1 Corinthians 14:1-9
In our text, Paul goes into a lengthy discussion contrasting the specific gifts of tongues and prophecy. This is fascinating, because in the Corinthian church, tongues was highly prized, as it is in charismatic circles in our own day. Paul’s point in ch. 14 is very clear- the various spiritual gifts do have both a purpose and a priority; and if we are to seek them, we should seek the best of them. In this chapter, Paul tells us unequivocally which is better, and why.
Now this chapter begs an important question: since our church, and many others just like us, hold to the position that the sign gifts (tongues, prophecy, apostleship, miracles, healings, etc.) have ceased, as Paul explained at the end of ch. 13, how then does this text have any direct bearing on the Christian church in the 21st century? Is it possible that we would do well to skip this section altogether? Or are there lessons that are even now necessary for us to learn from the text? We are reminded that all the Scriptures are given for our admonition, including this text- so in obedience to our Lord, we will carefully consider this text, and discover its important application both in the first century, and in the present century as well.