Victoria Fellowship Church
International & Interdenominational
Bible Study Worksheet – May 10, 2015
Theme: The Promised Holy Spirit
Topic: The Right Use of Tongues
Main Texts: 1 Corinthians 14:1-32
Key Verse: 1 Corinthians 14:5 – “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.”
Last Sunday, we had the first of a two-part study on The Tongues Issue. In that study, we saw that:
- Speaking in tongues is biblical and was a normal part of the life of the early Christians.
- The only recorded controversy over speaking in tongues in the Bible was in the church at Corinth where the issue was not whether they should speak in tongues, but the discipline in the use of tongues
- There is a difference between speaking in tongues for personal worship, and speaking in tongues to bring a message to a congregation
- We should not, because of cases of indiscipline we have witnessed, dismiss speaking in tongues as being irrelevant for the Christian today.
This Sunday, we looked at The Right Use of Tongues
In the first part of this study, we established some Biblical facts which we need to remind ourselves of. First is that speaking in tongues was a very normal part of the Christians’ lives in the early Church, and we should not view it as weird today. The second fact is that there is a difference between tongues as a vehicle for personal worship, and tongues as a ministry in the Church. This study will focus on the latter.
“Anyone who speaks in a tongue edifies themselves, but the one who prophesies edifies the church.” (1 Co 14:4 NIV)
Here we see that there is a use of tongues for personal edification, and it is in this regard Paul says in the next verse, “I would like every one of you to speak in tongues.” In other words, this use of tongues for personal edification is desirable for all Christians. Of course, one can decide that he she does not like the idea and therefore does not desire it. If we do not desire it, it does not make us any less a Christian.
“For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my mind is unfruitful. So what shall I do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will also pray with my understanding; I will sing with my spirit, but I will also sing with my understanding.” (1Co 14:14-15 NIV)
Here we see that praying in tongues is part of praying with the spirit, and Paul says that even if he does not understand what he is praying (with his spirit), he would do it any way. There are times when we have a burden to pray for a situation but do not know what to pray. Those are opportunities for praying with the spirit, which would include praying in tongues. (Note that we can also sing with our spirit, not understanding what we sing! Paul says it is also good for us!)
“But in the church I would rather speak five intelligible words to instruct others than ten thousand
words in a tongue.” (1Co 14:19 NIV)
Having taught us about the use of tongues for personal edification, Paul proceeds to teach us about the use of tongues in the church – a public gathering. Throughout this passage, we are taught that, in the public setting of the church, prophesying is superior to speaking in tongues, unless what is spoken in tongues is also interpreted.
“If anyone speaks in a tongue, two – or at the most three – should speak, one at a time, and someone must interpret. If there is no interpreter, the speaker should keep quiet in the church and speak to himself and to God.” (1Co 14:27-28 NIV).
We see here that speaking in tongues is very much within the individual’s control. There is no Biblical support for a public display of tongues by preachers or anyone, unless he or someone else interprets what is spoken.
- Read 1 Corinthians 12:30. “Do all speak in tongues?” What do you think Apostle Paul had
in mind when he asked this rhetorical question?
- Read 1 Corinthians 14:14-15 again, and Romans 8:26. Is there another way we could “pray
with my spirit” other than praying in tongues?
Prayer: Father, I accept Your Word in its entirety, and I ask that you open my heart to receive all You have in store for me, especially as regards the fullness of the Holy Spirit. In Jesus’ name, Amen.