20 Brothers and sisters, stop thinking like children. In regard to evil be infants, but in your thinking be adults. 21 In the Law it is written:
“With other tongues
and through the lips of foreigners
I will speak to this people,
but even then they will not listen to me,
says the Lord.”
22 Tongues, then, are a sign, not for believers but for unbelievers; prophecy, however, is not for unbelievers but for believers. 23 So if the whole church comes together and everyone speaks in tongues, and inquirers or unbelievers come in, will they not say that you are out of your mind? 24 But if an unbeliever or an inquirer comes in while everyone is prophesying, they are convicted of sin and are brought under judgment by all, 25 as the secrets of their hearts are laid bare. So they will fall down and worship God, exclaiming, “God is really among you!” 1 Corinthians 14:20-25
Speaking in tongues must have been a huge, confusing issue when Paul wrote this, must like it is confusing even today. But Paul wanted to be clear about the use (and subsequent abuse) of this supernatural gift. Paul gave explicit instructions about its usage. We would do well do follow these instructions as we come together as a corporate body.
It’s a general lesson we can take away when we read the Bible. When the Bible repeats a thought or an idea or devotes an entire chapter to the subject, it’s best if we followed what it says closely and in context. For instance, in the last chapter, Paul wrote about Love for the entire chapter. It must be an important topic. In this chapter, it’s tongues and prophecy.
Read these chapters with those thoughts in mind. Why did God devote entire chapters to these topics? What’s so important that He felt the need to write at length about tongues or prophecy? What can we learn from it?