Words That Edify

The One Year® Chronological Bible, NKJV (Tyndale, 2013), November 22

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Make sense? No?

Encouraged? Me neither.

Meaningful conversation occurs between two people who share the same language.

Paul debunks the super-spirituality “status” gained from speaking in tongues, “For he who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God, for no one understands him; however, in the spirit he speaks mysteries . . . . He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself, but he who prophesies edifies the church” (1 Cor. 14:2, 4).

Mysterious doesn’t necessarily imply spiritual or beneficial.

Communicating the best news in the world in English to non-English speakers is futile—“you will be speaking into the air” (14:9). Imagine finding the cure for cancer but not being able to communicate the cure to others due to a language barrier. Paul urges believers to desire gifts that benefit the entire body, “Even so you, since you are zealous for spiritual gifts, let it be for the edification of the church that you seek to excel” (14:12) No one understands the one who speaks in tongues, but the gift of prophecy edifies those who hear. Paul seems to imply that those who desire only to speak in tongues are mainly interested in their own edification, while those who desire the gift of prophecy are interested in the edification of others.

Paul’s instructions regarding the gift of prophecy and the gift of tongues reveal at least four truths about Christians and spiritual gifts:

The childish Christian desires little to minister to others, and therefore only desires gifts that are personally beneficial.

The lazy Christian desires little to engage others in a cross-cultural environment by attempting to learn another language to share the gospel, or at least seeking the Lord to raise up more cross-cultural workers.

The selfish and uncaring Christian sees non English speakers as an economic drain and even dares to pray that God will do something about our “immigration” problem.

The apathetic Christian doesn’t even bother sharing the good news with those who share their language.

The maturing Christian desires what benefits others. Everyone ought to have the opportunity to hear the good news of Jesus Christ in their language at least once. Therefore, desire the spiritual gifts that benefit others.

Questions from today’s chronological Bible reading (1 Cor. 14:1-15:58):
How do the spiritual gifts of prophecy and tongues benefit the body?
How does Paul define the gospel message?
Why is emphasis on the resurrection of Jesus Christ so important?
What happened to all humanity as a result of Adam’s sin? What will happen to all those who’ve put their hope and trust in Jesus Christ?
How does Paul demonstrate his own belief in the resurrection?