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1 Corinthians 14:1-25

1 Corinthians 14:1-25


Series: 1 Corinthians
Sermon: Seek the Wellbeing of the Faith Family
Bible Passage: 1 Corinthians 14:1-25

I. Introductory remarks:

1. In essentials, unity; non-essentials, liberty; and in all things, charity (St. Augustine)
2. Some terms for brief discussion:

a. Pentecostal
b. Cessation
c. Continuation
d. Charismatic

3. The term “tongue” in this passage

a. It does not refer to the organ “tongue”
b. It refers to gibberish, unintelligible utterance
c. The utterer or those who are around the utterer do not understand

4. The term “prophecy” in the passage

a. It refers to “forthtelling”
b. Prophesy is the communication of God’s Word
c. With the help of the Holy Spirit
d. In an understandable human language intelligibly
e. To members that results in:
f. Building up, encouragement, and comfort of fellow believers
g. “Prophesy” does not refer to “foretelling”

5. Paul discourages unintelligible gibberish utterance in a corporate worship

II. Verse 1 assumes that there was an unhealthy promotion in the church to speak in “tongues”

1. This promotion was individualistic in nature (Paul is concerned about the corporate life of the church)
2. Just as the issues like: head covering and the Lord’s Supper, this unhealthy promotion of “tongues” affected the corporate worship and Christian community

a. It brought division
b. It promoted elitism

3. So, Paul corrects their competition and individualism, and promotes community life and service by directing them to pursue “love.”

III. In verses 2-25, Paul explain how they can pursue love in a corporate body

1. They need to desire spiritual gift that benefits others
2. Between “tongues” and “prophesying,” Paul prefers prophesying
3. Benefits/results of tongues

a. Unintelligible, does not benefit people (verse 2; 6-9)

i. Metaphor of flute (verses 6-9)
ii. Trumpet (verses 6-9)

b. Utterance of mysteries (verse 2; sarcasm implied)
c. Neither the speaker nor his listeners understand it
d. Builds only self (verse 4) [in what way; sarcasm implied; self-affirmation]

4. Benefits/results of prophesy

a. Encourages fellow believers (verse 3) [excludes self-centeredness, individualism, and egoism]
b. Exhorts (verse 3)
c. Encourages παραμυθέομαι (verse 3)
d. Convicts unbelievers (verse 24)
e. Leads a person to repentance (verse 25)

5. Paul neither discourages nor promotes “tongue” but he does not want it to be practiced in the church gatherings

a. It will protect the community from elitism
b. It is unintelligible that no one benefits
c. It creates bad impression in the mind of others

6. In verses 26-36, Paul advises orderliness in the church

IV. What is our stand?

1. We are a non-charismatic, non-Pentecostal church with an emphasis on reformed doctrine of salvation/soteriology (Gospel-Centeredness)
2. Tongue speaking is not one of the primary doctrines of the Bible
3. Therefore, we do not promote or discourage it
4. If anyone in our church practices it, we do not discourage them, but they do not practice it at the church
5. Their practice, promotion, or “speaking against it” must not bring division in the church
6. We take all efforts to equip every believer in God’s word so that with the help of the Holy Spirit they can speak God’s Word with each other to build, encourage, and comfort


1. Pursue love over individualism, elitism, and self-affirmation

a. Make your aim
b. Pursue as a hunter pursuing his prey

2. Cultivate a desire for the wellbeing of the community

Speaker: William J. Subash

Born and raised in south India, William J. Subash became a follower of Jesus Christ in 1983 at the age of nineteen. After a brief career in a tea and coffee plantation, Subash decided to spend rest of his life to preach about Jesus and his life-transforming message of God, which is popularly known as “the Gospel.” Subash teaches New Testament Studies at two institutions: SAIACS in India and Liberty University Online, VA, USA. Currently, Subash serves as the chief point person for GROW Gospel Initiatives and the Lead Pastor of the Crossroad Church, Bangalore. Write to him at