1 & 2 Corinthians: Day 18

Gifts from the Holy Spirit

by

Today's Text: 1 Corinthians 14:1-39, Exodus 25:8, 1 John 4:1-3

Scripture Reading: 1 Corinthians 14:1-39, Exodus 25:8, 1 John 4:1-3

In a few short weeks, my husband and I will board a plane to China to bring home our son. We’ve never met in person. He’s seen photos of us, and he knows to call us “Mama” and “Baba.” But he doesn’t know us, not really, nor do we know him. Yet God has tethered our hearts to one another in a way I think I may not fully understand this side of eternity. God has made us a family even now, before we’ve met, and that is a fact that overshadows all others.

I’m nervous about bringing our boy home. I’m excited, overjoyed, in tears with anticipation; but the unknowns that lie ahead make my chest tighten. I have to remind myself to practice what I learned when waiting for our first three children to arrive: Breathe. Just breathe.

I wonder how he’ll adjust to his new home, to his big sister and big brothers, to his two big dogs and the cat and the chickens in the backyard. I wonder how he’ll take to American culture and American food. But lately, I’m most nervous about the language. He speaks Mandarin; we speak English. Will we be able to communicate? Will he understand our botched renditions of “I love you” and “You are our son” and “It’s okay” in his native tongue?

How and what we communicate to our son matters. Everything we say, from playful banter to earnest conversation, should flow from our love and desire to care for him. Our words are rooted in the fact that we are family.

When Paul addresses the gifts of the Spirit in 1 Corinthians 14, specifically the gifts of prophesying and speaking in tongues, he says some things that are tough for our modern ears to understand. But if we look at the chapter as a whole, we can see a theme emerge: “Seek to excel in building up the church” (v. 12). In this lengthy chapter, Paul acknowledges that the Holy Spirit is real, that the Spirit indeed gives gifts that can only come from God, and that these gifts are good and God-honoring. But in the same breath, he offers a warning about how these gifts are to be used—and, as importantly, why they are to be used. According to Paul, the reason is more straightforward than we might expect: “Everything is to be done for building up” (v. 26).

The Church, the body of believers, is God’s dwelling place on earth. Just as God’s presence filled the tabernacle in the Old Testament, His Spirit fills those who have put our faith in Jesus. The way we conduct our worship and our gatherings matter because God is in our midst, and “God is not a God of disorder but of peace” (v. 33). Furthermore, our interactions and our meeting together ought to be governed by unity, not discord. We are a family—a family established by God Himself. Our words and actions are rooted in this eternal truth.

The diversity within the family of God is a beautiful, purposeful thing. May the Holy Spirit that binds us make our hearts tender toward our fellow family members, seeking to love the Church and build her up in all we say and do. May we worship in a way that causes the unbelievers in our midst to proclaim, “God is really among you.”

  • Amy Rinta

    Really appreciate these words Amanda! As a pastor I am charged with facilitating many gathering. My goal is to help people connect with God and each other. This help give me courage as I will be heading into a tough meeting with someone who has repeatedly interrupted the gatherings with their personal form a worship. It’s always tough for me to bring correction to people in this area because I want people to passionately seek Jesus. But when it is bring chaos and disorder it is not building the church I must as the leader bring order. This help strengthen my resolve thank!

  • Shelby Lynn

    Ms Amanda, I’m praying for the ease of conversation for your son and your family!

    Beautiful message. No matter what language, tongues whichever we speak; we all are family and we are meant to build up. Build up everything, everyone. We are the church because we are the body of believers.. we don’t have to only build up a physical building ‘church,’ we need to build up everything and every place that we are in.

  • Becky Jinright

    Ashley, these are good questions and hard to answer specifically. But I think speaking in tongues is a gift because it is a special language between the person and God. I’ve never heard anyone speaking in tongues but I’ve always heard you need an interpreter to confirm the gift and explain what is being said. So, it’s a gift first because the Bible tells us so bit also because it points to God, even if we don’t understand it. An interpreter confirms it for others that it’s not gibberish or nonsense, thus being a testimony to God. But prophecy is for believers because it requires faith and unbelievers won’t have that. Many prophecies of the Bible have come true and believers knew they would because of faith. We believe Jesus will return because if faith. Sadly, there are many who don’t know that, unbelievers, no faith. Now to answer you question about what is prophesy today is a much harder question. But it’s interesting to think about. We have had the blessing of the Bible stories and the Truth of Jesus Christ with us for 2000 years. We grew up, hopefully, learning about Him. Faith in Bible times astounds me. Think about the prophets of the IT and the faith it took to listen and believe. Is it possible that everyday folk like y pu and me would have asked the same question back then? Yet today we read it in the Bible and believe. All this points to our relationship with the Father. He gives us our gifts and Faith is a gift also. He personally hands out gifts to His children. So I believe He nurtures each one and He wants us to enjoy them and use then to His Glory. Thank you for asking the questions! You made me think this am!

  • Ashley Bell

    What is prophetic today? How is this gift truthful and glorifying to God? How does it build up the church? How is it for believers but not unbelievers?

    • Becky Jinright

      Becky

      • McKenzie O'Hara

        There is a really good sermon by Matt Chandler that talks about prophesy today, what it looks like and why it is important. It came out July 14th and its called ” A Supernatural Community and A Personal Word”

  • Irene stebila

    Desire the gift of prophecy. Unless they hear the word they can not know Him and the gospel. Be confident in knowing that greater is He that is in you than He that is in the world. I love that scripture. It gives me confidence and boldness to share Gods word.

  • Ashley Gibson

    I agree with Debi. It is hard as modern women to hear any prohibition on what God has called us to do – we hate being told no! But God is our potter and we are the clay…he has given men and women different roles and I think that includes within the church. God doesn’t allow men the gift of child birth and I hope they are not resentful of that!
    Someone mentioned Beth Moore and all…I don’t think there is any prohibition on women teaching women, the opposite actually (Paul teaches that women should mentor women). But women teachers should be very careful that their leadership desires do not dishonor or “shame” God but their disobedience.
    When we stand before God at judgement it won’t matter how we felt, or how uncool His teaching are, or how desperate we were to be “empowered” by modern standards. All that matters is if we obeyed and then we will “see clearly”.

  • Amanda: All the best for the coming weeks when you get to meet your son in person!!

  • Amanda, I’ll be praying for your new son to have a good transition into your family!

  • Elizabeth

    I’ve seen quite a few comments on verses 34-35 and wanted to share something from a book called “He Called Her” The author states that it is very likely this isn’t actually Paul’s words. Instead, he is quoting a wrong belief from the Corinthians (which he has done previously in this chapter) and then responding in correction (36-38). It doesn’t seem likely Paul would quote “the law” and say it is shameful for a woman to speak in church when he openly endorsed women in ministry. This idea actually was very common among Jews at the time so he is likely actually refuting this- correcting the church, which is the theme of this whole book. Hope that helps some!

    • Kate

      Elizabeth,

      Are you saying that he is mocking or using sarcasm in verses 34-35? Are you saying that he is saying women should speak in churches?

      Although he does use this language throughout the letter, I think the line of thought that you are suggesting, or that you have read about is very dangerous. Within the context of the letter and even the verses that you quoted, 36-38 – it still doesn’t fit that he would be saying that women actually should be speaking in churches. I think the passage is pretty clear.

      • Kate

        And I do agree with others – I think we have a difficult time with passages like these. We would rather explain them away or say “that was for a different time,” but I think if we want to be obedient and faithful, we should take Him at His word. And praise God for his never-changing character and endurance in loving us and keeping His ways.

  • Brianna Foshie

    A dead church is something that breaks my heart

  • I started this yesterday. I got stuck at the beginning…. Follow the way of love and eagerly desire the gifts of the spirit. how I long for a world such as this.

  • Amanda and family- God be with you!! What an incredible gift, to add to your family. Best of luck to you! Safe travels, peace, and many blessings!

  • Chris Swan

    Why do we only see a very few comments on the app? Don’t like having to go to the Internet.

    • Becky

      I see 35 comments in the app. Do you see only a few?

    • Danica Middlebrook

      My guess is that the comments on the app are not connected to the comments on the website. They will show up wherever someone posts them.

    • She Reads Truth

      Hi Chris, we are aware of this particular error and the newest app update should be correcting it. We appreciate your patience in the meantime. So glad that you’re reading along with us! -Margot, The SRT Team

      • Elaine

        does this new update include a notification when someone responds to your comment? i have always wished i got notified when someone is trying to help me

        • Amber Anyanwu

          Agreed

        • She Reads Truth

          Hi Elaine, that particular feature won’t be apart of this new update but we do appreciate the feedback and will be sure to pass it along. Thanks for your patience as we continue making improvements to the app to make it the best possible experience for our community. -Margot, The SRT Team

      • Janet C

        I would like that too

  • So I might have an opinion that differs from the rest, but there are so many times in scripture where IN THE CONTEXT OF TEACHING MIXED AUDIENCES IN A CHURCH SETTING, it is a men’s arena. And for me, my way to react to scripture is to take it at face value, because if I do not attend a church where women teach a mixed audience of adults, I can be just fine. But if I err on the other side and God means what he says, then I am disobedient? I just prefer to err on the safer side. Plenty of churches to attend with men in leadership? Same with head coverings. I am a single woman, so do not have to concern myself with it! Isn’t that easy! Haha, right? Sort of like the whole argument that I have with my unbelieving family: if you believe in Jesus and when you die you somehow discover it was all a hoax, I still lived a good and productive life helping others. But if I die and discover it to be as true as I suspect, all the better. But the opposite person finds themselves in hell for eternity.
    Since I struggle sooooo greatly with some sin in my life, I choose to take scripture at its surface word for my good and his glory.

    • Barbara Menefee

      Debi, I agree with you. I think sometimes we try to explain away passages that we don’t like, with, oh that was for another time. I, like you, am uncomfortable with that, because when do we know something is for now versus another time? There are lots of teachings throughout the Bible that make us uncomfortable today, do we throw them all out as being “for another time”? I choose not to. I don’t judge those who make another choice, but I just don’t like the idea of picking and choosing which scripture to follow, and which to not. We know how much Jesus cherished his female followers. He appeared first to Mary at the tomb! I don’t think that was by accident. I just think as women we have our role to play. It is no better or worse than the man’s role. Just different. Just my two cents, and this is not a salvation issue, so reasonable minds can differ! Have a wonderful day, my sisters!

    • Arlene Serna

      What is a women shares her wisdom at church? I know a lady is sometimes speaks at church but isn’t a pastor or anything. Just speak occasionally

      • Sharita Zimmerman

        I think in that case it would be fine, what Paul is referring to, is when a woman takes a leadership role in the church, and is teaching men. There is nothing wrong with women teaching other women, the Bible clearly states it! But you can’t get around those 2 verses that plainly state a woman is not to preach in the church.

  • McKenna Madden

    This was such a hard piece of scripture for me when I first started getting real with my faith, because I simply can’t come to terms with the fact that this is how our amazing, beautiful God feels about women. I went to Colour Conference hosted by Hillsong in May and our pastor, Bobbie, went over this passage. She said that this was likely written at a time where women were so new to faith in Corinth that they didn’t want them speaking out of turn and saying things that weren’t true, but to do learn with their husbands at home, so that they had a good foundational knowledge. Now I can read this without cringing.

    As for spiritual gifts, I love the idea and the biblical principal that God gave each of us unique spiritual gifts- but that they aren’t really for us- but for the good of His church. Reminds me to use my talents with purpose and cautiously.

    • April D

      Thank you for sharing that insight about women and the historical context – I really appreciated that – I knew there must be something but I wasn’t sure what it was…

    • Erin Emmerich

      Also, back in that time and even today in that area of the world women and men often sit on opposite ends of the church (eg. Women on the right and men on the left.) I’ve been to services like this and the women’s side is definitely loud, caring for children and chatting. I think Paul specifically mentioned staying quiet and asking husbands questions at home because to ask your husband a question during the service would require yelling across the church! The statement makes more since when you think of sitting with all you friends and all the children and you’re husband is sitting across the room so if you missed something due to all the commotion on you’re side(which would of been probable) it would just add to the noise by calling over.

  • On women being silent in church meetings, if you look at a picture of the temple in Jesus’ day, you will see that there was a court for men and a court for women. For the women to speak to the men, they would have been very disruptive to the worship and caused confusion. Just my thoughts. Forty years ago I was criticized for teaching a mixed Sunday school class based on this scripture.

  • I’m having a difficult time understanding today’s devotion, how someone could misuse the gifts given from the spirit? What exactly does this mean?

    • Laura

      My understanding from 1 Corinthians 14 is that our motivation in using our gifts is what has us either use them properly (in a way that strengthens the whole church v.5) or misuse them (using them in a way that essentially leaves you talking into empty space rather than being an encouragement v.9). If your focus is on yourself rather than the collective church you are meeting with, you “won’t strengthen the people who hear you” (v.17). I think verses 26-39 describing the call to orderly worship sums up that idea as well.
      I would be curious to know others’ thoughts on this topic too!

      • Eva Holsinger

        These gifts can also (unfortunately) used as tools by people in some gatherings to control and manipulate the people by saying its from God when perhaps it is not

  • Building up the church includes prophecy and speaking in tongues. Says in verse 39 “do not forbid speaking in tongues”. I am pretty sure the attitude of many churches would appear to be “forbidding ” to speaking in tongues.

  • Congratulations on your new son!!!

  • Heather Damonte

    I agree with the commentary posted by Karen. Whenever we interpret scripture we have to look at the Bible as a whole. God does not change and has shown his value of women throughout time. We see women in leadership and teaching from Debra and the prophetess Anna. We see how Jesus valued women by teaching them, and, like someone has already mentioned, Jesus first reveals himself after the resurrection to women. Paul and John both mention and/or address letters to female leaders within the church. If we look at how God history of valuing women and the multiple times Paul mentions the importance of spreading the gospel in comparison to our rights, we can interpret this as cultural.

    • Katy Bagley

      thank you very much. i’ve seen many, many things about women thus far in this study, to the point where it actually made me resent Paul a bit. thank you for clarifying. i assumed it was a culture thing, but i was not sure.

  • This passage has always confused me. My husband is Pentecostal and I go to a Baptist church. The hard part is that our children do not get to go to church with their mommy AND daddy because of this. I have tried to go to his church, but I feel like there is such misuse of these gifts. Not only that, but I feel like they mostly focus on this and miss everything else. It is like they are there to experience emotional highs and are missing the meat of it all. There has been a lot of strife in our home over the last few months because we are so passionate about our beliefs and we don’t want our children hearing the wrong thing. However, over the last month, after having so many people pray for us, us praying and reading our bible, we finally have peace in our home. This devotion is timely because it puts things into focus. We are to be using our gifts to build the church. It’s that simple.

    • Katelyn

      Audrey, I’ll be praying for continued peace and understanding for you and your family

    • Cassi Sultemeier

      Praying for your family. My husband grew up Pentecostal and I grew up Baptist. We started going to a non denominational church and really studied the core beliefs of our faith.

  • We must Persue love in everything we do. Remember our actions will speak louder than words. As a Christian we have Christ in us, with us and He will speak for us when we allow him to. Greater is He that is in you than He that is in the world(Satan).

  • Karen Lockwood

    Also in Romans 16, Paul mentions several women by name as his coworkers in Christ.

    • Samantha

      This passage always frustrated me “woman are to be silent.” However, looking in cultural context, the women were not educated in the way to understand the language that the message was being given. Therefore, there was disruption during the sermons from those who did not understand the language (mostly women) and so this mention from Paul is not to silence women, but an urging to wait to ask questions until they got home. It is always a reminder to me that Paul was writing letters to a specific group, not with the understanding or intention that this would be included in the Word of God. Therefore, remembering the context in which it is written helps me to understand that Paul was not suppressing women, but wanted to give clear ways for the Spirit to move and for clarity to be found afterward. I believe that Paul (and Jesus for that matter) was most supportive of women, especially those serving as heads of ministry.

      As far as this devotional, it is a beautiful representation of how the Lord can use us to speak to one another in ways other than verbal words. It is clear that your son will be loved with the Love of Christ deeply and wonderfully; and God will love you deeply and wonderfully through your son.

      Thank you for this message.

  • Karen Lockwood

    This is from the commentary in my Life Study Guide Bible. In 1 Corinthians 11:5-6, it says that a woman is not to pray or prophesy with her head uncovered. The commentary on these verses says that based on their newfound freedom in Christ, women in the Corinthian church were praying and prophesying and that from Pentecost on, Christian tradition had approved of this. “But these women, as they spoke in worship, were apparently flaunting social convention by sending ambiguous signals about their sexuality or religious commitment through inappropriate hairstyles or the lack of headdresses.” At that time in Greece, only immoral women were seen with their heads uncovered. Paul was saying that they couldn’t afford to disregard social convention as it would hurt their testimony. Then in the commentary for 14:34-35, the commentary says that rather than intending to silence women totally in the church, Paul may have been referring to “interfering chatter or to the promotion of false teaching.” I’m not sure how much that helps, but it makes me think he’s not really saying women can’t speak at all. Women were actually the first to be told by Jesus to tell that others that He had risen from the dead.

    • Kat Hensley

      Thank you for that view. It had a few difficult verses to understand true meaning.

    • J. Alison

      Thank you for this. I have always struggled with reading Paul’s letters, especially because I did know that he worked closely with women who he respected. This makes a lot more sense to me. Hard sometimes to tease out truths when we are also sifting through history.

    • Katelyn

      Karen, thanks for the insight!

  • Holly Bogosian

    I agree with Lisa S. I would love some clarification on verses 34-35. Is this the Lords feeling about women or just Paul’s? Does he mean women like Beth Moore, Joyce Meyers, or Victoria Osteen are rebellious because they encourage women in the Word of God and lead unbelievers to Christ? How could that be? I REALLY have struggled with this lately. The goal is to KNOW HIM however that happens and by whomever.

    • Priska

      Hi Holly! I just read Jesus Feminist by Sarah Bessey, and it brought so much liberation to these Scriptures that have been misinterpreted for so long. Karen’s comment above certainly helps, but if you want to explore this topic more, I would highly recommend Jesus Feminist. As Sarah points out, the Bible also includes directives for how to treat slaves, not because we should have slaves, but as an improvement to becoming more godly than in the past. In modern times, we understand slavery is flat-out wrong. Similarly, we can understand that regarding (& treating) women as inferior is flat-out wrong. Check out the book — it helped me so very much!

  • My ESV study Bible says this about women keeping silent in church:

    “Since Paul seems to permit wives to pray and prophesy (11:5, 13) as long as they do not dishonor their husbands by the way they dress, it is difficult to see this as an absolute prohibition. Paul is likely forbidding women to speak up and judge prophesies (this is the activity in the immediate context) since such an activity would subvert male headship.”

    Churchmouse summed it up well: Pursue love. Desire spiritual gifts. Build up the church. Be orderly.

    We may not understand everything, but we can do those things that are clear in the Word of God. May we bring God glory today by our thoughts, words, and actions.

  • Jennifer Martin

    ❤️

  • Amanda, I am thrilled over the reading today! For the joy of the Truth of unity in the body among sisters and brothers, but also the news of you going to China to pick up your little boy. We lived in China for a couple of years “teaching English” and we loved it! They are, for the most part, a very relational people group (as most of the time for them, there are many, many people around them.) Anyway, we know how Faithful God is and He has had this planned for your family, so you are prepared by Him for this time. If you don’t already know this…which you most likely do, reach out to other Chinese Christians for help! They would be a great resource for you and for your son! I am rejoicing with you for what God is giving you and your family, and that He will change and mold you for His Glory through this new season!

  • Kelly Chataine

    I Corinthians (1:10) opens up with a reminder that unity among the body of Christ is of key importance. Doing things and behaving in ways that build up or edify the body of Christ help unify us. Doing things and behaving in ways that build ourselves up injures the unity of the body of Christ. Another reminder of how much God loves us and yearns for us to be one in Him and how to accomplish that very goal.

  • Churchmouse

    There’s a lot in 1 Corinthians 14 that I don’t understand. I would like to sit down with Paul and have a conversation to get some clarification. I read Paul’s words and I wonder if I as an individual and the church as a whole are doing it right. I can get hung up on noting the apparent do’s and don’t’s. But by doing that I think I miss some major points: Pursue love. Desire spiritual gifts. Build up the church. Be orderly. If I am loving my neighbor as myself and yielding myself to whatever gift the Holy Spirit gives me and I’m encouraging and strengthening the church by what gift I use and my approach is orderly and peaceable, well then I think I’m following Jesus as described in 1 Corinthians 14. I think so. As for prophesying and speaking in tongues with interpretation and women being silent in the church, I would like that coffee chat with Paul. There are things I don’t understand. But I can do my best to follow what I can.

    • Irina

      You very well and eloquently put my thoughts in words. Thank you.

    • Susan

      I am right with you.

    • Linsey

      Wow, you really took the words out of my mouth. I finished reading this scripture feeling both encouraged and confused. I know we are not going to understand everything in God’s word here on earth, but I conversation with Paul sure would help!

    • Trayce Allen

      Thank you Churchmouse for always being able to articulate what so many of us feel. I have always struggled with the “women being silent” in church part the most. I was raised Presbyterian and have been ordained as a Deacon and Elder in my church. I have never understood why other Christian groups only allow women to do certain things in the church. Was it not women who funded most of Jesus’ ministry? Granted those early Christian women don’t get the same press as the original 12, but if you unpack the women of the Bible, you will find a lot of great things. So if you ever get that coffee date with Paul, can I please tag along!

    • Kay

      Thank you once again Churchmouse for gathering “my thoughts” into words. It does simply boil down to “doing my best to follow what I can.” I hope all of the SRT ladies have a truly blessed day today.

    • Kara

      I agree! I used to shy away from reading Paul’s writings because of his seemingly harsh views towards women. But taking everything as a whole shows it’s really about order, witness, peace, and unity. We can still apply those today even if our cultural norms look different.

      • Bren

        I think he he talking about disorderly disrupting women because in the rest of the chapter, addressing public gifts, he uses both brothers and sisters. Even in verse 39, after stating that women should be silent – he says so then my brothers and SISTERS, be eager to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in other tongues.”

    • PamC

      Thank you once again for clarification.

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