How is it then, brethren? Whenever you come together, each of you has a psalm, has a teaching, has a tongue, has a revelation, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification...
For you can all prophesy one by one, that all may learn and all may be encouraged. And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets. For God is not the author of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints.
1 Corinthians 14:26, 31-33
History and Context:
Though for us this is the first letter to Corinthians, it seems that Paul actually wrote one before this. He refers a few times throughout the text to his former letter. When studying his letters it seems that Paul had a long history with the church of Corinth. He visited them a few different times and he wrote them at least four seperate letters. One of the letters, that we do not have, is called the 'letter of tears' by scholars because he speaks of writing it in 'great anguish' after a visit that was hard for both him and the church. Paul probably wrote this letter while he was spending time in Ephesus.
Paul, as usual, is addressing a specific issue with this particular church. The church in Corinth had a great understanding of the gifts of the spirit, but they also had chaos. In verse 26 Paul mentions that whenever they come together everyone has something to share and that is good. But it seems that they would be fighting over who's gift was more important and who got to go first. At times, it seems, they would even start prophesying simultaneously. For this reason, Paul reminds them in verse 31 that they should take turns prophesying so that people can actually learn and be encouraged. He says that God is not an "author of confusion but of peace". God wants order in our services, but He also wants everyone to be involved like it was in the church in Corinth.
When's the last time that you went to your church on a Sunday morning with something to share? When's the last time that you were even ready to be used by God on Sunday morning? There has become a popular attitude that we go to church in order to receive from God, but that should not be our main reason. We should be going to church in order to be used by God. We should be receiving from God in our daily prayer times and Bible study, so that when we go to church we are ready to hear from God and share with others. Of course, if everyone did this you receiving from God on Sunday would also become inevitable, but our first goal should be in order to give. The pastor is there to bring structure and order to the service, because God is not an "author of confusion", but everyone should be ready.
Lord, the next time I go to church, help me to have an attitude of giving. Help me to be in tune with your spirit and be able to hear from you what you want me to give to those in my local church. Thank you Lord for not bringing confusion but peace. Thank you Lord for leading me and using me to touch others lives. In Jesus' name, Amen!