New Testament Lesson 37 (1 Corinthians 14–16)
THE GIFT OF TONGUES
● 1 Cor. 14:1–12 Paul’s teachings on the gifts of tongues and of prophecy, and of the need to edify each other when we come together to worship.
— The Saints in Corinth were seeking after spiritual gifts, but in particular those that were “showy” like the gift of tongues.
— The problem with the gift of tongues is that many, if not most, of the hearers cannot understand what is said. “So likewise ye, except ye utter by the tongue words easy to be understood, how shall it be known what is spoken? For ye shall speak into the air” (v. 9). And also, “if I know not the meaning of the voice, I shall be unto him that speaketh a barbarian, and he that speaketh shall be a barbarian unto me” (v. 11). “I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than ye all; Yet in the church I had rather speak five words with my understanding, that by my voice I might teach others also, than ten thousand words in an unknown tongue” (vv. 18–19).
— Paul counseled them to seek instead to have the gift of prophecy, which will bless and edify everyone (vv. 2–5).
— Paul also said that our gifts should be used for edifying one another. “When ye come together, every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying” (v.26).
— “For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the Saints” (v. 33).
● The Prophet Joseph Smith said about the gift of tongues:
— The devil can speak in tongues.1
— Its purpose is to teach unbelievers.2
— Don’t be too curious about it.3
— Don’t indulge in it too much.4
— Not everything taught by the gift of tongues is doctrine.5
● 1 Cor. 14:21–22 The gift of tongues can be of some benefit to unbelievers, because it is dramatic, but the gift of prophecy is of more benefit to believers because it communicates the mind and will of the Lord.
● 1 Cor. 14:26 If the gift of tongues causes someone to “lose control,” it is not of God.
● 1 Cor. 15:1–8 An important listing of some appearances of Jesus after his resurrection.
— Christ’s death and resurrection are the heart of the gospel (vv. 1–3).
— Jesus appeared to his younger brother James after the resurrection (v. 7).
● 1 Cor. 15:12–32 The Sadducees denied the reality of the resurrection.
— Greek philosophy said the body was evil, and while there might be eternal life for the spirit, there certainly was none for the body.
— Paul’s response was that the doctrine of the resurrection is pivotal and all other truths of the gospel of Jesus Christ depend on it:
— If there’s no resurrection, why perform baptisms for the dead? (v. 29).
— The Prophet Joseph Smith said, “Every man that has been baptized and belongs to the kingdom has a right to be baptized for those who have gone before; and as soon as the law of the Gospel is obeyed here by their friends who act as proxy for them, the Lord has administrators there to set them free. A man may act as proxy for his own relatives; the ordinances of the Gospel which were laid out before the foundations of the world have thus been fulfilled by them. . .”6
● 1 Cor. 15:35–39 Planting a seed illustrates how God can create life from death (burial).
● 1 Cor. 15:40–42 There are different kinds of bodies in the resurrection (see also D&C 88:20–21, 28–31).
● 2 Cor. 12:2–4 Paul’s vision of the three degrees of glory.
● 1 Cor. 15:44–49 The nature of resurrected bodies.
— President Ezra Taft Benson said, “There is a separation of the spirit and the body at the time of death. The resurrection will again unite the spirit with the body, and the body becomes a spiritual body, one of flesh and bones but quickened by the spirit instead of blood. Thus, our bodies after the resurrection, quickened by the spirit, shall become immortal and never die. This is the meaning of the statements of Paul that ‘there is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body and ‘that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God.’ The natural body is flesh and blood, but quickened by the spirit instead of blood, it can and will enter the kingdom.”7
● 1 Cor. 15:50 “Flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God.”
● The Prophet Joseph Smith taught:
1. The life of the mortal body is in the blood (Leviticus 17:11). Joseph Smith taught that “when our flesh is quickened by the Spirit, there will be no blood in this tabernacle.”8
2. ”God Almighty Himself dwells in eternal fire; flesh and blood cannot go there, for all corruption is devoured by the fire.”9
3. ”Flesh and blood cannot go there [i.e., into God’s presence] ; but flesh and bones, quickened by the Spirit of God, can.”10
4. ”As concerning the resurrection. . . . all will be raised by the power of God, having spirit in their bodies, and not blood.”11
● 1 Cor. 15:50–52 Some will not die but be changed instantaneously from mortal to immortality.
● Significance of the resurrection. Elder D. Todd Christopherson taught:
“Consider for a moment the significance of the Resurrection in resolving once and for all the true identity of Jesus of Nazareth and the great philosophical contests and questions of life. If Jesus was in fact literally resurrected, it necessarily follows that He is a divine being. No mere mortal has the power in himself to come to life again after dying. Because He was resurrected, Jesus had to have been a God, even the Only Begotten Son of the Father.
“Therefore, what He taught is true; God cannot lie.
“Therefore, He was the Creator of the earth, as He said.
“Therefore, heaven and hell are real, as He taught.
“Therefore, there is a world of spirits, which He visited after His death.
“Therefore, He will come again, as the angels said, and ‘reign personally on the earth.’
“Therefore, there is a resurrection and a final judgment for all.”12
● Ordinances for the dead. Elder Wilford Woodruff said that when he learned that living members of the Church could receive saving ordinances in behalf of their ancestors who had passed away, “it was like a shaft of light from the throne of God to our hearts. It opened a field wide as eternity to our minds.” He also commented, “It appeared to me that the God who revealed that principle unto man was wise, just and true, possessed both the best of attributes and good sense and knowledge. I felt he was consistent with both love, mercy, justice and judgment, and I felt to love the Lord more than ever before in my life. . . . I felt to say hallelujah when the revelation came forth revealing to us baptism for the dead. . . .”
“The first thing that entered into my mind,” he said, “was that I had a mother in the spirit world. She died when I was 14 months old. . . .” Later on, he spoke of the time when he had the opportunity to have his mother sealed to his father. “She will have a part in the first resurrection; and this alone would pay me for all the labors of my life.”13
1. Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, sel. Elder Joseph Fielding Smith , 162.
2. Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 195.
3. Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 247.
4. Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 229.
5. Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 229.
6. Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 367.
7. In Conference Report, Apr. 1969, 138.
8. Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 367.
9. Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 367.
10. Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 326.
11. Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 199-200.
12. “The Resurrection of Jesus Christ,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2014, 113.
13. Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Wilford Woodruff , 185-86.