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Read Introduction to 1 Corinthians


“Pursue love, and desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy.”


Chapter 12 gave a catalog of gifts, chapter 13 gave the correct use of gifts (love), and now chapter 14 will set forth the misuse of gifts. This chapter shows the superiority of prophecy over tongues. Paul isolated these two gifts for special consideration. The first 25 verses give the need for the priority of prophecy, and verses 26 through 40 show the need for order in the use of gifts. The central problem was that there was no final written New Testament to regulate the exercise of gifts, so Paul devoted the most extensive section of First Corinthians to the subject of gifts.

Pursue love,

God wanted the Corinthians to set their hearts on love after giving a chapter showing its importance in using gifts. The Greek word “pursue” means to hunt, chase after with intensity. The idea is to pursue with persistence. Love is the dominant factor in the use of gifts. Love was not something the Corinthians could trifle with. Love takes commitment.

and desire spiritual gifts,

Paul encouraged the church collectively to “desire” spiritual gifts. The plural in the word “desire” indicates that the entire church, not individuals, should desire that the gift of prophecy be used in the church. We have this word again in 14:39 – “desire earnestly to prophesy.” Gifts are a means of showing love because they bless others. \

1 Co 12:31, But earnestly desire the best gifts. And yet I show you a more excellent way (love of chapter 13).

but especially that you may prophesy.

Paul put a priority on prophecy among the gifts. Prophecy in one’s own language is more edifying than gifts spoken in other languages. It is the dimension of the gift that communicates God’s Word.


Exposition is essential for the soul.


The exposition of Scripture is the closest idea to prophecy today. Exposition is essential for the edification of the soul. Along with exposition, we need to pursue love hotly. None of us can say, “I love perfectly.”