1 Corinthians 14: Speaking in Tongues

Is it true that sticks and stones will break our bones but words will never hurt us? Why or why not?

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1 Corinthians 14:1 Let love be your goal as you seek all that God has for you, especially for the Holy Spirit to give you the right words to say.
King James
1 Corinthians 14:1 Follow after charity, and desire spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may prophesy.

Of what value are words that people cannot understand?

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1 Corinthians 14:2 In an unknown language, we may speak unto God, but people won’t understand what the Holy Spirit is saying.
King James
1 Corinthians 14:2 For he that speaketh in an unknown tongue speaketh not unto men, but unto God: for no man understandeth him; howbeit in the spirit he speaketh mysteries.

Christianese is the language Christians speak among themselves, which include words like sanctification, redemption, and washed by the blood. To what extent should we avoid such words in favor of expressions that people will understand?

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1 Corinthians 14:3 But those who speak by the Holy Spirit in the common language will strengthen, admonish, and comfort the people.
King James
1 Corinthians 14:3 But he that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort.

How can we be strengthened by speaking words we don’t understand?

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1 Corinthians 14:4 In an unknown language, we may strengthen ourselves, but understandable words given by the Spirit strengthen the church.
King James
1 Corinthians 14:4 He that speaketh in an unknown tongue edifieth himself; but he that prophesieth edifieth the church.

What gives a message value?

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1 Corinthians 14:5 I wish everyone spoke an unknown language, but speaking understandable words is much more important, because the unknown language has no value in the church unless someone can interpret the message.
14:6 My friends, how would you be helped if I came to you speaking in a language you couldn’t understand? A special insight, teaching, or prediction must be understood before it can be of any benefit.
King James
1 Corinthians 14:5 I would that ye all spake with tongues, but rather that ye prophesied: for greater is he that prophesieth than he that speaketh with tongues, except he interpret, that the church may receive edifying.
14:6 Now, brethren, if I come unto you speaking with tongues, what shall I profit you, except I shall speak to you either by revelation, or by knowledge, or by prophesying, or by doctrine?

What is the result when meaningless or confusing sounds or words are given?

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1 Corinthians 14:7 A tune may be recognized only when the notes are clearly played.
14:8 How would soldiers know they were called to battle if the bugler blew a strange sound?
14:9 The same is true for you. If people don’t understand what you’re saying, you’re wasting your breath.
King James
1 Corinthians 14:7 And even things without life giving sound, whether pipe or harp, except they give a distinction in the sounds, how shall it be known what is piped or harped?
14:8 For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle?
14:9 So likewise ye, except ye utter by the tongue words easy to be understood, how shall it be known what is spoken? for ye shall speak into the air.

What is the biggest problem with so many languages existing in the world?

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1 Corinthians 14:10 Many languages exist in the world, each with its own meaning.
King James
1 Corinthians 14:10 There are, it may be, so many kinds of voices in the world, and none of them is without signification.

When we don’t understand someone, how is the relationship affected?

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1 Corinthians 14:11 If I don’t understand a language, those who speak it are foreigners to me and I’m a foreigner to them.
King James
1 Corinthians 14:11 Therefore if I know not the meaning of the voice, I shall be unto him that speaketh a barbarian, and he that speaketh shall be a barbarian unto me.

What kind of behavior should we expect of the Holy Spirit as he works in our lives?

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1 Corinthians 14:12 Therefore, if you’re eager for the Holy Spirit to work in your lives, seek what will strengthen the church.
King James
1 Corinthians 14:12 Even so ye, forasmuch as ye are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek that ye may excel to the edifying of the church.

In a spiritual communication with the Lord, why would it be good to have understanding?

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1 Corinthians 14:13 Someone who speaks in an unknown language should pray for understanding.
14:14 If I pray in an unknown language, my spirit may be active but my lack of understanding is no help to anyone.
King James
1 Corinthians 14:13 Wherefore let him that speaketh in an unknown tongue pray that he may interpret.
14:14 For if I pray in an unknown tongue, my spirit prayeth, but my understanding is unfruitful.

How would you describe Paul’s attitude toward prayer and praise?

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1 Corinthians 14:15 What should I do, then? I will pray or sing in the spirit using words I understand.
King James
1 Corinthians 14:15 What is it then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also: I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also.

Under what conditions can a gathering of people be “in one spirit and one accord”?

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Acts 2:1 At midmorning on the day of Pentecost, the followers of Jesus were gathered in the Temple with a single passion for prayer.
1 Corinthians 14:16 If your spiritual praise cannot be understood by others in the room, how can they agree with what you’re saying?
King James
Acts 2:1 And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.
1 Corinthians 14:16 Else when thou shalt bless with the spirit, how shall he that occupieth the room of the unlearned say Amen at thy giving of thanks, seeing he understandeth not what thou sayest?

What kind of praise to God is a benefit to others?

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1 Corinthians 14:17 Such praise may be good for you, but it doesn’t help others.
King James
1 Corinthians 14:7 For thou verily givest thanks well, but the other is not edified.

Paul boasts of a spiritual language superior to others yet prefers not to use it. Why?

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1 Corinthians 14:18 I have a greater gift of “tongues” than all of you,
14:19 but in church I’d rather speak five understandable words than ten thousand words in an unknown language.
King James
1 Corinthians 14:18 I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than ye all:
14:19 Yet in the church I had rather speak five words with my understanding, that by my voice I might teach others also, than ten thousand words in an unknown tongue.

What part of adult thinking is superior to what is typical of children?

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1 Corinthians 14:20 My friends, be mature in your thinking. Be childlike in innocence, avoiding evil, but use your adult minds to understand and follow the truth.
King James
1 Corinthians 14:20 Brethren, be not children in understanding: howbeit in malice be ye children, but in understanding be men.

When is communication effective, and when is it a waste?

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Isaiah 28:11 With baby talk and simple language, God will speak to his people.
1 Corinthians 14:21 The prophet Isaiah wrote, God says, “With baby talk and simple language, I will speak to my people. But even then, they won’t listen.
King James
Isaiah 28:11 For with stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to this people.
1 Corinthians 14:21 In the law it is written, With men of other tongues and other lips will I speak unto this people; and yet for all that will they not hear me, saith the Lord.

When might speaking in tongues be a benefit to unbelievers?

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Acts 2:12 Amazed and seeking an explanation, they said to one another, “What in the world does this mean?”
10:47 Can anyone object to their being baptized, since they have received the Holy Spirit the same as we have?
1 Corinthians 14:22 So you see, speaking in an unknown language could only be a supernatural sign for unbelievers, of no value to believers. On the other hand, inspired preaching and teaching benefits believers, not necessarily unbelievers.
King James
Acts 2:12 And they were all amazed, and were in doubt, saying one to another, What meaneth this?
10:47 Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we?
1 Corinthians 14:22 Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not: but prophesying serveth not for them that believe not, but for them which believe.

What kinds of Christian behavior are likely to repel rather than attract unbelievers?

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1 Corinthians 14:23 If the uninformed or unbelieving attended one of your gatherings and heard people speaking languages nobody understood, wouldn’t they think everybody had lost their minds?
14:24 But if the people speak by the Spirit in a language everybody understands, the unified agreement will challenge the unbeliever’s lack of faith and bring conviction of sin.
King James
1 Corinthians 14:23 If therefore the whole church be come together into one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in those that are unlearned, or unbelievers, will they not say that ye are mad?
14:24 But if all prophesy, and there come in one that believeth not, or one unlearned, he is convinced of all, he is judged of all.

What will lead people to surrender their lives to the Lord?

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1 Corinthians 14:25 As the unbelievers’ hearts are touched by truth they had never seen before, they will fall to their knees and worship God, saying, “Now we know that God is here among you.”
King James
1 Corinthians 14:25 And thus are the secrets of his heart made manifest; and so falling down on his face he will worship God, and report that God is in you of a truth.

In a church service, how important do you think it is to maintain order in worship?

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1 Corinthians 14:26 What should happen, then, when you gather? Each of you in turn may have a song, a teaching, or a special insight. Someone may speak in an unknown language and another interpret, but all that is said and done should strengthen people’s faith.
King James
1 Corinthians 14:26 How is it then, brethren? when ye come together, every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying.

What should the reaction be when someone interrupts normal worship activities?

Author’s Thoughts
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1 Corinthians 14:27 At most, two or three might speak in an unknown language. Even then, let them speak one at a time, always with an interpretation.
14:28 If no one is present to interpret, then the speaker should be silent, keeping the words between himself and God.
King James
1 Corinthians 14:27 If any man speak in an unknown tongue, let it be by two, or at the most by three, and that by course; and let one interpret.
14:28 But if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the church; and let him speak to himself, and to God.

What qualifies people to judge the truth of what is spoken?

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1 Corinthians 14:29 Two or three prophets might speak, one at a time while others judge whether the message is from the Lord.
King James
1 Corinthians 14:29 Let the prophets speak two or three, and let the other judge.

How do you feel about when you should be quiet in church and when you might say something?

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1 Corinthians 14:30 If you feel inspired of the Lord to speak, be quiet until after the other person has finished speaking.
King James
1 Corinthians 14:30 If any thing be revealed to another that sitteth by, let the first hold his peace.

Under what church conditions might it be acceptable for anyone to speak?

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1 Corinthians 14:31 In this manner, all who have a word will have their turn to speak, and everyone will learn and be encouraged,
14:32 for the spirit of the prophet should discern the appropriate time to speak.
King James
1 Corinthians 14:31 For ye may all prophesy one by one, that all may learn, and all may be comforted.
14:32 And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets.

What do you think God’s purpose for a church service is?

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1 Corinthians 14:33 When believers gather in worship, God is present to bring peace, not turmoil and confusion.
King James
1 Corinthians 14:33 For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.

In the synagogues, why had the Jewish women not been allowed to speak?

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1 Corinthians 14:34 Some of you are saying, The women must be silent in church, for the law commands them to listen, not to speak.
14:35 If they have questions, let them ask their husbands at home. It is shameful for a woman to speak in church meetings.
King James
1 Corinthians 14:34 Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law.
14:35 And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.

Why did Paul object to the Jewish tradition?

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Acts 2:17 Speaking of what would come to pass in the last days, God said, I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh. Your children will prophesy, your elders will have revelations in dreams, and your youth will see visions.
21:9 After greeting them, Paul gave a detailed account of all that God had done in his ministry to non-Jews.
Romans 16:7 Know of Andronicus and Junia, a Jewish pair who were with me in prison. Outstanding apostles, they were followers of Christ before I was.
1 Corinthians 14:36 What law? Do you men think you have exclusive right to God, that his words come only to you and should be given only by you? That’s absurd.
King James
Acts 2:17 And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams.
21:9 And when he had saluted them, he declared particularly what things God had wrought among the Gentiles by his ministry.
Romans 16:7 Salute Andronicus and Junia, my kinsmen, and my fellowprisoners, who are of note among the apostles, who also were in Christ before me.
1 Corinthians 14:36 What? came the word of God out from you? or came it unto you only?

Why did Paul think people should recognize the right of women to speak?

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1 Corinthians 14:37 If you really are God’s prophets, the Holy Spirit speaking to your hearts, then you know that my words are from the Lord.
14:38 If you don’t recognize the truth in what I have said, then you expose your ignorance.
King James
1 Corinthians 14:37 If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord.
14:38 But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant.

In communicating with others, what should our goal be?

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1 Corinthians 14:39 In conclusion, my friends, I say you should seek always to hear God’s voice, learn when to speak and when to remain silent, and do not forbid speaking in foreign languages.
King James
1 Corinthians 14:39 Wherefore, brethren, covet to prophesy, and forbid not to speak with tongues.

What should be the topmost concern for a worship service?

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1 Corinthians 14:40 Conduct your gatherings in an orderly way, considering the needs of others.
King James
1 Corinthians 14:40 Let all things be done decently and in order.