After correcting the disorder and confusion in the assembling together of the Corinthian church in 1 Cor. 14:1-25, Paul then begins to set forth a plan in vs. 26 of how best to move in the Spirit in their smaller corporate gatherings. Remember, the setting of this chapter is probably in someone’s living room, where it’s much easier for corporate participation, yet Paul established some protocol and limitations. Why?
Because the mind of the Lord in the body participating in these corporate gatherings is to avoid extremes, excesses, and abuses of these gifts, and minister maximum edification. When that happens these gifts become common and unappreciated. God doesn’t want that. We need to maintain an honor and a reverence for these sacred gifts.
Notice these verses:
“If anyone speaks in a tongue, two or at the most three, in turn, and let one interpret. But if there is no interpreter, let him keep silent in church, and let him speak to himself and to God.” (1 Corinthians 14;27-28)
“If anyone”…To me this means that giving a message in tongues may be the easiest gift for ANYONE to exercise. My grandparents in the faith, Mom and Dad Goodwin, trained many believers in the church they led to give messages in tongues.
I remember leading a missions trip years ago and in daily morning prayer with the team I led, I trained them to move according to 1 Corinthians 14:26. At the end of the training a number of them learned to recognize the Spirit of God and give a message in tongues, and I would interpret. But once the sessions were over there was one young man who felt like he had the interpretation for every tongue given. I spoke to him about the possibility that the Lord may be birthing a ministry in him. How could he possibly have known that without this sort of training and opportunity?
I’ve done that a number of times over the years with pretty good success. For example, on another occasion in my travels, I remember being invited to a home meeting, and again, training them to flow in a 1 Corinthians 14:26 format. I asked for a show of hands of who had never given a message in tongues, and would like to. Three women raised their hands, and came forward. I love teaching by precept and example, so I had them all give a tongue when they sensed the Spirit, and I interpreted each one.
One woman who’d been in church for most of her life was ecstatic. She had never been used like this before, but the Spirit of God came on her and when I gave the interpretation, she was so encouraged and edified. Her confidence was bolstered. But see, if her church leaders don’t allow her to exercise that simple gift in a corporate setting, she will grow frustrated over time. Sadly, many pastors and church leaders don’t know or understand how to teach and equip believers in the flow and operation of these gifts. And most of them know very little about the ministry of interpretation.