This blog post and the next post were published in May of 2006 (see “Who is qualified to speak during the meeting?” and “Who is responsible for speaking during the meeting?“). I thought my newer readers might enjoy these posts. My thoughts in this area have not changed much in the last year and a half.
“For you can all prophesy one by one, that all may learn and all may be encouraged.” (1 Corinthians 14:31)
Does Paul really mean “all”? Does he really mean that every believer in the meeting has the potential for speaking edifying words during the assembly of the church? Does he really expect that a new believer could speak words that would “teach” a pastor?
The answer to all of these questions must be “Yes!”
Consider the ones to whom Paul is writing. For the most part, they do not have a personal copy of the Scriptures. And yet, Paul expects all of them to be able to speak during the meeting. “Knowing” Scripture must not be a prerequisite for speaking during the assembly.
So, what qualifies someone to speak during the meeting? In the context of 1 Corinthians 12-14, Paul offers three different qualifications:
1) The person must be endwelled by the Spirit of God, and therefore gifted by the Spirit.
2) The person must speak from a motivation of love.
3) The person must speak in order to edify the body of Christ.
These are the only qualifications. Education is not a qualification. Experience is not a qualification. Speaking ability is not a qualification.
Who is allowed to speak in our assemblies? Perhaps there are times when those “qualified” should be silent in order to allow others to speak “that all may learn and all may be encouraged.”