A Canonical Rule

Ignore Anyone Who Ignores These Directions (1 Cor 14:36–38)

Paul forbids the Corinthians to start originating novel practices without conforming them to Scripture, which must be the judge of all of our practices. He insists that they didn’t originate the Word of God, and they can’t originate the work of God (1 Cor 14:36). He says the truly spiritual one will acknowledge this as the Lord’s command and not move along another line in so-called charismatic ministry (v. 37). He says that anyone who ignores the Lord’s command is demonstrating that he isn’t performing the Lord’s wishes, and he can be safely ignored (1 Cor 14:38).

Order & Freedom (1 Cor 14:39–40)

After the notes regulating the exercise of the gifts of the Spirit, Paul reasserts freedom with order. He tells them, don’t forbid tongues, implying that some in Corinth were fed up enough to want this solution, and “be eager to prophesy,” as long as “everything is done properly and in order.” And given his close strictures on how tongues should function or go silent in the church, it’s interesting to note that his closing statement warns, “do not forbid speaking in tongues.”


Author: Dale A. Brueggemann

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