Introduction to 1 Corinthians – Paul wrote this letter to the Corinthian church in Greece around 54 A.D. This church was young and therefore had some problems so Paul gave spiritual and practical advice.

1 Corinthians 1

v3: The Biblical definition of “grace” is God giving us undeserved ability to do something, especially when it is beyond us. Mercy, on the other hand, is not getting what we do deserve.

v10-13: We always need to be on guard against division. it’s one of Satan’s big weapons used to destroy people and churches. There are good teachers and authors but we all need to keep our eyes focused on Jesus, the Author and finisher of our faith. some Christians read a lot of books other than Scripture and may spend more time doing that. It may lead to following favorite authors too much. Here Paul is telling people not to follow Apollos or Cephas (Peter).  If we find ourselves quoting Christian authors or leaders in history more than quoting Jesus, we may have crossed this line Paul is drawing. The formation of denominations were a result of following men and has weakened the Universal Church.

v17-31: Salvation does not come via human intelligence and human wisdom, but via the simplicity (wisdom) and power of God. So if we feel that we can debate people into the Kingdom, we are wrong. THIS HELPS TO ELIMINATE ALL BOASTING IN HEAVEN. Thank God, braggers are boring and annoying. God’s Gospel brings down the proud and raises the humble.

1 Corinthians 2:

v1-5: Once again Paul makes clear that his sermons were not intellectual but simple truth about Jesus and that He alone had the power to convert souls. This testifies that this is God’s power and not ours. WE always need to keep The Gospel simple with non-believers…because it is, and it’s more powerful that wau.

v6-16: The wisdom from God is described as being something that is hidden from the rest of this world, but revealed and given to God’s kids, and it is this spirit in us that makes us no longer a part of this world and its fading glory. Just think of all the priorities and desires that this world offers us – fame, wealth, looks, power, prestige – yet all of these fade quickly (especially looks), and when we die, they are gone forever. Do you realize, for example, that all sports stats will have no meaning in heaven? I really do not think that anyone will be savoring the fact that New York Yankees lost to the Pirates in 1960 (except maybe me – way to go Maz!! And who’s ever going to forget Luis Gonzalez’ single over Jeter’s head to win the World Series a few years back…, and oh, if Willie McCovey could have hit that line drive a couple of feet higher in 1962…oh man, did I get carried away here, sorry). Such are fleeting experiences in this life. Let us not long for what this world offers us. These “offers” will always interfere with our relationship with our Heavenly Father (1 John 2:15-17). Remember, He promises that He will not withhold any good thing from us (Psalms 84:11).

v14-15: The people of this world will never understand our value system. It is a battle between the natural and the spiritual. The natural loses in the long run and the spiritual wins in the long run. So which do we follow?! With Jesus living in us we can actually have “His mind” which will teach us many things that an unsaved person cannot perceive.

1 Corinthians 3: Suicide Insights

v1-3: The new Christians at Corinth were not doing well spiritually. Paul described them as babes that could take in milk only – no “solid food” yet. Why? Because they had jealousy and strife among them. They were acting no better than unsaved men of the world.

v6-9: Each one of us has different abilities and different effects upon others, but we serve the same God who causes the good growth to occur in those we have influenced. One may “plant a seed” of salvation or encouragement into someone while another may “water” that word helping them to understand it or to motivate them to believe or embrace it or to do something right. The Body of Christ is a team, and God is pleased when we humbly work together.

v10-15: Foundation is crucial. There is only one foundation for His Church and that is the man Jesus Christ – no one else, no other man ever on earth, just Jesus (v11). Now how we build upon that Foundation may be of various qualities. On Judgment Day, those qualities will be revealed. If we stay in the spirit and do what He tells us, when the fire comes to test our work, much will remain, and that’s forever! If, however, we do not obey Him and do things our own way, whatever “fruit” we think we have will be burned up, though we will still be saved, but not much left as an eternal reward.

v16-17: This is a tough one. Many people have asked me over the years if a Christian who commits suicide is still saved. On the basis of these two verses, it would appear to be “no.” But I have not yet been convinced of this. The verses may be saying that believers are so important and precious to God (because His Spirit is in them) that anyone ELSE who kills these people are in huge trouble with God and eventually will be destroyed by Him.

Someone who is suicidal did not get that way overnight. God puts a strong survival instinct in us so it takes demons a long time to get us to that point. The battle begins in the mind, is fought in the mind, and is won or lost in the mind. The mind is the battle zone for all our struggles. It is our connection between this natural world and the supernatural (or spiritual) world. To be suicidal, one must begin to believe the lying “voices” (thoughts) in their mind. The more they believe the lies, the more they listen to them and the more the truth voices get suppressed. Typical lying voices are:

1) My life stinks and it will never get better,
2) No one knows how I feel,
3) No one has it as bad as me,
4) No one really cares about me,
5) I won’t be missed when I’m gone,
6) Death is better than life.

Now this last one is the clincher! After all, it makes logical sense to end your life if it does stink and will never get better, especially if death is better. Therefore, suicidal people are usually not crazy (psychotic), they are simply being overcome by lying spirits (inner thoughts) and are in desperate need to hear truth and a stiff rebuke in the name of Jesus to those demons they have been ignorantly embracing.

I do know of one Christian man who hung himself. His close friends and wife said there were no warning signs. He kept all of his thoughts to himself – not good. This is one reason why we need to be able to talk to trusted friends when we are hurting or fearful. My theory is that the demons became so strong that he no longer had the spiritual strength to fight and win, then simply became overwhelmed one day – all within his mind. I think he is still saved. I have to admit, however, I do not know. I do know that God’s mercy is greater than we realize. That’s why I’m thinking he is saved, but he probably has lost much eternal reward.

v21-23: “All things belong to us” because we are God’s children. We inherit His Kingdom which is everything. We get everything because we are in Christ and He has and He is everything. What does everything really mean? What does it look like? Not sure, but it’s even better than getting Willy Wonka’s entire candy factory! Once we see it and have it, we won’t want anything else. One reason we get everything is because when we really know Jesus, we don’t work for those “things,” we work for Him because we love Him. We do not covet those things because we love Him. Our minds do not dwell upon our eternal reward. Our reward does not motivate us to serve Him. We serve Him because we love Truth, and He freely gives to us all His things because we forsake all to know Him (Matthew 13:45-56). We have no idols before Him. Our hearts are pure. It’s kind of like Solomon. God told him he could have anything he wanted, but Solomon asked only for wisdom to govern the people properly. Because his heart was in the right place (didn’t ask for selfish things), God gave him way beyond his imaginations. God does that for us too. This is promised in 1 Corinthians 2:9.

1 Corinthians 4 – Apparently Paul was dealing with some arrogant, misguided baby believers at Corinth. He sarcastically chides them in v8 then lets them know how much sacrifice he has made so that his power in God is strong for their behalf. This allows him to say to be imitators of him (v16). Considering this context, Paul is not being arrogant.

v5: Good advice, but tough to obey – allowing Christ to judge believers because His timing is always perfect, plus only He knows the real motives behind actions. This is not to say we should not take a believer aside when he/she is doing something immoral. There are plenty of Scriptures supporting such action when done according to God’s instructions. But too often we simply gossip about someone. We should not speak wrongly about our brothers and sisters in Christ. One way we can stop this is to immediately ask the gossiper if have they spoken to the person yet. If they say “no,” ask them why they are involving you. Ask if they have prayed for the person yet. If they get angry, you already know their answer. Gossip is basically spreading evil reports to others when it is not their business to know. People who have “dirt” on others are proud that they know something that others do not know. They somehow feel superior because of this, especially since THEY are not guilty of the very thing they are gossiping about. Many people justify gossip because it is the truth. It does not matter. The motives and the actions are still sinful. We’ve all done this. But we must stop it. It is not easy, especially if there has been a mental pattern developed and ingrained into the mind. That kind of gossip will need special prayer. Many times we do this and don’t even realize it, which is not a good sign. Let us all agree to ask the Lord to show us when we are about to gossip and ask for Him to help us put the brakes on. The Holy Spirit will cringe inside of us when we are about to do this, and you will sense it. If you’ve never experienced this, you will after reading this. It’s His work not mine. Ain’t life fun!

v11-13: I wonder how often “prosperity preachers” read these three verses!

v21: Paul is feisty again, and does not know when he visits if he’ll have to admonish or praise these new believers in Corinth.

1 Corinthians 5:

There was gross immorality going on in this church. Paul describes as being worse than what is among pagans. So he says if someone claims to be a Christian and is living terribly, then we are not to associate with them and they are to be removed from the church so that Satan can ruin them to a point where they want to repent and be restored. Those should be put out of the group.

This is not “PC” today. “PC” says this is not loving. Verses 6-8 speak of “leaven.” Leaven always represents sin in the NT because it gradually permeates the entire loaf just as a continuously sinful person has bad effects on people close to them. God loves His people and does not want them compromising on issues or acting like worldly people. It’s kind of like cancer. If we ignore those kind of cells, they eventually starve and crowd out the healthy cells bringing certain death to the person. Doctors have long recognized the importance of eliminating those cancerous cells long before they harm enough of the healthy cells. This is why God had to order thousands killed in the OT. They were on the verge of destroying His people from the inside out. God had to preserve something righteous over the years of history so that all would not be destroyed BEFORE Christ came to redeem for eternity. PC people of today and humanists still don’t get this.

All this did not mean we should stay away from non-believing immoral people because that is everyone.

So, if a church or Christian group has a person who is practicing some sinful behavior, they need to be “excommunicated” from the group for the sake of the group, for the sake of the reputation of Christ, and for the better chance for the sinner to repent. “Practicing” means being unrepentant (either insisting that it is NOT wrong or no resolve to change). The attitude of the believers if and when they do this to someone must be one of compassion and personal benefit for that person (v5), not hatred toward the person. Another good Scripture reference for this situation is found in 2 Thessalonians 3:14-15: “And if anyone does not obey our instruction in this letter, take special note of that man and do not associate with him, so that he may be put to shame. And yet do not regard him as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother.” And finally, Jude 23, “…save others snatching them out of the fire; and on some have mercy with fear, hating even the garment polluted by the flesh.” 

Notice the parameters that the Lord puts up around this policy that can be easily abused by self-righteous, judgmental “Christians.”

With all the negative publicity about those trials, you would think that hundreds were put to death. Only 20, which is still horrible. The group responsible later admitted it was a mistake. This is usually not mentioned either. What bothers me about these believers is that there is no hint that they ever prayed and fasted to cast out evil spirits (if they indeed were in the people – and by some descriptions I’ve read, I would say some did have evil spirits causing fits of temper and no restraint). But there is nothing in the NT saying to put these people to death. That was horrible. But, oh, that our culture would have the Puritan keen sense of right and wrong today! These same people who insist children read “The Scarlet Latter” would never want them to read a story that depicted only the negative aspects of the Muslim or Hindu religion. Hence, the agenda is revealed, and its not something that most educators are even aware of, but the spirit world sure is.

Homosexuality has been a growing controversy within churches. Any homosexual needs to know that they are respected and loved by Christians and God.  We always should treat them kindly and respectfully. These people who protest against gays and hold up signs that say “God Hates Gays” are terribly wrong, and should be rebuked by the Christian community. But most gays are practicing a homosexual lifestyle. Today it seems that fewer homosexuals are under conviction of its wrongness therefore there is no sincere desire to repent and change.

Today’s “gurus” will say they are born this way (that God made them a homosexual). Contrary to press releases, this has never been proven scientifically. But I was born with the urge to lie and steal. I was not taught these behaviors. So should I conclude that God made me this way and therefore those things are not immoral?  So even if gays had same sex urges very young, it proves nothing concerning its rightness or wrongness. I also do not believe that one freely chooses to be gay. In a society that still does not feel comfortable with this orientation, no one in their right mind would choose something that would make them feel rejected. Can people be born with a propensity toward wrong things? Sure, it could be a curse from the fathers through the 3rd and 4th generations (Deuteronomy 5:8-9). Due to emotional trauma in their environment can people get caught up in wrong attitudes or behaviors? Yes, and it happens every day. Can people be set free by the real Jesus Christ from this? Yes. And I’m not talking about horrible electric shock therapy or other horrible “treatments” used in the past. Those should never be used! But not Jesus Christ is alive and can change anyone.  There is a growing group of former gays who have had the spirit of Christ change their lifestyle. Gay activists say this is impossible and refuse to give any credibility to their testimonies. Not fair. I actually heard one call them “liars.” Now who’s judging (condemning) others?

If homosexuality is okay, then the same criterion used to judge that issue can be used by pedophiles (as long as their partner is consensual). Hey, it’s their orientation, who is to say it is wrong? There’s no standard to judge right and wrong any more. Scary. Why can’t the Mormons bring back their polygamy practices using the same reasoning? What DOES make it wrong for a man to have more than one wife if God didn’t say so? Or for a woman to have 3 husbands? The humanists say culture says. I’d love to see “culture’s” reasons explaining why these all are morally wrong. I haven’t seen them yet, but I’ll tell you this – if God isn’t the reason, then I can argue against any reason they come up with. Evolution’s philosophy says “survival of the fittest.” Then the strongest humans can wipe out the weaker ones – why not? Let’s get rid of all the diabetics so that their defective genes can no longer be passed on. Let’s eliminate all mentally challenged people, etc., etc. What the humanists and unsaved of this world do not know is that it is GOD’S VERY WORD THAT HOLDS ALL THINGS TOGETHER – this includes the very fabric of society, not just the atoms (Colossians 1:17; Acts 17:28).

Finally, public schools and colleges need to handle this issue properly but they are not. Properly is that no one should be FORCED to have a certain moral belief about this issue. They should be encouraged to never persecute others who disagree with it on a moral basis. This goes BOTH ways because I see HATE on both sides, not just those who disagree with its morality. What needs to be taught is respect and agree to disagree. When public education takes over the power to teach all moral beliefs, it crosses a big red line (and it has already happened years ago, and most people are ignorant of it). The spirit of humanism asserts that no religious belief should be advocated in public schools, yet many anti-religious belief ARE being taught with out any proper balance. So in the name of “separation of church and state” we really only have “keep religious beliefs out, but welcome all other beliefs even if they go against some faiths. Not fair. Lastly, if a public school teacher presents Christianity in a good light, that is called proselytizing and is illegal. If a teacher presents Islam or Hinduism in a good light, it is called “education.” Again, not fair!

1 Corinthians 6:

v1-11: The word “saints” in Scripture always means “true believers.” And it seems they we will be used somehow in judging the world. It would certainly be through Christ though, not on our own. It seems that one thing we will do in the afterlife is to be in charge of places and govern them. However, this was revealed only via a parable (Luke 19:17,19). With parables, we must be careful about literal interpretations. In verse 3, it says we will judge angels! I do not know why or how. Maybe the fallen ones? I do believe that the various tests and trials that we go through in this life will have some impact on eternity, though I do not know how.

God is saying that when differences or disagreements occur, believers should have no trouble settling disputes among themselves. If they need to go outside and use the pagan world to decide their matters, it is a shameful thing. Also keep in mind that “judging” can mean: 1) determining wrong from right, or 2) condemning people for their wrong actions. We have no right to condemn someone to hell, but we sure can tell someone if they are wrong (in the right attitude, of course).

v9: The Greek word for “effeminate” means “morally weak or soft,” not “homosexual.” Furthermore, in verse 9, the word “homosexual” may not be the best translation. It is controversial. The extreme liberal viewpoint is that the Bible never condemns homosexuality. But I think the description in Romans 1:26-27 is clearly against same-sex lifestyles for both genders. Liberal viewpoints also say that Jesus never singled out homosexuality therefore never condemned it. But He did say that God created Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve. In addition, Jesus never spoke about abortion, pedophilia, child sacrifice, or many other aberrations (sins). In light of this, their argument becomes shallow.

v11: States that some of Paul’s current believers were once living lifestyle listed in v9. So there may have been ex-gays listening to Paul.

v12: This means that many things this world offers are not evil. However, someone could easily get too involved and start loving that thing or activity more than the Lord. For me it was fishing. Nothing wrong with it, but I became so addicted to it that I spent too much time doing it and started to lose my fervent love for Jesus and others. So I asked Him to crucify my inordinate love for fishing, and he did! It was quite sudden and I’ve been free from it for years now (and it may saved my marriage!). I still go fishing once in a while, and many times I talk about Jesus to fisherman I meet (or invite into my boat so they have a better chance at catching fish…and I have a better chance of “catching” them).

v15: Paul is trying to reveal how offensive sin is. If we use our bodies for sin (any kind), it’s like connecting God to a prostitute because God now dwells in us. God consistently uses the concept of harlotry as a metaphor for unfaithfulness, not just sexual sin. Being born in sin and knowing only the sinful environment we find ourselves in, it is difficult to perceive how offensive our sin is to God. One thing that may help us is to know that God now dwells inside us and when we sin, we are like a “harlot” to Him.

v18: Sin can adversely affect our physical body. STIs (sexually transmitted infections) comes to my mind as a retired health educator.  It used to be STDs – the “D” stood for “disease.” But the PC police got rid of that word because it was too judgmental. The word “sin” has vanished from secular society. They have substituted other words so it doesn’t sound so bad – “err in judgment,” or “mistake.” But the truth still is that most people catch an STI from immoral behavior. Years ago most people thought that premarital sex was immoral. Not true now. I would guess that most think it is okay. Now, tell me how that has helped society be safer?

v19-20: If we finally get this – that we do not own our bodies any more and that God does (for He has paid a great price for us) – we will have more power over sin. Think about this concept when temptation comes and see what happens. Remember, the temptation battle begins in our mind, is fought in our mind, and is won or lost in our mind (James 14-15).

1 Corinthians 7:

v1-5 – This passage reveals one reason why marriage is advocated rather than living together. Without the bonds of marriage, people more easily have sex with more partners. One purpose of marriage is to reduce this lack of self-control problem inherent with the human race. Today, this wisdom is largely ignored because people want to do what THEY want to do. Studies consistently show over the past three decades that people who live together first then marry have a higher divorce rate that those who just marry. People who live together often split rather than working through their self-centered difficulties because it is easier if they are not legally bound by a marriage. Essential social skills are not learned. God’s Word has the wisdom and the power to have us do and learn what we need to do and learn. B.I.B.L.E. = Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth.

I always taught my high school students that human sexual intercourse is more than a physical act and that it can be compared to fire. Fire, when contained within safety rules, is a huge blessing. When those safety rules are not followed, disaster strikes. According to our Creator, marriage is the safety rule for sex. When teaching my public school students, I had to leave out the word “Creator.” But I figured some Truth is better than no Truth.

v6-17: Paul makes pointed suggestions (not commands) for governing marital relationships. v7 means that Paul is content being single, but that’s not for everyone.

v14: may mean that if a Christian is marriage to a non-Christian it does not make the union defiling. It does not mean that the unbeliever automatically has eternal life because the spouse believes.

“Holy” in this context does not mean “saved” (evident from v16). Cleanness and uncleanness was a big issue throughout Jewish history. Jews would quickly look down on people they deemed “unclean.” Perhaps God is saying that no one should “look down” on a marriage or family if all are not Christians, and to rejoice with hope that since there is at least one believer in the family, maybe more will come. I might add that there just may be a better chance of that happening if they remain together. But clearly, if the unbeliever wants to leave the marriage, the Christian spouse can let them go and the believer would be free to re-marry without wrongdoing.

v23: This means believers should not allow ungodly, worldly men to be so domineering over them that they would compromise their behavior.

v25-35: Paul says marriage is good, but singleness is better because one can concentrate only on serving God rather than being concerned with marital responsibilities (i.e., taking care of spouse and kids – v28). I did not get married until almost age 38, so I had a long single life. When I compare that life with my married life, there is quite a difference. I can see that if I had remained single, I would be able to do much more in regard to ministry. However, individuals need to be called into that lifestyle by God (v7 & Matthew 19:12). Paul apparently was called to this. I was too lonely as a single man and strongly desired to be married and have children. Since getting married in 1987, I have not had one second of loneliness. Married people can still serve God and accomplish many things, although those things may be a bit different or on a different timescale. One reason i think that Paul is trying to open people’s mind up to living single is that he was  thinking that Christ would soon be returning (v29 & 31). He emphasizes the fact that this world is quickly passing away so we should be motivated to serve the Lord all the more and not involve ourselves with worldly distractions that count for nothing.

v36-40: These verses reveal how strong the old Jewish culture was as it gave much power of parents over who their children could marry. Interesting side note: years ago i read that when either parent is against their child’s marriage and they marry anyway, the divorce rate is higher that the national overall average.

1 Corinthians 8:

v1-13: Knowledge is great but it can make us arrogant so watch out. Love, on the other hand, always edifies. God has pronounced all food okay to eat, including pork (Acts 10:15). Some people may think that food can be cursed or unclean depending on who prepared it. “Unclean” here means “not appropriate in a religious sense,” not “full of pathogenic bacteria.” Paul is saying that we should not even eat food in front of those who still may have these obsolete ideas about certain foods. Even though we know it’s okay to eat, we do not want to disturb our brother who may be “weaker in faith.” For if he sees us eating it, then he might try also but with guilt. Hence our freedom caused him to stumble which is not of the law of love.

Application for Today: Perhaps a modern-day application of this would involve serving a non-meat dinner if you invite a vegetarian over to eat, especially if you know that meat-eating is offensive to that person. If we love them, we do not want to offend them even though we know it is okay to eat meat. And, if some Christian believes in vegetarianism for whatever reason (religious, health, or preference), that should be respected and not condemned. Some vegetarians are not bothered eating with others who are eating meat, but some are bothered. We need to be sensitive. This is what Paul is emphasizing here – love will make us more sensitive to others.

1 Corinthians 9:

v1-18:Paul’s policy of not being paid to preach the Gospel, even though he had a clear right to, has always impressed me. Instead, he worked as a tent maker wherever he went.

v19-23: This is a good example for us today – find common ground and act like the people we are witnessing to as long as it is not sinful. It’s letting the person or people know that you care for them and are someone to whom they can relate.

v24-27: Paul compares himself to an athlete who trains hard to win. Paul does his training as a spirit-filled Christian connected to an invisible kingdom with different priorities than this seen world. These different priorities helps him succeed thus he will “finish high in the eternal standings.”

Further Comments:

v16 – I love this verse. If we are not sharing Jesus Christ with others who do not know Him, we, like Paul, should feel bad. We, like Paul, should be driven to share the news about this Wonderful Man Christ Jesus. God will always give us opportunities. When people we talk to perceive that we care about them and are genuinely excited about Jesus, they tend to listen. The door-to-door cultists do not have this caring. They are always polite, but they have been trained to be that way. Their real interest in to make you think like they think and to become one of them. If the Lord uses me to win someone to Christ, I do not push my church on to them, but encourage them to seek out a church among many different places – there is no ONE Correct Church or Christian Group. Some churches are certainly better and more alive with God’s Spirit than others, and I would hope that my “new convert” would choose one of those.

Just because someone is an American, it does not mean that they are a Christian. It does not mean that they know anything about the Bible. We have been surrounded largely by unchurched generations for many years now. So in many cases, we need to start sharing with the basics – God made all things perfect, man sinned and caused death and all ills to permeate the earth, man has no power to make this right, God does have that power and has provided the payment on the Cross for sin, if we believe that Jesus is the Christ and rose from the dead and have asked Him to forgive us of our REPENTED sin…we have eternal life after we die. No other religion guarantees this.

v19: “For I (Paul) am free from all men, I have made myself a slaved to all, that I might win the more.” The context is revealing that Paul was not being paid by anyone to preach, so this verse may mean that he is not responsible to choose his words carefully as to not offend the person who is paying him. It also may mean that Paul was not a slave (manservant) and thus had much freedom to do as he pleased and to go where he pleased, yet was still willing to give up those “freedom rights” and become a slave to all so that they could receive the Good News about salvation.

1 Corinthians 10:

v1-14: This reveals that OT experiences were for our example from which to learn. One major temptation for us, like them, is to worship idols. An idol is anything that is more important to us than God. It can be anything, not just some golden calf out in the desert. In v13, God promises us that our temptation to go astray can be avoided by turning to Him as the temptation comes. He guarantees to provide us with an escape. I do not see this promise in any other religion on earth. We will be able to endure the temptation as He comes to our side. It also helps to pray that we will not be lead into temptation (Matthew 6:13).

Just after I got married in 1987, I asked God to prevent another woman from coming into my life that would tempt me away from Laura. I’ve prayed this several times over our years of marriage and no one has ever come my way. I figured this prayer would be good because I know my weaknesses, and I know that marriage is under spiritual attack in these last days (and Paul does say we are in the last days in v11). God has been faithful. No temptation has ever come to me in this area.

v13: It’s comforting to know that our personal experiences with temptations are the same with people all over this world. There is nothing that we alone have faced.

v14-32: It is ok to eat things that were sacrificed to idols if one does not know it or if one knows it will not offend someone. Do not eat these things if someone’s conscience says it is wrong, i.e., respect their conviction. In our culture, I am assuming that few if any foods we come into contact with have been sacrificed to idols.

v31: “….whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” This is a good verse to apply when deciding whether or not we should do something.

1 Corinthians 11:

v1-3: Paul makes it clear who is in charge and where authority lies. The head of the man is Christ, the head of the woman is man, the head of the Christ is God. This is NOT politically correct, however, I feel many of the problems in today’s world involving men and women, particularly in business, marriage, and family stem from the fact that men and women clash because they do not respect and adhere to their spiritual and Biblical roles. Feminists HATE the word “role.” They feel it is demeaning, limiting, and sometimes abusive. Well it all depends on how that authority behaves. When women try to be the man, sparks fly, genders clash and there are problems. Today men have been being trashed so often many do not notice it anymore. Few know how to be men now. TV commercials featuring a man and woman often have the woman in charge or in the know, while the man looks silly and ignorant, or some kind of baffoon. Movies have woman beating up men constantly – verbally or physically. Too many men today are afraid of fulfilling the Biblical role of manhood because of criticism that will come their way. By “manhood” I do not mean anything close to an “Archie Bunker” type. These concepts are loathed by feminists because they either do not have the spirit of God, or they haven’t taken the time to discover what all this actually means and why, or both. First, authority does not mean superiority. Second, wives need to be LOVED by their husbands (Ephesians 5:25) and husbands need to be RESPECTED by their wives (Ephesians 5:33). One of the worst things a wife can do to her husband is to put him down in public. It will either enrage him or destroy him or both. Not because he is an egomaniac, but he has been designed this way. One of the worse things a husband can do to his wife is take her for granted. She will be insecure and exhibit symptoms that will bother the husband – and he may not know the source of the problems. Not because she is immature, but because she is designed this way. Genders are created differently – not one better than another. Women are just as precious in God’s sight as men. When we obey these two commands, husband-wife relationships improve and will be at their best over time. Scripture outlines how a husband should act toward his wife and the wife toward her husband. If those two things are ruling a marriage, it will succeed and bring great emotional security to the kids. Again, having authority does NOT mean one is better than another in God’s eyes, but does carry more responsibility and accountability.

v4-10: These are difficult verses to understand due to our current culture. Many think that forcing women to wear head coverings for reason given here is offensive and a female put-down. Some think that Paul is talking from his cultural point of view and therefore is not relevant for us today. While I disagree with this reasoning, I certainly agree with not making women wear head coverings because our culture is far from ever accepting this, and it would act more as a stumbling block for most. Verse 10 actually gives a partial look into one reason for this practice. It says, “Because of the angels.” So what does that mean? It does not say. This frustrates me. Some think that women would be protected from demonic deception if they cover their heads therefore believing it is God’s Word and protection for them. This is tough to prove, however. Years ago my non-denominational church tried this for women, but the pastor did not make them do it. He left it up to each individual woman. The trouble was that some did and some did not. This created a rift between the two camps. So after some time, the pastor stopped it. When other churches in our area heard about this practice, they started to think we were some kind of cult. Not good, and not true. So I am glad our church stopped this practice long ago, and I might add that it has a very good reputation in the town of Brockport, N.Y.

v11-12: Now Paul tries to balance things out concerning men and women.

v14-16: Paul is saying that this practice of head coverings  is natural and should be obvious to all, especially since churches in that time were agreeing to it.

v17-34 Paul is talking about church unity and is scolding divisive church members. One should NOT partake in the Lord’s supper if you are not right with God. People were coming to church hungry, so when they ate communion they weren’t thinking about Jesus so much as they were filling their bellies. Not good. This church was suffering from being babies in Christ at this time in their development. The good news is we learn from Paul’s second epistle to Corinth that they shaped up well.

The Lord’s Supper – Communion. Scripture warns that our hearts must be right before partaking in this meaningful sacrament. If we need to apologize to someone or if we are just going through meaningless motions (“rote ritual” I call it), or if we eat/drink just because we are hungry, this is not proper and therefore should be done.

1 Corinthians 12:

v1-31 – Church unity again, Paul is concerned about this issue. Unity in the knowledge that Jesus Christ serves ALL NEEDS. NO DIVISION, everyone on the same page in the church body. If one member of the church body suffers….we all suffer. We are all servants of the Lord and Apostles of Jesus Christ.

One remarkable aspect to our Men’s Fellowship group is that we have maintained this unity. We have Roman Catholics, Baptists, Evangelicals, and Tongue-Speaking Christians. And to top it all off, we have die-hard Yankee and Red Sox fans! This is like Jesus telling Simon the Zealot and Matthew the Jewish tax collector for the Romans to love one another. One advocated violent over throw of the Roman control of the Jews while the other worked for that government. Jesus has been the focus and improving our walks with Him.

v8-10: The gifts of the Holy Spirit listed:

1) Word of Wisdom = a person will have consistent wisdom for individuals or church decisions/direction.
2) Word of Knowledge = a person has a very specific message for and individual or church/group to help make something clearer. It is an application that they do not know the need exists.
3) Faith =  believe for big things.
4) Healing = physical ailments or maladies.
5) Miracles = works of power.
6) Prophecy = direct message from God for an individual, group, or church. It could be for encouragement, edification, ministry direction, raising someone up in ministry, etc.
7) Distinguishing of Spirits = able to discern wrong spirits working through or motivating people, or infiltrating a group or church.
8) Tongues = speaking out in a language unknown for witnessing purposes to those who know that language, or for personal worship while praying in the spirit (Romans 8:26; 1 Cor.13:1), or for prophesying to the whole church (#9 below would then be needed).
9) Interpretation of Tongues = after a person speaks out loud in tongues for a group to hear, an English interpretation comes forth so that all can understand.

v11: Says the same Spirit gives all these gifts and distributes them individually according to His will. Paul says to desire “prophecy” above the rest (1 Cor.14:1).

v12-27: Compares body parts to all the individual talents/gifts in the Church and how they are interdependent and work as one.

v28: List of specific functions and positions within His Church:

1) Apostles = ones who are sent out to start new churches.
2) Prophets = those who give direction via messages from God.
3) Teachers = those who have the gift to make people understand the Word.
4) Miracles = those who perform works of God’s power.
5) Healing = those who lay hands on people resulting in physical healing.
6) Helps = those who are consistently motivated in serving various needs within the church volunteering often.
7) Adminstrations = those who look after the finances and maintenance of the church as well as delegating roles/work for the church.
8) Various Kinds of Tongues = would include both the speaking out loud tongues and the individualized praying in the spirit.

v29: Not one person will have all these supernatural abilities, yet all are needed. What I like about this analogy is that anyone in any position should never think they are more important than someone else who is a believer. Because certain people are more visible, worldly thinking deems them better than the one working behind the scenes. Not true in God’s Kingdom. It takes several expert airplane mechanics to keep just one F-16 in the air. If they goof, there’s not much hope for that ace pilot. I believe that God will reward us according to what we do with the giftings He has bestowed upon us. He judges differently than this world. He sees in secret and rewards in secret (Matthew 6:6,18).

v31: Encourages us to desire the greater gifts, and segues into the next chapter beautifully!.

1 Corinthians 13: “THE LOVE CHAPTER”

v1-3: Paul is saying without love all of God’s gifts are worthless, nothing. The gifts of the Holy Spirit are good, but if not bathed in a personal walk with love, the person’s actions are of no value. There is a danger that people who have a gift can become proud thinking that God esteems them more than others. Love is the antidote for pride.

v4-8: Great description of love. What it is, and what it is not. My favorite part is that love “does not seek its own.” When teaching sex education, I always told the girls if a boy demands proof of her love for him by having sex, then he is not loving her. He just wants his own way.

v9-10: Some Christians believe that “perfect” means the finished Word of God – The Bible. Therefore tongues and the baptism of the Holy Spirit along with the gifts have ceased. Others believe that “perfect” refers to the Second Coming of Christ and that nothing has ceased. They maintain if the power and gifts of the Holy Spirit were needed 2,000 years ago, they are needed today. The context of 1 Cor.13:10 is explaining that God gave gifts for His Church while it existed on earth. They were obviously needed or He would not have given them. But when this age is over and when we are with God face-to-face, as verse 12 states, then all those gifts given for our earthly spiritual development will not be necessary (“they shall cease” or “be done away”). In verse 10, I believe “perfect” means Jesus, because He is the only “perfect” and the context dictates it. So the gifts of the baptism of the Holy Spirit will cease at the end of this age (world).

1 Corinthians 14:

v1-33: The purpose of all spiritual gifts is to edify the church, not individuals. Speaking in tongues out loud to a group when there is no interpreter is not proper order and is of no value. Paul, however, is not saying never speak in tongues (see v39). Why would he be so arrogant to forbid something that God had set in motion? He is simply emphasizing utilizing prophecy because all people will receive it and benefit, whereas tongues benefits only the person speaking in tongues, unless there is an interpreter. If so, tongues becomes prophecy. Therefore, tongues should be spoken aloud if there is an interpreter, but not done by more than 3 people (v27-28). Paul emphasizes the importance of the gift of prophecy. He describes it as something that consoles (comfort in times of sorrow), edifies (builds faith), and exhorts (urges us to do right)

Private prayer language tongues can be done by individuals as they worship in church or at home, or anytime as long as it does not project out to the entire group. If to a group, an interpreter of tongues should be present.

34-35: Regarding women being silent in church: In those days women had to sit in the back while men were in the front (cultural, not Scriptural). When their wives couldn’t hear the speaker, men would turn and yell back to them what was said. It was very distracting, hence the rule about telling the wives to speak up at home. I do not believe the Word of God meant that women could not speak BECAUSE THEY WERE WOMEN. As for today, nowhere in the Bible does it say that women should sit in the back of the church, and we have the technology of sound systems, so this is not an issue. Furthermore, I strongly believe that women can speak out in church as the Lord leads them. Married women are spiritually covered by their believing husbands and single women are covered by the male pastors. It is the pastor’s responsibility during a service to make sure all things are done in order and of the Spirit. So if a woman (or a man) begins to do or say something that the leaders deem as wrong, they will stop it, or at least speak to the individual(s) later so they realize their error. Pastors that allow people to speak out or prophesy during services differ in how it is done. Some require people to speak to them first in order to get approval while others let the people act without this step. The Bible does not tell us exactly how to run a service regarding these issues. In these cases, it is the leadership’s responsibility to seek the Lord with an open mind and ask for His wisdom, then set policy. They also need to check everything with the Scriptures because God will never contradict His Word.

I believe the Word in this chapter outlines a proper and orderly format that allows speaking in tongues and does not forbid it. Guidelines for order when expressing the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Churches are not to go “crazy” and breed chaos when speaking in tongues or prophesying. Unfortunately, this has not been obeyed in some places and those places have given other orderly places a bad reputation.

Article: “IS THE GIFT FOR TODAY? YES” by Sam Storms

Cessationists commonly argue that the “gift of tongues” practiced today is not the same gift described in the New Testament. Referring to Acts 2, they argue that the gift of tongues was always an actual human language of the day, whereas the tongues spoken today are gibberish which generally shows none of the characteristics of an actual language.

Acts 2, however, is the only text in the New Testament where tongues-speech is explicitly said to consist of foreign languages not previously known by the speaker. There is no reason to think Acts 2, rather than, say, 1 Corinthians 14, is the standard by which all occurrences of tongues-speech must be judged. Other factors that suggest tongues could also be heavenly or angelic speech are as follows:

If tongues is always a foreign language intended as a sign for unbelievers, why are the tongues in Acts 10 and Acts 19 spoken in the presence of believers only?

Paul describes various “kinds of tongues” in 1 Cor. 12:10. His words suggest that there are differing categories of tongues-speech, perhaps at minimum human languages and heavenly languages.

In 1 Cor. 14:2 Paul says that whoever speaks in a tongue “does not speak to men but to God.” If one who prays in tongues speaks only to God, why would a human language be necessary?

Again, in 1 Cor. 14:2 he says that “no one understands” tongues because “mysteries” are spoken. But if tongues are always human language, many would understand, as they did on the day of Pentecost (Acts2:8-11). This would especially be true in Corinth, a multi-lingual cosmopolitan port city that was frequented by people of numerous dialects.

If tongues are always human language, then the gift of interpretation would require no special work of the Spirit. Anyone who was multi-lingual could interpret tongues-speech simply by virtue of their education.

In 1 Cor. 13:1 Paul refers to “the tongues of men and of angels.” Whereas he may be using hyperbole, it is just as likely that he is referring to heavenly or angelic dialects for which the Holy Spirit gives utterance.

Some say the reference in 1 Cor. 14:10-11 to earthly, foreign languages proves that all tongues-speech is also human language. But the point of the analogy is that tongues function like foreign languages, not that tongues are foreign languages. His point is that the hearer cannot understand uninterpreted tongues any more than he can understand the one speaking a foreign language. If tongues were a foreign language, there would be no need for the analogy.

Paul’s statement in 1 Cor. 14:18 that he “speaks in tongues more than all of you” is evidence that tongues are not foreign languages. As Wayne Grudem notes in Systematic Theology, “If they were known foreign languages that foreigners could understand, as at Pentecost, why would Paul speak more than all the Corinthians in private, where no one would understand, rather than in church where foreign visitors could understand?”

If tongues are always human language, then Paul’s statement in 1 Cor. 14:23 wouldn’t always hold true. Any unbeliever who would know the language being spoken would more likely conclude the person speaking was highly educated rather than “mad.”

How Tongues Build Up the Church:

Cessationists have said that miraculous gifts of the Holy Spirit such as tongues and their interpretation were designed as a sign to authenticate the apostles’ message. This is true. But nowhere in the New Testament does it say that authentication was the sole and exclusive purpose of such displays of divine power. In fact, a wealth of biblical material suggests that the gift of tongues fulfills many purposes within the Church.

Like every other spiritual gift, the gift’s ultimate purpose is to build up the Body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:7; 14:3,26). Tongues benefit believers in the following ways: 1) Form of prayer (1 Cor. 14:2, 14-15). Through its use the believer can communicate with God in supplication, intercession, and 2) Thanksgiving.

Speaking in tongues is a means for edifying oneself (1 Cor. 14:4), as are many other Christian activities such as prayer and Bible study. Self-edification is not evil unless it becomes an end in itself. It is even commanded in Jude 20.

Speaking in tongues is a way to praise the person and works of God (1 Cor. 14:16). There is no evidence that the tongues-speech in Acts 2 (or elsewhere) served an evangelistic purpose. According to Acts 2:11, the content of the tongues-speech was “the wonders of God” (see the same phrase in Acts 10:46). The people didn’t hear evangelism; they heard praise! And it didn’t generate conversion but confusion. It was Peter’s preaching that brought salvation.

Speaking in tongues can also be a way of compensating for our weakness and ignorance in praying for ourselves and others (cf. Rom. 8:26-27).

Some have challenged the idea that the gift of tongues was designed to build up the Body of Christ. But according to 1 Cor. 12:7-10, spiritual gifts such as tongues were distributed to the Body of Christ “for the common good” (v.7), i.e., for the edification and benefit of the Church!

In 1 Cor. 14:5, Paul says that tongues, when interpreted, are helpful to the Church. In 1 Cor. 14:26, Paul exhorts us to assemble, prepared to minister with a hymn, a teaching, a revelation, a tongue, and an interpretation. All of these are designed, he says, for “edification.” If tongues were not intended to edify believers, why did God provide the gift of interpretation, so that tongues might be utilized in the gathered assembly of believers?

In addition, there is evidence that Paul himself exercised the gift in private communication to God. In 1 Cor. 14:18-19 he declared: “I thank God that I speak in tongues more than all of you. But in the church I would rather speak five intelligible words to instruct others than ten thousand words in a tongue.” This latter statement is Paul’s somewhat exaggerated way of saying he almost never speaks in tongues in church. In the absence of an interpreter, he most definitely won’t. But if Paul virtually never exercised this gift in church, yet spoke in tongues more frequently and fluently and fervently than anyone–even more so than the tongue-happy Corinthians–where did he do it? Surely he prayed in tongues in private.

Nothing I read in the New Testament nor see in the condition of the Church leads me to believe we have progressed beyond the need for edification and therefore beyond the need for the contribution of the gift of tongues or suggesting it is not valid. This is not an argument from silence, because the New Testament is anything but silent concerning the presence of the gift in the Church. In other words, if certain gifts of a special class have ceased, the burden of proof rests with the cessationist.

Some argue that when the writing of Scripture was completed, there was no longer any need for manifestations of divine power and they ceased. Hasn’t the Bible itself replaced miraculous phenomena in the life of the Church?

The problem is that the Bible itself never says any such thing. No biblical author ever claims that written Scripture has replaced or in some sense supplanted the need for any of the gifts. If the gift of tongues was essential in bearing witness to the truth of the gospel in the first century, why would it not do the same in subsequent centuries, even in our own?

Comment interjected by Dave:  Another argument against tongues today says that signs, wonders, and miracles were clustered or concentrated at critical moments of revelatory activity in redemptive history. But my reading of the Old Testament reveals a consistent pattern of supernatural manifestations in the affairs of humanity. In addition to the multitude of miracles during the lifetimes of Moses, Joshua, Elijah, and Elisha, we see numerous instances of angelic activity, supernatural visitations and revelatory activity, healings, dreams, visions, and the like.

Furthermore, in Jer. 32:20, the prophet says that God “set signs and wonders in the land of Egypt, even unto this day, and in Israel, and among other men” This text alerts us to the danger of arguing from silence. The fact that from the time of the Exodus to the Captivity fewer instances of signs and wonders are recorded does not mean they did not occur. Jeremiah insists they did.

Finally, four texts seem to indicate clearly that the gift of tongues is still with us. First Corinthians 1:4-9 implies that the gifts of the Spirit are operative until “our Lord Jesus Christ [is] revealed” (v. 7). Ephesians 4:11-13 explicitly dates the duration of the gifts. They are required “until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ” (v. 13). In 1 Cor. 14:39, Paul commands “my brothers,” among whom I include myself, to “be eager to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in tongues.” And despite the controversy that still surrounds it, I remain convinced that the coming of “perfection” in 1 Cor. 13:8-13 refers to the perfection of the eternal state. The gift of tongues will cease only upon Christ’s return.

A Gift for All Ages – I believe that miraculous gifts such as speaking in tongues were designed by God to characterize the life of the Church today for much the same reason I believe in church discipline for today and in rule by a plurality of elders for today and in the observance of the Lord’s Supper for today. These gifts can be counted among a host of biblical practices and patterns explicitly ordained in the New Testament. Nowhere in Scripture has any of them been clearly designated as temporary or restricted to the first century.

I do not believe the Holy Spirit simply inaugurates the new age and then disappears. He, together with His gifts and fruit, characterizes the new age. The Spirit was poured out at Pentecost not simply to jump start the Church but to energize and empower her life and witness until the return of Jesus.

I am grateful for all the gifts of the Spirit, and I urge you to join with me in heeding Paul’s exhortation that we “eagerly desire spiritual gifts” (1 Cor. 14:1).

“Tongues: Prayer Language vs Public Gift” by Rev. Mel C. Montgomery

The most common question, or challenge, I receive from Christians who are unfamiliar with tongues, is to explain the term “prayer language,” and to prove its existence from Scripture. Somewhere in the last two thousand years, someone coined the term “Prayer Language” to differentiate private speaking in tongues from the public gift of speaking in tongues. That there are two different kinds of tongues, private and public, is clear from the irreconcilable statements Paul writes about tongues. Paul first writes: “For he [man] that speaketh in an unknown tongues speaketh not unto men, but unto God: for no man understandeth him…”–I Cor 14:2.

But later in the same chapter Paul also writes: “In the law it is written, with men of other tongues and other lips will I [God] speak unto this people [men]…”– I Cor. 14:21. In verse two, Paul describes tongues as man speaking to God. In verse 21, Paul describes tongues as God speaking to man.

The type of tongues where men speak in prayer and worship to God, and no other man understands him, is what we have come to call the “prayer language.”

Paul left us written instructions in I and II Corinthians directed first to the Church at Corinth and also to us today, clarifying the purpose and identifying the proper way of accommodating speaking in tongues.

Paul said that he used his ability to speak in tongues to pray, and to worship God. [verse 15].
He was thankful to God for the ability to pray and worship God in other tongues [verse 18].
He found this to be a deeply spiritual and edifying experience [vs. 4].
Jude agrees with Paul’s assessment of the edifying power of praying in tongues [Jude 20].
He urged all of us to speak, pray, and worship God in other tongues, “I would that ye all spake with tongues” [vs. 5].
Nowhere does he tell us that he ever identified the “other tongue” he in which spoke.
Nor does he mention that he ever preached a sermon to anyone in other tongues.
Nowhere does he state that we should try to identify the “other tongue” in which we are speaking, or to attempt to preach sermons to others in it.

But Paul also gave some common sense instructions concerning tongues–the prayer language. For example, if someone were to stand up in the public assembly, and speak out loudly to God for an hour in tongues–the prayer language–such an exercise would be entirely pointless and a waste of time. In exercises of the prayer language, “no man understandeth him.” So the congregation would understand not a single word, and be bored to tears. Ever been to a concert where they sang in a language you didn’t know? I did recently. I went to a free zydeko–Cajun music–concert. I assumed that this concert would be in English, but was disappointed to find once I got there, that it was to be entirely in French/Cajun. I loved the lively music, but after two minutes, my attention wandered because I didn’t understand a word of what was being sung. And by the end of an hour, I ranged from being nearly asleep, to almost climbing the walls and wondering when this concert would ever end.

Such would be the same reaction from people forced to sit and listen to uninterpreted tongues for an hour. Paul pointed out an example like this, and said that in Church he would rather speak 5 words that everyone could understand than 10,000 words in uninterpreted tongues that no one could benefit from. Referring back to the French concert I attended, I would have to say the same. I would rather go to a concert where they sang five words I understood, than ten thousand words I couldn’t make heads or tails of.

So Paul gave the common sense instruction, that if someone felt they had something to say in other tongues to the entire congregation, let him do so. However, if he speaks for awhile, and no one seems to be able to interpret what is being said, then for Heaven’s sake [my words not his] have the poor brother sit back down, “and let him speak to himself, and to God,” and don’t have him bore everyone to tears. [vs. 28]. Note that Paul said, “…let him speak to himself, and to God,” thus explaining that such a manifestation is simply the person speaking in the prayer language “to God,” and not the full Gift of Tongues in which God speaks to men. It is at this point in the narrative where we begin to see tongues used for something other than prayer and praise. When there is something to be said to the entire congregation in other tongues, this is not a manifestation of the prayer language. In prayer, man speaks to God and there is no need to interpret for the public the contents of our private prayers to God. If it is a public manifestation of tongues, then it is a manifestation of the actual Gift of Tongues–one of the 9 gifts of the Spirit listed in Chapter 12.

In the case where the Gift of Tongues is manifested, the contents of the message, will be a message from God to men [vs. 21]. In an instance of a message through the Gift of Tongues, from God to the congregation, Paul directed that such messages in tongues were to be allowed and accommodated in a public service, but the Holy Spirit directed him to set reasonable boundaries within which we are to stay. Namely, realizing that it is possible that several people may simultaneously feel they have a message in tongues for the congregation, he limited the number of individuals allowed to participate to “two or at the most by three,” [vs. 27]. And he added that one person should interpret [vs. 27]. And the rules he laid down, like all of the instructions given in God’s Word, make perfect sense, and keep a service from getting off the track.

All Charismatics–currently numbering 537 Million Christians–have experienced the prayer language of speaking in tongues. All born-again Christians have the Holy Spirit indwelling them. However, there is a secondary experience that not all Christians have received. Indeed, many do not know that there even is another experience from God to be received. Jesus called this experience, that is to be received subsequent to [after] salvation, being “baptized with the Holy Ghost.” Acts 1:5. He called it the receiving of power, “…ye shall receive power, after that the Holy ghost is come upon you…” Acts 1:8. Note that He said “upon you” not “in you.” The believer in Christ already has the Holy Spirit within them. But the Lord desires for the presence of His Spirit to be within us, but that the power of His Spirit be upon us.

As it was in the days of the Bible, so is it still true today: When the Holy Spirit fell upon the born-again Christians, the received the ability to speak or pray in other tongues. Acts 2:3,4; 10:46; 19:6. And today, when the Holy Spirit’s power falls upon a born-again Christian, the person immediately receives the ability to speak or pray in other tongues.

All Charismatics have experienced this prayer language. Far fewer have ever experienced the full Gift of Tongues in speaking a message in tongues to a congregation that was then interpreted into English. Brother Hagin reported, for instance, that by the early 1950’s he had laid hands on over 10,000 people and personally heard them speak in tongues. But out of them all, he noted that only two received the full Gift of speaking in diverse tongues, and went ahead giving messages publicly in their local congregation. The other 9,998 received simply the prayer language, and continued to pray and worship with it.

There is a considerable difference both in Scripture and in experience between tongues–the personal prayer language, and tongues–the public Gift. In my case, my pastor laid his hands on me and prayed for me to be baptized in the Holy Spirit. I began to speak in tongues. I prayed in tongues, and worshipped God in other tongues. I never understood a single word of what I was speaking. Paul didn’t either. I Cor. 14:2,14. But not understanding what was being said in other tongues did not stop Paul or me from going ahead and praying in tongues and worshipping God in tongues. But this was all a private exercise of this ability. I never once was lead to stand up in the congregation and speak out a message in tongues. I had received the prayer language, but not the full Gift of Diverse Kinds of Tongues.

Eight years later, I was preparing to leave Sister Goodwin’s house. She had been used for 60 years in speaking public messages in tongues and in interpreting them. She laid her hands on me, and prayed for God to use me in the Gifts of His Holy Spirit. I felt nothing imparted to me at that moment. But a few weeks later, the Gift of Speaking in tongues suddenly began to flow through me. I would feel an urging rise up within me to speak in tongues. I would speak out under that urging for a few moments, and when the urging or the “unction” subsided, the English words of interpretation would arise within me, and I would speak out the interpretation. Since then, over the last 17 years, I’ve spoken hundreds of messages in tongues publicly, maybe more, and have interpreted just as many. I can speak at will in my prayer language to God in prayer and worship, as can any other Charismatic. I cannot speak messages in tongues in public at will. Nor can I interpret messages in tongues at will. Speaking and interpreting in public is a manifestation of the two full-fledged Gifts of tongues and interpretation. And those Gifts operate only as the Holy Spirit wills. I Cor. 12:11.

I have ministered the baptism in the Holy Spirit to a number of born-again Christians over the years. All received the prayer language, meaning the ability to speak, pray, and worship in other tongues at will. None yet have received the full Gift of Speaking in Tongues. None have given public messages in tongues. However, there have been a number of times in which I have been flowing in speaking in tongues and interpreting, and have been teaching and preaching about the Gifts of the Spirit, and others around me who are sitting under my teaching and have prayed in tongues for years but have never been used in giving messages, will suddenly begin giving messages in tongues and start interpreting also. And most of the times this has happened with me not having ever laid my hands on them. To God be the Glory for the great things He has done.

Refuting Counter-Arguments

I have read every imaginable counter argument which tries to argue against there being two kinds of manifestations of tongues–private prayer, and public Gift. I haven’t found one yet that takes into account all of the words of Christ, all of the examples in the Book of Acts, and all of the instructions Paul gave us.

One common argument is that all manifestations of speaking in tongues are those of men speaking in prayer to God. That argument is silent though concerning I Cor. 14:21 which says, “With men of other tongues and other lips will I speak unto this people.” If tongues is always men speaking unto God, then surely God is not going to pray a prayer to Himself!

Others try to explain away this Scripture by claiming that it refers to a person standing up in a public assembly, praying to God in other tongues, and then someone else interpreting the prayer back to the congregation in the local language. But what possible purpose would there be in interpreting someone’s private prayers for the public to listen to?

Any way you care to look at it, you have to admit that Paul indicated two different functions of speaking in tongues: 1) Prayer from man to God and 2) Messages from God to man. When someone prays to God in tongues, “no man understandeth him.” When God speaks to someone through other tongues, no one will necessarily understand the tongue, unless God simultaneously gives the interpretation to another. This same pattern of private prayer and public Gift is demonstrated in the New Testament, throughout the Early Church, resurfacing again and again during revivals over the course of centuries of Church History, and continuing among the 537 million born-again Christians who currently speak in tongues.

Back to Dave: If you’ve read all this, thanks for your patience and interest.

1 Corinthians 15:

v12-19 – Even back then, people claimed there is no life after death. “There is nothing new under the sun” (Eccl. 1:9). The centerpiece that supports the belief in the afterlife is the resurrection of Jesus.

v24: This is totally amazing IF my take is correct….it says that in the Kingdom, three things will be abolished: 1) all rule, 2) all power, 3) all authority. Does this include His authority? It is difficult for us to even imagine living without these things, but when all is perfect, are they needed? All are in Perfect Submission in Love! …hmmm. Verse 25 does state that He must reign UNTIL He has put all His enemies under His feet. Could it be that He is so wonderful, loving and humble that He will abolish even His own authority? I do wonder.

Comments from Pastor John Benedetti: I am not sure about the context being only about authority, but authority as related to Christ. To me it is a revelation of Christ’s rule and what will happen at the end of all things. One of the authors of the commentary Jamassion, Fauset and Brown, wrote a fantastic article about this subject. In which he said (I am quoting by memory) that only in the sense of Christ being a man sitting upon the throne of David (promise of God) will His rule end – but after all is done (judgment, rewards), He will rule as the Lord God, seeing He is God in flesh His rule can never end. I BELIEVE THIS IS THE PICTURE THAT GOD GIVES IN REVELATION 21:22-23 – “And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it. And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof.”

As far as the need for authority to continue – forever God is going to be God (Creator, ultimate knowledge, authority and power – only He possess eternal life and only He can give it or take it away).

Back to Dave: I believe the difference will be that we will be synchronized 100% to His heart, mind and will. Will there be a need for authority to exist as we know it now? I don’t believe so. It will be an authority internal that completes us in love and that fills our beings with joy, revelation and peace – without a word being spoken to convince us of what is right or what is the best for us.

v31: Paul “dies daily.” This means living for Jesus not ourselves. Wanting to do His will each day, not our will.

v32: Reveals that if there is no afterlife, then we might as well “eat, drink, and be merry”… for there is no other meaning for our existence. Do not believe this “mantra” from this fallen world. It leads only to deepening self-centeredness which in turn creates more dissatisfaction and loneliness.

v33: Choose friends wisely. You will become more like them.

v39: “All flesh is not the same flesh.” If this is a scientific statement, then evolution cannot be true since it asserts that all life is the “same flesh” because it stemmed from a single living cell. But Genesis is extremely careful and specific when describing God making life by repeatedly asserting each was “after its own kind.” God’s Word makes it clear that He created and designed kinds separate from each other. It would seem that He also designed some adaptation abilities within each kind to help keep the kind alive over many years, especially since He knew of the harsh environment produced by sin that would engulf earth, especially after the Great Flood. Species adaptation is not Darwinism. It is observable, testable, and repeatable (unlike Darwin’s theory), therefore is factual (scientific).

v42-44: Our physical bodies are just “seeds.” When they die (planted in the ground), they morph into a spirit that “sprouts up” (resurrects) and cannot die again if saved.

v45: I’ve heard Gap Theorists claim that the Bible never says that Adam was “the first man.” They have to believe this because they assert that God made a pre-Adamic human race that was destroyed by God because of Satan’s power. This supposedly occurred between Genesis 1:1 and Genesis 1:2. Because they have believed the lie of evolution, they feel pressured to somehow find millions of years of history in the Bible. The trouble is that they break Scripture to do it. Not good. This verse 45 clearly states that Adam was the first man.

v51-52: Traditionally called “The Rapture.” The standard belief is that those people who are still alive on earth when the “last trumpet blows” (Second Coming) will be caught up in the air and changed instantly into their heavenly bodies. Some writers have depicted Christians being sucked out of their cars while driving causing multiple wrecks as they “leave earth” (and their steering wheel). We need to be careful. All sinners must die a death. These verses do not say we will not die, but rather we will not “sleep.” Sleep may mean death or refer to the time between death and resurrection. It says we will be changed in an instant. Death onset can be sudden.

The biggest point of controversy is when the rapture will occur. Some believe just before the so-called “Great Tribulation,” while others say during the Second Coming (I support this one). Even “the Tribulation” is controversial as to what and when it refers to. People who interpret End Time prophecy from an historic viewpoint, believe the Tribulation was back in 70 AD when the Jews were under Roman siege and most died or starvation and sword. The early Christians thought that this was what Jesus warned was coming so they escaped. Jesus said, “When you see the ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION which is spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place, then let those in Judea flee to the mountains….” Daniel’s context described the total destruction of the sacrifice and supposedly Jerusalem. “Abominations” can refer to Gentiles (Roman army) and “desolation” refers to one or those who destroy. After the long siege, the Roman army showed themselves in full force by surrounding Jerusalem in full view of the Jewish people, but the army was mysteriously called back to Rome. The Christians took off to the mountains and the armies returned later and destroyed all. People who interpret End Time prophecy from the futuristic viewpoint, see the Tribulation referring to a future time when the Anti-Christ is ruling.

Scripture also speaks of “tribulation” and “great tribulation” but never THE great tribulation – unless a dispensationalist is translating Revelation 7:14 as Cyrus Scofield did. The whole notion of a future 7-year tribulation” comes from a gross misinterpretation of Daniel 9:24. For more info on this, click on “AT Issues” then scroll to bottom and type in “missing week” in the search rectangle).

The other perspective believes the Anti-Christ position of power was established soon after the Roman Empire fell in 476 AD because they believe that Rome was the fourth kingdom described in Daniel 2 and 7 (there is tremendous support for this). Therefore, the Anti-Christ had to emerge from that last empire. The papacy formed and was responsible for torturing and murdering millions of Christians over 1,260 years of history. The historic viewpoint claims the papacy lost power through Christ ruling from His throne in Heaven and restoring truth via the Protestant Reformation as the people finally got Bibles to read and were set free from Papal tyranny (salvation is by faith in Jesus, not obeying Catholic rules). This, they say, was the “sword coming out of Christ’s mouth” (Rev 19:14-21) that destroyed the Anti-Christ (the sword is the Word of God). The papacy lost world power in 1798 A.D. The Reformation started with Luther in 1517 and it took many years of the Word getting out to enough people to finally strip power from Rome. That power gave popes civil authority over foreign countries for 1,260 years, which is the longest reign of any one power in history! The Bible says that power would last for 1,260 days. So if “days” is symbolic for “years,” this is a good match.

A very good argument for understanding the “symbolic language” that God has consistently used in OT and NT Scriptures has been put forth by the historic viewpoint for interpreting End Time prophecy. This view, in spite of being popular in the early church, gave way to dispensationalism in the 1800s and this view dominates contemporary Christian teaching today. It emphasizes literal rather than symbolic interpretations. Once people discover church history, they can be more easily persuaded to convert to the historic approach to interpreting End Time Prophecy. More on this when we study the Book of Revelation.

v58: Beautiful reassurance that if the Lord works through us, that work is never in vain – our life actually has impact on eternity. Wow.

1 Corinthians 16:

v9:A wide door of opportunity for ministry opened for Paul, but not without many adversaries. Be encouraged. Anytime we do a worthwhile work for God, adversaries are probably a good sign. The devil does not stand idle when the Spirit of God moves.

v14: Let all we do be done in love. If we all did this, can you imagine all the problems that would be solved or prevented?!