Instructions for Tongues Speakers

In a Peanuts cartoon Lucy demanded that Linus change TV channels, threatening him with her fist if he didn’t. “What makes you think you can walk right in here and take over?” asks Linus. “These five fingers,” says Lucy. “Individually they’re nothing … More


Two things are specifically emphasized in this passage:

  1. Let all things be done unto edifying“ (v. 26).
  2. Let all things be done decently and in order“ (v. 40).

This has been the theme in this chapter and continues in Paul’s thinking as he gives instruction for worship in the church. Worship services in the early church do not seem to have been dominated by one individual, but open to free participation by all who would choose to participate. It is evident that the Corinthian church was having special problems with disorders in their public meetings.  Furthermore, it seems that the tongues speakers were the ones causing the most trouble, so Paul addressed himself to them and gave specific instructions for the church to follow in their services.

  1. There must never be more than three speaking in tongues in any one meeting (v. 27).
  2. To speak in tongues without an interpreter is forbidden (v. 28).
  3. Women are not permitted to speak in tongues in the church services (v.34).
Paul said that women should be silent during the Church meetings (v. 34). He was not saying that women had no right to pray or share God’s Word in the church, because he had already given instructions as to how she was to do this (11:5). This must have reference to speaking in tongues. Paul says that if the women have questions they need to ask them to their husbands at home (v. 35).


Lord, help me to be on the lookout as to how I can edify other Christians and to always be organized to the point that others will feel comfortable in the things I do.

I Corinthians 14:26-40 (English Standard Version)

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