Having a Right Motive and Understanding- A Contextual Study on 1st Corinthians 14 as it relates to the church.
‘…It is important that everyone have access to the knowledge and love of God in the language everyone understands, than that you go off and cultivate God’s presence in a mysterious prayer language…- 1st Corinthians 14:5 (Msg)
When the Holy Spirit fell upon the Apostles, they began to speak in tongues (in a number of different languages) and the people (Parthians, Medes, Elamites; visitors from Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene; immigrants from Rome, both Jews and proselytes; Cretans and Arabs) understood them according to his/her tribe (Acts 2:1-11 Msg).
Speaking in tongues is a sign for unbelievers (1st Corinthians 14:22 Msg). I would like to believe that when the disciples spoke, Jewish people were around also (yes they were) – if they spoke in other tongues, how is it that even their people understood? What if they wouldn’t have understood?
The only time speaking in tongues to the public (Church) is significant, is when there is an interpreter as the Holy Spirit did in the time of the Apostles. This is because if you speak in a way no one understands, what’s the point of opening your mouth’? (1st Corinthians 14:9 Msg)
‘He who speaks in tongues edifies himself… unless he interprets, so that the church may be edified’- (1st Corinthians 14:4-5 Niv).
Don’t get me wrong- Speaking in tongues is a beautiful experience God has allowed us share with Him and even Apostle Paul who wrote to the Corinthians affirmed to the wonderful intimacy it provides us with God (1st Corinthians 14:18 Msg). However, my point is this; ‘since you are eager to have spiritual gifts, try to excel in gifts that build up the church- (1st Corinthians 14:12 Niv)
Isn’t it funny how people think ‘speaking in tongues’ and ‘saying things you don’t understand’ are synonymous?- Sst
And so they open their mouths in church to speak ten thousand words that sound like gibberish, rather than speak five that everyone will understand’-1st Corinthians 14:19 Msg (paraphrased).
The value and beauty of speaking in tongues has been nullified to a very large extend by people who have adapted the world system of ‘wanting to feel among’ and unfortunately the church isn’t doing much about it; some new ministries even promote this directly or indirectly. What are you as a pastor or child of God doing about this?
In those days, people believed the size of your bible is the size of your anointing and so you see pastors and ‘strong men of God’ with huge bibles. People with little bibles on the other hand were always looked down upon; and so everyone wanted a big bible, just so, they too can feel among. Do you remember those days?
Don’t get me wrong- MOTIVE… motive is the foundation of everything penned down today, so unless you are guilty, don’t feel the guilt!
People these days go to the extent of learning and memorizing how to speak in tongues, word for word from what they heard from their Pastors/Ministers. This is partly because churches (new generational churches) sometimes make members feel ‘incomplete’ if they cannot speak in tongues.
Oh! You don’t have the Holy Spirit in you-
I remember a true life story a friend once shared with me. After a program that was organized and facilitated by ‘ministers of God’, one of the facilitators (a Nigerian) was asked why he didn’t speak in tongues- they wondered- didn’t he have the Holy Spirit? After much defensive arguing, the other facilitators began to pray for him to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit whose evidence was in the speaking of tongues; when this man noticed they weren’t going to give up, he started speaking his local dialect (unknown to them). On hearing him speak in a different language, they began to praise God for they had given him the spirit of tongues.
- What God does not give you, man cannot!
- Isn’t it funny how people think ‘speaking in tongues’ and ‘saying things you don’t understand’ are synonymous?- Sst
- Hypocrisy and mediocrity become your bedspread when you don’t allow God to use you, but use yourself for God- Sst
- Only God can give you a discerning spirit. This is missed when your will is not in line with God’s will- Sst
26 What then shall we say, brothers and sisters? When you come together, each of you has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. Everything must be done so that the church may be built up. 27 If anyone speaks in a tongue, two—or at the most three—should speak, one at a time, and someone must interpret. 28 If there is no interpreter, the speaker should keep quiet in the church and speak to himself and to God.
29 Two or three prophets should speak, and the others should weigh carefully what is said. 30 And if a revelation comes to someone who is sitting down, the first speaker should stop. 31 For you can all prophesy in turn so that everyone may be instructed and encouraged. 32 The spirits of prophets are subject to the control of prophets. 33 For God is not a God of disorder but of peace—as in all the congregations of the Lord’s people.’-1st Corinthians 14:26-33 Niv
‘If you won’t play by these rules, God cannot use you’- 1st Corinthians 14:37-38 Msg
‘Therefore, my brothers and sisters, be eager to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in tongues. But everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way’. – 1st Corinthians 14 39-40
‘Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed–not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence–continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling’.- Philippians 2:12
Speaking in tongues is not an immunity to sin, neither is it a proof of a higher calling of purity. Walk your faith with the grace of God to His glory, not to the pleasing of the population of your congregation. Desire and accept the Holy Spirit. Never do His work with his walk in your life.
Remember the disciples spoke in tongues as the Spirit prompted/enabled them and not as they prompted or enabled the Spirit- Acts 2:4
God’s grace upon you with love,
Oluwatosin Olabode (Sst)