Paul repeats several times, that at any time, during a church meeting, only one person should be speaking. The other people present should listen quietly to that person. Occasionally, they may say ĎAmení to express the fact that they agree (14:16).
Paul does not explain what was happening at the church meetings in Corinth. However, it is clear that he wanted to change the behaviour of the Christians there. Paul knew that the Holy Spirit was very active in Corinth; and he wanted to encourage that. But Paul did not approve of the behaviour of many Christians when they felt the Holy Spiritís power.
We think that, in Corinth, many people were shouting out messages from God at once. They felt very excited and their behaviour often seemed wild. Each person felt that his own message was especially important; perhaps that was the reason for many of their arguments. The meetings probably continued for several hours until everyone had worn themselves out.
Paul had taught the Christians to have humble attitudes and to show love towards each other. Now, he taught them that they should have the same attitudes at their meetings. Perhaps one of them was declaring a message from God, when God showed something to someone else. Paul said that the first person should then be silent; he should allow the second person to speak.
Christians do not meet at church in order to show their own importance. They go there in order to hear Godís message to them. They give honour to God and they respect his words.
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© 2014, Keith Simons.