Lesson 47

Paul's First Letter to the Corinthians

World English Bible translation

 Today's Scripture

14:26 What is it then, brothers? When you come together, each one of you has a psalm, has a teaching, has a revelation, has another language, has an interpretation. Let all things be done to build each other up. 14:27 If any man speaks in another language, let it be two, or at the most three, and in turn; and let one interpret. 14:28 But if there is no interpreter, let him keep silent in the assembly, and let him speak to himself, and to God. 14:29 Let the prophets speak, two or three, and let the others discern. 14:30 But if a revelation is made to another sitting by, let the first keep silent. 14:31 For you all can prophesy one by one, that all may learn, and all may be exhorted. 14:32 The spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets, 14:33 for God is not a God of confusion, but of peace.

Today's Lesson 

For the last three lessons Paul has been defining a significant problem that has been afflicting the Corinthian church. When the Corinthians assembled there was a group of people that competed with one another as to who could demonstrate the gifts of the Spirit to a greater degree. The result was that the gatherings were disrupted by Corinthians that were speaking in various tongues that could not be understood. In Today's Scriptures Paul instructs them on a better way.


Paul writes to them that when they come together as an assembly in Christ that everything should be done in order and propriety. God is not a God of confusion. He is a God of peace. His children should worship God in a way that promotes order and peace. The Spirit of God does not sow disorder and disarray.


When they come together, the Corinthians were to conduct themselves in an organized fashion. If one person speaks in a foreign tongue, there should be someone there who can interpret. Otherwise the brother that has the gift of tongues should remain silent. They should speak in turn so there is no confusion. Likewise, those with the gift of prophecy should speak one at a time in turn. If a revelation comes to another, the first should yield the floor. Paul instructs them that the gifts of the Spirit are subject to the will of those to whom they are given. The gifts do not take over a person and "force" them to do anything. We are responsible for the way that we utilize the gifts that God gives us -- responsible to God and responsible to others.


And that was the crux of the problem for the Corinthians. The Corinthians did not wish to be subject to one another. There were too many in Corinth that sought to be better than the others and were not interested in serving one another. So Paul tells them, "Let all things be done to build each other up." When we follow the way of Christ we end up serving one another in the same way that Christ served the world through love. Just as Christ was willing to make Himself a servant to all, as servants of Christ we are to build one another up through the exercise of the spirit of Christ that lives in us.


That was what the Corinthians were lacking. They excelled in the gifts of the Spirit. What they were not doing was allowing the Spirit of Christ to live through them. Instead they were competing with one another and trying to outdo one another. But the spirit of Christ does not put us in opposition to one another. The Spirit of God seeks to bring all people into unity with Christ. As we draw closer to Christ, we will draw closer to one another. Conversely, as we draw closer to one another, we will also draw closer to Christ.


We too can learn from the Corinthian's lesson. When we assemble together as the church, we should do nothing that does not build one another up. The assemblies of the church are not the places to elevate one Christian above another. In Christ we are all one. Through building one another up, we all grow into maturity in Christ. Without one another, we will never achieve that maturity.


What have you done to build up another Christian lately? What can you do where you assemble with other Christians to promote the unity of Christ?


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