Tuesday, 20 January 2015
But now, brethren, if I come to you speaking with tongues, what shall I profit you unless I speak to you either by revelation, by knowledge, by prophesying, or by teaching? 1 Corinthians 14:6
Continuing to explain why speaking in foreign languages (tongues) is considered a lesser gift and a gift which only serves the individual, not the whole body, Paul contrasts the words of the preceding verse with “but now.” His words were, “he who prophesies is greater than he who speaks with tongues, unless indeed he interprets, that the church may receive edification.” From this, he gives his “but now.” And as a sign of warmth and fellowship, as well as instruction, he adds in the word “brethren.”
He is speaking to the whole body and wants the whole body to grasp his meaning, which is “if I come to you speaking with tongues, what shall I profit you unless I speak to you either by revelation, by knowledge, by prophesying, or by teaching?” The answer to his question is obvious – “There will be no profit to them.” When someone speaks in a foreign language which is unknown to its hearers, there is no profit at all to them. They are not edified in any way, and they have simply sat through a word of unintelligible sounds which have no meaning to the hearers.
Rather than such a self-centered display, Paul recommends that the greater gifts of revelation, knowledge, prophesying, and teaching be used to build up the congregants. It is a much better use of the precious time we have been given because we can assimilate the instruction and grow in our knowledge of spiritual matters. Paul doesn’t say that there is no place for speaking in tongues, but that there is a much better use of time and gifts than following this avenue. For those who do speak in tongues, Paul will eventually give very specific guidelines to follow.
Life application: If there are two teams playing football and one of the teams has a player who is determined to play baseball during the game, there will be dysfunction on the field. Be a team player and work with your team, using the gifts you have for the benefit of the whole.
Lord, there are books piled high which write about the various disciplines within the Bible. There are commentaries, charts, graphs, and maps of biblical events which fill our time as we read them and study them. There are sermons and studies that we can watch about the Bible. But how often do we allow these things to keep us away from actually reading the Bible? Have I put as much effort into reading Your word as I have reading ABOUT Your word? If not, then I have certainly failed to set my priorities right. Forgive me for this and give me a heart to simply pick up and read this beautiful treasure from You. Amen.