You Before Me


My experience of a football game has changed, since my daughters now watch it with me. While thankful for their curiosity and interest, I’ve had to sacrifice a little personal enjoyment for them. Before, I was able to take in every snap, like a coach on the field, ignoring the chatter around me. Not anymore. Now I find myself clarifying a penalty, pointing out the down and distance, and explaining why the quarterback leads the offense as if I am Al Michaels on NBC. My personal enjoyment has become reprioritized for their understanding of the game. 

  • When was a time you had to reprioritize your personal enjoyment so that another could gain understanding?


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.


  1. What was the best thing for a believer to do who spoke in an uninterpreted language in the gathering of the church to worship (vs. 13)?
  2. In verse 14, what happened when Paul spoke in an uninterpreted language?
  3. How did Paul answer his own question about praying with his spirit (vss. 15-16)?  
  4. In verses 17-19, what view of worship was Paul correcting with the Corinthian believers?
  5. How would a new view of worship curb your egotism about your own spiritual gift(s)?


A spiritual gift understood by all outweighs a spiritual gift experienced by only one. This truth does not devalue or disregard the spiritual gift that impacts us personally. Rather, it prioritizes the personal experience in the context of assembled believers. It leaves no room for egotism. It benefits the whole community of Christ. As one commentator stated, “Worship should never be selfish, and it should always be intelligible.”

  • Ask God to reveal the ways you make your spiritual gifts more about you than those around you.
  • At the next church gathering, pray that all may understand what they are learning from the songs, the message, the prayers, the communion, and the service of others.