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1 Corinthians 14:1 & meaning...


after love, and earnestly desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy.

1 Corinthians 14:1


1 Corinthians 13 [11.] When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I felt as a child, I thought as a child. Now that I have become a man, I have put away childish things. For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I will know fully, even as I was also fully known. But now faith, hope, and love remain—these three. The greatest of these is love.

1 Corinthians 14 [1.] Follow after love, and earnestly desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy. For he who speaks in another language speaks not to men, but to God; for no one understands; but in the Spirit he speaks mysteries. But he who prophesies speaks to men for their edification, exhortation, and consolation. He who speaks in another language edifies himself, but he who prophesies edifies the assembly. Now I desire to have you all speak with other languages, but rather that you would prophesy. For he is greater who prophesies than he who speaks with other languages, unless he interprets, that the assembly may be built up.


At its core, 1 Corinthians 14:1 emphasizes the primacy of love in the life of a believer and in the functioning of the church. Love is the defining characteristic of the Christian faith, as exemplified by Jesus Christ Himself (John 13:34-35). Therefore, Paul urges the Corinthian believers to prioritize love above all else in their pursuit of spiritual gifts and in their interactions within the church.

The significance of this verse lies in its recognition of the transformative power of love. Love is not merely an emotion but a choice and a commitment to act in accordance with God's will and to seek the well-being of others. In the context of spiritual gifts, love serves as the guiding principle that ensures the proper use and edification of the church body.

Paul's exhortation to "earnestly desire spiritual gifts" acknowledges the importance of spiritual gifts in the life of the church. These gifts are given by the Holy Spirit for the building up of the body of Christ and the advancement of God's kingdom (1 Corinthians 12:7). However, Paul emphasizes that the pursuit of spiritual gifts must always be grounded in love.

Furthermore, Paul highlights the gift of prophecy as particularly significant within the church community. Prophecy involves speaking forth God's word under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit for the purpose of edification, encouragement, and exhortation (1 Corinthians 14:3). It is a gift that builds up the church and brings clarity and direction to God's people.

Cross-referencing with other passages in Scripture, we find similar teachings on the importance of love and spiritual gifts. In 1 Corinthians 13:1-3, known as the "love chapter," Paul emphasizes that love is the greatest of all virtues and that without love, spiritual gifts are meaningless. In Romans 12:6-8, Paul provides a list of spiritual gifts and emphasizes the need for each believer to use their gifts in accordance with the measure of faith and in service to one another.

As we reflect on 1 Corinthians 14:1, we are reminded of the centrality of love in the Christian life and in the functioning of the church. It challenges us to examine our motivations and to ensure that our pursuit of spiritual gifts is motivated by love and a desire to serve others. It also encourages us to seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit in the exercise of our gifts and to prioritize edification and unity within the body of Christ.

In our personal lives, 1 Corinthians 14:1 prompts us to cultivate a deeper love for God and for one another. It calls us to live out the love of Christ in all that we do and to seek the empowerment of the Holy Spirit to use our gifts for the benefit of others. Ultimately, may we follow after love and earnestly desire spiritual gifts, that the body of Christ may be built up and God glorified.

PIB Scriptures are derived from the World English Bible


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