Paul finishes out his letter to the church in Corinth by emphasizing the gifts of the Holy Spirit. He focuses primarily on two: the gift of tongues and the gift of prophecy. Interestingly neither of these gifts do we practice regularly at the church. He says clearly that the gift of tongues is for individual edification while the gift of prophecy is for the building up of the church. Let’s clarify what these gifts are. Speaking in tongues is a release of the mind and body to utter that which the Holy Spirit has planted within our hearts to utter. It can be words or not necessarily words. But Paul makes it clear that its use is only to bring us closer to God, while within a community there must be an interpreter in order to see tongues as coming from God.
Prophecy is not the telling of the future. Let’s be clear about that. It is for the purpose of building up the community and for speaking clearly how God is working in our midst. It is a reflection of God’s work which provides clarity for how the church ought to come alongside God as God is working. Chapter 12 has a great image of the church as a body and each member working together to make the body function as it should. He emphasizes in both the life of the church and in worship that there has to be order. Disorder in the life of the church and in worship is the kiss of death.
Of course we have I Corinthians 13 which is considered the love chapter and which is used habitually in weddings to describe the type of love that God has for us and so the reflects the type of love that we ought to have for each other. We apply it to marriage, but it can also be applies to any love that two individuals may have. Finally Paul emphasizes the importance of believing in the resurrection. Without the resurrection our faith is foolishness. I’m not certain that many modern Christians actually believe that the resurrection of the body is going to take place. We read in chapter 15 that this body that will be resurrection is a glorified body so one that is perfect in every way, shape and form. I like to leave on that note and that image. We will be raised bodily perfect. Nice.