1Co 14:1-5 Do Paul’s word’s on the superiority of love as the supreme goal negate the importance of spiritual gifts? What gift in particular does he recommend? Is the purpose of the gift of prophecy to divine the future? What is its purpose? See 1Co 14:3. Why does Paul say that the gift of prophesy is superior to that of tongues? What does it mean to edify? Note: the Greek word for “edify” means to build up, as a house; see Rom 15:20, Eph 4:12,16, 1 Peter 2:5,7.
1Co 14:6-11 What arguments does Paul articulate in these verses as to why the gift of tongues is not edifying to the church?
1Co 14:12-19 To what conclusion does Paul lead the Corinthians in regard to the issues about spiritual gifts that were confronting their church (see 1Co 14:12), and especially the gift of tongues (see 1Co 14:13)? What do 1Co 14:14-19 teach us about the importance of our mind and intellect to true worship, and especially corporate worship?
1Co 14:20-25 In what way were the Corinthians thinking like children? See 1Co 13:8-11. In what way did their thinking need to become mature? To what event did the words quoted by Paul in 1Co 14:21 refer? See Deut 28:49, Is 28:11, Jer 5:15. In what way was the gift of tongues a sign to the unbelieving Jews of the first century? Is it possible that the resurgence of the gift of tongues in the past century is a sign to unbelieving Christians? What is the sense of Paul’s argument in these verses, first saying that tongues are a sign for unbelievers, but then saying that if all speak in tongues, an unbeliever will think they are mad? Note: the sense in which tongues are a sign to unbelievers is one of judgment, not salvation. In private worship tongues are edifying to one who believes, but as edifying as they are to the believer personally, in corporate worship they are a sign of judgment to those who will not believe. Therefore, in corporate worship Paul argues that the emphasis should be on prophecy, not tongues, in order that the unbelieving might not be condemned by what they perceive as foolish, but that they might be saved by what they understand with their mind and by which they are convicted and called to account. Again, what does this teach us about the importance of our mind and intellect to corporate worship?
1Co 14:26-33 What part did individual Christians have in the corporate worship service Paul describes in these verses, and how was that different from the worship services with which we are familiar? Was their worship dependent upon one person (like a pastor or minister) or even just a few people? What were the key requirements Paul required? See 1Co 14:26,40. What do 1Co 14:29 and 32 teach us about the importance of accountability within a church for those who teach?
1Co 14:34-38 What does Paul mean that women should keep silent in the churches and not speak? See 1Co 14:28 and 30, 1 Pet 3:1-6. What does it mean that they should subject themselves? See 1Co 14:32. To whom should they subject themselves? See 1Co 14:35. See the NASB text note on 1Co 14:33, as well as the NIV rendering of 1Co 14:33-35; does the last clause of 1Co 14:33 belong with 1Co 14:33 or 1Co 14:34? What does Paul mean that it is improper for a woman to speak in church? See NASB text note, and also 11:6 and Eph 5:12 where the same rare word is used. What is Paul’s point in 1Co 14:36? See also 1Co 11:16. What do these words of Paul reveal about the deviations from acceptable Christian practice that were occurring in the Corinthian church? How do his words in 1Co 14:37-38 seek to correct them? In light of his words to the Corinthians in regard to their deviations from acceptable Christian practice, what do you think the apostle’s estimation of most churches today would be?
1Co 14:39-40 What summary does Paul give in these verses to the problems the Corinthian church was facing in its corporate worship? What does his summary reveal about the main issues that gave rise to the problems?