How We Do Things
1 Corinthians 14:26-40
In recent weeks our focus has been on 1 Corinthians 11-14, where Paul addresses three areas of unruliness and selfishness in the Corinthian church: gender roles (11:1-16), the Lord’s Table or Communion (11:17-34), and spiritual gifts in (12-14).
Different churches organize and operate their services in different ways. We tend to be drawn to church services that fit our particular likings. Corinth had no such background, and their gatherings were getting out of hand. At the end of chapter 14 Paul lists several principles that bring order and clarity to a church service, specifically in the area of exercising spiritual gifts.
He states that only two or at the most three people should speak in tongues in a service, and they should only speak one at a time. He also instructs that an interpreter of the tongues must be present or the speaker must keep silent. Paul also places a limit on those who speak prophetically, allowing only two or three in a service. Paul believes these restrictions are necessary for a church gathering to avoid chaos and disorder, which has a negative impact on those observing from the outside.
God’s purpose for a church gathering is way bigger than our personal opinions and desires. Interruption in a service by unorganized behavior or unnecessary questioning creates disharmony and confusion, and Paul reminds us that God is not a God of confusion but a God of peace.
When the body of Christ gathers, it should be for the purpose of edification- building one another up in unity
- If you attended church growing up, how would you describe your church’s structure- more orderly or more spontaneous? How has that affected your church service preference today?
- Some worship services are so “orderly” that they put us to sleep. Others are so “free” that they seem out of control. How do you think a church can find balance between freedom and order in worship?
- What is your primary take away from this larger section in 1 Corinthians on church behavior (chapters 11-14)? Has a specific message or group discussion changed your views or opinions on any of these topics? If so, how?