1 Corinthians 14
The apostle now submitted certain gifts to the test of love. Prophesying is desirable because it edifies others. Then as to Tongues. It was a gift that enabled men to speak to God, perhaps in prayer, perhaps in praise, most probably in both ways; its effect on the man who had the gift was to strengthen his spiritual life. Its effect on others was valueless unless it was accompanied by interpretation. The apostle declared that if he came to hem speaking with tongues it would not profit them. If a man had the gift of tongues, he should also pray for the gift of interpretation.
He then declared the effect produced by the wrong principle of desiring gifts. Where, instead of the most excellent way of love, the desire was glorification of self, malice most certainly crept into the heart. Against this the apostle especially warned them, urging them to the simplicity and ignorance of childhood as to malice, and to the maturity of men in mind.
Definite instructions for the orderly exercise of the gifts follow. These consist of general principles, which may be tabulated thus:
(1) The test of the possession of a gift is subordination to authority.
(2) The man who is ignorant is hopeless; let him be ignorant. (Some of the texts read, "Let him be ignored.")
(3) The "most excellent way" is to love.
(4) The gift of tongues is not, however, to be despised nor denied.
(5) Then, finally, a word covering the whole. "Let all things be done decently and in order." The word "decently" means with comeliness, with beauty. Thus the organization of the Church is to carry on all its exercises with that beauty which issues from the impulse of love, and that orderliness which is the result of law.
the Week of Proper 20 / Ordinary 25