Edifying Worship


My wife comes from a large family with six siblings and nineteen nieces and nephews. The first time we had a family gathering was absolute chaos. Five different conversations happened at once, kids ran around, and one parent gave correction while another parent encouraged the bad behavior—all in one living room! Coming from my small family background, I didn’t see how a family could possibly function this way. But I also have another memory of the seven siblings gathered together, loving on each other, hearing each others’ hearts—a glimpse of how a large family can have deep, meaningful, and beneficial interactions.

  • Think about a large gathering you’ve been in and the social interactions you observed. What worked or didn’t work?


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. 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.


  1. What are the different activities of corporate worship that Paul listed in verse 26? What is the purpose of these things?
  2. What restrictions did Paul place on the practice of tongues in a public worship setting (vss. 27, 28)? What is the importance of having someone interpret what is spoken in tongues?
  3. What were the restrictions Paul placed on the practice of prophecy in a public worship setting (vss. 29-32)? What is the importance of having a prophecy weighed by others?
  4. What was the emphasis in Paul’s setting certain restrictions regarding the gifts of tongues and prophecy (vs. 33)? 
  5. As a believer, how do you interact with the church using your spiritual gifts, whether on Sunday morning or in your life group?


Paul addressed a core problem in the Corinthian church, centering on disorderly worship when the church had gathered together. Paul in no way condemned the gifts of tongues or prophecy, but he gave guidelines on the edifying use of these gifts. Spiritual gifts are not to be used in a loud, raucous, or disorderly fashion, but in a way that edifies the body of believers. If we truly believe that the Holy Spirit gives certain gifts to believers to be used to build up the church, we must also believe that these gifts are given not to bring confusion, but rather to bring peace.

  • When you gather with other believers, pray that you would use whatever gift(s) you have been given to help grow not just yourself, but others around you, in a way that brings glory to God.