1 Cor 14:26 “What should you do then, brothers and sisters? When you come together, each one has a song, has a lesson, has a revelation, has a tongue, has an interpretation. Let all these things be done*~ for the strengthening of the church.”
What was a typical early church like to an observer? Paul laid the foundational principles and commands (1 Cor 14:1–-25) and now describes the activities of a congregational gathering. One person would sing a “song” with a harp as musical accompaniment.
Though not a gift mentioned in 1 Corinthians 12, it was a common practice in Old Testament worship and in the New Testament to “[speak] to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs” (Eph 5:19 and Col 3:16). Another person would teach (1 Cor 12:29; Rom 12:7; Col 3:16), another would describe a special revelation from God (possibly a practice of the gift of prophecy: 1 Cor 12:10, 29; 13:2; 14:1), and another would speak an unknown language (12:10, 28, 30) while someone else interpreted (12:30).
This is not necessarily Paul’s recommendation for an order of service; rather, it is a description of the normal activities in their gatherings. His focus is not so much on what happened but on how it should happen. The priority is on orderly activities to benefit congregational needs. It seems the Corinthians were performing these activities for themselves simultaneously, causing pandemonium. Visitors thought they were crazy (1 Cor 14:23).
“From now on let all these things be done for the edification of the church.” Just as one stone is added to another to build a house, so each truth, command, and piece of wisdom is to be taught. Believers must decide to be edifiers: “Therefore encourage one another, and build up one another” (1 Thes 5:11).
“Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to his edification. For even Christ did not please Himself” (Rom 15:2–-3): To be like Christ is to seek the benefit of others as a priority in life. Any use of the spiritual gifts that does not fulfill this requirement is loveless.
Only one building tool builds up a believer: the word of God. Have you experienced this edification by learning new, practical truths that changed your life? This is what you now have to share. Make it your life’s goal to edify others.
“Dear Father, what importance You have placed on the edification of Your church! May Your servants be ever faithful in doing everything possible to accomplish that goal in our ministries.”