Here we are again discussing spiritual gifts. And, once again, we see that people haven’t changed much since Paul wrote these words.
The Corinthians seem to be having disputes over what is the best spiritual gift to have, and it appears that speaking in other languages, or as we say today “speaking in tongues” is the one that is getting the most attention.
I told you a few episodes back that I gave my heart to the Lord in a little Southern Baptist church when I was a teenager, and that I had never even heard of spiritual gifts until I moved away and started attending a little community church in Mammoth Lakes, CA. And I told you that this little church had just undergone a split because of a dispute about the gifts. Of course, the nexus of the argument was speaking in tongues.
What I didn’t tell you was that for the past 27 or so years, I have been attending an Assemblies of God church, which is Pentecostal. Just in case you don’t know, Pentecostal means that they believe very strongly that all the spiritual gifts are in operation today, unlike the Southern Baptists, who believe the gifts ceased after the Apostles died. The Pentecostals believe that every believer who is filled with the Holy Spirit will speak in tongues as the evidence of the filling. And most pray fervently for this experience.
So having I have been in both camps, I know the arguments of both sides. And it is my belief that neither the Baptists nor the Pentecostals have it right.
Here in 1 Corinthians 14, Paul teaches that speaking in other languages is fine, but it is far better to prophesy, because then unbelievers can hear and understand the message and perhaps be convicted and come to know God.
Here’s the deal. Being God, the Holy Spirit knows what will be most beneficial to each person and each church. He decides which gift an individual will have. Maybe it will be tongues, maybe it will be prophecy, or teaching or interpretation or discernment or hospitality or business or on and on. Whatever your gift, the greatest is love, as we learned in the last chapter.
What do you think?