International Sunday School Lesson
For Sunday July 27, 2014
Purpose: To praise God through a variety of worship practices that build of the church
Bible Lesson: 1 Corinthians 14:13-26
1 Corinthians 14:13-26 (CEB)
(13) Therefore, those who speak in a tongue should pray to be able to interpret. (14) If I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays but my mind isn’t productive. (15) What should I do? I’ll pray in the Spirit, but I’ll pray with my mind too; I’ll sing a psalm in the Spirit, but I’ll sing the psalm with my mind too. (16) After all, if you praise God in the Spirit, how will the people who aren’t trained in that language say "Amen!" to your thanksgiving, when they don’t know what you are saying? (17) You may offer a beautiful prayer of thanksgiving, but the other person is not being built up. (18) I thank God that I speak in tongues more than all of you. (19) But in the church I’d rather speak five words in my right mind than speak thousands of words in a tongue so that I can teach others.
(20) Brothers and sisters, don’t be like children in the way you think. Well, be babies when it comes to evil, but be adults in your thinking.(21) In the Law it is written: I will speak to this people with foreign languages and foreigners’ lips, but they will not even listen to me this way, says the Lord. (22) So then, tongues are a sign for those who don’t believe, not for those who believe. But prophecy is a sign for believers, not for those who “don’t believe. (23) So suppose that the whole church is meeting and everyone is speaking in tongues. If people come in who are outsiders or unbelievers, won’t they say that you are out of your minds? (24) But if everyone is prophesying when an unbeliever or outsider comes in, they are tested by all and called to account by all. (25) The secrets of their hearts are brought to light. When that happens, they will fall on their faces and worship God, proclaiming out loud that truly God is among you!
(26) What is the outcome of this, brothers and sisters? When you meet together, each one has a psalm, a teaching, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation. All these things must be done to build up the church.
My Thoughts by Burgess Walter
This lesson is part of a discourse by Paul on spiritual gifts. Spiritual gifts are sometimes called talents or skills. Spiritual gifts should not be confused with “Fruits of the Spirit.”
The “fruits of the Spirit” is found in Galatians 5: (22) But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,( 23) gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against things like this. While the spiritual gifts are found listed in 1 Corinthians 12:8-10, (8)A word of wisdom is given by the Spirit to one person, a word of knowledge to another according to the same Spirit, (9) faith to still another by the same Spirit, gifts of healing to another in the one Spirit,(10)performance of miracles to another, prophecy to another, the ability to tell spirits apart to another, different kinds of tongues to another, and the interpretation of the tongues to another. and Romans 12:6-8. (6) We have different gifts that are consistent with God’s grace that has been given to us. If your gift is prophecy, you should prophesy in proportion to your faith. (7) If your gift is service, devote yourself to serving. If your gift is teaching, devote yourself to teaching. (8) If your gift is encouragement, devote yourself to encouraging. The one giving should do it with no strings attached. The leader should lead with passion. The one showing mercy should be cheerful. This is not a complete list of spiritual gifts. As stated prior, any talent can be considered a spiritual gift.
Out text for this lesson primarily addresses the gift of tongues. The spiritual gift of tongues differs from what was experienced at Pentecost. At that event as Peter preached everyone heard it in his native language, this was not a speaking miracle but a hearing miracle.
Tongues, as performed in the church at Corinth, is people speaking in an unknown language that did not exist in any country. Tongues in Corinth was not recognizable by anybody but those within the body that had the gift of interpretation. Which is why Paul raises the question of how this was being practiced in the church at Corinth.
While there may be virtue in praying in the spirit, praying with your mind might be more beneficial. If your words are not understood, how can those around you benefit. Paul would prefer to say a few words that everyone can understand and relate to.
Paul then makes an interesting statement, it is okay to be babes when it comes to evil, but when addressing others be smarter and more adult. My interpretation of verse 22-23 is simply this; there are some that will not hear you no matter what language you use. It is better to preach the gospel than to speak in tongues, at least some may be moved and persuaded.
Our best opportunity to reach those that do not believe is by proclaiming God’s message, and preaching or prophesying about God’s call on each life and on repentance of sin. Paul says, “They will fall on their faces and worship God, proclaiming out loud and that truly God is among you.”
When a stranger enters your worship service will they understand what you are doing and saying or will your service be in tongues as far as they are concerned?