1 Corinthians 14:33, 40 - Proper Worship.
1Cor.14:33, 40; Proper Worship.
1 Cor 14:33 (KJV) For God is not the author of confusion, but
of peace, as in all churches of the saints.
1 Cor 14:40 (KJV) Let all things be done decently and in order.
We knock. The door's thrown open wide, and we're welcomed by a
smiling slave. One of the brothers. This is "going to church" in the
first century, and we know it's going to be, well, different.
Inside we sit down in the largest room with some 15 or 20
others. The meeting starts with singing, and everybody seems to want to
start a hymn. The singing is interrupted now and then as one person or
another speaks--contributing "a word of instruction, a revelation, a
tongue or an interpretation." We can't make out just who the pastor is.
No one gets up in front and talks 30 or 40 minutes. Instead, almost
everyone speaks; some just a word or two, others saying more. There's
prayer too. And, even though we can't understand the Greek they speak,
we sense their warmth and sincerity.
This is the picture Paul gives us of a church meeting in 1
Corinthians 14. One that fits perfectly with other New Testament references
to Christian gatherings, found in Colossians 3:15-16 and Hebrews
10:24-25. What strikes us most of all is the informality, and the fact
that everyone participates. These folks seem to take the teaching
that everyone has a spiritual gift seriously! So everyone is given
the opportunity to share.
Somehow in the nearly 2,000 years that have passed since Paul
wrote these words, church meetings have changed. They're more formal
now. Usually only one person, a professional, selects the hymns,
prays, and speaks. The rest of us sit there, dressed up, worshiping.
Even learning. But not using our gift, and not being ministered to by
I don't suppose any of us seriously imagine that we can go back
to the first-century church. Or even that we should. But somewhere
in your Christian experience and in mine we have to make room for
that same kind of quiet gathering of believers who know, love, and
minister to each other.
Maybe this is happening in your Sabbath School class. Maybe in a
prayer cell. Maybe even in your own living room, in a home Bible study.
But it does need to be happening somewhere. You do have a spiritual
gift. Others need your ministry to them. And you need theirs. [The
365-Day Devotional Commentary mod]
It is evident from Scripture that there was an informality about
the meetings of the early church. We must avoid formality on one
hand and fanaticism on the other. It is a fine line to toe. A planned
service is not an unspiritual service, for the same Spirit can lead in
the planning beforehand just as He can lead in the service itself.
But even in a planned service, we must make room for the Spirit to
lead, lest we grieve Him. [Wiersbe Expository Outlines]
Formality should be shunned; but, in so doing, order should not
be neglected. There is order in heaven. There was order in the
church when Christ was upon the earth, and after His departure order
was strictly observed among His apostles. And now in these last
days, while God is bringing His children into the unity of the faith,
there is more real need of order than ever before; for, as God unites
His children, Satan and his evil angels are very busy to prevent
this unity and to destroy it. EW97-99
The Christian must always guard against the evil of formality in
public worship. God looks not for outward show and display of talent,
but for sincere, loving devotion to Him expressed in prayer and
praise (see John 4:24; 9T 143). Dignity and reverence are essential,
but they will be inspired by a genuine sense of the majesty and
greatness of God, and not by any response to the prompting of the natural
heart for self-exaltation. [SDA Commentary]
God is a God of order. Everything connected with heaven is in
perfect order; subjection and thorough discipline mark the movements of
the angelic host. Success can only attend order and harmonious
action. God requires order and system in His work now no less than in
the days of Israel. All who are working for Him are to labor
intelligently, not in a careless, haphazard manner. PP376
God the Father is a purposive, orderly God working for good
ends. His actions are not random and erratic, and His purposes are not
ever-changing. When worship becomes chaotic and out of control, it no longer
reflects the God of peace. [Disciple SB]
Order is the law of heaven, and it should be the law of God's
people on the earth. TM26,7
The true worship of God will not result in disorder of any kind.
This verse presents a general, governing principle of Christianity
that is derived from the nature of God. He is the God of peace, and
it is not to be taught that He could be pleased by a form of
worship characterized by confusion of any kind (see Rom. 15:33; 16:20; 1
Thess. 5:23; Heb. 13:20). [SDA Commentary]
The worshiper will be ready to express his love and gratitude to
God in prayer and testimony, but he will express it with
seriousness, tenderness, and a genuine respect for the maintenance of order
in the house of God, and not with a desire to interrupt and disturb
the dignified worship of God. [SDA Commentary]
In worship, everything must be done in harmony and with order.
Even when the gifts of the Holy Spirit are being exercised, there is
no excuse for disorder. [Life Application SB]
No one who is submissive to the leading of the Holy Spirit will
be disposed to engage in scenes of disorder and confusion.... [SDA
God does not distribute gifts in a disorderly way (14:33).
[College Press NIV Commentary]
If a speaker gets "carried away," it is proof that the Spirit is
not speaking; for when the Spirit is at work, there is self-control.
[Wiersbe Expository Outlines]
Paul says that "the spirits of prophets are subject to the
control of prophets" (14:32). That is, God does not turn His people into
puppets and jerk their strings in ways that rob them of control! The
excuse "I couldn't help myself. I was possessed by God!" simply won't
wash. [Victor Bible Background Commentary]
Evaluation of the merits of the exercise of any of the spiritual
gifts as to legitimacy and fruitfulness can be made with relative ease
based upon this clear verse. When some religious activity engenders
strife and confusion, it is probably not of God. [Believer's SB]
Spiritual gifts glorify God and build up the Body of Christ.
A far more sure indicator of spirituality is love, which is
essential as the interpersonal context in which every gift is to be
exercised. [Victor Bible Background Commentary]
Everything should be done decorously, as becomes the worship of
the Omnipotent Creator, and there should be no confusion,
unnecessary noise, or disorder (see Hab 2:20; Ev 314, 636, 637; Ed 243; PK
48, 49; PP 303; 4T 626. [SDA Commentary]
Let all be done "decorously," as becomes the worship of the
great and holy God; let all be without confusion, noise, and disorder.
He is the God of peace; and his religion will tend to promote
order. It is calm, peaceful, thoughtful. It is not boisterous and
disorderly. (Barnes' Notes)
Christians should regard God as the author of peace. They should
always in the sanctuary demean themselves in a reverent manner, and
with such decorum as becomes people when they are in the presence of
a holy and pure God, and engaged in his worship. (Barnes' Notes)
The way to keep peace, truth, and order in the church, is to
seek that which is good for it, to bear with that which is not
hurtful to its welfare, and to keep up good behaviour, order, and
decency. [Matthew Henry Commentary]
Everything in the church of God should be conducted with gravity
and composure, suitable to the importance of the things, the
infinite dignity of the object of worship,... How much pain, confusion, and
loss would be prevented, were this rule followed! There is scarcely
an embarrassment in civil or domestic life that does not originate
in a neglect of this precept. No business, trade, art, or science,
can be carried on to any advantage or comfort, unless peculiar
attention be paid to it. And as to religion, there can be absolutely none
without it. Where decency and order are not observed in every part of
the worship of God, no spiritual worship can be performed. The
manner of doing a thing is always of as much consequence as the act
itself. And often the act derives all its consequence and utility from
the manner in which it is performed. (Adam Clarke Commentary)
A uniformly shared idea in the family of Christ is: all worship
must be accomplished "decently and in order." This idea has a
two-fold application to our worship services. One application is to the
elements and conduct of the service itself, that it be God-honoring.
Second, that the participants in the worship service conduct themselves
decently and orderly. Whatever the diversity permitted in your corporate
worship, be sure it may be considered decent, especially by those
visiting. Joy and solemnity are twins. There are times for praise and
exaltation of God, and times in the same service, when it is appropriate to
so focus on God that there be quiet and calm. In the new church
there is much informality, much coming and going during worship. Let's
take a pulse check on ourselves (not our neighbors). Do we conduct
ourselves with reverence, joy and concentration during worship? Remember
Paul's admonition today; commit to "let all things be done decently and
in order." [In His Time; Walk With Wisdom]