Useful Bible Studies > 1 Corinthians Commentary > chapter 14

Ideas about what a church should be

1 Corinthians 14:31

Here, Paul shows an important part of his ideas about what a church should be.

Firstly, of course, church is a place to pray. However, it is not usually a place to pray alone. God wants his people to meet together for prayer.

When Godís people gather to pray, then God shows his goodness to them. He uses other Christians to do that. By the power of his Spirit, he has given those Christians gifts that can help other people (12:8-11).

So, when one person declares a message from God, everyone else can benefit. They may learn from that message, or the message may encourage them. Our lives in this world are often difficult. We need God to teach us and to make us strong.

However, nobody can benefit from a message that they cannot hear. So, Paul tells the Christians in Corinth that they must provide an opportunity for people to declare such messages. He also insists that other people should not be speaking at the same time. People need to listen carefully to the messages that God gives.

The Holy Spirit was very active in the church at Corinth. Many people were giving messages in tongues during meetings. However, because tongues are unknown languages, nobody could understand. Paul urged them to pray for the power to prophesy (14:1-5). That is, to declare messages from God in their own language. God wanted to teach and to encourage his people. And he would use them to do that for each other.

Next part: The Holy Spirit does not cause people to lose control over their own behaviour (1 Corinthians 14:32)


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© 2014, Keith Simons.