I Corinthians 14:34-40

Sunday, August 4th, 2013

Text: I Corinthians 14:34-40

USING THE GIFT OF TONGUES

IN THE CHURCH

INTRODUCTION:

The gift of tongues was subject to abuse. Therefore, the Apostle Paul laid down some conditions for its use in the local churches. As we continue to study I Corinthians 14 , we want to see what those conditions were. Of course, we remind ourselves that the conditions were laid down when the Biblical gift of tongues was still legitimately being practiced, and we know according to I Corinthians 13:8-10 that the spiritual gift of speaking in tongues ceased when the New Testament was completed in approximately 95 A.D. Yet, even the gibberish being practiced today would collapse if these conditions were enforced.

We have already seen that -

I. TONGUES WERE FOR A SIGN TO UNBELIEVERS; WHEREAS, PROPHESYING WAS FOR BELIEVERS - 14:21-22

I Corinthians 14:21-22 - 21 In the law it is written, With men of other tongues and other lips will I speak unto this people; and yet for all that will they not hear me, saith the Lord. 22 Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not: but prophesying serveth not for them that believe not, but for them which believe.

We have also seen that -

II. ALL THINGS INCLUDING SPEAKING IN TONGUES ARE TO BE DONE IN A LOCAL CHURCH SERVICE FOR EDIFYING THE LOCAL CHURCH - 14:23-26

I Corinthians 14:23-26 - 23 If therefore the whole church be come together into one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in those that are unlearned, or unbelievers, will they not say that ye are mad? 24 But if all prophesy, and there come in one that believeth not, or one unlearned, he is convinced of all, he is judged of all: 25 And thus are the secrets of his heart made manifest; and so falling down on his face he will worship God, and report that God is in you of a truth. 26 How is it then, brethren? when ye come together, every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying.

In addition, we have seen that -

III. NO MORE THAN THREE PEOPLE IN THE ASSEMBLY WERE TO SPEAK IN TONGUES DURING A SERVICE, AND ONLY ONE WAS TO SPEAK AT A TIME. EACH WAS TO SPEAK IN HIS TURN - 14:27

I Corinthians 14:27 If any man speak in an unknown tongue, let it be by two, or at the most by three, and that by course; and let one interpret.

We have furthermore seen that -

IV. THERE WAS TO BE NO SPEAKING IN TONGUES UNLESS AN INTERPRETER WAS PRESENT TO INTERPRET THEM - 14:28

I Corinthians 14:28 28 But if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the church; and let him speak to himself, and to God.

We have also seen that -

V. ONLY TWO OR THREE PROPHETS MAY SPEAK IN A SERVICE AND THE OTHERS MUST JUDGE - 14:29

I Corinthians 14:29 29 Let the prophets speak two or three, and let the other judge.

We have also seen that -

VI. ONLY ONE PROPHET MAY SPEAK AT A TIME - 14:30-32

I Corinthians 14:30-32 - 30 If any thing be revealed to another that sitteth by, let the first hold his peace. 31 For ye may all prophesy one by one, that all may learn, and all may be comforted. 32 And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets.

Finally, we have seen that -

VII. CONFUSION OR DISORDER DOES NOT ORIGINATE WITH GOD. THEREFORE, THOSE SPEAKING IN TONGUES MUST BE IN CONTROL OF THEIR FACULTIES - 14:33

I Corinthians 14:33 For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.

As we move on, we see that -

VIII. WOMEN WERE TO KEEP SILENT AND NOT TO SPEAK IN THE CHURCH - 14:34-35

I Corinthians 14:34-35 - 34 Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law. 35 And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.

Let . . . keep silence is not a suggestion. It is a third person imperative which has also been used in verses 28 and 30. English has no equivalent for it and means they must keep silence, they must be (or keep) silent, they must be (or keep) still, or they must say nothing. It is not a suggestion; it is a command. The context is dealing with speaking with tongues and prophesying. The ones who are to keep silent are your women, i.e. the female members in the congregation.

This means that women are not to prophesy or speak in tongues in the churches or assemblies, i.e. in the church services.

Its reference is to public speaking in the church services. It did not mean that women could not speak in tongues or prophesy somewhere other than in the church services; it meant that they could not speak in tongues or prophesy in the churches or assemblies. Of course, both of these spiritual gifts have ceased with the completion of the New Testament; so, it is a moot point in the twenty-first century.

For it is not permitted unto them to speak is, For it has not been permitted (or allowed) for them to be speaking, i.e. to be speaking in tongues or to be prophesying has not been permitted (or allowed).

The tense of is not permitted indicates that its action took place at some time in the past and that its result continues to the present. It has been translated in a way which emphasizes the result of its action.

The tense of to speak indicates continuing or habitual action and is understood in the sense of to be speaking or to be constantly (or continually) speaking.

But introduces a statement in strong contrast to it is not permitted unto them to speak: they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law.

To be under obedience is to subject themselves, to be subjected, to be subordinated, or to obey.

As is just as.

Also suggests in addition to Paul's saying it, the law says that women are to be in subjection.

Saith is says.

The law refers to the Pentateuch in which women were commanded to be submissive to their husbands.

Genesis 3:16 - (16) Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.

This is consistent with what Paul wrote elsewhere.

I Timothy 2:11-14 - 11 Let the woman learn (i.e. be learning) in silence with all subjection. 12 But I suffer not (i.e. am not allowing {or permitting}) a woman to teach (i.e. to be teaching), nor to usurp authority over (i.e. to be in authority over, to be exercising authority over, or to be domineering) the man, but to be in silence. 13 For Adam was first formed, then Eve. 14 And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.

Does this mean that a woman is forbidden to ask a question in a Sunday School class or to give a testimony when asked?

No, but she must be careful not to be instructing the church or to be usurping authority over it in any way. As I see it, I Timothy 2:11-14 means that she is not to be a pastor.

I Corinthians 14:35 35 And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.

Unfortunately, in today's society, it is too often the case that the husbands need to ask their wives at home because the wives are the spiritual leaders in the home.

If they (i.e. the women) will learn any thing is they wish (or are wishing, desire, are desiring, or will) to learn anything (or something).

Let them ask their husbands at home means they must be asking their own husbands at home rather than in church. Ask speaks of habitual or constant action

For it is a shame (i.e. disgraceful) for women to speak be constantly or habitually speaking (i.e. talking or expressing themselves).

The tense of to speak indicates continuing or habitual action and is understood in the sense of to be speaking or to be constantly (or continually) speaking.

In the church indicates where it is a shame for women to be speaking. It does not mean in the church building; instead, it means in the meeting of the assembled body of believers, i.e. in the assembly or congregation = in a church service

IX. THESE REGULATIONS MUST BE RECOGNIZED AS THE COMMANDMENTS ESTABLISHED BY THE LORD, AND THEIR OBSERVANCE MUST BE RECOGNIZED AS A MARK OF TRUE SPIRITUALITY - 14:36-38

I Corinthians 14:36-38 - 36 What? came the word of God out from you? or came it unto you only? 37 If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord.

Came the word of God out from you? is, Did the word of God come out from you? This means that the word of God did not originate with the Corinthian believers. It came unto them from outside their congregation.

Or came it unto you only (i.e. to you alone)? It is asking whether the word had come to them alone rather than to the other churches. It expects a no answer. Instead, the Word of God originated with God and was delivered to the Corinthian believers just as it was delivered to other believers elsewhere.

I Corinthians 14:37 37 If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord.

If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual is assuming that someone is thinking (i.e. is believing, is supposing, or is considering) that he is a prophet, or spiritual.

A prophet is one who receives divine revelation directly from God and passes it on to others.

Or spiritual is used in the sense of possessing the Holy Spirit.

Let him acknowledge is he must recognize.

That the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord, i.e. these commandments did not originate with Paul or with any other human being; they originated with the Lord Himself.

I Corinthians 14:38 38 But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant.

Those who do not accept what Paul is writing regarding the spiritual gifts are spiritually ignorant and will have to continue in their ignorance.

But introduces a statement in mild contrast to if any man think himself to be a prophet or spiritual.

If any man be ignorant is assuming that someone does not recognize (or disregards) that what Paul has written are the commandments of the Lord.

Let him be ignorant is he must continue being ignorant, not recognizing, or disregarding that these commandments are from the Lord.

X. THOUGH NOT FORBIDDING TO SPEAK IN TONGUES IN THE LOCAL CHURCH, THE PREDOMINANT COMMAND WAS TO COVET TO PROPHESY - 14:39

I Corinthians 14:39 39 Wherefore, brethren, covet to prophesy, and forbid not to speak with tongues.

When I Corinthians was written, prophecy and speaking in tongues were still being given as gifts. However, according to I Corinthians 13:8-10 , both spiritual gifts ceased to be given when the New Testament Scriptures were completed. This was about A.D. 95. Therefore, these regulations governing the use of the gifts of prophecy and speaking in tongues in local church services are not in effect in the twenty-first century. Inasmuch as speaking in tongues has ceased, we can forbid someone to speak in tongues in our church without violating this commandment.

Wherefore introduces an inference drawn from verses 1-38 and is understood in the sense of for this reason, therefore, or so.

Brethren is brothers.

Covet is understood in the sense of be coveting, be striving, be desiring, or be exerting yourselves earnestly.

What they are to be desiring to do is to prophesy, i.e. to be prophesying, which means to be exercising the spiritual gift of prophecy.

However, inasmuch as the gift of prophecy ceased to be given with the completion of the New Testament, the command to seek to prophesy is no longer in effect.

And forbid not to speak with tongues is stop hindering, stop preventing, or stop forbidding speaking with tongues or languages, which means exercising the gift of speaking in tongues.

XI. ALL THINGS MUST BE DONE DECENTLY AND IN ORDER - 14:40

I Corinthians 14:40 40 Let all things be done decently and in order.

This is a command which means that all things must be done decently and in order.

Decently is understood in the sense of becomingly and properly.

And in order suggests and in good order.

CONCLUSION:

Due to the abuses of the gift of speaking in tongues, the Apostle Paul found it necessary to lay down some regulations or limitations regarding the use of the gift of tongues in the local churches. If these regulations were enforced today, even the present-day speaking in tongues or speaking in gibberish, if you would prefer, would cease.

Don't get involved in speaking in tongues in any way.