1 Corinthians 14:1-12
14 Follow the way of love and eagerly desire gifts of the Spirit, especially prophecy. 2 For anyone who speaks in a tongue does not speak to people but to God. Indeed, no one understands them; they utter mysteries by the Spirit. 3 But the one who prophesies speaks to people for their strengthening, encouraging and comfort. 4 Anyone who speaks in a tongue edifies themselves, but the one who prophesies edifies the church. 5 I would like every one of you to speak in tongues, but I would rather have you prophesy. The one who prophesies is greater than the one who speaks in tongues, unless someone interprets, so that the church may be edified. 6 Now, brothers and sisters, if I come to you and speak in tongues, what good will I be to you, unless I bring you some revelation or knowledge or prophecy or word of instruction? 7 Even in the case of lifeless things that make sounds, such as the pipe or harp, how will anyone know what tune is being played unless there is a distinction in the notes? 8 Again, if the trumpet does not sound a clear call, who will get ready for battle? 9 So it is with you. Unless you speak intelligible words with your tongue, how will anyone know what you are saying? You will just be speaking into the air. 10 Undoubtedly there are all sorts of languages in the world, yet none of them is without meaning. 11 If then I do not grasp the meaning of what someone is saying, I am a foreigner to the speaker, and the speaker is a foreigner to me. 12 So it is with you. Since you are eager for gifts of the Spirit, try to excel in those that build up the church.
I am struck by the opening and closing sentences of these verses. The opener encourages us to seek after love while the closing words inspire us to use our spiritual gifts to strengthen the whole church. In between these statements the apostle Paul directs us to desire the spiritual gift of prophecy because it builds up the entire church.
There can never be enough encouragement! We all need to be built up and the gift of prophecy accomplishes this. Life is often tough and it’s easy to be worn down. A prophetic word at the right time can lift our spirits and keep us on track. That’s why Paul places so much importance on this spiritual gift – everyone needs it at one time or another as does the local church. We are encouraged to ask God for this gift. Don’t hold back!
Dear Lord, we thank you for the gift of prophecy. Holy Spirit please enable me to speak your truth and build your people. Amen
Written by Ps. Ainslie Woods