Follow the way of love and eagerly desire gifts of the Spirit, especially prophecy. 2 For anyone who speaks in a tongue does not speak to people but to God. Indeed, no one understands them; they utter mysteries by the Spirit. 3 But the one who prophesies speaks to people for their strengthening, encouraging and comfort. 4 Anyone who speaks in a tongue edifies themselves, but the one who prophesies edifies the church. 5 I would like every one of you to speak in tongues, but I would rather have you prophesy. The one who prophesies is greater than the one who speaks in tongues, unless someone interprets, so that the church may be edified. 1 Corinthians 14:1-5
Chapter 14 begins an interesting discussion on the role of tongues and prophecy within the church. Actually, Paul makes a strong argument in favor of prophecy because of its edifying nature (Isaiah 40:1). He doesn’t dismiss speaking in tongues – because he himself did it – but elevated prophecy.
Paul wanted the church to be edified and strengthened. His reasoning was that if the church was strengthened, individuals within the body would be built up as well. Paul devoted an entire chapter in this book to prophecy or the speaking of truth. It’s therefore an important aspect of love. In fact, Paul spelled it more plainly in Ephesians 4:15, “Instead, speaking the truth in love….” People can tell you the truth but if it’s not accompanied by love, it’s pointless. He will explore this point further into the chapter.
I trust now you’ve read Chapter 13 at least once. Again, it’s foundational to the Christian faith. Continue and read this chapter to the end. It will help give context to the next few devotionals.