We will now wrap up 1st Corinthians 14, and in doing so we will finish the section on spiritual gifts that began with chapter 12. Sure, they were a gifted church, but with all of the giftedness came some real problems, wrong attitudes, and misunderstandings that Paul has had to correct. Many of the same things that were problems for them, we find to be problems that still exist in places in the church today! They overemphasized speaking in tongues and their church gatherings were very self-centered and self-promoting.
This last section gives us real insight into what “church” was like in the first century. It seems there was lots of participation by the people of the church without all of the attention being on one main speaker. While we have inherited a “pastor-centric” church system with little expectation of the average person participating in the gathering, their experience was clearly different! We have to work hard to get people to participate, while Paul had to put limits on their overzealous participation!
How can you tell if the Spirit is active in a church gathering? Maybe you have seen or participated in church services that have become “free-for-alls”? In other words, when the Spirit is moving, people lose control. There are people being “slain in the Spirit”, others are praying or singing or chanting. Everyone seems to be in their own world as the Spirit takes control and some guys plays the organ or synthesizer. Is that right? Is that what the Spirit produces?
And on top of this, we have to address Paul’s comment in this context, “Let your women keep silent in the churches, for they are not permitted to speak.” Aren’t you glad we don’t skip any verses? Did Paul really mean this? Do we believe that? Why does it show up here in the context of orderly church gatherings? Listen in to hear answers to these questions and why Paul was addressing this important topic that is still valuable for us to hear today.