the Bible, love is more than a feeling. It is primarily an action, it speaks effectively through actions. In this passage, the Apostle Paul confronts our wrong and distorted notions of love.
The office of a Prophet in the Old Testament was to primarily bring the message of God to His people. Sometimes the message would come in the form of a rebuke (a warning to bring judgement if people refuse to repent of their sins), or an encouragement to persevere because God promises to be with them to deliver from oppression. Either ways, there is an element of prediction about the future. So, does the gift of prophecy still exists today in the same form? or God’s message has been completed with the 66 books of the Bible and therefore we don’t need this gift? Listen to the sermon to find out.
The Corinthian church presumed that speaking in tongues was a sure mark of the Holy Spirit dwelling in a Christian, without tongues there would be no Holy Spirit in our lives. Does the Bible affirm this view? What are the spiritual gifts? Are they still applicable today? In this passage, Paul clarifies the place that Tongues and other spiritual gifts have in the life of the church.