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Bible Commentaries

William Godbey's Commentary on the New Testament

1 Corinthians 14

Verse 1

EDIFICATION THE END IN VIEW

1 Corinthians 14:1-19

1. Follow after the Divine love, and seek earnestly the spiritual gifts but that you prophecy.” The love parenthesis having been interjected in the middle of the grand exposition of spiritual gifts, as a profitable reminder of the transcendent importance of the graces, even surpassing that of the gifts, he now resumes the disquisition on the gifts, exhorting us to run after the Divine love, because we are bound to have it or lose our own soul, but at the same time to “covet earnestly” the spiritual gifts, that we may be able to stand on the battlefield victoriously, and at the same time win others for God; and not only make sure of Heaven, but when we get there not be empty handed. You see that while he makes the graces a sine que non, and exhorts us imperatively to seek and appropriate all of the gifts, at the same time he gives the preeminence to prophecy, as this gift qualifies us to preach the gospel, which is God’s appointed method to save the world.

Verse 3

3. He that prophesieth speaketh to men edification, exhortation and comfort.” Never forget this broad and comprehensive inspired definition of prophesying; you see it simply means talking for Jesus, whether to one or a thousand, telling them the way of salvation as revealed in the Bible, exhorting them to flee the wrath to come and make sure of Heaven, and comforting the brokenhearted with God’s precious and infallible promises.

Verse 5

5. I wish you all to speak with tongues, but rather that you may prophesy; but greater is he that prophesieth than he that speaketh with tongues unless he interpret in order that the church may receive edification.” E. g., I preach, teach and write constantly from the original Greek, making no use of the English translations. Now suppose I should read and speak the Greek; you know it would be unintelligible and of no value to the hearer. Hence in so doing I would not only forfeit my opportunities to do good, but actually grieve the Holy Spirit. Hence I do not use this unknown tongue in my ministry to the people, though I have it constantly before my eyes; but I translate it whether preaching by speech or pen, so the people receive the truth in plain English. While the use of this dead language to me is invaluable, and through me to others of infinite value; yet prophesying,.

e. g., speaking and writing to them in their own language, is infinitely more important, so they can receive it. Hence Paul gives the constant preeminence to prophecy, i. e., that spiritual gift which qualifies us to talk salvation to everybody we meet, thus “preaching with the Holy Ghost sent down from Heaven,” with the grand end in view “ that the church may receive edification.” Oh, what a burning emphasis Paul lays on this injunction! We should constantly watch and be sure that everything is edifying to the church. I preached a funeral yesterday; the organ made so much noise and the voices were so indistinct, that the good and suitable funeral songs which they sang were not intelligently heard by the people. We have no criticism for instrumental music, if it does not destroy the intelligence of the gospel in song. In this way, religious meetings lose their interest and utterly break down. God here commands us “to sing with the spirit and the understanding.” We have no right to do anything in a religious meeting in such a way as to render it unintelligible to the people, as all such procedure is subversive of the real interest and grievous to the Holy Spirit, who uses our songs, prayers, testimonies and sermons to reach human spirits through their mental faculties, which proves a failure when unintelligible. When we worship in the spirit and the understanding, i. e., let the Holy Ghost have His way and manage the meeting, and do our part in such a manner as to be understood by the audience, you will always see the glory of God manifested in conviction, conversion, sanctification and edification. Church services are devilishly murdered by unintelligible singing, preludes, interludes and postludes, solos, so indistinct or slow and dead that they are an insult to human intelligence and a contempt of the Divine presence; prayers and testimonies too low and indistinct to be intelligently heard, and “highfalutin” sermons out of reach of the people. Consequently they resort to artistic phantasmagoria to entertain the people in the house of God, where there should be nothing whatever to attract their attention but the worship of the Most High in the songs of Zion ringing out the awful truth as revealed in God’s Word, fervent and earnest prayers, not only replete with gospel truth, but so loud and distinct that the people all hear them without an effort; testimonies fired by the Holy Ghost, full of gospel truth; and so clear and intelligent as to reach every auditor; and especially the preaching, clear, plain, distinct and irresistibly intelligible to all the people. As a rule, the people get so far from the preacher that the message loses its force before it reaches them; they miss words enough in every sentence to lose the connection and forfeit the intelligibility. Consequently the people go to meeting day after day and get nothing. No wonder they are not saved. God’s plan is to reach them through the mental faculties with which He has endued them. In this matter there is a fearful responsibility. Look out! God Almighty is going to make inquisition for blood in the Judgment Day. What will become of the preachers who so overtly violate the commandments of God in this paragraph, conducting services in their churches Sabbath after Sabbath, which are almost as unintelligible as if in an unknown language? The singing is done by Satan’s choir in an operatic, fantastical and utterly unintelligible way. The drag, humdrum routine is literally murderous to spiritual life. So fast as Satan tightens his grip on a church the services pass out of the comprehension of the people, lest they may get a little bit of gospel truth and be saved. Hence we see this problem verified in wicked, debauched Romanism, where the service is spoken in the old Latin language throughout the whole world, for people speaking a hundred different languages know not a word of this dead Latin. Even the citizens of Rome do not understand it, because a radical revolution has taken place, relegating the Latin to the archives of antiquity and giving the modern Italians an entirely different language. It is a fact patent to all and deniable by none that the Roman Catholic Church throughout the world is positively and overtly violating the plain commandments of God in this paragraph by holding their services in the Latin language.

Verse 12

12. Since ye are zealots of spirits.” This clause shows that the Corinthian Christians were literally on fire with enthusiasm to command and utilize all of these spiritual gifts. The English “zealous” is zelootai (a noun), and means zealots. Now, a zealot is a violent, impetuous, red-hot advocate of some favorite theme or enterprise. We see many of them in the political arena about the polls at the times of the regular elections. Hence we see that the Corinthian saints were full of fire and zeal, running after, utilizing and appreciating those nine spiritual gifts. All this Paul highly commends. Good Lord, help thy people to be “zealots” of these spiritual gifts. And at the same time he exhorts them, “Seek that ye may abound unto the edification of the church.” Hence you see this thrilling commandment that everything is to be done for edification. If people actually heard the gospel intelligently, whether in sermon, exhortation, private appeal, prayer, testimony or song, it would have its effect on them. God’s lightning would not long play around them, without striking them dead. The trouble is they get no lightning. It is left out by the unintelligibility of the service. They only hear the thunder of human voices and instruments. The thunder never kills anything, hence the devil does not care how much thunder you give the people, just so you give them no lightning. These sad facts account for the rapid heathenization of the Christian nations. We are in the midst of multiplied thousands living in practical heathenism, ignorant of the gospel alphabet. The proportion of non-churchgoing people in Europe and America is rapidly on the increase, and I trust destined so to continue, fearfully foreboding the awful end to which we hasten while this old, wicked world fast ripens for destruction. The Romanists, with their two hundred and fifty millions of members, have already defiantly locked up their church service in a dead language, thus taking it utterly out of the reach of the people. The Protestants are fast on their track, becoming more and more numismatical, ritualistic, operatic and unintelligible. Go into a popular church. Your eyes are entertained on all sides by artistic show and your ears by senseless sounds. Hence the entire opus operatum is simply an appeal to the sensuous nature, nothing for the heart and exceedingly little even for the intellect, which might be ever so much edified without serious damage to the devil.

Verse 16

16. Since if you bless in spirit, how will the one occupying the place of the idiot say amen to your blessing, since he does not know what you say?”

This dead Greek language is more edifying to my spirit than the living language of my congregation; yet I have no right to speak in it, from the simple fact that they would not understand it. Here we find the Greek word “idiot,” which in E.V. is “unlearned.” It has a profound significance, as Paul here uses it repeatedly. In this sentence it would mean the utter destitution of the knowledge of the Greek language on the part of the person who had never studied it. Hence such an one is utterly idiotic with reference to this mysterious and complicated, though indescribably beautiful, forceful and vivacious, language, so eminently honored by God’s Providence and the inspiration of the Holy Ghost. This word “idiot” is applied to an alien from the kingdom and the grace of God. The force of the application recognizes the fact that an unregenerated person is absolutely idiotic with reference to the mysteries of God’s kingdom, as ignorant of God’s saving grace as a Hottentot is of geometry. It is equally true in reference to the experience of sanctification, of which all are destined to remain utterly idiotic till initiated by the Holy Ghost. God’s salvation is an experience and not a doctrine. Hence the most cultured theologian without the experience is as destitute of a knowledge of sanctification or regeneration as the worst ignoramus whose unshod foot ever trod the burning sand.

Verse 19

19. Here Paul says that he speaks with tongues more than all the rest; evidently the Hebrew, Greek, Latin, and doubtless many other languages currently spoken, especially by the nations of Asia, where he was born and reared and honored by the Holy Ghost to plant the gospel in so many different countries. Throughout this paragraph of nineteen verses, Paul ceases not to wield his most ponderous sledgehammer blows against all unintelligible exercises in church services. Evidently the reason he says so much about singing in this connection is because it is so apt to be unintelligible, consisting of sound without sense, i. e., thunder without lightning, which is just about as unprofitable in a fastidious choir as to catch a hog in the streets, bring him in, and let him squeal for the entertainment of the congregation. Good Lord, give us some sense, make us ashamed of our ignorance, and afraid of coming Judgment, as it is defiantly wicked and blasphemous to usurp the house of God for human pomp and show, offering sacrifices to pride and vanity, the daughters of the devil. I beg you, reader, faithfully to warn the people in harmony with earnest Paul in reference to unedifying church services, as this is the way meetings are killed dead and churches turned over to Satan.

Verse 20

INFANCY AND MANHOOD OF CHRISTIANITY

20. Brethren, be not little children in understanding, but in sin be ye infants, but in understanding be ye perfect.” It is a deplorable fact that most people let the devil fill up their heads with trash early in life, thus preoccupying the cranium with the devil’s filth before they have an opportunity to load up with God’s truth and Heaven’s gold. I expect to praise God through all eternity for a preaching father and sainted mother who fortified my susceptible infancy, flexible childhood and precarious youth against the dark ingress of the vulgar vices. Most people have great carloads of Hell’s trash and filth to unload before they can take in the precious truth of God. Here we are commanded explicitly to abide in the innocence of infancy, so far as the wickedness of the world is concerned, ever remaining ignorant of its vices and follies; while in point of sanctified intelligence he commands us, “Be ye perfect,” i. e., spiritual adults. This is another instance in which the inspired pen develops the gracious economy in the two great salient points of infancy and manhood, there being a progressive state preceding and succeeding each one of these grand, salient epochs which are instantaneously reached. Throughout the New Testament, Christian experience is set forth by two Greek words, i. e., the neepios, “the infant,” and the teeleios, “the adult.” The removal of depravity, which locks the soul fast in spiritual infancy, is indispensable to his admission into the sphere of spiritual adultage, which, instead of being the ultimatum of all progress, is the inauguration into a state of grand and illimitable progress, development and achievement; as for material life, we must pass out of infancy into adultage in order to enter upon any of the great enterprises peculiar to this world. The dwarfhood of the church of the present day is the insuperable difficulty disqualifying her to conquer the world for Christ.

Verses 22-25

A NORMAL GOSPEL MEETING

22-25. So tongues are for a sign, not to the believers, but to the unbelievers, and prophecy is not for the unbelievers, but for the believers.” These spiritual gifts are quite latitudinous in their signification and sphere of operation. Limitation is the prevailing error in Biblical interpretation, arising from the fact that we are so apt to expound the Bible like other books which finite men have made, forgetting that the illimitable and incomprehensible God is the Author of the Scriptures. Hence it is a great mistake to lay upon the Bible the restrictions and disabilities peculiar to human productions.

Here we see, evidently, a phase of this gift of tongues, peculiar to the normal gospel meetings under the leadership of the Holy Ghost in the apostolic ministry. New experiences invariably confer new language. When the sinner passes through the crucible of regeneration and sweeps triumphantly into the kingdom of God, if the work is genuinely wrought by the Holy Ghost, and not simply by human manipulation, he at once begins to speak a new language never before heard nor used. It is the language currently spoken by the members of God’s family, and utterly novel to the man who has spent all his life among the children of the devil and speaking the shibboleth of Hell. When the Canaan-bound pilgrim passes through the retreating floods of the divided Jordan into Beulah land he immediately adopts the language of Canaan, which to him is utterly new, as he never heard it in the howling wilderness. I have a thousand times seen this Scripture verified in revival work. A lot of people get blessed and all begin to shout and speak vociferously in the new languages of their newly found joy; every sinner that hears the uproarious shouts not only runs to the scene of conflict, but brings with him all his neighbors, crowding the house to overflowing. “ Therefore if the whole church may come together and all may speak with tongues, and the idiots or infidels may come in, will they not say, that you are gone mad?” When the power falls and the people all get happy and shout aloud, speaking the newly received language of their newly found joy, that is the very thing to arouse and attract the idiots, i. e., the poor, lost people who are utterly idiotic to the mysteries of Christian experience, whether regeneration or sanctification, and the infidels, i. e., the people who do not believe in any Christian profession, hear them, they all come running, actuated by sheer curiosity. When they arrive at the scene of sweeping revival power, and see sinners who have been gloriously converted leaping, and hear them speaking words and phrases to them utterly new and strange, and using a language they had never before heard, and Christians, flooded with the baptism of the Holy Ghost and fire, shouting uproariously the language of Canaan, so unlike that of old Ashdod, the effect of their new experiences and their shouting testimonies in their new languages, and perhaps foreign languages then conferred on them to qualify them to preach the gospel in the “regions beyond”; even though the idiots and infidels pronounce them crazy, yet these new tongues and uproarious shouts have brought them together where the people of God can have access to them with the message of truth. “But if all may prophesy, [ i. e., preach, exhort and testify] and some idiot or infidel may come in, he is convicted by all, he is discerned by all,

Verse 25

25. The secrets of his heart are made manifest, and thus falling down on his face he will worship God, confessing that God is truly in you all.” Oh, how infinitely profitable is this paragraph to the people of God in all ages and nations! because here we have vividly described a normal gospel meeting, which we may regard as a sample elucidatory of the true gospel economy amid all environments. Here you see the roaring, shouting demonstrations of newborn souls, and gloriously sanctified people speaking aloud the languages of their newly found rhapsody, arousing and magnetizing Satan’s idiots on all sides, and bringing them together helter- skelter and pell-mell to see what is the matter. Now the curious rabble have poured in and crowded the house, gazing on as if it were a monkey show, and pronouncing all the dramedians “crazy.” Now immediately they all turn to prophesying, their attention attracted by the sight of the curious rabble, every one besieging a sinner and “speaking to him edification, exhortation or comfort,” which is the definition of prophesying (1 Corinthians 14:3). What is the effect of all this rally by those shouting Christians encompassing those wicked people with their burning words of prophetic fire? Conviction seizes them; “the secrets of their hearts are made manifest,” i. e., they proceed to make awful confessions of their terrible sins. They are discerned by all;

i. e., those Spirit filled saints read them like books, and see that they are thunder-riven with conviction. What is the ultimatum of the enterprise? “ Falling down on their faces, they will confess that God is surely in the midst of you;” i. e., they are gloriously and rousingly converted to God, and turn “crazy” like the balance. Here we have an inspired illustration of a gospel meeting, and we see that it is characterized by the old-style knockdown power. The Holiness Movement much needs a general quickening and toning up, lest we slow down as our predecessors have done. Oh, how infinitely valuable this literal description of a normal gospel meeting, and how vividly contrastive with the humdrum, deadbeat routine of modern churchism!

Verses 26-28

DISORDERS CORRECTED

1 Corinthians 14:23-36

26. Then what is it, brethren? when you come together, each one has a psalm, has a lesson, has a revelation, has a tongue, has an interpretation: let all things be done unto edification.

27. If one speaks with a tongue, let it be by twos or at most by threes, and in turn; and let one interpret.

28. And if there may be no interpreter, let him keep silent in the churches, and let him speak to himself and to God.

Verse 29

29. Let the prophets speak, twos or threes, and let the others listen.” So profusely and copiously were many of the members in that vast Corinthian church filled, flooded and endowed, not only with the sanctified Spirit of the Lord, but with the extraordinary gifts of the Holy Ghost the glorious nine above described that they were swept away on the tide of an impetuous Niagara. The result of this peculiar and wonderful state of things was a very serious development of confusion in their meetings, quite impedimental to the edification of the people attending these gospel meetings. Amid this universal swelling tide of spiritual gifts of graces, every time they came together a great host of them had something special to deliver: a new tongue had been given; to another the power to serve as an interpreter of unknown language, as God was preparing them wonderfully for missionary work; another has a special burning message to deliver; another a thrilling exhortation which he can carry no longer; another a sweet, new and inspiring song to sing. The result is their meetings are unduly prolonged, wearing out the people. Consequently Paul forbids that more than three should speak in an unknown tongue at any one meeting, and that the messages so delivered must in every case be interpreted, and thus rendered edifying to the people. As he is more favorable to prophesying, i. e., preaching and exhorting, which is the more productive of edification to the audience, he specifies that two or three prophets may speak in one meeting, and does not forbid even more, as he had the prohibition on more than three speaking with tongues.

Verse 30

30. And if something may be revealed to some one sitting by, let the first one be silent.” The New Testament throughout positively ignores human authority and leadership, save in the mere instrumentality of the Holy Ghost, who is the only legitimate conductor of a gospel meeting. Hence if the Holy Ghost reveal something to an auditor sitting by, the order is for the leader to keep silent till the party delivers the message revealed. Oh, what a confusion the verification of this order would bring into the deadbeat routine of a modern church service! It would knock the preacher utterly out of kilter. This is the secret of all the heresies and apostasies in all ages.

Men, inadvertently blinded by the devil, take the service out of the hands of the Holy Ghost, fix up a human ritual, devise a creed, and run the church to suit themselves. Since all that is a downright insult to the Holy Ghost, no wonder He retreats away, leaving them to paddle their own canoe.

Verse 31

31. For all are able to prophesy, one at a time, in order that all may learn and all may be comforted.” Amid the wonderful enthusiasm of those people to receive, enjoy and utilize those momentous spiritual gifts and graces, they had somewhat run away with the wagon; in their incorrigible zeal lest they should have to carry home with them a burning message undelivered, they had fallen into the mistake of breaking out and delivering their messages while another was speaking, thus producing confusion and seriously conflicting with the edification of the people, which is the great end in view in all gospel meetings. Hence you see Paul corrects these irregularities and orders them to speak one at a time.

Verse 32

32. The spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets.

Verse 33

33. For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace.” I have frequently seen great demonstrations, especially in the early period of the Holiness Movement, when God used my humble instrumentality to pioneer the work from the Atlantic Ocean to the Mexican border. Then it was new and impetuous, like a river leaping from his mountain source with awful roar, foam and demonstration; but after rolling on hundreds of miles, joined by many tributaries, he deepens and broadens into a mighty arm of the sea, bearing on his heaving bosom the commerce of many nations. So the Holiness Movement, at first impetuous and uproarious, is now broadening over the whole world, and exploring the deep mysteries of God’s Word and Spirit in the latent experiences wrought by the silent lightning in the deep interior of the subterranean regions of the fallen human spirit; thus moving on in silent majesty to conquer the world for Christ and bring back the King of Glory. Twenty years ago I frequently found it necessary to bring on the incorrigible people in my revivals these wholesome Pauline restrictions, otherwise they would shout so that my voice could not be heard, acquiescing in the conclusion that they could not help it. Under these circumstances I have frequently quoted this verse, “The spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets; for God is not the author of confusion, but of peace.” “So now please keep your hallelujahs on the inside till I preach to these people, then you can turn loose again if you want to.” So gospel history repeats itself. I have frequently known the showers fall so copiously during the introductory service that when the time arrived for me to preach the roar of fifty people preaching at once without stopping simply forced me to utilize this Scripture, telling them that God’s order required them to be silent while I preached to the multitude who had been attracted thither by the Pentecostal uproar and were going fast down to death, the Lord in mercy giving us and them that precious opportunity to save them from Hell. “So in all the churches of the saints, let the women be silent in the churches; for it is not permitted them to gabble, but let them be subordinate, as truly the law says.” This is simply a continuation of the Pauline strictures on the disorders prevalent in the Corinthian church, resultant from this incorrigible enthusiasm after the deep things of God, which certainly was highly commendable within itself, but by no means out of harmony with the order necessary to mutual edification. It is a well- known fact that the heathens never did, neither do they now, educate their women. While the Greeks were at the very top of the world’s learning, it was confined to the men. The gospel, new and strange to those people so recently converted out of heathenism, and especially when so wonderfully augmented and intensified by those powerful spiritual gifts, filling the women as well as the men with a flaming zeal to catch and remember every word as enunciated by the speaker, we are not surprised that the wives, sitting by their husbands, ever and anon spoke to them, asking information about what the preacher was saying. The Greek word here used justifies this conclusion. Legein means “to deliver a discourse,” eipen “to speak in conversation,” while lalein, the word here used, is from the Greek root lal which means “baby-talk,” as the baby in his first efforts says, “lal,” “lal.” Hence the first meaning of this word given by the dictionary is “to gabble,” i. e., speak in an undertone.

Verse 35

35. But if they wish to learn something, let them ask their own husbands at home: for it is a disgrace for a woman to gabble in church.” This verse is exegetical of the preceding, as we have here an antithesis whose logical arms are always co-equal. Hence the prohibition in 1 Corinthians 14:34 is coordinate with the permission in 1 Corinthians 14:35, and, as you see, the permission in 1 Corinthians 14:35 is to ask their husbands at home in case they wish to learn something from them, showing clearly that the prohibition in the meetings was simply that of asking their husbands to give them explanations while the person is speaking. The popular idea that this is prohibitory of women taking part in public worship is utterly untenable, for the simple fact is that Paul is not on that subject at all, but that of order in the meetings; this entire paragraph being corrective of those disorders which had developed as the result of their incorrigible zeal and enthusiasm in the appropriation and exercise of the spiritual gifts and graces, really appertaining to men as pertinently as to the women.

Verse 36

36. Whether did the word of God come out from you, or has it culminated unto you alone?” This verse is castigatory of their irregularities, ironically charging them with the disposition to originate and run a new order of things, and at the same time vindicatory of his apostolic authority to correct all of their irregularities.

Verse 37

THE BIBLE ONLY AUTHORITY IN CHURCH GOVERNMENT

37. If any one seems to be a prophet, or spiritual,” i. e., if any man or woman has the gift of prophecy, thus qualifying such an one to speak in public, or endued with any of these spiritual gifts, of which there are nine, “ let such an one know well that those things that I write unto you, they are of the Lord.” Lest some think he is prohibiting the women from exercising in public, which is utterly alien to the subject he is discussing, remember that the words in this verse are common gender in Greek, showing that they include the women as well as the men among the prophets and the custodians of all the spiritual gifts. Again, in the eleventh chapter of this same epistle, Paul recognizes the women as praying and prophesying, i. e., speaking in public, just like the men, meanwhile, as some of them were in the habit of preaching bareheaded, thereby incurring unnecessary criticism, he simply advises them to have something on their heads when they speak in public.

Verse 38

38. If any one ignores, he is ignored.” This verse evidently was not understood by King James’ translators. At least, they have utterly failed to bring out the matter of fact here revealed, which is simple, clear and unmistakable; i. e., that the Word of God is authoritative, not only on all doctrinal lines, but in all church discipline; so that there is no apology for making rules and regulations. The New Testament is a plain book, quite as plain as any rules and regulations we can make. In the first place, we do not need anything else in the way of doctrine or discipline, because God’s Word covers all the ground. In the second place, though you formulate a creed as voluminous as the Westminster Confession, and make ever so many rules and regulations, after all they are utterly invalid except so far as they are in harmony with the Word of God, while even in that case it is much better to go to headquarters, where matters are simple, clear and free from human complications. This verse settles the matter. You have a right to enforce the order laid down in the New Testament throughout your church; meanwhile every member who does not recognize this authority, and walk accordingly, simply forfeits membership thereby. It is no trouble whatever to find perfect disciplinary authority, as well as all the doctrines of grace, in the New Testament. A true church has no creed but God’s Word, and knows no other rules and regulations. While they are true to the New Testament, their only creed and discipline, positively, they are also true to it negatively, recognizing no one as a bona fide member whose experience and life are not in harmony with God’s revealed Word. If this code of doctrine and collation of disciplinary rules and regulations were enforced in the churches of Christendom, how statistics and salaries would suddenly fall from hundreds down to tens!

Verse 39

39. So, my brethren, be zealous to prophesy, and prohibit not to speak with tongues.” Speaking with tongues was the more magnetic and demonstrative, while prophesying, i. e., “speaking to the people edification, exhortation and comfort,” was the gift of all others preeminent for its practical utility in the salvation of souls. Hence the burning emphasis constantly laid upon it. This wicked world despises the Bible, and devours filthy, lying novels and trashy newspapers. To them the Bible is a dry book, utterly loathsome. Hence they will never read it except for Satan’s criticism. Consequently God’s people must save them by His omnipotent grace, or let them sink into Hell. Our talking to them privately and publicly is God’s appointed method for their salvation.

Verse 40

40. Let all things be done decently and in order.” This verse is woefully belied and perverted by the dead churches and respectable worldlians. The order of a thing depends altogether on what kind of a thing it is. The great end in view in every gospel meeting is edification, hence the unintelligible choir and solo singing and inaudible prayers and testimonies, as well as the humdrum routine generally and the highfalutin preaching, are all flagrantly violatory of the gospel order propounded in this chapter. We find that when the people come together, and all fall on their knees and pray till they so get hold of the Omnipotent Arm as to move Heaven, earth and Hell, flooding their own souls with rivers from the Heavenly ocean till they all break out and shout so uproariously that, like the Pentecostians, they stir the city and bring together a motley rabble of Satan’s infidels and idiots, who rally from all directions to see the show, and then all turn loose on them, preaching and exhorting with tongues of fire till they see Hell open and the devil after them, and the very prelude of damnation lacerates them with conviction so terrible that they fall like dead men, cry and agonize till the resurrection power comes on them from Heaven, and they rise and roar like oxen lowing (Acts 8:7), and raise the whole community on tiptoe, men roaring, women screaming and dogs barking on all sides, remember that this is most perfect gospel order, Paul himself encumbering the witness stand (1 Corinthians 14:23-25). It is awfully impudent for the devil to lay down rules of order to regulate God’s Church. The diabolical order of popular churchism is that of a graveyard; while the true order of a gospel church is that of a graveyard on the resurrection morn while the trumpet is blowing, the graves bursting, the saints leaping into the air with shouts loud enough for the angels in Heaven to hear them.

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Bibliographical Information
Godbey, William. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 14". "William Godbey's Commentary on the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ges/1-corinthians-14.html.