Tuesday, July 26, 2016

"The Benefit of Speaking in Tongues"

1st Corinthians 14.4-5 NIV
  He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself, but he who prophesies edifies the church. I would like every one of you to speak in tongues, but I would rather have you prophesy. He who prophesies is greater than one who speaks in tongues, unless he interprets, so that the church may be edified.

Here are some words we almost never use in modern American speech...
  • edify
  • tongues
  • prophesy
Applying the Biblical meaning in keeping with Paul’s intent...
  • edify = nurture and strengthen
  • tongues = nurture and strengthen myself
  • prophesy = nurture and strengthen others
...the expanded text could read:

“I would like everyone of you to [nurture and strengthen yourselves],
but I would rather have you [nurture and strengthen others].
He who [nurtures and strengthens others]
is greater than one who [nurtures and strengthens himself].”

This is similar in meaning to the words of Jesus:

“The greatest among you shall be your servant.”
Matthew 29.11

I must take care of myself so I can take care of others even more effectively. If speaking in tongues will help me to strengthen and encourage myself so that I can better strengthen and encourage others, then I should do it often. I will gladly receive and employ this or any gift the Spirit graciously bestows and deems appropriate for me. If so honored, I will use my gifts to nurture and strengthen others “so that the church may be edified”.


The "EDIFY" logo came from New Life Community Church in Fair Oaks, California (http://www.aboutnewlife.com/).


One Sided said...

I have never had the experience of speaking in tongues and when in the presence of it have always felt confused perhaps even frightened. My mother shared that she had on a couple of occasions experienced this blessing. There was always a part of me that wondered if my faith was not yet strong enough to the level of maturity needed was not in me yet.
So I felt left out, because I knew in my heart that this blessing was not a limited time offer.
Your insight rings so true that I must ask if it is because I want so much to be included or if you have in fact reveled an understanding hidden from me for so long

Dave's Bible Blog said...

Hi Larry,

Thank you for your comments. I did publish them on the blog. I do speak in tongues and I believe this gift is for the benefit of the body of Christ. As long as it is an encouragement to others then God is pleased. I resist any notion that this gift is a requirement for all believers or that it is in any way greater than other gifts. In fact, Paul relegates it to a lesser gift when compared to prophesy, unless it is accompanied with interpretation.

The point, it seems to me, is that the greatest gifts are those that benefit the body of Christ in some way.

Your words inspired me to add more words to my prayer at the bottom of the blog for this day’s insight. I hope you will enjoy it. You sound like a great brother.