The Context for Understanding our Spiritual Gifts

In a recent study with WINGS, our women’s group at Grace Church of Napa Valley (GCNV), we looked at the following big question:

What does the Lord Jesus want us to know about the spiritual gifts?

For our study, I wanted the ladies to be able to say these things about themselves:

  • I can describe what Jesus says about how I should love Him and others as I serve.
  • I can explain Jesus’ example of service as the way I am to serve.
  • I can explain the context for Paul’s teaching on spiritual gifts in 1 Corinthians 12-14.
  • I can explain why the context for the spiritual gifts is founded in agape-love, and what that means.
  • I can explain the biblical reasons for the giving of spiritual gifts.
  • I can tell who gives the gifts, to whom, why, and how.
  • I can describe how I can know what my own gifts are, and what that means about how I am to serve.
  • I can explain how to use a spiritual gifts inventory, and how it may, or may not, be useful to me and to others.

I wanted to ensure everyone was able to be engaged in the learning and the discussions, therefore we used the following strategies for our workshop:

  • Think-Pair-Table-Share
  • Q&A
  • Engagement of all in Table Talk/Small groups

To guide our inquiry into the Big Question above, we used the following question guide:

Part 1 – Our Lord’s Example of Service

Each table group will be assigned to read one or more of the following verses to help us discover what the Lord Jesus teaches about serving. After you have had time to think and take some notes on your own, share & compare your answers with your table group. Each table will report on the most important aspects of your group’s text(s). Please be prepared to say something when your group is called to share out.

1) In the following verses, what does Jesus teach us about serving? What is His heart for others? What is His example to us?

  • Matthew 5:13-16
  • Matthew 23:1-12
  • Matthew 25:31-46
  • Mark 10:42-45
  • Luke 6:27-36
  • John 3:16-21
  • John 13:1-15
  • John 15:12-17

2) As you think about all the Lord’s teachings recorded in the Gospels, what did Jesus teach regarding spiritual gifts? What do you think is the reason for this answer?

3) Read Philippians 2:1-11. What does Paul teach about Jesus’ example of service?

4) What does Galatians 5:13 help us to understand about Jesus’ example of service?

Part 2 – The Context of the Spiritual Gifts in the NT

Bearing in mind what we have learned from the Lord and His example, let us turn our attention to the Spiritual Gifts more specifically. The chief texts concerning the Spiritual Gifts in the New Testament are found in Romans 12:1-13 (the exercise of ministry on behalf of others is a part of our worship as we reflect the Lord’s attributes in serving others), Ephesians 4:7-16 (there are specific people given as gifts to the church, namely prophets and priests, evangelists and pastor-teachers), and in 1 Corinthians 12-14 (individual gifts are given by the Holy Spirit for the benefit of others, and are to be exercised in love, just as Christ Himself served His people).

A) What are the Spiritual Gifts? 

Read the following verses, discuss the questions in your table groups, and be prepared to share out your findings.

1) In 1 Corinthians 12:1, Paul wrote, “…concerning spiritual gifts . . . I do not want you to be uninformed.” Later in the same chapter, he wrote that we should even “earnestly desire the higher gifts” (12:31). What do these two verses tell us?

2) The longest list of spiritual gifts is found in 1 Corinthians 12. In chapters 12-14, Paul writes about the gifts, and their proper use. What gifts does Paul list in 1 Corinthians 12? Compare this list with the one found in Romans 12:1-13. What are the similarities, and the differences?

B) The Context of Exercising the Gifts

1) So we see that since the lists vary in some ways, the Scriptures do not indicate that the lists are exhaustive (i.e., they are not complete, but they are examples). The number of spiritual gifts is not important, so what is important then?

2) How should the spiritual gifts work together? Does the church need them? Which ones does the church need? Why?

3) Why does Paul stop writing about the gifts in chapter 12:31, only to return to them in chapter 14:1? What does he write in between? What is Paul’s point in doing this?

4) If we exercise our gifts whilst ignoring 1 Corinthians 13, what could happen? Why?

5) What cautions does Paul give in 1 Corinthians 14?

C) Should We Try to Discern our Own Gifts?

Although we are called to “earnestly desire the higher gifts,” all the gifts are necessary to the proper functioning of the church. So should we try to ascertain our own gifts?

1) What value might we have in seeking to find out our own spiritual gifts? About what should we be cautious in using a spiritual gifts test? Why?

2) How might a spiritual gift test cause us to put our own purposes before God’s purposes?

3) How might a spiritual gift test limit the Holy Spirit?

4) How might a spiritual gift test become an excuse for not serving?

D) What are the Purposes of the Spiritual Gifts?

Spiritual gifts are meant to strengthen the whole church, not the individual.

1) How should we respond to needs that come to our attention? Should we assess our availability and willingness, or our personal giftedness to make the decision? What could happen if we only opt for the latter every time?

2) What could happen if Christians get caught so up in their spiritual gift that they only seek to serve God in the area in which they feel they have been gifted? Isn’t that how the spiritual gifts work? Why or Why not?

3) How does God call us to serve Him? Will He equip us with whatever gift or gifts we need to accomplish the task He has called us to? How do you know that?

E) What does God See?

1) Read 1 Samuel 16: 7. What does this verse tell us about what God sees verses what man sees? Why is this distinction important regarding Spiritual Gifts?

2) Why should we keep this truth in mind when faced with opportunities to build up the Body of Christ and expand the Kingdom of God through service?

Cautions about Spiritual Gift Tests

a) The gifts are not given forever, but only for their appointed time, and may change in your own time of ministry over the years.

b) The lists of the Spiritual Gifts are not exhaustive. There may be other gifts as well.

c) The gifts are not given for oneself, but for the sake of others.

d) Knowing one’s gift(s) is not an excuse to serve in only one way. Don’t limit the Holy Spirit ! Be ready to serve according to His purposes, not your giftedness.

e) Remember that Jesus’ example, the way of Love, is much more important than knowing one’s spiritual gift(s). We must respond to His call, “Follow Me.”

I want to thank all those who attended for the privilege to meet with you all, to study God’s Word together, and for your willingness to be open to what the Holy Spirit had to say to you during our time of study. May the Lord use this and bless us as we seek to serve and honor Him with our lives! Thank you, dear sisters!

— Pastor Don

Advertisements

The Authentic Evidence and its Impact regarding the Resurrection of Christ — lesson 41

Our text for today is 1 Corinthians 15:1-11 — The Resurrection of Christ

1 Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, 2 and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.

3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. 6 Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. 7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. 8 Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me. 9 For I am the least of the apostles, unworthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me. 11 Whether then it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed..

dsc_0250

 

Introduction

1) So far in 1 Corinthians, what kind of message have we seen? What was Paul’s objective in writing to the church at Corinth?

2) How is this section different from what has preceded?

3) Why do you think Paul wrote this text at this point in his letter? What is the impact his message has on his message to the Corinthians?

4) What is the importance of the Resurrection of Christ? What does the Resurrection mean for us? What does it mean for the Gospel?

5) Let’s consider these passages of Scripture before we dig into the text for today:

  • Mark 8:31, 9:9
  • John 11:25
  • Acts 2:14-36; 3:12-26
  • Rom 10:9

In these verses, Paul cites 5 types of evidence for the Resurrection of Christ.

 

1) The Authentic Testimony of the Church (vss. 1-2)

The first evidence is implied, not explicit — it is the establishment of the Church.

  • a) How does Paul address the Corinthians in these verses? Why?
  • b) Paul reminds them that He had preached the Gospel to them. What are the elements of the Gospel?
  • c) If they believed, to what does their new life testify? What is the guarantee of that testimony?
  • d) What must Paul have preached, therefore?
  • e) The Corinthians had received, stood, were saved from their sins, and from condemnation, because of the power of the ______________________.
  • f) What do you think Paul meant by this phrase “unless you believed in vain?”

 

2) The Authentic Testimony of Scripture (vss. 3-4)

The second evidence is what was foretold in the Scriptures. Paul delivered to them a message of authority, not his own, but the authority of God’s own revelation.

  • a) Recall Luke 24:25-27 — what do we learn in this text? Why is it important?
  • b) Recall as well Matthew 12:29-40 — what did the Jews want from Jesus? What did He give to them?
  • c) What do we learn regarding the testimony of Scripture on the Resurrection in these verses?
    • Acts 2:25-31
    • Acts 26:22-23
    • Genesis 22:8, 14
    • Psalm 16:8-11
    • Psalm 22
    • Isaiah 53:1-12
    • Hosea 6:1-3
  • d) What does this phrase mean: “…in accordance with the Scriptures?”

 

3) The Authentic Testimony of Eyewitnesses (vss. 3-4)

The third evidence cited is that of those who saw Him.

  • a) What is the value of an eyewitness in a court of law?
  • b) Which witnesses does Paul cite? Who were these people? How reliable was their testimony?
  • c) Why do you think the Lord appeared to Peter before the other disciples?
  • d) To whom did He appear next? When and where? What happened to them?
  • e) Who are the next witnesses cited? What impact does their testimony have?
  • f) Next He appeared to James. Which one was he? Probably the ½ brother of the Lord. What is the importance of the Lord’s appearance to James?

326156a84a58c0b41b84bd807fb8b781

4) The Authentic Testimony of Paul (vss. 8-10)

The fourth witness is that of Paul himself as eyewitness.

  • a) What do you recall about Paul’s witness of the resurrected Christ? When, where and how did Paul witness Christ? What impact did this have?
  • b) What do you think of this phrase: “as to one untimely born?”
  • c) Paul said that Jesus appeared to him. When, where, how? Cf. Acts  9:1-31; 18:9-10; 23:11
  • d) What was the effect of Paul’s conversion? And what effect did it have on Paul personally?
    • 1 Timothy 1:12-17
    • 2 Corinthians 11:21b-12:12
  • e) How did Paul view his ministry to the church? Cf. Colossians 1:28-29

tissot-saint-paul-441x729

5) The Authentic Testimony of the Common Message (vs. 11)

The fifth witness is that of the common message of the churches about the Resurrection.

  • a) Who preached the Resurrection? Who specifically?
  • b) After these, who also preached the Resurrection?
  • c) What is the effect of preaching the Resurrection of Christ? Why?

 

What are the main things you have learned from this lesson? Why are they important to you?

 

 

 

 

Authentic Prophesy — lesson 40

Our text for today is 1 Corinthians 14:29-40 — Prophesy and Tongues

29 Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others weigh what is said. 30 If a revelation is made to another sitting there, let the first be silent. 31 For you can all prophesy one by one, so that all may learn and all be encouraged, 32 and the spirits of prophets are subject to prophets. 33 For God is not a God of confusion but of peace.

As in all the churches of the saints, 34 the women should keep silent in the churches. For they are not permitted to speak, but should be in submission, as the Law also says. 35 If there is anything they desire to learn, let them ask their husbands at home. For it is shameful for a woman to speak in church.

36 Or was it from you that the word of God came? Or are you the only ones it has reached? 37 If anyone thinks that he is a prophet, or spiritual, he should acknowledge that the things I am writing to you are a command of the Lord. 38 If anyone does not recognize this, he is not recognized. 39 So, my brothers, earnestly desire to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in tongues. 40 But all things should be done decently and in order.

prophecy

Introduction

Paul now moves on to the matter of prophesy and public worship. Unfortunately for us, we cannot reconstruct the situation at Corinth 2000 years ago. If we could, undoubtedly some of the things Paul wrote in his letter would be much more clear to us today! So, we will do our best to make sense of them, with the help of the Holy Spirit.

1) Authentic Prophesy in Worship (vss. 29-33a)

a) Though there were prophets in the early church, it is clear from the rest of the NT, that their role was complete early on. No where in his writings does Paul institute the office of prophet, nor do any other NT writers. Paul writes very clearly about roles: elders, deacons, deaconesses, and pastor-teachers, but no prophets. In addition, the prophetic ministry of “speaking forth” the truth of the Scriptures, i.e., the proclamation of the truth, has come to be a defining part of the pastors-teachers of the church.

b) Consider these texts regarding the role of prophets in the early church:

  • Acts 13:1
  • Ephesians 2:20
  • 1 John 4:1
  • Acts 17:11
  • Judges 17:6; 21:25

c) Paul gives four guidelines for prophets in the early church in this section of 1 Corinthians

2) Authentic Guidelines for Prophets (vss. 29-33a)

a) Authentic Speaking by only 2 or 3 Prophets in a service (vs. 29)

In the early church, prophets had two functions. Either they had new revelation from God, or they proclaimed what had previously been revealed. The later function, is like what preachers do today. The former function was unique to the early church. Remember that Jesus said that when the Spirit came, He would reveal all about Him. Among these are the things which are recorded for us in the Scriptures by the apostles. In some respects, the apostles fulfilled a prophetic role, but not only.

b) Authentic Judgement of Prophets (vs. 29)

– to weigh = diakrino διακρίνω = to separate throughout, to judge, to distinguish, to decide, to separate oneself from, or to contend with

– When a prophet spoke, the other prophets present were to keep quiet and evaluate what was being proclaimed for its veracity. They were to measure what they knew from the Scriptures against what was being proclaimed. The Holy Spirit enabled them to test the spirits whether they were from God (cf 1 John 4:1). In addition, they were mutually accountable, one to another, even as we are today.

c) Authentic Yielding by One Prophet to Another (vs. 30)

– Apparently, if a seated prophet received a new revelation whilst another was speaking, the one speaking was called to yield to the one with the new revelation, as the new thing took precedence over the other. Given that today we no longer have this kind of prophetic ministry, we no longer need be concerned with this matter.

d) Authentically Taking Turns (vs. 31)

– Each prophet was to take his turn in any service, whether it was new revelation, or reiteration of previous revelations. God wanted the service to be orderly! Everyone was to be able to benefit from the prophetic ministry, even the prophets themselves.

– NB vs. 33 — “For God is not a God of confusion but of peace.” This is the key verse of this section! Our worship is to reflect the character of God! He is the God of peace, not of strife.

  • Romans 15:33
  • James 3:14-18

2) Authentic Place of Women in Worship (vss. 33b-38)

– In this section, we must be clear about what Paul is teaching! Paul was affirming that women have a particular role within the worship service, and not other roles. At Corinth, the chaos was augmented by the fact that the women were also speaking in tongues and giving a word from the Lord, as it were, at the same time as others were doing so. In the Jewish synagogue, women sat apart from the men, and did not speak during the service. They did so out of respect for the order of Creation, and in submission to the Laws about worship given under the Old Covenant.

a) The Order of Creation – Paul was reasserting that Adam was created first, then Eve, and that men were to lead in love, whilst women were to submit in love, according to God’s design.

  • Genesis 3:16
  • 1 Timothy 2:11-14

– God has established that men have certain roles in the church. What are they? Why has God ordained it so?

– What are some of the roles unique to women? How can women be content in these roles?

– What do you make of verses 34b-35? What should a woman ask her husband at home? Why?

– What do you think Paul was addressing in verse 36? What was going on at Corinth?

– In the end, it matters little what we think! Ultimately, if we are in submission to God’s revealed Truth, we will be blessed, and so will others.

3) An Authentic Attitude about the Gifts (vss. 39-40)

– Whatever we do, we must do in submission to the Lord, and for His glory! Some gifts benefit the body more as a whole than others, in particular preaching and teaching, thus to aspire to these is a good thing. As we receive the Word, we are to be in submission to it. And in all things, God wants His church to be orderly, for He is orderly, and we reflect His character.

reflecting

 

Authentic Tongues and Orderly Worship — lesson 39

maxresdefault

 

Our text for today is 1 Corinthians 14:20-28 — Prophesy, Tongues and Orderly Worship

20 Brothers, do not be children in your thinking. Be infants in evil, but in your thinking be mature. 21 In the Law it is written, “By people of strange tongues and by the lips of foreigners will I speak to this people, and even then they will not listen to me, says the Lord.” 22 Thus tongues are a sign not for believers but for unbelievers, while prophecy is a sign not for unbelievers but for believers. 23 If, therefore, the whole church comes together and all speak in tongues, and outsiders or unbelievers enter, will they not say that you are out of your minds? 24 But if all prophesy, and an unbeliever or outsider enters, he is convicted by all, he is called to account by all, 25 the secrets of his heart are disclosed, and so, falling on his face, he will worship God and declare that God is really among you.

26 What then, brothers? When you come together, each one has a hymn, a lesson, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation. Let all things be done for building up. 27 If any speak in a tongue, let there be only two, or at most three, and each in turn, and let someone interpret. 28 But if there is no one to interpret, let each of them keep silent in church and speak to himself and to God.

Introduction

Having illustrated the better way of agape, Paul now returns to the gifts, and specifically, prophesy and tongues. Think about these questions as we begin:

a) Think back to chapter 12:1 through chapter 14:19, what can we say about how the Corinthians were sinning with their use of tongues?

b) Based on the text for our lesson today, what can we also say about their sinful behavior regarding the use of tongues?

c) What do you think was their motive for behaving as they were?

1) Authentic Maturity (vs. 20)

a) In our text for today, Paul first makes clear that his point has to do with maturity of thinking. How does he explain this? Based on his point, how do you think they were acting in relationship to God, and to one another?

b) Compare the behavior of the Corinthians to the teachings in these other texts:

  • Galatians 5:19-23
  • Ephesians 4:14
  • 1 John 4:1
  • Acts 17:11
  • Judges 17:6; 21:25

c) Paul cites Isaiah 28:11-12. Why does he compare the Corinthians to the Israelites of Isaiah’s day?

2) Authentic Use of Tongues — A SIGN (vss. 21-25)

In verse 22, Paul points out how the gift of tongues was given as a SIGN!

a) sign = σημεῖον sēmeion — 77x = a sign, a mark, a proof, evidence, a wonder, a remarkable event, wonderful appearance, extraordinary phenomenon, a miracle.

b) The sign was given for unbelievers, and for three purposes: a sign of cursing, a sign of blessing, a sign of authorityc) A sign of cursing

– Israel and Judah had wandered far from God, yet He continued to warn them that unless they were to repent, He would send judgment upon them. He send word to them through Moses, Isaiah, Jeremiah, and others, that He would send “a nation whose language you do not know or understand”to conquer them.

  • Deuteronomy 28:49
  • Isaiah 28:12
  • Jeremiah 5:15

– By contrast, what happened at Pentecost? Cf Acts 2:7-11

– What happened in 70 AD? Cf Luke 19:44; 21:20-24

– In light of 70 AD, the sign of cursing had been fulfilled.

d) A sign of blessing

– This aspect of the sign of tongues is to demonstrate that God would not longer work through Israel alone, but through all tribes, tongues, and nations. The Church has no barriers! Cf Galatians 3:28

– What further evidence do we see of this blessing in Acts 10:44-46?

e) A sign of authority

Whose authority was authenticated by the sign of tongues?

  • Romans 15:19
  • 1 Corinthians 14:8
  • 2 Corinthians 12:12

An important point to notice is that when tongues are mentioned in the Scriptures, it is never to record what was said, no words are recorded, no messages are noted, no words have been interpreted. The references only cite that the gift was used and the effect they had. The messages were not the utterance of new truths, but the expression of “the mighty works of God” (cf Acts 2:11 – Pentecost). Tongues were given to point to God, and to validate the truth being expressed by His spokesperson.

f) Prophesy is not a sign, and it is given for the sake of believers. Prophesy is given for the purpose of building up the body of Christ – it is preaching! The speaking forth of God’s truth.

2) Authentic Display of Tongues (vss. 26-28)

– Systematic and orderly! Worship is to be orderly, not chaotic. Mature believers each share what they have to offer. But in Corinth, apparently, things were not done in an orderly manner. Why do you think that was the case? What might visitors have thought, seeing this chaos? How did it affect their reputation, and that of the Gospel?

– Pauls command was that all things be done in an orderly manner.

– Key word = edification — οἰκοδομή oikodomē 18x = the act of building; a building, a structure; in NT a spiritual structure, as instanced in the Christian body.

– Other key verses on edification: Ephesians 4:11-12; 1 Thessalonians 5:11; Romans 14:19, 15:2-3; Matthew 20:28; 2 Timothy 3:16-17

3) Authentic Use of Tongues (vss. 27-28)

– What does Paul say are the right ways tongues could be used?

Authentic Tongues and Prophesy – lesson 38

Our text for today is 1 Corinthians 14:1-19 — Prophesy and Tongues

1 Pursue love, and earnestly desire the spiritual gifts, especially that you may prophesy. 2 For one who speaks in a tongue speaks not to men but to God; for no one understands him, but he utters mysteries in the Spirit. 3 On the other hand, the one who prophesies speaks to people for their upbuilding and encouragement and consolation. 4 The one who speaks in a tongue builds up himself, but the one who prophesies builds up the church. 5 Now I want you all to speak in tongues, but even more to prophesy. The one who prophesies is greater than the one who speaks in tongues, unless someone interprets, so that the church may be built up.

6 Now, brothers, if I come to you speaking in tongues, how will I benefit you unless I bring you some revelation or knowledge or prophecy or teaching? 7 If even lifeless instruments, such as the flute or the harp, do not give distinct notes, how will anyone know what is played? 8 And if the bugle gives an indistinct sound, who will get ready for battle? 9 So with yourselves, if with your tongue you utter speech that is not intelligible, how will anyone know what is said? For you will be speaking into the air. 10 There are doubtless many different languages in the world, and none is without meaning, 11 but if I do not know the meaning of the language, I will be a foreigner to the speaker and the speaker a foreigner to me. 12 So with yourselves, since you are eager for manifestations of the Spirit, strive to excel in building up the church.

13 Therefore, one who speaks in a tongue should pray that he may interpret. 14 For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays but my mind is unfruitful. 15 What am I to do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will pray with my mind also; I will sing praise with my spirit, but I will sing with my mind also. 16 Otherwise, if you give thanks with your spirit, how can anyone in the position of an outsider say “Amen” to your thanksgiving when he does not know what you are saying? 17 For you may be giving thanks well enough, but the other person is not being built up. 18 I thank God that I speak in tongues more than all of you. 19 Nevertheless, in church I would rather speak five words with my mind in order to instruct others, than ten thousand words in a tongue.

Introduction

Having illustrated the better way of agape, Paul now returns to the gifts, and specifically, tongues. How were the Corinthians sinning with their use of tongues? Based on the text for our lesson, what do we know about their sinful behavior regarding the use of tongues? What do you think was their motive for doing so?

1) Authentic Prophesy vs. Tongues (vss. 1-5)

Paul makes clear that though the gift of tongues was in effect at the time of writing this letter, it was to be considered less important than the gift of prophesy.

a) pursue = διώκω to pursue (literally or figuratively); by implication, to follow (after), to be given to, to press forward; to run after; to press on

b) What are Christians are to pursue? Why does Paul command us to pursue it?

c) Just because we are to pursue it, does not mean however that other things are not also important. What else does Paul mention as important in these verses? What are we to earnestly desire? Why?

d) What are we especially to desire? Why? What comparisons does he make? How does it help?e) Some vocabulary to help:

i) tongue = γλῶσσα – the tongue; by implication, a language (specially, one naturally unacquired); also, the tongue, a member of the body, an organ of speech; the language or dialect used by a particular people distinct from that of other nations.

ii) speak = λαλέω – to talk, i. e. utter words; to preach, say, speak, talk, tell, utter; to make a voice or emit a sound; to use the tongue or the faculty of speech to utter or to articulate sounds; to use words in order to declare one’s mind and disclose one’s thoughts

iii) prophesy = προφητεύω – to foretell events, to speak under inspiration, to exercise the prophetic office; to predict with the idea of foretelling future events pertaining esp. to the kingdom of God; to utter forth, declare, a thing which can only be known by divine revelation; to break forth under sudden impulse in lofty discourse or praise of the divine counsels under like prompting; to teach, refute, reprove, admonish, comfort others; to act as a prophet, to discharge the prophetic office

f) How were the Corinthians practicing tongues, based on what Paul teaches in these verses? How beneficial was it to do so in the way they were doing it?

g) What comparisons can we make with our own time?

h) How should we, as believers, interact with those who practice tongues today? What principles should guide our interactions with them? What should be our motive? Why?

2) Authentic Benefit of the Gifts (vss. 6-12)

a) For what purpose are all the gifts given? How do you know?

b) For what use were tongues apparently being used in Ancient Corinth? How does their use of tongues compare to today?

c) What comparisons does Paul make in this passage? How do they help us better understand his point?

3) Authentic Communication (vss. 13-19)

a) What is the purpose of speaking? How is that purpose achieved if no one can understand what is said?

b) What is the role of the mind in this context? What is Paul’s point?

c) What conclusions can we draw by implication of this text? How did Paul want to minister to those he encountered? How should we want to do so?

 

 

Resources for Further Study

H. Wayne House,  Tongues and the Mystery Religions of Corinth, on Seeking4Truth.com

Richard and Catherine Clark Kroeger, Pandamonium and Silence at Corinth, from the Intelligent Christian Website

John MacArthur, The Truth about Tongues, part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4, on Grace to You

Charles Sullivan, Ecstacy, Glossolalia and Tongues, on his website devoted to ancient literature, language, religion and more

Tongues in Paganism, from the Divine Viewpoint website

 

 

Authentic Love Never Fails – lesson 37

Our text for today is 1 Corinthians 13:8-13 — Love Never Fails

Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. 11 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. 12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.

13 So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

Introduction

a) Remember, authentic love defined = ἀγάπη (agapē) is…

b) In this next section, Paul draws his definition of ἀγάπη to a close by affirming that true love never fails.

  • What was happening in Corinth that would prompt Paul, inspired by the Holy Spirit, to make this affirmation? Why would it have been important to write to the Corinthians that “love never fails”?
  • What can we learn from Peter in 1 Peter 4:8 that might help us better understand what was happening in Corinth?
  • How does Christ’s love compare with the love being displayed in Corinth?

1) Authentic Love Never Fails (vs. 8a)

a) fail = pipto (πίπτω, 4098; 90x) = to fall, to fall prostrate, to fall down, to fall down dead, to fall in ruins, to become null and void, to fall to the ground, to fall into a worse state, to fall into sin, to fall in judgment, to fall upon, to seize, to fall under; to decay, to wither away, to die,

b) What do we learn about the word “πίπτω”  from these verses?

  • Mt. 7:25, 27; 15:27; 17:6; 18:29
  • Lk. 10:18; 11:17; 16:17; 17:16; 21:24
  • Acts 1:26
  • Rom. 11:11, 22
  • 1 Cor. 10:2
  • Heb. 4:11
  • Jas. 5:12
  • Rev. 2:5; 7:16; 11:11; 14:8

c) Does natural love fail? How? Why?

d) How does the love of Christ never fail? How do you know?2) Authentic Love compared to temporal spiritual gifts (vs 8b)

Paul compares the permanence of ἀγάπη love, God’s love, to the highest spiritual gifts in terms of their influence on the body of Christ, and also to tongues, the one gift the Corinthians valued so very much. Though the first two gifts are of great value, and though tongues were so very important to them, they will cease! HOWEVER, ἀγάπη will NEVER cease!

a) Note the meaning of the word “never” in verse 8a = οὐδέποτε oudepote =  not even at any time, i. e. never at all ! This is a strong word. We have much for which to be thankful. God’s love will never, ever, at any time, now or for eternity, ever end. Amen!

b) Prophesy and knowledge will be done away.

  • prophesy = προφητεία prophēteia = prophecy, prophesying, speaking forth
  • knowledge = γνῶσις gnōsis = knowing (the act), i. e. knowledge, science
  • done away = καταργέω katargeō = to be entirely idle or useless, literally or figuratively; to abolish, to cease, to destroy, to do away, to make of no effect, to come to nought, to put away, to vanish away, to make void.
  • There is coming a day when the “perfect”comes – cf vs. 10. At that moment, we will no longer need more teaching, so these gifts will cease at that time.

c) Tongues will cease.

  • tongues = γλῶσσα glōssa = the tongue; by implication, a language (especially, one naturally unacquired
  • cease = παύω pauō = to stop, to restrain, to quit, to desist, to come to an end. These will cease of their own nature. There was to come a time when they would no longer be needed any more. Today, there seems to be little need for the authentication of the Gospel since we have the complete record of God’s Word in the Scriptures. However, as we have discussed, there have been reports from missionaries, in particular, where the biblical use of tongues has been witnessed. In our context, we would not expect to witness the use of tongues since we have the Word of God at hand.

3) Authentic Love is Greater than Spiritual Gifts (vss. 9-10)

a) In reference to prophesy and knowledge, Paul states that for now, i.e. in this age, we know in part, and we prophesy in part. The word in question here is: μέρος memos = a part, share, portion. Paul’s point is that though we have the full revelation of God, not even an apostle holds all there is to know about God, and he cannot even preach all that there is to be preached about God. We can only hope to make Him known in part. But one day, we will see Him in full!

b) Cf Job 11:7-9; 26:14 and Psalm 40:5, Psalm 139:1-6; Romans 11:33-34; Col 2:2-3

c) One day, the PERFECT will come. This is a reference to the eternal state of believers at the end of the age.

d) Cf  1 Corinthians 13:11-13 and Revelation 21:22-22:5

The Authentic Qualities of Love, part 2 – lesson 36

Our text for today is 1 Corinthians 13:6-7— The Way of Love

“Love … does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”

Introduction

– Remember, authentic love defined = ἀγάπη (agapē) is…

– In the next section, Paul mentions 4 qualities of love, all in hyperbolic language to make a point. When Paul writes, “all things,” he means them in light of God’s will and His character, of course. The four qualities are listed in ascending order, i.e., they move from less to more in their importance and affect.

9) Authentic Love Bears All Things (vs. 7)

a) bears = στέγω (stegō) 4x to cover; to hold off, to hold in; hence, to hold out against, to endure patiently; to protect, or preserve by covering, hence “to keep off something which threatens, to bear up against, to hold out against, and so to endure, bear, forbear” – in other words, love supports and protects in every circumstance

b) How does love “bear all things?” What does it not bear?

c) How does man act in his natural state? Why? Does natural man bear all things? What does Proverbs 10:12 help us to understand in connection with this question?

d) What do we learn about how God bears all things from these verses?

  • Lev. 16:14
  • Heb 2:17
  • 1 John 2:2
  • 1 Peter 4:8

e) How did / does Jesus bear all things? Why? Consider Romans 3:25-26 and Isaiah 53:4-5 as we answer these questions.

10) Authentic Love Believes All Things (vs 7)

a) believes = pisteuo (πιστεύω, 4100), “to believe,” also “to be persuaded of,” and hence, “to place confidence in, to trust,” signifies, in this sense of the word, reliance upon, not mere credence. It is most frequent in the writings of the apostle John, especially the Gospel.

b) How does love “believe all things?” What does it not believe?

c) What does man believe in his natural state? Why?

d) What do we learn about the natural inclination of man in Luke 5:21-26?

e) How does / did Jesus demonstrate what He believes?

11) Authentic Love Hopes All Things (vs. 7)

a) hopes = ἐλπίζω (elpizō 31x) = to hope, to expect, to wait in confident expectation of what is to come

b) How does love “hope all things?” For what do we wait?

c) What does man hope for in his natural state? Why?

d) Why do we need to hope?

e) How does Jesus express hope?

12) Authentic Love Endures All Things (vs. 7)

a) endures = ὑπομένω (hypomenō 17x) = to remain or stay behind, when others have departed, to bear up under, endure, suffer patiently; to continue firmly, hold out, remain constant, persevere. This word is a military term, which refers to holding a position at all costs, to endure every hardship and every suffering in order to hold fast.

b) How does authentic love “endure all things?” Why does it do so?

c) How does man endure hardship in his natural state? Why?

d) Why do we need to endure as Christians? What does it look like? What do we learn from Acts 7:54-60 about enduring all things?

e) How does / did Jesus endure all things? Why?