Opening Prayer

Lord, if the fire within me has become just white ash, reignite my spiritual passion and use me for your glory.

Read 1 CORINTHIANS 14:26-40

Good Order in Worship

26 What then shall we say, brothers and sisters? When you come together, each of you has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. Everything must be done so that the church may be built up. 27 If anyone speaks in a tongue, two—or at the most three—should speak, one at a time, and someone must interpret. 28 If there is no interpreter, the speaker should keep quiet in the church and speak to himself and to God.

29 Two or three prophets should speak, and the others should weigh carefully what is said. 30 And if a revelation comes to someone who is sitting down, the first speaker should stop. 31 For you can all prophesy in turn so that everyone may be instructed and encouraged. 32 The spirits of prophets are subject to the control of prophets. 33 For God is not a God of disorder but of peace—as in all the congregations of the Lord’s people.

34 Women[a] should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the law says. 35 If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church.[b]

36 Or did the word of God originate with you? Or are you the only people it has reached? 37 If anyone thinks they are a prophet or otherwise gifted by the Spirit, let them acknowledge that what I am writing to you is the Lord’s command. 38 But if anyone ignores this, they will themselves be ignored.[c]

39 Therefore, my brothers and sisters, be eager to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in tongues. 40 But everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way.

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  1. 1 Corinthians 14:34 Or peace. As in all the congregations of the Lord’s people, 34 women
  2. 1 Corinthians 14:35 In a few manuscripts these verses come after verse 40.
  3. 1 Corinthians 14:38 Some manuscripts But anyone who is ignorant of this will be ignorant

New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.


Paul refers to his words as ‘the Lord’s command’ (v 37). Spend time asking God to help you to be obedient to him.

Think Further

What do you think when you hear a statement like, ‘Good order is important in worship’? It doesn’t sound very exciting, does it? Surely, a church that emphasizes this will be ‘traditional’, ‘boring’ and ‘quenching the work of the Spirit’. Yet Paul is very much concerned for good order (v 33). In these verses we see why.

The themes are familiar. Paul’s passion for the building up of the church (v 26) and its reputation with outsiders comes again to the fore. The challenging section which begins ‘Women should remain silent …’ (v 34) should be read in light of these central concerns. As we saw previously, Paul assumes that women will speak in meetings, so what does he mean here? The word ‘speak’ in this context might be better rendered ‘chatter’. This fits much better with the flow of the chapter and its emphasis on orderly worship. The ‘disgrace’ in verse 35 surely highlights a concern for how the church is perceived in the wider community.

It might seem that good order is promoted above the work of the Spirit, yet the reverse is true. Ironically, a complete free-for-all quenches the Spirit. Words will be given which cannot be weighed, so the unhelpful will be mixed in with the good; tongues will be spoken which are not interpreted, so no one will know what is said. Instead of instruction and encouragement (v 31) there will be confusion and discouragement. A good framework for worship allows the Spirit to work in healthy, life-giving ways; no framework at all is harmful and brings the church into disrepute. In our churches, cell groups, accountability groups, and so on, a certain amount of order is invariably an aid to the Spirit’s working. It turns out that such order is not so boring after all.


How can the groups and meetings you’re a part of be both orderly and open to participation? What sort of order facilitates the Spirit’s work?

Closing prayer

Father, I rest in your ability to make the crooked places straight in the world and in my life. Help me to live rightly today.

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Last Updated on October 15, 2022 by kingstar

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