1Co 14:29-32  “Let the prophets speak two or three, and let the other judge. If any thing be revealed to another that sitteth by, let the first hold his peace. For ye may all prophesy one by one, that all may learn, and all may be comforted. And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets. For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.”

Throughout the fourteenth chapter, Paul has made it clear that he does not prohibit speaking in tongues. At the same time, he has made it clear that speaking plainly by prophesy is more edifying to the church body. As a result of this, Paul indicates that within the church body plain speaking by inspiration is preferable to speaking in tongues unless there be someone to interpret.

However, this does not in any sense imply that the prophets (or preachers) were not to conduct themselves in an orderly fashion. The prophets were generally charged with being mindful of the congregation with only two or three of them to speak at any given time. This does not preclude the Spirit from bidding the speakers to tarry longer in some circumstances as evidenced by Paul when he preached until midnight (Act 20:7).

The instruction to speak in turn here indicates that for speakers to be disruptive of one another or to try and speak simultaneously would be just as confusing and non-beneficial to the assembly as speaking in an unknown tongue with no interpreter. To behave in such a manner, even by those that had the gift of prophesy, was not edifying to the church. Brethren should be so desirous of the truth to be spoken that if another indicated that he had a deeper understanding then the current speaker, that brother would willingly give way to the other.

One of the most damaging things that can happen is for preachers (prophets) to begin to behave as though they were in competition with each other. The preaching of the gospel is not about which man might have the greater following or be considered greater than others. The preaching of the gospel is about declaring the truth of Christ Jesus and clearly pointing to Him. We should preach in such a way that all (including ourselves) may learn and be comforted.

If another brother has a revelation, we are not to behave as though we are not in control of ourselves enough to hold our peace. God is not going to give a revelation to one who sits by and then fail to give the current speaker the grace to step aside and be quiet so the other may speak. Key to all of this is the simple fact that God is not the author of confusion.

God the Holy Spirit does not create tumult within the assembly. God the Holy Spirit brings peace and understanding by enabling the prophets to speak of things otherwise too great for them to know. God the Holy Spirit comforts with His presence even as He directs our worship. Remember that our Redeemer promised that if He went away He would send to us the Comforter.

May we always rejoice in the presence of the Comforter to the exclusion of the boasting and confusion of men that we may learn and be comforted by His peace!

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