My List of Links

Apostles and prophets: Bible studies!
How to: Bible studies!
Bible prophecy: Bible studies!
Different kinds of prayer: Bible studies!
Overcome lust: Bible studies!
Spirit world: Bible studies!

Church services: what should they be like

Church services: what should they be like

Church services: what should they be like





Church services should have the spiritual gifts working in them!


1Co 14:1 ¶ Pursue love, and desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy.

In the Old Testament; Mosas wanted the same thing for his people. Cf. Nu 11:25 Then the LORD came down in the cloud, and spoke to him, and took of the Spirit that was upon him, and placed the same upon the seventy elders; and it happened, when the Spirit rested upon them, that they prophesied, although they never did so again.

Nu 11:29 Then Moses said to him, "Are you zealous for my sake? Oh, that all the LORD'S people were prophets and that the LORD would put His Spirit upon them!"

The Greek word for “desire” is “zhlow”, it means “to burn with zeal”. The word is in the Present Tense. So, it means to “keep burning with a desire for spiritual gifts!”

The Greek word for “rather” is mallon, it means “to a greater degree”. So, what St. Paul is saying here, is that in a church meeting, prophecy is the most useful spiritual gift.  We are still to want all the spiritual gifts. But, in a worship service, we are to use prophecy the most.


Comments by other people: “1. Covet spiritual gifts. Lest the Corinthians should object that they wronged God, if they despised his gifts, the Apostle anticipates this objection by declaring, that it was not his design to draw them away even

from those gifts that they had abused — nay rather he commends the pursuit of them, and wishes them to have a place in the Church. And assuredly, as they had been conferred for the advantage of the Church,

man’s abuse of them ought not to give occasion for their being thrown away as useless or injurious,” [JOHN CALVIN].

“Old verb from profhthj,, common in N.T. Present subjunctive, "that ye may keep on prophesying." [RWP].


1Co 14:4 He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself, but he who prophesies edifies the church.

The Greek word for “edifieth” is “oikodomew” it means “to build up, establish”. So, we can see, the spiritual gifts, help build up the church!


Comments by other people:  “{The church} (ekklhsian). No article, literally, "a church" (local use). Not h ekklhsia.. [RWP].

The one that “prophesieth” builds up the church, that he is in!

“the Ethiopic version, read, "with tongues":” [JOHN GILL].



1Co 14:5 I wish you all spoke with tongues, but even more that you prophesied; for he who prophesies is greater than he who speaks with tongues, unless indeed he interprets, that the church may receive edification.

Question: How many (in the church) should speak with tongues?

Answer: All!


The Greek word for “interpret” is “diermhneuw”. It means “to translate into one's native language”.


The person speaking prophecy is “greater” because he and the hearer can both understand what is being said! Cf. 1Co 13:2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.

Unless, the one speaking in tongues; interprets what he has just said! God wants to build-up the whole man: mind as well as spirit! Cf. 1Co 6:20 For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's.

1Th 5:23 ¶ Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.



1Co 14:15 ¶ What is the conclusion then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will also pray with the understanding. I will sing with the spirit, and I will also sing with the understanding.

The Greek word for “understanding” is nous it means “the organ of reflective consciousness preceding the act”.

We can see, from this passage, that the move of the Spirit. Is normal not abnormal, in our church meetings!

God does not give us, an “either or” on weather we should pray with our minds or spirit. We are to do both!

Comments by other people: “{With the understanding also} (kai tw noi). Instrumental case of nouj. Paul is distinctly in favour of the use of the intellect in prayer.” [RWP].

“and --rather as Greek, "but"; I will not only pray with my spirit,” JFB].

“Ver. 15. What is it then? &c.] A Talmudic way of speaking, and answers to whm, often used when a difficulty arises in any case, then the question is, "what is it then?" what is to be done? what is most prudent, advisable, and eligible? what is proper to be determined and resolved on in such a case? the same with ti ouns~ lekteon, "what then is to be said?"” [JOHN GILL].

“ The apostle here sums up the argument hitherto, and,


1.      Directs them how they should sing and pray in public (#1Co 14:15): What is it then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also. I will sing with the spirit, &c. He does not forbid their praying or singing under a divine afflatus, or when they were inspired for this purpose, or had such a spiritual gift communicated to them; but he would have them perform both so as to be understood by others, that others might join with them.

…II. He enforces the argument with several reasons.


1.      That otherwise the unlearned could not say Amen to their prayers or thanksgivings, could not join in the worship, for they did not understand it, #1Co 14:16.

…how should they say Amen to prayers in an unknown tongue? How should they declare their consent and concurrence? This is saying Amen, So be it. God grant the thing we have requested;

…This is the import of saying Amen. All should say Amen inwardly; and it is not improper to testify this inward concurrence in public prayers and devotions, by an audible Amen.

     (1.) That he did not come behind any of them in this spiritual gift:


          "I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than you all (#1Co 14:18); not only more than any single person among you, but more than all together."

[Let us also, note that we should use larger meetings, for helping others.].

(2.) He had rather speak five words with understanding, that is, so as to be understood, and instruct and edify others, than ten thousand words in an unknown tongue, #1Co 14:19.

[We must do what is the best, for the event.]

2.      He adds a plain intimation that the fondness then discovered for this gift was but too plain an indication of the immaturity of their judgment: Brethren, be not children in understanding; in malice be you children, but in understanding be men, #1Co 14:20. Children are apt to be struck with novelty and strange appearances. They are taken with an outward show, without enquiring into the true nature and worth of things.” [MATTHEW HENRY].

We are to put others, first, in our worship services!

“occupieth the room of the unlearned --one who, whatever other gifts he may possess, yet, as wanting the gift of interpretation, is reduced by the speaking in an unknown tongue to the position of one unlearned, or "a private person."

…say Amen --Prayer is not a vicarious duty done by others for us;… We must join with the leader of the prayers and praises of the congregation, and say aloud our responsive "Amen" in assent, as was the usage of the Jewish (#De 27:15-26 Ne 8:6) and Christian primitive churches [JUSTIN MARTYR, Apology, 2. 97]. ” [JFB].

“Else if thou bless with the spirit} (epei ean euloghj ~ en pneumati). Third class condition. He means that, if one is praying and praising God(#10:16) in an ecstatic prayer, the one who does not understand the ecstasy will be at a loss when to say "amen" at the close of the prayer. In the synagogues the Jews used responsive amens at the close of prayers(#Neh 5:13;8:6;1Ch 16:36; #Ps 106:48). {He that filleth the place of the unlearned} (o anaplhrwn ton topon tou idiwtou). Not a special part of the room, but the position of the idiwtou (from idioj, one's own), common from Herodotus for private person(#Ac 4:13), unskilled (#2Co 11:6), uninitiated (unlearned) in the gift of tongues as here and verses#23. {At thy giving of thanks} (epi th sh eucaristia). Just the prayer, not the Eucharist or the Lord's Supper, as is plain from verse#17.” [RWP].

“ay Amen at thy giving of thanks, seeing he understandeth not what thou sayest? It was usual to say "Amen" at blessing, or giving of thanks privately at meals, by those that were present, concerning which are the following rules {e};


 ``he that breaks the bread, might not break it until the "Amen" was finished out of the mouth of those that answered; Rab Chasdai says out of the mouth of the major part of those that answer:''


 and elsewhere  it is said,


 ``they answer "Amen" after an Israelite has blessed, but they do not answer "Amen" after a Cuthite (a Samaritan, or any Gentile, or Christian) hath blessed, unless the whole blessing is heard: but of this kind of blessing the apostle speaks not, but of blessing in public: upon which all the people, and not a single person only, as with one united voice, said Amen; see#1Ch 16:36 Ne 8:6 to this practice the apostle refers; concerning which the rule  is;


 ``that the congregation may not answer "Amen", until the blessing is finished out of the mouth of the priests; and the priests may not begin the other blessing, until the "Amen" is finished out of the mouth of the congregation.'' “ [JOHN GILL].

   Else, when thou shalt bless the Spirit, etc. If an unknown tongue is used, how can one who does not understand it say the "Amen" to the blessing at the proper place? Note here, … This shows that audible responses to the praises and thanksgivings were the custom of the church.” [PNT].

“Ver. 17. For thou verily givest thanks well, &c.] In very proper words, and pertinent expressions, with great affection and devotion, suitable to the service;” [JOHN GILL].

“15. I will pray with the spirit, but I will pray with the understanding also —

I will use my own understanding, as well as the power of the Spirit. I will not act so absurdly, as to utter in a congregation what can edify none but myself.” [Wesley].



1Co 14:18 I thank my God I speak with tongues more than you all

We should all; thank God for “tongues”!


Please note: that 1 Cor. 1:5 says “all utterance”, not just some “utterance”; we should use “all” that the Lord God gives us!

Cf. 1Co 1:4 I thank my God always concerning you for the grace of God which was given to you by Christ Jesus,

 5 that you were enriched in everything by Him in all utterance and all knowledge,

 6 even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you,


We must always realize that all true and good “gifts” are from God and not ourselves! Cf. 1Co 4:7 ¶ For who makes you differ from another? And what do you have that you did not receive? Now if you did indeed receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?

Jas 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.


Every Christian can have one or more of the Gifts of the Spirit. And we should use the gifts that God has given us: to build up the Church! Cf. 1Pe 4:10 As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.



[All English Bible text; unless stated otherwise; is from the NKJV].