1 Corinthians – Chapter 14

Prophesying and Tongues

Sunday evening Service, April 21, 2013, the Year of our Lord

Pastor Carolyn Sissom


1 Cor. 14:1-4:  Follow after love,  and desire spiritual gifts, but rather that you may prophesy.  For he that speaks in an unknown tongue speaks not unto men, but unto God; for no man understands him; howbeit in the Spirit he speaks mysteries.  He that prophesies speaks unto me to edification, and exhortation, and comfort.  He that speaks in an unknown tongue edifies himself; but he that prophesies edifies the church.”


The apostle now proceeds to apply the principles which he has so clearly laid down.  The variety of spiritual gifts within the oneness of the Body of Christ (chapter 12) may be kept in perfect balance only by the exercise of love, in whose light the true value and function of charismata are readily assessed (chapter 13).


There are higher gifts, earnestly to be sought (12:31), not with the greed and envy so characteristic of Corinth, but in the spirit of love.


This chapter deals with this discernment.  The gift of prophecy is to be desired more than tongues, yet each is to be desired and exercised in its proper place. 


Tongues:  The Greek word “Glossa” means “tongues or languages”. 


  1. Devotional tongues which is praying to or praising God in tongues.  This supernatural communion flows with the Holy Spirit to express one’s innermost thoughts and feelings.  Most of speaking in tongues (90%) is in this dimension for daily edification of the saints.
  2. The gift of tongues (message in tongues) with its twin gift of the interpretation of tongues.  These two gifts are exercised publicly as an edifying ministry to the Body of Christ in the local church.  These gifts can be ministered one-on-one or corporately.
  3. Diversity of tongues:  Tongues of angels; spiritual warfare; diverse languages.


I did an extensive teaching on the Office of Prophet on March 10, 2013.  The teaching is posted on the website under Bible Studies.


1 Cor. 14:5-6:  I would that all of you speak with tongues, but would rather that you prophesy; for greater is he that prophesies than he that speaks with tongues, except he interpret, that the church may receive edifying.  Now brethren, if I come unto you speaking with tongues, what shall I profit you, except I shall speak to you whether by revelation or by knowledge or by prophesying; or by doctrine?


From the way this is worded, it appears Paul is correcting the Corinthian believers to bring their giftings in to balance. 


Paul recognizes the need for tongues in personal and public worship, but sees the greater need of the church for inspired preaching: “revelation”, “knowledge”,prophesying” and “doctrine”.


Revelation:  The Greek word “Apokalypsis” mean “an uncovering, a revealing, an unveiling, an appearing, a coming, to heighten, manifestation.”  This is the communication of the Word, the mind, the will, the purpose, or the Person of God to the spiritual and mental faculties of man.  That upon which the church will be built. (Matt. 16: 13-18; Gal. 1:12; Eph. 3:3). This is the unveiling of divine truth from God to man.  All revelation must be in agreement with the written Word of God.  We must walk in what we see.  (Lk. 2:32; Rom. 2:5; 8:19; 16:25; 1 Cor. 1:7; 11 Cor. 12:1; Rev. 1:1).


Knowledge:   This is part of the knowing Revelation gifts which enable us to think like God:


  1. Word of Knowledge – The God-given ability to receive from God by revelation the knowledge of facts and information which is humanly impossible to know.  It is a portion or part, or fragment of God’s all-knowing (omniscience).
  2. Word of Wisdom – An unearned and supernatural impartation of a fragment of God’s total wisdom to meet a particular need, answer a particular challenge, or utilize a particular piece (word) of knowledge.  This works with the Word of Knowledge.
  3. Discerning of Spirits – The God-given ability to recognize what spirit (God, man, satan) is behind and underlying different manifestations and activities (note this gift is positive and negative).


Prophesying:  The God-given ability to speak forth in a known tongue a message which one has received directly from the Holy Spirit for that particular time and situation.  This will involve forth-telling and foretelling.  Prophecy is anointed utterance. (See teaching under Bible Studies on website www.eastgateministries.com).


Revelation precedes prophecy as does knowledge.


Doctrine:  Teachings and concepts that flow from the Holy Spirit from the written Word of God.


1 Cor. 14: 7-11:  Even things without life giving sound, whether pipe or harp, except they give a distinction in the sounds, how shall it be know what is piped or harped?  For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle?  So likewise, except you utter by the tongue words easy to be understood, how shall it be known what is spoken? For you shall speak into the air.  There are so many kinds of voices in the world, and none of them is without signification.  Therefore I know not the meaning of the voice, I shall be unto him that speaks a barbarian, and he that speaks hall be a barbarian unto me. For as much as you are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek that you may excel to the edifying of the church.”


As some have interpreted, this in no way belittles tongues or make them unimportant.  It is a Word of Wisdom for those who are unlearned in the Word of God.  It shows that the public will not get as much truth in 10,000 words in a language they can’t understand.  This emphasizes the purposes of all gifts and public Christian services.  At least 20 out of 40 verses in this chapter emphasize the importance of public good, not the personal exhibition of one’s gifts.


1 Cor. 14: 13-19:  Let him that speaks in an unknown tongue pray that he may interpret


Paul clearly states that gifts are given in answer to prayer.  This demonstrates the possibility of developing ministry in keeping with spiritual growth and the needs of the ministry situation.


 For if I pray in an unknown tongue, my spirit prays, but my understanding is unfruitful.  What is it then?   I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also; I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also.


Pray, sing, praising, thanksgiving are all expressions of ecstatic utterance.  These are all aspects of corporate acts of worship which we as believer take part.  This morning ecstatic worship and utterance broke out during our worship service.


  Else when you bless with the spirit, how shall he that occupies the room of the unlearned say Amen at your giving of thanks, seeing he does not understand what you say.  For you give thanks very well, but the other is not edified.”


This is definitely a Word of Wisdom for saints to use wisdom amongst the unlearned and lost.


I thank my God; I speak with tongues more than all of you.  Yet in the church I had rather speak five words with my understanding than by my voice I might teach others also, than ten thousand worlds in an unknown tongue.”


1 Cor. 14: 20-22:  Be not children in understanding; in malice be children, but in understanding be men.  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’, says the Lord.  Tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to unbelievers; but prophesying is not for the unbeliever, but for them which believe.”


In the Law it is written refers to Isa. 28:11:


For with stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to this people, to whom he said, this is the rest wherewith you may cause the weary to rest; and this is the refreshing; yet they would not hear.”


God speaks to the rebellious, unbelieving, an unintelligible tongue; as he spoke to the scoffing Israelites through the Assyrian foes.  They are a sign for unbelievers of their own impending doom, as was the Assyrian tongue to the unbelieving Jews of Isaiah’s day, not a saving sign, but a judicial sign of condemnation, a sign to be rejected confirming them in the unbelief.


1 Cor. 14: 23-25: “If the whole church comes together into one place, and all speak with tongues, and there comes in those that are unlearned or unbelievers, will they not say that you are mad?  But if all prophesy, and there come in one that does not believe, or unlearned, he is convinced of all, he is judged of all; 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.” 


The chief end of all gifts and worship services is to bring men to repentance and surrender to God.  this is the chief purpose of the death of Christ.


If to the unbeliever tongues suggest that the church is mad, prophecy proves that God is present.


The secrets of his heart will be laid bare is healing, sifting, insight, revelation, light, cleansing, direction, and clarity.


1 Cor. 14:26:  When you come together, every one of you has a psalm, has a doctrine, has a tongue, has a revelation, and has an interpretation.  Let all thinks be done unto edifying”. 


Our church flows in this with freedom and ease.  Not only does this flow in our Preaching Marathons, but our Sunday evening services, Tuesday services and Wednesday night prayer flows freely. 


1 Cor 14:27-33:  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.  But if there is no interpreter, let him keep silence in the church; and let him speak to himself, and to God.  Let the prophets speak two or three and let the other judge.  If anything be revealed to another that sits by, let the first hold his peace.  For you may all prophesy one by one, that all may learn, and all may be comforted.  The spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets.  For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.”


Each comes prepared to contribute, yet equally ready to remain silent as the need becomes evident. 


Just because we have a word does not mean that it is appropriate or timely to give it.  There should only be one ministry gift in operation at one time.  One prophet should not interrupt another prophet while that minister is ministering.


Also, all have the gifts of the Spirit and as in this church, we have many prophets, preachers and teachers.  The spirits of  the prophets are subject to the prophets.  If you feel like you have a “Word” that just has to be delivered.  I am inclined to think that “Word” is being energized by a compulsion rather than the Spirit of the Lord.


The Holy Spirit is always a gentleman.  He will open a door for the Word to be delivered if it is from him.  Surprising as it may be,  if the Pastor is Spirit filled and set into the Office of Pastor by God, guess what, the Lord will speak to him/her that someone in the church has a word, a song, a testimony, a prophecy, etc.


When the Lord speaks to me, I call out there is a prophecy in the house, or there is a song in the house.


If a revelation comes to someone who is sitting; you can all prophesy in turn; not all in one meeting.


Verses 32-35 have to do with Women in church.  It is beyond dispute that God has vindicated the ministry of women, consecrated, holy women, whose lives have been humbly sacrificed in the service of Christ in the missionary world.  Understood within the context of all of the New Testament, we cannot accept that all spoken ministry is denied to women.  See my sermon on The Veil of The Woman.


I believe Paul is referring here to irregular talking,  chattering, visiting in church, disruption of the order of holy worship, etc.


1 Cor. 14: 36-40:  What? Did  the word of God come out from you? Or did it come unto you only?  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.  But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant.  Covet to prophesy and forbid not to speak with tongues.  Let al things be done decently and in order.”


This is Paul’s stamp of apostleship, the conviction of inspiration.  The point is, those who have spiritual gifts are not to act as a law to themselves, but are to conform to the law of Christ revealed through the directives of the apostle.  We are all to bring our gifts into submission to the law of love, respect and Godly order.


If anyone does not recognize this, he himself will be ignored. 


Prophecy is of paramount importance in edifying the church.  Never-the-less, tongues have a God-given function.  Do not forbid speaking in tongues.


Everything in its proper place and sequence, expressing the precision with which a well-ordered army moves—decently and in order.


Taught by:  Pastor Carolyn Sissom

Eastgate Ministries, Inc.


Scripture from K.J.V; I entered into the labors of Dake’s Annotated Reference Bible, Finis J. Dake; The Tongue of the Learned by Kelly Varner with J. L. Dutton; F. F. Bruce Bible Commentary, Paul W. Marsh.  Comments and conclusions are my own and not meant to reflect the views of those whom I entered into their labors.

< Prev   Next >
RocketTheme Joomla Templates