TODAY'S TEXT: "He that speaketh in an unknown tongue edifieth himself; but he that prophesieth edifieth the church. I would that ye all spake with tongues, but rather that ye prophesied: for greater is he that prophesieth than he that speaketh with tongues, except he interprets, that the church may receive edifying"(1 Corinthians 14:4-5)
We can't have a deeper walk with God without a deeper fellowship with him in the Spirit and one vital way to achieve this high level of spiritual intimacy with God is by praying in tongues! As 1 Corinthians 14:2 tells us and as we have seen from our past blog post, praying in tongues is direct communication with God, an elevated discourse with divinity where mysteries and revelations are spoken and exchanged!
At the baptism of the Holy Spirit we are giving this heavenly language for direct communication with God, and at other times this language may be the language of men, however we have never learned this language when we pray with it in the Spirit, it is as just as the Holy Spirit gives it to us on the spot to pray with! In both ways our understanding is unfruitful but our spirit is productive and we are establishing direct communication with God! This is powerful! Hence the reason why the devil will fight the use of the tongue. And he does it sublimely, using the word of God to validate his position.
The text for today is one of the many scriptures that the devil use. Here in this scripture, we see where Paul said its better to prophesy than to speak in tongues. This was what Paul said and it is true, but the context that the devil has misinterpreted the scripture to people is that speaking in tongues should be done away with completely in our corporate worship as believers. He has made people to think and to preach that since prophesying is better than praying in tongues then praying in tongues should be done away with. This is not what Paul said though!
What Paul did with his treatise in 1 Corinthians 14 was to show us the dual purpose of our heavenly language, one is for private prayers and worship and the other purpose is for prophetic edification of the church! The difference between the two functions of tongues here is INTERPRETATION. Where a tongue is interpreted then it automatically becomes a prophecy to the edifying of the body, where there are no interpretation tongues then serve as a means of private worship and prayers to God!
Paul never said not to pray in tongues corporately as believers when we gather, what Paul said not to do was to give a message in tongues to the church when there is no interpretation.
In Acts 10:46 we see how people in corporate worship can worship God together in tongues.
Acts 10:45-46 tells us what happened at Cornelius house when the Holy Ghost fell upon them:
"They of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost. For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter"
In that service, randomly and corporately they spoke in tongues and worship God! This shows that the corporate worship of God together in tongues is allowed. Paul knows this quite well. What Paul was, however, trying to do in 1 Corinthians 14 was to show us the duality of the function of using the heavenly language that has been given to us.
1 Corinthians 14:27-30, further elucidates the dual purpose of tongues, both private and prophetic purpose
"If any man speaks in an unknown tongue, let it be by two, or at the most by three, and that by course; and let one interpret. But if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the church; and let him speak to himself, and to God. Let the prophets speak two or three, and let the other judge"
From the scripture above we see that where there is interpretation tongues is equal to prophecy, where there is no interpretation the tongue becomes a language of worship and devotion to God, hence Paul said "if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the church; (however privately) let him speak to himself, and to God." This is the major theme Paul talked about in 1 Corinthians 14:2, speaking directly to God in deep fellowship, speaking mysteries to Him in worship.
We have been given one tongue but for dual purpose, one for personal edification and the other for corporate edification! The private purpose of the tongue is for personal edification in prayers and worship while the prophetic dimension is for the corporate edification of the church in prophecies, for every time tongue is spoken and there is interpretation than its equal to prophecy!
From what Peter said in Acts 3;1-3, we can only give people what we have, if we don't have it then we can't give it! Relating this thought to the dual nature of the tongues we have been given shows that as believers we must first seek to edify ourselves praying in tongues and worshipping God with it and then as we are given the grace we can then move on to edifying others in the body of Christ as we receive interpretation for our tongues. I am not suggesting this as a rigid spiritual formula, but I do know that praying in tongues is a foundational lifestyle and practice for those who will walk in the gifts of the Spirit and life in the supernatural.
Jude's becomes relevant at this point, Jude 20
"But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost,"
We build up ourselves first and then we can build others up too, fulfilling the dual roles of the gift of tongues.