A Verse by Verse Study of the Abuse of
with the Book of 1 Corinthians, which was written to a “carnal” and
“baby” church located in Corinth, in Greece. These Christians were immature,
and unable to handle strong meat (1 Cor 3:1-3)
letter was written to correct things in the church that were out of control.
love of the world
in the church
living and acting just like the world
love for gifts, instead of the giver
are two issues being dealt with in 1 Corinthians chapters 12 - 14: Charity and
is supreme, and abides forever - it is an eternal “gift” of God and is
gifts are temporary
specific “gifts” are listed as being only temporary (13:8-12)
- this gift will fail. If a prophecy
fails, then it did not come from God (Dt 18:19-22). Prophecy is the speaking of
the word of God without “source”, meaning, being a mouthpiece for God, and
not just quoting from what God had already said in the Bible. It is in contrast
with “readings” and preaching of the already written word. When prophecies
start failing, then God is finished with prophecies as a gift.
- this gift will cease. Tongues
according to Acts 2 are spoken languages that are unknown to the speaker, but
clearly understood by specific hearers, because the words would be in their language, not the speaker's.
- the gift of knowledge will vanish away
- knowledge itself will not vanish away. He is referring to “revelations”
from God in the form of dreams and visions that give a person supernatural
knowledge about spiritual things before the Bible was complete.
that is called “perfect” was said to be “coming” which would do away
with the need of the above three “gifts.” Either it is Jesus, or His word.
is the “that” that is perfect?
says that he currently is seeing through a “glass darkly” (9-12). He did not
then possess perfection. If he is referring to Christ Jesus, then all the
Christian can ever do is hope to see the same way!
says that he only knows in part (13:9). Even the Apostle Paul, in his day,
lacked a completed revelation of truth. If this is true today, then we need more
Bible! Here comes the Mormons, and the JW's, and the Moslems, etc!
“that” has to be perfect (13:10).
There are only two perfect things: God, and His word (Matt 5:48; Ps 119:160;
“thats” are neuter. The first “that” is referring to the things that are
incomplete, and they are not alive, or beings. The second "that" is
also neuter - referring however to something that IS complete.
“that which is perfect” must be
referring to the completed word of God, which in Paul’s day was not yet
is “it” coming?
Paul did NOT have access to “that which
did not know WHEN it was coming either, but only knew that on that day, he would
fully understand truth.
If Paul was only waiting for Christ to come, being the perfect thing,
then the Bible is not finished even in our day, and is subject to additional
revelations, and books, and doctrines (which the Catholics, and every other cult
would love to be true) - yet we are told that we cannot add ANY more revelations
to that which was presented in the LAST Bible book written, Revelation (Rev
22:18,19). This one single concept can either close the door on Mormons, and
Catholic traditions, or it can open it wide open!!!
This is the reason for the entire chapter. The Corinthian Christians had not
understood this very well.
carnal Christians had reversed the order of the importance of the spiritual
gifts, and made tongues the most important thing to have
them, personal edification was the greatest good!
b. They are miraculous - they had to be a supernatural ability - a miracle
c. They have a three-fold purpose:
1) To rebuke unbelieving Jews
2) To preach the Gospel in all languages of the Gentiles
3) To prove that Gentiles are saved just as thoroughly as the Jews
d. The Apostle Paul spoke in tongues probably more than anybody (14:18)
e. Many first century Christians spoke with the supernatural gift of other languages (Mk 16:16-20).
f. But not all Christians could speak with tongues – it was to be on a NEED basis – not a personal desire, or personal edification basis!
3. They can be, are, and will be counterfeited by:
a. Determination - just gibberish - psychologically produced
b. Demon possession - demonically produced (Rev 13:11-15; 2Cor 11:13-15; Mt 7:21-23; 24:11,24; 2Thes 2:8-10)
D. What are ‘Unknown Tongues’?
1. Here in 1 Corinthians 14, the unknown tongues are unknown because the speakers DON'T WANT anyone interpreting what they are saying - only interested in the "feeling" they get, and the psychological uplift from the "experience." This chapter is God's attempt to correct this!
2. These ‘tongues’ are gibberish to everyone – even to God! They are not heavenly utterances, or languages of ANY sort – they are unknown!
are speaking unto God (or at least you think you are), and not unto
people (14:2). The problem with this is that in Acts 2, they did not speak unto
God, but unto lost sinners!
are speaking in mysteries (14:3,4) - not making any sense. This was not
the case in Acts 2!
are edifying only yourself (14:4). This is not to say that this is what
we SHOULD be doing - but, that if you are speaking in tongues alone, you are
wasting your time! Peter would deny vehemently that that was what he was doing
in Acts 2!
nice to do (selfishly), but not important (14:5). If all a person does is
promote something that is mysterious and unknown, it is worthless!!!
has no use unless it has interpretation (14:6) - unless it is being
translated for ALL to hear - we are to be open books to the world! What we say
MUST be open, and real, and with clear purpose to the world around us - it is
called our "conversation"
in an unknown tongue has no profit to others (14:6)
is only an uncertain noise
(14:7) to those who can't understand it
is like speaking into the air (14:9). That is not the work of a Christian
- they are to deal with the hearts of people! Those that believe they are
speaking to God in a "heavenly" language (which is nowhere in the
Scripture), are really just speaking into the "AIR!" Not even GOD
knows what you are saying! Truly an "unknown" tongue!
Tongues are only Babel (confusion) all over again, with people being only
barbaric to one another (14:10,11; 14:33)
speak in tongues requires an interpreter,
so that others (including yourself) can be truly edified or ministered to
(14:13). Therefore, if a person is speaking to themselves in tongues, alone,
they are either abusing the gift that God gave them, or seeking the gift, no
matter the giver (which can end up being the devil)!
a person prays in an unknown tongue, their spirit would be doing the praying,
but without any understanding on the part of the person who is supposed to be
praying. How does that “edify” myself, or anybody else (Cf 14:4)? It is only
selfishness - the fruit of carnality.
that we are dealing with the “spirit” of the person, and not the Spirit of
God! The spirit of a person can be influenced by a multitude of other
“spirits” (2 Tim 1:7; 1 Cor 2:12).
pray with the spirit means for
the Christian to pray with the understanding as well (14:15) - not to be “out
of the loop” - that would be demonic. The spirit here is the MIND of the
Christian, not the Holy Spirit.
sing with the spirit means to sing with the understanding, and so that
people understand what you are singing (14:5).
is compared to an act of my spirit “blessing” or giving thanks (16),
but again, nobody understanding anything going on. If a person is going to give
thanks, what good is it if no one understands what you are doing?
is possible to pray, sing, and bless in another tongue, miraculously, but it
would be no good, if neither you, nor your audience could understand what was
going on (14:17)!
being driven by the spirit is not “spiritual” because different spirits can
work in the life of a Christian (Cf 1 John 4:1-3; 2 Cor 11:13-15; 1Thes 5:20,21;
speaks what God said, usually before being written down as Scripture (like with
Agabus in Acts 11:28; 21:10,11; and with the prophets of the Old Testament).
They first SPOKE (prophesied), and then WROTE (2 Peter 1:16-21).
Prophet is a Spokesman for God (Ex 4:16, 7:1) - speaks in the place of God. That
is why they must be 100% accurate in what they say for God.
is the gift of knowing what God wants said at a certain time and place - what he
would say if He were here.
is speaking so that you can be understood by people. It could be referred to as
speaking what God said, with a KNOWN tongue - or a tongue that both you, and the
people around you know.
the Old and New Testament times, a prophet would speak for God supernaturally,
and was believed because of the miracles they could do, and the future they
prophets were declaring the words of God, and were adding to the Bible.
the completion of the Book of Revelation, all revelations were completed, and
the job of prophesying passed on to the work of just PREACHING what is written.
No more adding to the Scriptures (Rev 22:18,19)
today are: Preachers, Teachers, and Soul-winners!
Purpose of Prophecy
speaks to the edification, exhortation and comfort of everyone
primarily edifies other Christians, and not your self
people to repent and worship God (14:24,25)
Priority of Prophecy
is better than speaking in tongues - because tongues can still be easily
misunderstood when interpreted
is part of the superior gifts of proclaiming revelations, knowledge, and
is distinct and clear, whereas, tongues is mysterious by nature (1 Cor 14:2).
are 3 things the Corinthians were doing that needed correction:
speak in an unknown tongue
unless you have an interpreter. If there is no interpreter, then just keep quiet
is not in the event.
pray in an unknown tongue AT
ALL - If the person cannot understand what they are praying, then it is not
beneficial at all.
sing in an unknown tongue
unless you have an interpreter.
ALL instances, the person should understand what they are saying, as well as the
general audience. If they could not understand what they were saying, then they
should not speak! Instead speak to yourself and to God – in a KNOWN language!
spoke in tongues more than all of the Corinthian church combined - up to 50,000
people - this was because he preached to far more people in so many different
didn’t waste any time speaking in tongues in church, unless it was directed at
somebody (an unbeliever), and unless there was an interpreter. He would rather
just say “Christ died for our sins” (1 Cor 15:3)
a person is going to speak in tongues in a church, they are to speak in order,
with an arranged interpreter. Not
woman was to speak in tongues in church - ever
(14:34,35; 1 Tim 2:7-15).
provoke Israel to turn to Christ by seeing the fulfillment of prophecy
(Acts 2; Joel 2; Isa 28:11,12; Dt 28:49)
was one of the gifts that were meant to confirm the word of God that Christ had
spoken, and then the Apostles (Mark 16:17-20)
allowed the person to preach the word of God to people in another language than
your own (Acts 2; 1 Cor 14:6-14)
tongues does nobody any good, at all!
had made "their kind of tongues"
the pre-eminent gift (loved it more
than preaching). It is easy to understand why - preaching rebukes sin, but
tongues does nothing but put on a show, and make you "feel good."
had used it only for self edification, and not for preaching the Gospel - which
is our cross, and is NOT comfortable, like tongues is!
had extended the “gift” to the areas of praying
and singing and conversational blessing
in church - which it was not intended for!
had become blind to the needs of the unsaved, and to the unlearned in their
congregations – very selfish and self-serving!
had not matured in their Christian lives beyond the “childish” things of
tongues and special revelations (1 Cor 13:11) - things that "puffed them up
with pride” instead of burdened their hearts to serve!
had forgotten about the need of witnessing to the Jews, and allowing the things
that happen in their lives to provoke the Jews to faith in Christ (Rom 11:11-15)
had made their church services a “circus” of specialty side-shows, all
pointing out their special gifts,
instead of serving and ministering to one another, and to the lost (14:26)
got out of control, all in the name of “spiritual leadings” - Things had gotten out of order (14:40)
got to thinking that God was doing some great thing, just out from among them
(14:36). They thought they were "above" the rest of the churches -
this is the result of self-edification and pride (8:1)
Remember that Prophesying, and Speaking in an
Unknown Tongue are linked to proclaiming God’s word
there is a prophet who is to speak
let him gather with anyone else who also is to speak, and then proceed to
declare what God has revealed to him
other prophets are to sit back and examine what the man says - just as the
general audience is to be doing (Acts 17:10-12)
courteous to each other, and allow the other person to finish speaking before
starting the next person.
prophet was allowed to go out of control
(14:32,33) because God would NEVER author such behaviour (ie, quacking like a
women, and their gifts
gives women spiritual gifts just as He does men (Acts 2:17,18; 21:8,9)
spiritual gifts have their limits
woman is permitted to speak as a prophet, or using their gift of tongues in the
church, even if they have the gift of prophecy (like Philip’s daughters), or
the gift of tongues (1 Tim 2:8-15).
is a “shame” for a woman to speak (preach) in the church (in the place of
God, like a man does, 14:35).
women became pastors, or pulpit preachers, they would be violating the command
to “be under obedience,” and to not to be in authority in the Christian
church (Cf 1 Tim 2:11-14)
women are to use their gifts primarily in the home, as a witness to the lost,
and to enable them, with their families to honour God - but not to take control
of a church (Tit 2:3,5; John 4:29; Gen 2:18)!
a Christian woman wants to “learn” something that is being taught, they are
not permitted to interrupt the church service, but are to wait, and ask their
husbands at home.
forces the husband, and the father to be responsible for the instruction of
truth in their homes - to not leave it to the church
also keeps order in the church (1 Cor 11:2-5,16)
are allowed to ask questions in church (Acts 16:13; 17:12), but they must first
learn to communicate with their husbands and fathers at home!
This chapter has not been comforting to the
Corinthians - it has been a rebuke! There is no comfort in any of this chapter!
Corinthians have no “corner” on God’s market of the gifts, and of
revelations, and of the word of God.
true test of a person’s “spirituality” is whether they respond and submit
to the WRITTEN words of Scripture or not. If they do not, then they do not have
the Spirit of Christ (14:37)!
a person wants to remain ignorant about these facts and truths, then leave him
or her alone - let them be ignorant - but the rest are to get right, and go on
for the Lord (14:38)!
are to love, and covet (earnestly desire) to prophesy - to preach clearly what
are not to forbid the speaking in tongues, as long as they are according to the
rules laid out here. If someone attempts to speak out of order, or out of
control, then you are to FORBID them - block them!
over-riding rule is, that everything must be done decently and in order (14:40).
Order is established not by emotions, or feelings, or democratic opinions, but
upon the written words of God!
People turn tongues into prophesying, and mystical events, and spiritual
demonstrations, instead of for what it was intended.
Tongues were in use by both Jew and Gentile during the first century, but
died out when the Scriptures were completed
Prophesying ended also at the time of the completion of the Bible. All
that is left is for the Christian to preach what is already written (2 Tim
If tongues are still in power, then why do ALL missionaries have to learn
the language of the people to whom they preach?