Bible Reading – 1 Corinthians 14

1. Understanding the spiritual gifts (14:1-5). Paul takes the notion of love and begins to make application with the miraculous gifts. The one who loves seeks something greater than that which will apply to self, but he (she) will seek that which benefits all.

2. A lack of communication (14:6-19). Some years ago, a brother had a stroke. I went to visit him in the hospital. As he sat on the bed, his mannerisms were just like they were before he had the stroke. I was confused, then he spoke to me, but I wasn’t quite sure what he said (because of the noise in the room), so I asked him again, and he understood perfectly my request, but as he spoke again, not a single thing he said did I understand. He understood exactly want he wanted to say, but he could not articulate in words his thoughts. Communication is a two-way endeavor. When only one person is able to communicate, and that to self, the other person is confused about what need, desire, want, or anything is.

3. A misunderstanding of the purposes (14:20-25). Some Christians in Corinth had the ability (gift) to speak languages not learned. An extraordinary gift it was, but the gift was abused. Too many were utilizing the gift for their own purposes and not the Lord’s. Herein lays the problem within every congregation, or nearly every congregation: we seek to achieve our own purposes. Of course, not all do this, but some do and those who do can be a major thorn in the side to any godly desire of unity.

4. A single or multiple purpose (14:26-40). When the saints gather together, they gather to praise the Lord and encourage the brethren (cf. Hebrews 19:19-25). However, when misunderstanding reigns in one’s mind, the gathering for a singular purpose might turn into a meeting with multiple purposes. When this occurs, you might say a form of syncretism exists. Syncretism is an acceptance of different forms of belief and melting it into one. This is a challenge to all churches, existing everywhere. This is why the Lord puts such great emphasis upon hearing Him (cf. Matthew 17:5).