Previous Page

Dec 01, 2019 | Matt Korniotes

1 Corinthians Chapter 14 Verses 1-20

1 Corinthians Chapter 14 Verse 1
 I love this exhortation from Paul! Get after love! Hunt it down! The
word has the element of, “in any way whatever even if it puts you to
pain,” pursue love. Remember what love is…it’s not an emotion or a
feeling…love is the character of God and the essence of maturity,
capacity and success in this life…it is a choice, an action of the free
will. Love is to pursue the preference and well-being of another at
some sort of personal cost to you.
 And in this life our primary subject of love is to be God and our
secondary subject of love is to be others. Paul says
HUNT…THAT…DOWN. Become that person because once you do,
you’re strong. You’re impenetrable by the fiery darts of the enemy.
Whatever he throws at you in this life, no weapon formed against you
hits any pay dirt…and you become a person of greatness…because
you are being transformed into the image of Christ.
 So, pursue love and desire spiritual gifts…work towards, be zealous
for spirituals. “Gifts” is not there in the Greek…it’s just
“spirituals,” that you would be living the life as the spiritual man or
the spiritual woman before the flesh. Someone who is filled with love
and led by the Spirit…what can this world do to a man or a woman of
that caliber? Nothing. Because that person is never on defense…it’s
all offense for them. Resist the devil and he will flee…why? He
doesn’t like being overwhelmed by a puny mortal…but greater is He
that is in you than he that is in the world…the love-filled Spirit-led
Christian proves Jesus right.
 And then Paul says, “but especially that you may prophesy.” Now,
don’t connect this with “pursue love.” This exhortation, by Paul
under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit is connected to the desire of
spirituals…that is quite evident when you look at this in the Greek.
That Paul is essentially saying, “Pursue love, and desire spirituals but

rather that (or in priority to that – the “that” being spirituals), desire
prophesy.” Why?
 First, understand what it is to prophesy. We have this idea that
prophesy is connected to future or fortune telling, but that is not
always correct. To prophesy is simply to speak forth by divine
inspiration. It is to proclaim or declare a thing which can only be
known or understood by divine revelation. And, know this,
understand this, see this and receive it because this is SO very
important especially in the modern western church, Paul takes all of
the spirituals…word of wisdom, word of knowledge, healings,
miracles, tongues, interpretations of tongues and places them all
second fiddle to prophecy. ALL of that, lower priority of importance
to simply speaking forth and the teaching the Word of God.
 That is the purest and most powerful form of prophesying. Teaching
the Word of God. Why? Because before a word of wisdom can help
you, before a word of knowledge of which job to take or which
ministry to start, before a healing even of a physical issue, to receive
and understand the scriptures is eternally and entirely more important.
You could have wisdom for the day, knowledge for the situation, the
experience of a great move of the Spirit of God, and yet if you are
ignorant (or worse yet – in rebellion or rejection) to the Word of God,
you are yet off course. So, Paul places the far-reaching broader
benefit of prophecy above all other spirituals.
1 Corinthians Chapter 14 Verses 2 – 4
 Paul jumps right onto tongues and really spends the majority of the
rest of this chapter on this subject. Why? There was definitely an issue
with sensuality and emotionalism in the church in Corinth and right
along with those things comes the abuse of spirituals. No doubt there
was an issue in this church concerning tongues…but I am so glad we
have this chapter because it clarifies and explains so much…

 Many folks in the church today simply don’t like this topic because of
bad or weird experiences. I get it. Some of you may have no idea what
tongues is at all. Have you ever been so overcome with emotion that
you’re not able to express how you feel? There are just no words? It’s
somewhat like that, only in the spirit. It’s a moment in time where you
are assisted in your worship, in your communication with God on a
very personal level and the words spoken, you don’t even understand
it…because with the move of the Spirit of God within your heart, you
are bypassing the narrow channel of your intellect.
 Romans 8:26 says, “Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses.
For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the
Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot
be uttered.” “Alaletos” in the Greek meaning, “which cannot be
expressed in words.” I think of it this way. Once a baby recognizes his
mom or his dad, as they speak to that little one, it will coo. And
perhaps even thrown a “dada” in there…that baby has no idea what
he just said…but dad does…because that baby is not speaking in a
language yet known to him…but it is known to mom or to dad. And
that coo delights mom and dad.
 It’s interesting, you look at the church today, whether they are on the
far side of cessationism or the far side of charismania…you’d think
they’ve both just ripped this chapter out of their Bible because there is
outstanding clarification of tongues here…
 First, Paul says if you are truly speaking in tongues then two things;
one, you are directly addressing God and two, no man understands
you. Ok, first that tells us that if there is a tongue and an interpretation
is given by God (because it can’t be manufactured by man) then the
interpretation will be a prayer, a praise or some other God-directed
thing. It will never be an encouragement, an exhortation, an
admonishment, a revelation…never. If that is the interpretation then

that is not the gift of interpretation. It may be the gift of
prophecy…but not interpretation. And that doesn’t prove the tongue
false, that just proves the interpretation false. Easy to remember,
tongues is never a man-to-man thing…it’s always a man-to-God
 If that’s the case, and Paul will develop this a bit more in a few verses,
tongues should never be something that draws attention to a
person…or magnifies a person…this spiritual manifestation always
glorifies God.
 Also, we know from this that no man understands in a natural sense.
That makes me have to address Acts Chapter 2, verses 5–11. There
can be much debate here…but here’s what I see…no interpretation
given, which Paul in a moment will say that if there is no
interpretation, keep silent. So here, no interpretation and men from all
around the world understood…and it could be, completely acceptable
perspective, certainly not worth the email or social media fist fight
(Christians we have to stop that), Acts Chapter 2 perhaps is something
other than what we are talking about in 1 Corinthians 14. Acts Chapter
2 was the pouring out of the Holy Spirit for the first time upon the
world…the consecration, the initiation…and what happened there was
 Or, and I have to admit, after studying this topic in depth numerous
times in the past, just this week I yet tweaked my own perspective,
or, it could be that God owns the tongue. What do I mean by that? All
the way back, right after the flood of Noah’s day, Genesis Chapter 11,
Verse 1 tells us that, “The whole earth had one language and one
speech.” Then in verses 6–7 we are told that God “confused their
language so that they could not understand one another.” So, here’s
what I see. God owns the tongue. Languages and understanding and
comprehension, all a work of, idea of and property of God. So, Acts 2

and 1 Corinthians 14, we have a spiritual manifestation that is known
as tongues and yet in one circumstance it is God doing again what He
did in Genesis 11 and in the other it is God moving mysteriously on
the tongues of men…and so both circumstances, my newly tweaked
opinion, a spiritual manifestation of tongues however Acts 2 seems
to be a one time event as Paul does say definitively that no man
understands, not even the speaker…
1 Corinthians Chapter 14 Verse 5
 I just want to clarify, greater in profit, not in value. Paul is in favor of
tongues! Here’s where those that say the gifts have ceased close their
Bibles, I think. Paul isn’t putting this spiritual down…he’s simply
correcting what had become a circus there in Corinth!
1 Corinthians Chapter 14 Verses 6 – 9
 That is excellent counsel not just for this subject of tongues but also
just simply being a Christian and especially a Bible teacher, a
prophesier. We must take the Word of God, which is intricately
complex and eternally layered with types and patterns and revelation
of deeper truths, and we must make it easy to understand…or we
ought not to teach it. Chuck Smith taught us to put the cookies where
the kids can reach them…and that is so important. Two main
 One, if they can’t understand it…you are just blowing hot air. That is
essentially what Paul is saying here in verse 9. And second, if you
can’t communicate it simply then you don’t really understand it
yourself. Making something hard is a mark of either laziness, a lack of
preparation or a lack of understanding. So study until it lays flat for
you…and then correct, rebuke, exhort and teach…we have so much
heated debate and what the world calls “hate” because we have a
church generation that fights with perspectives that they have heard
and been taught rather than studied and understood in context.

1 Corinthians Chapter 14 Verses 10 – 20
 Just a couple of things here as we conclude today’s study. Paul says
that he speaks in tongues more than anyone else he knows, more than
anyone in the church of Corinth, and yet we never have an account of
him doing so. Not in Ephesus, not in Rome, not in Philippi or
anywhere in the Region of Galatia. Why? Because he does not speak
in tongues while ministering to men but while ministering to God, in
his private devotions with the Lord.
 His main point is this and it is a good capstone for the conversation
today. The exercising of spirituals (and specifically in context to
today’s text), the exercising of tongues ought to be a language unto
God and yet that is edifying to others…or it’s not acceptable. I love
this, let the reason why you excel in the body of Christ be equal to the
amount that you encourage the body of Christ…and I think that is
entirely spot on.
 Five words of understanding and encouragement are worth more than
10,000 utterances in the spirit. That is major! And Paul concludes this
section with do not be children in understanding…be childlike in
malice…the things of the flesh…but in understanding…grow to

Series Information