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Rev. Ronald C. Purkey, a Baptist minister, claims no originality for this Bible study outline.

However, every Bible study posted on this website has been taught by Rev. Purkey.

To see more Bible study outlines go to: More Bible Study Outlines.




July 27, 2014


SCRIPTURE: 1 Corinthians 14:13-26


KEY VERSE: 26 How is it then, brethren? when ye come together, every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying. (1 Corinthians 14:26)


BACKGROUND: President Barack Obama quoted from 1 Corinthians 13 in his first inauguration address. In the 1997 funeral of Britain's Princess Diana, (Princess of Wales) Britain's Prime Minister Tony Blair read the same chapter. 1 Corinthians 13 is about love and is considered a classical piece of literature.


The Apostle Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 14:33, For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints. When Paul wrote 1 Corinthians to the church at Corinth it was because their church was the opposite of a loving church.


The Corinth church was immoral, divisive, boastful, arguing over food, suing each other, competing over spiritual gifts, and shaming the Lord's Table. The Corinth church fit the description given by James (the writer of the Book of James) of people who follow after the wisdom of the world: "For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.” (James 3:16). So the Apostle Paul wrote 1 Corinthians 13 to say that love is the most important part of the Christian’s life -- and that the Lord is the source of peace.


If we find confusion in any of our relationships, we should examine the kind of wisdom being used – as to whether it is worldly wisdom or heavenly wisdom. Heavenly wisdom is peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and the fruit of good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere (James 3:17).


Note: The following is a brief summary of what we will find in 1 Corinthians 14.


Why should we go to church? Christian people assemble for one purpose and that is to worship the Lord Jesus Christ.


·        Christians worship the Lord by their singing and praying (see, 1 Corinthians 14:15).


·        Christians worship by their preaching and teaching (see, 1 Corinthians 14:3).


·        Christian worship should result in glory to the Lord God and blessing for His people (see, 1 Corinthians 14:3).


·        Christian Worship should result in conviction and fear for sinners (see, 1 Corinthians 14:23–25).


For these things to happen, Jesus Christ must be Lord of the Christian’s life, and the Christian must surrender to the Holy Spirit. If a Christian comes to church to display his spirituality, he will not only miss the blessing himself but also cause others to miss the blessing. Christians must come to honor Jesus Christ.


A key word in 1 Corinthians 14 is “edification” (see, 1 Corinthians 14:3–5, 12, 17, & 26), which means “building up.” A Christian worship service should lift up the Lord Jesus Christ and build up God’s people, not puff up the participants.


INTRODUCTION: Surely the subject of tongues is one of the most, if not the most, controversial issues in the church today. Without a doubt it is one of the major eyebrow-raisers of modern times. Many are asking questions about it, and there is much that is written in this area.


Well, all of 1 Corinthians 14 is devoted to a comparison by the Apostle Paul of the two gifts of tongues and of prophesying. Both of these gifts were obviously being featured and focused upon in the city of Corinth and in the church there. Therefore, the apostle gives us some very helpful insights on these gifts and how they contrast one with another. The most important verse in this whole chapter is Verse 1:


(1 Corinthians 14:1) Follow after charity, and desire spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may prophesy.


I. PRAYING WITH YOUR SPIRIT AND MIND. (1 Corinthians 14:13-17)


Note: The first thing we want to do is go through 1 Corinthians 14 and cross out all the words “unknown.” The Apostle Paul is not discussing “unknown” tongues; those words (i.e., the word unknown) were added by well-meaning but mistaken Bible translators.


Wherever you find “tongues” in the Bible, it refers to known languages (see, Acts 2:4, 6, 8, & 11). The Hebrews at Pentecost heard the Christian believers praising the Lord’s mighty works in their own dialects (so no interpreter was needed). In 1 Corinthians 14:10 & 21, the apostle definitely said that he is discussing known languages, not unknown tongues or a strange “heavenly language.”


A. Make it understandable.


(1 Corinthians 14:13) Wherefore let him that speaketh in an unknown tongue pray that he may interpret.


Anything that is said in a tongue should be interpreted. Otherwise it does not make any sense to anyone. If the speaker cannot interpret, then there must be someone else there who has the gift of interpretation.


B. Make it fruitful.


(1 Corinthians 14:14) For if I pray in an unknown tongue, my spirit prayeth, but my understanding is unfruitful.


That, my friend, is the answer to those who say that they speak in tongues for their private devotions. If the “understanding is unfruitful,” you don’t get a spiritual lift out of it; that is, the Holy Spirit is not ministering to you. If you get a lift, it is merely psychological. Paul says your understanding is unfruitful.


C. Make it profitable.


(1 Corinthians 14:15-17) What is it then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also: I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also. Else when thou shalt bless with the spirit, how shall he that occupieth the room of the unlearned say Amen at thy giving of thanks, seeing he understandeth not what thou sayest? For thou verily givest thanks well, but the other is not edified.


In other words, make it understandable. And say something profitable so a brother can say “amen” to it.


II. INTELLIGIBLE WORDS. (1 Corinthians 14:18-21)


A. Paul spoke many languages.


(1 Corinthians 14:18-19) I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than ye all: Yet in the church I had rather speak five words with my understanding, that by my voice I might teach others also, than ten thousand words in an unknown tongue.


Now I think Paul means that, as a missionary, he had spoken in at least a dozen different tongues -- and probably that could be multiplied by four or five. When he was out on the mission field with a foreign tribe, they couldn’t understand his language and he couldn’t understand theirs. Then he spoke to them in their tongue. He made sense to them, but it didn’t make sense to Paul himself. But when he is in the church where there are believers who speak the same language as he does, he will speak in a tongue that everyone can understand.


B. Paul wanted God’s people to mature.


(1 Corinthians 14:20) Brethren, be not children in understanding: howbeit in malice be ye children, but in understanding be men.


He is chiding the Corinthians again. He has called them carnal -- babes in Christ. Now he tells them not to act like children.


C. Paul talked to people in their own language.


(1 Corinthians 14:21) In the law it is written, With men of other tongues and other lips will I speak unto this people; and yet for all that will they not hear me, saith the Lord.


You see he does mean a language that is understood. He says, “I am going to speak to another people in their tongue.”


III. TONGUES AND SIGNS. (1 Corinthians 14:22-25)


A. Signs and prophesying.


(1 Corinthians 14:22) Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not: but prophesying serveth not for them that believe not, but for them which believe.


This is what he is saying: “When I went out to the mission field [let’s say Antioch in Pisidia], they were speaking a different language, so I spoke to them in their own tongue. And when I presented the gospel to them in their own language, they believed. Now when I meet with these folk in the land of Israel, I speak in the language they know and I know. Therefore I am prophesying. That is, I am teaching the Word of God to them.”


B. Churches and preaching.


(1 Corinthians 14:23) If therefore the whole church be come together into one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in those that are unlearned, or unbelievers, will they not say that ye are mad?


We do not want a stranger to step into the church and think he has entered into a group of people who have gone mad. If there is one thing we need today, it is the logical, meaningful presentation of the Word of God. People in this world are intelligent; they are scientific; they are sophisticated. They want a logical message which can be understood. The Word of God needs to be presented so it can be understood.


C. Unbelievers and conviction.


(1 Corinthians 14:24-25) But if all prophesy, and there come in one that believeth not, or one unlearned, he is convinced of all, he is judged of all: And thus are the secrets of his heart made manifest; and so falling down on his face, he will worship God, and report that God is in you of a truth.


In other words, if you are preaching the Word of God and an unbeliever comes in, he will come under conviction and may be converted.


Dr. Vernon McGee’s Illustration


A former student of Dr. Vernon McGee, who had been a Roman Catholic, went into a tongues meeting and recited part of a mass in Latin. When he sat down, another man rose to interpret. He went on to say this, that, and the other thing. Then this friend of [Dr. McGee’s] got up and said, “I just want you to know that that is not what I said. I gave you the Latin mass.”


And as he started to tell them what he had really said, the ushers hustled him out of the meeting and told him not to come back. Dr. McGee said, “I don’t blame them for that, and I do not think it was proper for my friend to do that. I simply tell this to emphasize the fact that speaking in a tongue may be the least edifying and may even be a hoax.”


IV. ORDERLY WORSHIP. (1 Corinthians 14:26)


(1 Corinthians 14:26) How is it then, brethren? when ye come together, every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying.


In any worship service, the teaching and preaching of the Word of God must be the focus. If there is going to be any speaking in a tongue, there must be an interpreter there, and the message must be edifying. I also remind you that the “signs” died out when the apostles died and the New Testament was completed. Christians now have a Bible composed of sixty-six books and do not need signs to guide them.



By Ray C. Stedman


I have a quotation here from William Samarin, professor of linguistics at the University of Toronto, who says,


Over a period of five years I have taken part in meetings in Italy, Holland, Jamaica, Canada and the United States. I have observed old-fashioned Pentecostals and neo-Pentecostals. I have been in small meetings in private homes as well as in mammoth public meetings. I have seen such different cultural settings as are found among Puerto Ricans of the Bronx, the snake handlers of the Appalachians and the Russian Molakans of Los Angeles... I have interviewed tongue speakers, and tape recorded and analyzed countless samples of tongues.


In every case, glossolalia turns out to be linguistic nonsense. In spite of superficial similarities, glossolalia is fundamentally not language. It is not a language, and it is not often addressed to God. It is usually addressed to a crowd of people present, so it does not fit that qualification. And it is primarily exercised privately today, whereas there is no manifestation of the private use of tongues in the New Testament. Finally, it is not a sign to unbelievers; therefore, we have to judge that the phenomenon that we see and hear today is not the biblical gift of tongues.


What is it then? Well, once again people are being misled, oftentimes quite earnestly and sincerely, into identifying a purely psychological phenomenon, of which many temperaments are capable, a kind of self-induced hypnosis which results in a repetition of sounds and syllables that have no meaning in themselves, as the gift of tongues.


In itself it is relatively harmless. If people want to do it at home I have no objection as long as they do not call it the biblical gift of tongues because it is not that. It is this common phenomenon which was present all through the ancient world, and which Plato discusses in several of his discourses, and which was practiced commonly in the mystery religions of that day. It is very often, all through the history of the church, associated with religious excitement. That is what is being identified today as the gift of tongues.


 -- Author: Ray C. Stedman, Raystedman.org


CONCLUSION: The Christian’s spiritual gifts are all about the Lord Jesus Christ, and always will be all about Jesus Christ, for building up the “Body of Christ” (i.e. the church). Christians are to use spiritual gifts in the way Christ directs us because He is the head of the Body of Christ, and the Body does what the head tells it to do. Titles, jobs, duties, are not as significant as using Christian gifts to be the Body (the church at work) in the world.


THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: “The new birth takes only a moment; the growth of a saint takes a lifetime.”


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REFERENCES: References used in the Bible study are the King James Bible (KJV), the Scofield Study Bible, the Believer’s Bible Commentary, Charles J. Woodbridge Bible Outlines, Lee Roberson’s Sermons, Don Robinson’s Bible Outlines, Women’s Study Bible, The Bible Reader’s Companion Ed. 3, The Nelson Study Bible: New King James Version, KJV Bible Commentary, Dr. J. Vernon McGee © Thru the Bible Radio Network ( www.ttb.org ), Wiersbe’s Expository Outlines of the New Testament ed. 4, Cliff Robinson’s Bible Outlines, Wiersbe’s Expository Outlines of the Old Testament, With the Word Bible Commentary, Wiersbe’s “Be” Series: Old & New Testaments, selected illustrations, and other references.




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