Part of me wishes I could have been there to see the Corinthian church in action. I wonder how their gatherings looked, what was happening, who was saying what, just how bad it was. But then, the more I think about, the less I’m interested. It sounds like it was a big ball of chaos, arguments, cliques, division, etc. From Paul’s letters, it sounds like it was pretty dysfunctional, and I don’t do well with dysfunction and disorder. Neither did Paul.
The topic in chapter 14 is primarily around prayer languages. Some people have the gift of tongues and are using it publicly, frequently, and it’s causing a lot of confusion for believers and nonbelievers alike. Paul tells them that praying in tongues, whatever flavor that prayer language may be, should be a private prayer language. Just you and God talking it through, expressing your heart to him.
On the other hand, when everyone is gathered together, you should still have people speaking to the group. But they should be speaking in the language of the day, the language everyone will understand. You want to proclaim the Good News of God and Jesus in a way that is intelligent, simple, and grasped by all. Even nonbelievers will appreciate that, and who knows, God may capture their hearts through it.
So keep tongues in private. Keep proclamation of the Gospel public. Do things in an orderly and courteous way. And that’s pretty much the summary of chapter 14. Only two chapters left.