This is just a little ‘did you know’ informational post on the subject of speaking in tongues, shared as some food for thought. Those reading may also be interested in looking at another article which also partially addresses the subject.

With the emphasis and push for speaking in tongues in Pentecostal churches, my personal experience is that rarely was it pointed out, if ever, something which Paul told those who spoke in tongues to do. Do you know what it is?

At the end of 1 Corinthians 12, Paul admonishes those at Corinth to “covet earnestly the best gifts” and then picks this thought up again two chapters later. In verse 1 of chapter 14, Paul states, “Follow after charity, and desire spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may prophesy.

Surprised? When was the last time you heard a Pentecostal preacher teach that you should desire to prophesy? It is interesting how little this is taught and emphasized. The emphasis is usually placed on speaking in tongues. Yet the apostle Paul taught otherwise. Why was this?

When we look at this chapter, Paul very clearly explains why he would rather have them prophesy than speak in tongues.

When we look at this chapter, Paul very clearly explains why he would rather have them prophesy than speak in tongues. Paul wanted everyone to be edified when believers gathered together. Speaking in tongues never accomplishes this unless they are interpreted or unless someone present knows the language being spoken. With no interpretation, the speaker was in a way being selfish, only edifying himself. (Remember Paul shared that the believers in Corinth were carnal.) Yet if they prophesied, all in attendance would gain something. Paul was so convinced of the difference between these gifts that he proclaimed that “greater is he that prophesieth than he that speaketh with tongues“. So why is it that in Pentecostal type churches the same is not taught? Why instead are many speaking in tongues during services with no interpretation and it is often encouraged by leadership?

Surely this is something to ponder and question. Below are some of the points Paul made in 1 Corinthians 14:

  1. Desire spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may prophesy.
  2. He that prophesies speaks unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort.
  3. I would …rather that ye prophesied.
  4. Greater is he that prophesies than he that speaks with tongues.
  5.  As you are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek that ye may excel to the edifying of the church.
  6. He that prophesies edifies the church.
  7. Prophesying serves for them which believe.
  8.  For you may all prophesy one by one, that all may learn, and all may be comforted.
  9.  Wherefore, brethren, covet to prophesy.