“How is it then, brethren? Whenever you come together, each of you has a psalm, has a teaching, has a tongue, has a revelation, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification.”
Paul concluded his discussion on the misuse of tongues by affirming the need for order in the use of gifts (14:26-40).
The purpose of using gifts, 14:26
No more than 2 or 3 should speak in tongues, 14:27a
Speak one at a time, 14:27b
A translator must be present, 14:27c-14:28
Only two or three should prophesy in one service, 14:29
The first person should allow the second person to prophesy before making his prophecy, 14:30-31
Wait in turn to speak, 14:32-33
Women are not to speak in church services, 14:34-35
Paul’s commands are God’s commands, 14:36-38
Do everything in systematic order, 14:39-40
Chapter 14 sets forth drastic restrictions, prohibitions, and regulations on the gifts of prophecy and tongues. There were no regulations for the gift of tongues in the 25 years from Pentecost to the writing of First Corinthians.
How is it then, brethren?
Paul now draws an implication from what he said in the previous section about spiritual maturity and the purpose of tongues. If the church operates on bedlam, then there are some implications for non-Christians and Christians alike. Paul now turns to proper decorum in public worship.
Whenever you come together,
The idea of coming together means coming together for public worship as in a church service.
each of you
The word “each” indicates that free participation in the worship service created rampant chaos in the church gathering (14:33).
has a psalm,
A “psalm” is a song of praise, a hymn. This may have been a hymn created by the Corinthian church community. A psalm is a truth set to a tune or Scripture set to musical instruments.
has a teaching,
A “teaching” is the subject taught, a doctrine, that is, the content of teaching.
has a tongue,
A “tongue” is the ability to speak in a known foreign language without studying for it.
has a revelation,
A revelation is a direct divine disclosure right on the spot and includes a previous understanding of God’s revelation. God used this temporary gift before the closing of the canon. Once the completion of the canon occurred, there was no further need for the gift of revelation. God gave Paul a “revelation” of God’s Son in Galatians 1:12,16. In verse six, Paul groups “revelation” with knowledge, prophecy, and teaching and distinguishes it from tongues in terms of understanding.
has an interpretation.
An “interpretation” is the translation of a speech given by a person who speaks in a language he does not know.
Let all things be done for edification.
Edification means construction, building up. We must do everything in the assembly in such a manner that we strengthen believers in their Christian walk. This is the refrain of the chapter (14:3, 5, 12, here).
The overarching principle of public worship regarding the believer is to build him up spiritually.
It is the responsibility of each believer to edify others. The content for edification is the Word of God.
Ro 15:2-3,, Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, leading to edification. 3For even Christ did not please Himself; but as it is written, “The reproaches of those who reproached You fell on Me.”
1 Th 5:11, Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing.
Kindly permit me to ask two questions on tongues:
1. Do you think a believer with the gift of tongues is able to speak in tongues at will, 24/7, whenever he wishes to speak in tongues? Or does he need to wait until God gives him a something to say in tongues? I know that once a tongues-speaker has a message in a tongue, he can control himself with regards to when he should speak, because the spirit of the prophet is subject to the prophet. But my question is, does the speaker need to wait until God gives him a message to speak? Or does he always have a message to speak in a tongue, such that he is able to speak in tongues at will whenever he wishes to? Any indication from the scriptures as to what the answer to this question might be?
2. Do you think the disciples who spoke in tongues in the book of Acts retained the ability to speak in tongues repeatedly just as in the Corinthian church? Was the speaking in tongues in the book of Acts a permanent spiritual gift or was it just a one-off event that served only as evidence that the disciples had been filled with the Holy Spirit?
Victor, Your questions involve extended answers. Go to this page to get your answers: https://versebyversecommentary.com/articles/problem-passages/tongues-issue-in-the-bible/44583-2/
Your answers/ reference to tongues having no use for today are incorrect. Paul said he talks in tongues more than anyone. Tongues are one of the gifts of the infilling of Holy Spirit. God/Jesus stated that the gifts are without reproach. Meaning He doesn’t take them back. Jude commands to pray in the Spirit daily. I’m not sure how you came about your interpretation. I encourage you to please do more research.
read these articles: https://versebyversecommentary.com/articles/problem-passages/tongues-issue-in-the-bible/
Hi Grant. I randomly stumbled on to this page while googling for clarification on 1 Cor 14:26. I see this article was originally written in 2003, and that you are still answering questions! Amazing online ministry!
And now for the actual question… It looks to me that contemporary churches are turning more into theatres (from the structure of the actual buildings to the conduct of worship services). Would you say that 1 Cor 14:26 suggests that the rest of the congregation needs to be more involved on an individual level to build up the church body? (i.e. more of an open mic format).
Thank you for your comments. Yes, it appears from this verse that a level of congregational participation in worship is indicated–all with the purpose of edification.