Worship manifestations in the church are rarely done correctly. Either the manifestations are absent in the majority of churches or improperly operated in the rest. God did not leave us to guess about these operations. In chapter 14 of 1 Corinthians, God provides clear instructions on how HE wants US to operate the worship manifestations.
1 Follow after charity, and desire spiritual gifts, but rather that you may prophesy.
Pursue the love of God and desire spiritual gifts but I prefer that you prophesy (in the church meetings). The context of chapter 14 is church meetings. Church does not mean a building or a Sunday morning service. Church means when three or more believers are gathered together. Prophesy is not referring to the gift ministry of a prophet. Prophesy is available to every believer because it’s one of the nine manifestations of the spirit.
2 For he that speaks in an unknown tongue speaks not to men, but to God: for no man understands him; however, in the spirit he speaks mysteries.
When we speak in tongues it’s a divine conversation speaking mysteries with God in a language that the speaker does not understand. Another person may understand (like on the day of Pentecost) but not the speaker.
3 But he that prophesies speaks to men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort.
Speaking in tongues is for God but prophesy is for men. The goal of prophecy in the church is to build up, encourage, and comfort. This prophecy is not for direction.
4 He that speaks in an unknown tongue edifies himself; but he that prophesies edifies the church.
Speaking in Tongues is only profitable to the speaker by building up the spirit man. The person that prophesies builds up the church and is profitable to all. To edify or build up the church is mentioned 4 times in this chapter: verses 4,12, 17, and 26.
5 I would that you all spoke with tongues but rather that you prophesied: for greater is he that prophesies than he that speaks with tongues, except he interpret, that the church may receive edifying.
God wants us all to speak in tongues in our private prayer lives but to prophesy in the church unless we speak in tongues with interpretation so that the church will be built up.
6 Now, brothers, if I come to you speaking with tongues, what shall I profit you, except I shall speak to you either by revelation, or by knowledge, or by prophesying, or by doctrine?
If I speak in tongues there is no benefit to the church unless I speak by revelation, knowledge, prophecy, or doctrine in a language understood by the church.
7 And even things without life giving sound, whether pipe or harp, except they give a distinction in the sounds, how shall it be known what is piped or harped?
8 For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle?
9 So likewise you, except you utter by the tongue words easy to be understood, how shall it be known what is spoken? for you shall speak into the air.
We need to speak in a language understood by the listeners otherwise it’s just hot air because nobody understands it.
10 There are, it may be, so many kinds of voices in the world, and none of them is without signification.
11 Therefore if I know not the meaning of the voice, I shall be to him that speaks a barbarian, and he that speaks shall be a barbarian to me.
If I speak in tongues and you speak in tongues then we will be like barbarians because I hear noise and you hear noise but no understanding for either of us.
12 Even so you, for as much as you are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek that you may excel to the edifying of the church.
This is the second mention of edifying the church. With the same zeal that we are to have for spiritual gifts then excel at building up the church.
13 Why let him that speaks in an unknown tongue pray that he may interpret.
If you are going to speak in tongues then pray that you will interpret.
14 For if I pray in an unknown tongue, my spirit prays, but my understanding is unfruitful.
Speaking in tongues is praying in the spirit, the mind is untouched.
15 What is it then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also: I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also.
We can pray with the spirit(speaking in tongues), pray using our minds, sing in tongues, and sing using our minds.
16 Else when you shall bless with the spirit, how shall he that occupies the room of the unlearned say Amen at your giving of thanks, seeing he understands not what you say?
If you speak in tongues without interpreting the listener will not be profited because it’s a foreign language.
17 For you truly give thanks well, but the other is not edified.
Speaking in tongues is giving thanks well to God but nobody else is edified.
18 I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than you all:
The apostle Paul spoke in tongues more than anybody else.
19 Yet in the church I had rather speak five words with my understanding, that by my voice I might teach others also, than ten thousand words in an unknown tongue.
Paul understood that 5 words understood by the listeners will benefit the church some while 10,000 words in tongues benefit nobody but himself.
20 Brothers, be not children in understanding: however, in malice be you children, but in understanding be men.
God says, “Grow up and heed my instructions in this chapter”. Be children in evil intent but men in understanding.
21 In the law it is written, with men of other tongues and other lips will I speak to this people; and yet for all that will they not hear me, said the LORD.
22 Why tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not: but prophesying serves not for them that believe not, but for them which believe.
Tongues are a sign to the unbelievers but prophesy is for the believers. In the context speaking in tongues (for the unbelievers) with interpretation (for the believers) addresses all in the church.
23 If therefore the whole church be come together into one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in those that are unlearned, or unbelievers, will they not say that you are mad?
If an unbeliever comes into a church meeting and everybody is speaking in tongues then they will think that everybody is looney. I have been in many churches where this verse is violated.
24 But if all prophesy, and there come in one that believes not, or one unlearned, he is convinced of all, he is judged of all:
The implication is that the prophesy is decent and in order. If all prophesy at the same time then it’s confusing. I believe that this is talking about speaking in tongues with interpretation (which is equivalent to prophesy).
25 And thus are the secrets of his heart made manifest; and so falling down on his face he will worship God, and report that God is in you of a truth.
This is the power of speaking in tongues with interpretation in the church.
26 How is it then, brothers? when you come together, every one of you has a psalm, has a doctrine, has a tongue, has a revelation, has an interpretation. Let all things be done to edifying.
Psalms, doctrines, tongues, revelation, and interpretation are all wonderful but only when the goal is to edify the church.
27 If any man speak in an unknown tongue, let it be by two, or at the most by three, and that by course; and let one interpret.
When speaking in tongues in the church then only two or three in order and only if the speaker is willing to interpret.
28 But if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the church; and let him speak to himself, and to God.
If you are not willing or able to interpret your tongue be quiet and speak in tongues to God.
29 Let the prophets speak two or three, and let the other judge.
The subject is now about the Prophets (gift ministry). Only two or three prophets speak in order and the other prophets listen and measure the prophesy against the word of God.
30 If any thing be revealed to another that sits by, let the first hold his peace.
31 For you may all prophesy one by one, that all may learn, and all may be comforted.
When Prophets speak in order then the body learns and receives comfort.
32 And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets.
The spirit of the prophet is subject to the prophet. This applies to all believers. Your spirit is subject to your mind. You choose to speak in tongues and when to stop, te same with all of the manifestations. Spiritism controls people but not the one true God.
33 For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.
God is not the author of confusion. If there is confusion in the church it’s not of God. Therefore, everybody speaking in tongues in unison is not of God.
34 Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted to them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience as also said the law.
The context is still about the prophets. The wives of the prophets are to keep silent by obeying their prophet husbands.
35 And if they will learn anything, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.
It is not orderly for the prophet’s wives to usurp the prophet’s authority.
36 What? came the word of God out from you? or came it to you only?
37 If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write to you are the commandments of the Lord.
Any born again saint should acknowledge that this chapter contains God’s commandments.
38 But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant.
If you do not agree or like what is written then you are free to be stupid.
39 Why, brothers, covet to prophesy, and forbid not to speak with tongues.
Desire to prophesy and don’t even think about banning speaking in tongues.
40 Let all things be done decently and in order.
Let all things in worship(and all areas of our lives) be done decently and in order. This is a great verse to keep in mind because it is a Godly principle.