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Desire Prophecy: Pursuing what builds the church

Paul’s message in this text has great contemporary relevance. To members of the body of Christ who deny or downplay the gifts of the Spirit Paul says desire or seek them. To other believers who have and exercise the gifts Paul would say make sure that you exercise them in the proper spirit, which is love, and for the proper purpose, the edification of the church. There is no room for spiritual pride or showmanship in the church; we are empowered to serve. To those in the Pentecostal or charismatic churches who are in some sense duplicating the Corinthian error of over emphasis on tongues Paul would say that there are other gifts as well that can edify the church and they should be sought because the church needs all of them. Finally, Paul’s words tell us that we have a God who desires to communicate with us and build us up in the faith. He desires to do this, at least in part, by speaking through various members of the body. May we be great seekers of His gifts, good stewards of His grace (1 Peter 4:10) and grateful recipients of his servants for the up building of His church.





1 Gordon D. Fee, Paul, the Spirit, and the People of God (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1996), 170.

2 Gordon D. Fee, God’s Empowering Presence: The Holy Spirit In The Letters Of Paul (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1994), 170.

3 Ben Witherington III, Conflict & Community In Corinth: A Social-Rhetorical Commentary on 1 and 2 Corinthians (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans/ Carlisle, Cumbria: Paternoster, 1995), 276-279.

4 Craig S. Keener, The IVP Bible Background Commentary New Testament (Downers Grove: InterVarsity, 1993), 480.

5 Witherington, 241.

6 Ibid, 247, 253.

7 Ibid , 8.

8 Ibid.

9 Bruce W. Winter, After Paul Left Corinth: The Influence of Secular Ethics and Social Change (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2001), 1.

10 Gordon D. Fee, The First Epistle To The Corinthians, The New International Commentary On The New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1987), 653.

11 Leon Morris, The First Epistle Of Paul To The Corinthians, Tyndale New Testament Commentaries, reprint (Leicester, England: InterVarsity/Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1983), 190.

12 Witherington, 281.

13 C. K. Barrett, The First Epistle To The Corinthians (New York: Harper & Row, 1968; reprint, Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1987), 315.

14 Morris, 190.

15 Fee, Corinthians, 653

16 Ibid.

17 Barrett, 316.

18 Morris, 192.

19 Craig S. Keener, 3 Crucial Questions about the Holy Spirit, Three Crucial Questions Series (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1996), 121.

20 Fee, Corinthians, 659.

21 Everett Ferguson, Backgrounds of Early Christianity, second edition (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1993), 98.

22 Morris, 194.


All Scripture quotations taken from the New International Version copyright 1973,1978, 1984 International Bible Society.


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Category: Spirit, Summer 2006

About the Author: John P. Lathrop is a graduate of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and is an ordained minister with the International Fellowship of Christian Assemblies. He has written for a number of publications and is the author of four books Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors, and Teachers Then and Now (Xulon Press, 2008), The Power and Practice of the Church: God, Discipleship, and Ministry (J. Timothy King, 2010), Answer the Prayer of Jesus: A Call for Biblical Unity (Wipf & Stock, 2011) and Dreams & Visions: Divine Interventions in Human Experience (J. Timothy King, 2012). He also served as co-editor of the book Creative Ways to Build Christian Community (Wipf & Stock, 2013). Amazon Author page. Facebook

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