In 1 Corinthians 14 Paul writes to the Corinthian church about the practice of speaking in tongues. There is a level of division in the church today over the practice of speaking in tongues. Questions like, “Is this gift still valid for today?”, “Is there something called a prayer language for believers today?”, “Do you have to speak in tongues as evidence of the baptism of the Holy Spirit?” are questions that people have written many books and preached many sermons and even had many heated conversations about. It’s clear from 1 Corinthians 14 that the practice of speaking in tongues at Corinth had its own set of problems. Most of this chapter is corrective in nature. Like most people, I have my own understanding of the interpretation of this chapter and how it is to be applied today. I am glad to share those ideas with you though this blog post isn’t long enough to do that. What I’ll focus on this morning is verse 12: 12 Even so you, since you are zealous for spiritual gifts, let it be for the edification of the church that you seek to excel. Whether it be tongues or another spiritual gift, the clear purpose for these gifts is the edification or building up of the church, the body of Christ followers.
Spiritual gifts have been given to those who have received Jesus Christ in order to edify the church. That is the reason. Unfortunately, many have taken these gifts and the desire for certain gifts and used them to divide the church. Some have attempted to exalt some gifts above others, despite the clear warning in the Bible not to do that. I think that we all should be zealous for spiritual gifts. I think we should attempt to understand what gifts we have been given and how to use them. But the desire for these gifts should move us to edification and growth of the body, not for personal benefit or gain. That leads to division and pride. Discover and develop your gifts for the benefit of the church, which will lead to an expanding of the kingdom of God.