1 Corinthians 14: The importance of a clear call

February 24th, 2007




A call has to be clear and certain. As Paul said in today’s reading, “If the trumpet makes an uncertain sound, who will prepare for war?” If you’ve decided to become a follower of Jesus, then that’s what you need to be. You can’t succeed if you want to keep doing things which are inconsistent with following Jesus. If you say you’re a Christian but you still cheat and act selfishly and oppress others, then you’re making an uncertain sound with your trumpet, and you’ll be a very poor example to the people who are watching you.

Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians — Chapter 14

14:1 Pursue love and enthusiastically seek spiritual gifts, especially prophecy. 14:2 Someone who speaks in another language speaks not to people, but to God. No one understands because the person speaks mysteries in the Spirit. 14:3 But someone who prophesies speaks to people for their education, inspiration and encouragement. 14:4 Someone who speaks in another language benefits personally, but someone who prophesies benefits the whole church. 14:5 I wish you could all speak in other languages, but even more I wish that you could prophesy. The person who prophesies is greater than the person who speaks in other languages, unless someone interprets, so the whole church can benefit.

14:6 Friends, how would it help you if I came to you speaking in other languages, unless I communicate some revelation or knowledge or prophecy or teaching? 14:7 If lifeless things which make sounds, such as pipes or harps, do not produce distinct sounds, how would anyone know what music is being played? 14:8 If the trumpet makes an uncertain sound, who will prepare for war? 14:9 Likewise, unless you speak words which are easy to understand, how will people know what you are saying? You would be talking into space. 14:10 Doubtless there are numerous kinds of sounds in the world, and none of them is without meaning. 14:11 If I do not know the meaning of the sound, I would be a foreigner to the speaker, and the speaker would be a foreigner to me. 14:12 You enthusiastically seek spiritual gifts, so seek gifts that will benefit the church. 14:13 Someone who speaks in another language should pray for an interpretation. 14:14 If I pray in another language, my spirit prays but my mind is unproductive.

14:15 What is the way forward? I will pray in the spirit, and I will also pray with my mind. I will sing in the spirit, and I will also sing with my mind. 14:16 Otherwise if you praise God in the spirit, how can an untrained person say “Amen” to your thanksgiving if the person does not know what you have said? 14:17 You have done a good job of giving thanks, but the other person does not benefit. 14:18 I am grateful to God that I speak in other languages more than any of you. 14:19 However in the church I would rather speak five understandable words to instruct others than ten thousand words in another language.

14:20 Friends, do not be children in your thinking. Be babies when it comes to evil, but be mature in your thoughts. 14:21 The law says, “I will speak to this people by people of strange languages and by the lips of strangers. Not even then will they hear me, says the Lord.” 14:22 So other languages are a sign, not for believers, but for unbelievers. Prophesying is a sign, not for unbelievers, but for believers. 14:23 If the whole church is gathered and everyone speaks in other languages, and untrained people or unbelievers come in, will they not say that you are crazy? 14:24 But if everyone prophesies, and an unbeliever or untrained person comes in, that person is enlightened and called to account by everyone. 14:25 So the secrets of the person’s heart are revealed and the person will fall down and worship God, declaring that God is indeed present amongst you.

14:26 What next, friends? When you meet together, each of you has a psalm, a teaching, a revelation, another language, or an interpretation. Everything should be done to encourage each other. 14:27 If someone speaks in another language, two, or at the most three people should speak in turn, and someone should interpret. 14:28 If there is no interpreter, the speaker should keep silent in the church, and speak to himself and to God. 14:29 Two or three prophets should speak, and the others evaluate what is said. 14:30 If a revelation comes to someone who is sitting, the first person should be silent. 14:31 You can prophesy one by one, so that everyone can learn and be encouraged. 14:32 The spirits of the prophets are under the control of the prophets, 14:33 because God is not a God of confusion, but of peace. As in all the churches of the saints, 14:34 women should be silent in church. They are not allowed to speak. They should be submissive, as the law requires. 14:35 If they want to learn something, they should ask their husbands at home. It is embarrassing for a woman to speak in church.

14:36 Did the word of God come from you? Or did it come to you only? 14:37 If you think you are a prophet or spiritual, you should recognise that the things which I write to you are the commandment of the Lord. 14:38 Anyone who is ignorant can stay ignorant. 14:39 So friends, enthusiastically desire to prophesy, and do not forbid people to speak in other languages. 14:40 Just do everything decently and in order.

Entry Filed under: Courage,Generosity

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. choosethecross.com » Com&hellip  |  August 28th, 2010 at 8:14 am

    […] the fourteenth chapter of his first letter to the Corinthians, Paul says: “If lifeless things which make sounds, such as pipes or harps, do not produce […]

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