Suggested Reading: 1 Corinthians 14
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Key Verse: 1 Corinthians 14:15
What is the conclusion then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will also pray with the understanding. I will sing with the spirit, and I will also sing with the understanding.
“All things” covered in this chapter are to be done “decently and in order.” A former Archbishop of Canterbury said that we trip over the word “decently,” and he also said, “When the Spirit moves, things can become rather messy.” This happened at a conference on evangelism here in Canada. He was not discouraging us from exercising the gifts but pointing out that our spirits are in our control (14:32) and that “God is not the author of confusion but of peace (14:33). Note that the words “edification, edifies, edified” appear over and over. The public exercise of the Spirit’s gifts is for others, and for the whole Church. Also note that, in the final result, speaking in tongues and interpretation in the church service should produce the same building up (edification) as prophesy. However, it is important for a person also to build up the Spirit’s life within. Note that praying in tongues in personal prayer, while not knowing the meaning of what one is saying, edifies one’s self. Obviously this is what Paul referred to when he wrote, “I thank my God I speak with tongues more than you all” (14:18). In the book of Acts, there are five occasions when believers are filled with the Holy Spirit. In four of those we know they spoke in tongues as an initial indication that they had experienced the Spirit in this way. In the first happening (Acts 2), people understood the tongues. In the others, it does not say they were understood. It would seem that they were being personally edified by a personal prayer language on those occasions.
PRAYER FOR TODAY:
Lord Jesus, John the Baptist said that You would baptize me with the Holy Spirit (Matthew 3:11b). I’m fully open to You every day. Please immerse me in Your Spirit again today. I’m praying right now “with the Spirit” and “with the understanding.” Hallelujah!!!!
100 PERSONAL WORDS:
I need to be edified so that I may bless others, and I cannot do this unless I am blessed myself. I know the Holy Spirit came to live in me when I went forward at a Youth for Christ rally in December, 1952, and He has constantly lived in me ever since. I am the temple of the Holy Spirit, as are all believers in Jesus. Then in June of 1953, I was first fully filled to overflowing with the Holy Spirit, immersed in Him, and I spoke in tongues. It was while I was in prayer, and there was no interpretation of what I said. It was several years later that in my personal devotions I found myself praying in tongues. I immediately read again 1 Corinthians 14. I knew I was edified and that I was in good company with Paul (14:18). In the church, along with Paul, I’ve spoken well over 10,000 words in the known tongue.
I must not avoid verses 34 & 35 in our reading. My father, a preacher, missionary in Egypt, college professor, and my hero in ministry, told of a time in Timma, Egypt, when he was preaching. There was a wall between the womens’ section and the mens’ section of the church. This was a tradition based on the temple in Jerusalem and on the synagogues. At one point in his sermon, a stressed-out mother (all of the children were on the womens’ side) yelled a question over the wall to her husband. He didn’t tell us what she asked, but I can use my imagination. My father quoted 14:35 and asked her to allow him to continue his sermon without interruption. She graciously complied. Some have taken this verse to forbid women in a preaching and teaching ministry. If that’s what Paul meant, then how does one explain the many women who did preach, teach, and prophesy with the blessing of the early Church. I like my Dad’s explanation of this Scripture!
Yours for encouraging “all things,” which Paul taught are for edification,