30 “But if anything is revealed to another who sits by, let the first keep silent. 31For you can all prophesy one by one, that all may learn and all may be encouraged. 32And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets. 33For God is not the author of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints.”
But if anything is revealed to another who sits by, let the first keep silent.
There is a difference between sharing a word and expounding God’s Word. Both men and women could prophesy in the sense of sharing a word (11:4,5). This would be similar to a testimony.
The third standard for prophets is to speak one by one. Some people received direct revelation as in this passage. The Corinthian congregation was to yield the floor to the person with direct revelation.
For you can all prophesy one by one,
Prophesying, like tongues, must be orderly, so each must speak in turn.
that all may learn and all may be encouraged.
People cannot learn and be encouraged/exhorted with many people speaking at once because intelligent distinguishing of ideas is crucial for learning. Encouragement comes from the Word of God. No prophet can help others without objective revelation. The purpose (“that”) of prophecy is that people might “learn.”
And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets.
Prophets were to limit themselves to prophetic teaching. There was no place for mindless frenzy common in pagan worship. The gift of prophecy does not overpower the prophet with impulsiveness. Prophets control their own speech and they control prophetic revelation. Prophets are able to use their spiritual gifts according to Scripture. Prophets keep their spiritual gifts under control.
For God is not the author of confusion but of peace,
Whenever a prophet loses control in a teaching situation, then chaotic teaching results. Manic emotions that threw pagan sibyls and priestesses into contortions have no place in Christian worship. Hysteria and frenzy disgrace God’s character. God is not about confusion or chaos, for chaos is not of God. “Peace” is the opposite of “confusion” or disorder, commotion, tumult. Order is in the nature of God.
as in all the churches of the saints.
Order was the standard operating procedure in other churches as well.
Disorder in church services is not consistent with the character of God.
All gifts are subject to misuse. Anytime emotion takes over a church service without intelligent distinction, the service is without order, and God is not a God of “confusion” but of order (14:40). There is no place for bizarre, ecstatic worship in God’s church.