Day 18

Gifts from the Holy Spirit

from the 1 & 2 Corinthians reading plan


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

BY Amanda Bible Williams

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.”

Post Comments (69)

69 thoughts on "Gifts from the Holy Spirit"

  1. R H says:

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

  2. Katelyn says:

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

  3. Elizabeth says:

    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!

    1. Kate says:

      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.

      1. Kate says:

        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.

  4. Brianna Foshie says:

    A dead church is something that breaks my heart

  5. Lori says:

    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.

  6. Mary says:

    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!

  7. Chris Swan says:

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

    1. Becky says:

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

    2. Danica Middlebrook says:

      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.

    3. She Reads Truth says:

      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

      1. Elaine says:

        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

        1. Amber Anyanwu says:

          Agreed

        2. She Reads Truth says:

          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

      2. Janet C says:

        I would like that too

  8. Debi says:

    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.

    1. Barbara Menefee says:

      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!

    2. Arlene Serna says:

      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

      1. Sharita Zimmerman says:

        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.

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