How The Gift Tongues Should Be Practiced In The Church – 1 Corinthians 14:21-40

From my reading in 1 Corinthians 14:21-40 in the One Year Bible New Testament.

Paul gave some healthy parameters for the usage of tongues in the church.

These instructions are specifically for the sake of visitors.

“Even so, if unbelievers or people who don’t understand these things come into your church meeting and hear everyone speaking in an unknown language, they will think you are crazy.” 1 Cor 14:3

A room full of people speaking in all different languages is not something people are used to and will scare people away. If you do speak in tongues in the church meeting here are Paul’s instructions.

No more than two or three should speak in tongues. They must speak one at a time, and someone must interpret what they say. But if no one is present who can interpret, they must be silent in your church meeting and speak in tongues to God privately.” 1 Cor 14:27-28

It is surprising to me that some churches totally ignore these clear instructions.

I believe these instructions are in more of a house church or smaller group setting. No more than two or three people should speak. The should speak one at a time, and if there is no interpreter then they should not speak in tongues at all in the meeting, but should do it privately.

The principle behind these instructions is to have an orderly service.

“For God is not a God of disorder but of peace, as in all the meetings of God’s holy people.” 1 Cor 14:33

There is one more important instruction that some of us need to heed as well.

“So, my dear brothers and sisters, be eager to prophesy, and don’t forbid speaking in tongues. But be sure that everything is done properly and in order.” 1 Cor 14:39-40

Because some people have abused the usage of tongues, others have seemingly forbided it. In issues like this it is important for us to get our instructions from scripture and not the popular culture around us.

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About David Worcester

I am the founder and director of a campus ministry at San Diego State called Challenge. I am also serving as an ordained elder at Mission Trails Church. I love speaking and writing about college ministry, gospel appointments, and practical ways to live out God’s Word! I am also passionate about: leadership training, learning, missions, church planting, surfing, hiking, sports, photography and traveling (So far I’ve visited 23 countries & all 50 states). I’m married to Jessica Worcester who I fell in love with while doing college ministry together and we have a two year old son named Samuel. I graduated from from the University of Oklahoma (OU) with a degree in Film & Video Studies. And I received my Masters in Theological Studies from Gateway Seminary. I am an ordained minister who loves speaking and writing about practical ways to live out God’s Word in life and ministry.

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