Point One -- The context reveals that Paul is concerned that too many were chasing after tongues instead of more useful gifts such as prophecy. It seems that the same showy, "look at me" spirit that infects charismania today may have been at work in Corinth as well. To take one verse from the midst of a different conversation and undo millennia of understood theology is not responsible hermeneutics at all. For contrast, God wanted everyone to understand that under the New Covenant, we are not bound by the same dietary restrictions that the Old Testament followers were. So he provides an entire story about the dream Peter had to teach that what He has made should not be declared unclean. That we were free to eat once again. He further supports this new teaching throughout the New Testament, especially when He teaches about not causing a brother to stumble because one thinks you should not eat meat sacrificed to idols. That is how clear God is when He is trying to make sure His people know that something important has changed. Not a random verse in the middle of a discussion that is completely different. The truth is that God has never changed beloved. Prophecy is still the same. God can use people to speak for Him but if they are not pointing people back to the final revealed will in Scripture I would stay far away.
Point Two -- Understanding what upbuilding, encouragement, and consolation mean. Remember, the point Grady and others make is that this verse says these three things are the reasons why we prophesy and therefore there never should be any harsh prophecies. But is that true? These three outcomes are also what we expect from the Word of God and that makes perfect sense. Prophecy is also the word of God. It should always edify, encourage and console. That does not mean however that God never is going to have corrective words for His people. In fact, the fallacy Grady is involved with here is that corrective words are somehow by nature a negative. Sure we may not want to hear repent but that is not the point. The point is DO we need to hear it? The word Micaiah had for King Ahab may not have seemed encouraging to him but did he NEED to hear it? Of course he did because it was from God and therefore true! Grady is ascribing negativity or harshness based upon how the word makes us feel instead of whether it is correct or not. To be built up is to be edified. Sometimes the building up process is not exactly painless. Think of the purification process beloved for silver. Sometimes the Lord needs to remove the dross from our lives if we are to continue to be built up in Christ. The fact that I didn't want to hear it, or found it painful does not negate the fact that it was encouraging, consoling and edifying. Here are the notes from the Matthew Henry Commentary for this section of Scripture:
14:1-5 Prophesying, that is, explaining Scripture, is compared with speaking with tongues. This drew attention, more than the plain interpretation of Scripture; it gratified pride more, but promoted the purposes of Christian charity less; it would not equally do good to the souls of men. What cannot be understood, never can edify. No advantage can be reaped from the most excellent discourses, if delivered in language such as the hearers cannot speak or understand. Every ability or possession is valuable in proportion to its usefulness. Even fervent, spiritual affection must be governed by the exercise of the understanding, else men will disgrace the truths they profess to promote. -- Matthew Henry Commentary
First of all, prophecy is as it says here, explaining Scripture. Secondly, Henry correctly points out the self-serving nature of tongues that we still see today. The final note here is almost prescient of what we see today in Charismania. The overhyped nature of being fervently affectionate towards God without actually abiding by what His Word says. Instead we end up watching the prophet brigade disgracing the very truths they profess to promote. This is reminiscent of Jesus bemoaning why people bother calling Him Lord if they refuse to do what He says.
Beloved, usually J. Lee Grady is better than this. The problem is that when you get involved within a denomination you tend towards what the denomination is accepting of regardless of what the Scripture actually says. Prophecy is not as complicated as we make it out to be these days. It is essentially is still man speaking on behalf of God. Revealing what the Lord has said. In the Old Testament days that revelation was given to the prophet directly from God since there was no set Bible the people had for themselves. The only difference in the New Testament church is that we have the revealed will of God found in the inspired Scripture. Does that mean that it is not fresh? Of course not! God is constantly revealing new things to us all through His Word! I am sure most of us have experienced looking at a verse we had seen before but this time the Holy Spirit leads us into a deeper truth regarding that Scripture. That is revelation beloved. We must as a church move away from the spirit of Ahab that only wanted to hear what he deemed positive instead of what God actually wanted to say. It seems today that the modern day wannabe prophets simply take the Bible dip it into a cotton candy machine and call it prophecy. Nonsense. If God wants to say I love you, He will. If He wants to say repent, He will. No matter what He has to say it is worth hearing without the diabetic filter of the False Prophet Industrial Complex. Keep your sneak squid spirit prophecies! Give me Micaiah! Keep your "Increase, shifting atmospheres, new seasons, expanding territories" clairvoyantly demonic words! Give me Micaiah! Give me the straight Word of God. Hold the sugar please.
Reverend Anthony Wade -- July 28, 2017