Worship in the church at Corinth had to be an unforgettable experience. A careful reading of 1 Corinthians reveals such an abuse of the Lord’s Supper and a vying for showing one’s superiority with spiritual gifts given to the members there.
The Lord’s Supper had lost its original intent and had become a “church social function,” with the rich displaying their sumptuous food while others who were hungry were ignored. It had ceased to be His supper. Read the following verses and note the possessive words I have highlighted. “When you come together in one place, it is not to eat the Lord’s Supper. For in eating each one takes his own supper ahead of others …” (1 Cor. 11:20-21). Imagine assembling to remember His death and suffering and being faced with such horrendous blasphemy. It was not the Lord’s Supper; it was theirs!
Their assemblies would have been equally frustrating. There was no church which had more spiritual gifts than Corinth (1 Cor. 1:7), nor was there any church which abused the usage of them more. Read 1 Corinthians 14:26-40, where you will discover that because each of them had miraculously given gifts, they were competing for worship time to use them (v. 26). Those who could speak with tongues thought their gifts were so great that they were all speaking at the same time. Paul rebuked them and told them that there should never be more than three speaking in tongues in a service and they should do it one at a time (v. 27). If there was no one present with the miraculous power to translate these languages, Paul said that they should never have anyone to speak in tongues (v. 28). Evidently, there were some women who were actively speaking up and he told them to be quiet, for it was shameful for women to speak in the church (v. 35).
While those speaking in tongues in the Bible were speaking real languages, which they had never studied (Acts 2:4-6), those in charismatic churches today do not speak in languages any man understands. What a contrast! Many are not aware that the Hindu religion has similar tongue speakers who duplicate what the charismatics do.
Yet, why would the Holy Spirit give such directions? Was there something better than the Holy Spirit actually empowering individuals to speak in foreign languages? These God given languages were designed for the unbelievers (v. 22), yet God limited the usage of them among believers. Why? What could be more profitable than this manifestation of God and His power? Read the text again.
God wanted prophets, not tongue speaking! Think!