Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered outside the gate. Therefore, let us go forth to him outside the camp, bearing his reproach. For we have no continuing city here, but we seek one to come.
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From a letter from a brother
Hey Pastor John!!
I was reading today in 1Corinthians chapter 14 and ran across some things that were unclear to me. I know that you have already addressed most of them, either in tapes that I have listened to (New Birth series) or just in sermons and stuff.
Anyway, here they are:
In verse 2 of chapter 14, is Paul including speaking in tongues in the category of spiritual gifts? I was not sure about this. I know he uses the phrase “diverse tongues” in Ch. 12 of this book, but I know that diverse tongues and speaking in tongues are two different ball games. The answer to this is probably found in the previous chapter, and if it is, could you tell me where it is? This is what I read:
“Follow after charity, and desire spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may prophesy, 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.”*******************************
I think your answer is given to you in that same verse, not in the previous chapter. Using the simple phrase “speaking in a tongue” (KJV: “unknown tongue”), Paul explains that he is referring to “speaking not unto men, but unto God”, whereas the gift of diverse tongues would be employed as an aid in speaking to men and not to God (e. g. Acts 2).*******************************
Are the words in the following verses commandments or just suggestions? Could you explain to me what point Paul is trying to make with these verses? I know he can’t be saying (with a pointed finger), “You are only to speak in tongues when in a group smaller than three and one of you must interpret what is being spoken!” That is unreasonable.
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.
28 But if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the congregation; and let him speak to himself, and to God.*********************************
Paul was exhorting the saints to follow after the things of the Spirit. I would take it as a commandment, principally because anyone who has a heart for God is going to do that, anyway.
First, I wish that the children of God now were so acquainted with the gifts and power of the Spirit that we had to deal with these issues that the Corinthians had to deal with. Nobody in this generation has such problems, and often people now seem condescending toward these confused Corinthian believers because of the problems they had in adjusting to their new-found liberty and power with God--as if they were inferior to this mess we have now! Would to God that God’s people today had this problem!
Second, the phrase “in the church” does not belong in the Bible because the word “church” does not belong in the Bible. Paul never used the Greek word for “church”. King James commanded his translators to use that word because that is what the “churchmen” who supported him wanted. What Paul actually wrote was, “In [to] the congregation”. Paul is not forbidding the saints to speak in tongues whenever they are inside a Christian church building! He didn’t know anything about Christian churches (and he would have avoided them if he had known of them). Instead, he is referring to addressing the assembly of God’s people. Paul’s point? What is the point of delivering a sermon in a language that cannot be understood?
As for the “two or three” in that verse, Paul is merely telling them to be reasonable in their use of the gifts of the Spirit. Charity, which, when in operation is greater than gifts of the Spirit, “is never rude” (Chapter 13).
Have you ever heard my sermon on 1Corinthians 14 from ten years ago or more? We still have a copy of it, I think.********************************
Finally, what was Paul saying here? I know what he was saying literally, but why did he want the women to be quiet? Was there a problem with this among the early believers? Were they confusing people when they spoke or something?34 Let your women keep silence in the Assemblies: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law. 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 Assembly.
Contrary to the attitude of our times, and contrary to what you will probably hear from the faculty in a prestigious university such as yours, women are “the weaker vessels” among humans. Typically, their tongues are less easily controlled than men’s tongues. Those who walk in the Spirit are safe from transgressions such as this, but as concerns the whole body, it was safe for Paul to issue this general statement as a guideline for the female believers in Corinth. Matters were getting out of hand there, and in such delicate situations, a “headless woman” could be a great hindrance to the congregation’s recovery. Again, “in the church” is a phrase Paul never used. The King James translators were commanded to use it to satisfy the Catholic and Church of England leaders. Paul was referring to situations among the saints, when women addressed the assembly of believers in an authoritative way.
Paul recognized the abilities and gifts of certain women to bless and even to minister to the body of Christ, examples of which are Priscilla and Philip’s four daughters. God also occasionally used women in the Old Testament as both judges and prophets. So, we know that Paul was not saying for women never to say or do anything by way of serving the body of Christ, if God chooses them to do so. But the fact is that God intentionally chooses men far more often than women for the ministry.
Paul’s commandment here concerning women leaders in God’s family is a warning to us to stay true to the ways of Jesus and to refuse to be a part of Christianity’s recent attempts to equalize the numbers of women and men ministers. That is just another pathetic example of men trying to play God. What difference does it make to God or His kingdom whether Christian ministers ordain a man or a woman to be another one of them? Their ordination ceremonies are a bad joke in heaven; it evokes no laughs.