Scripture: 1 Corinthians 14:1-19
Key verses: 14For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays but my mind is unproductive. 15What should I do then? I will pray with the spirit, but I will pray with the mind also; I will sing praise with the spirit, but I will sing praise with the mind also.
Reflection: In this passage the apostle Paul is instructing believers in Corinth about speaking in tongues. He lifts up the ability to prophesy in order to build up and encourage the community of faith. Speaking in tongues on its own, he says, just benefits the one who speaks. But prophesying with interpretation or teaching others benefits the whole church. Paul holds up the necessity of engaging both the spirit and the mind in prayer and praise.
We are called to love God with all our heart and soul and mind and strength. Our Presbyterian reformed heritage has always held up the importance of the life of the mind, in our faith. For that reason, we have always believed in the importance of an educated clergy, of the development and support for educational institutions, and of the education of Christians through the study of scripture and theology. These values are no less true today than they have been in the past. Now that we can carry the Bible around in our back pockets and purses on our phones, we have more access to scripture than ever before. Certainly much more than the new believers in Corinth did. But Paul’s instruction to the early believers is still relevant today.
What are you doing to seek to grow in your faith through both your spirit and your mind? Where are you gathering with others to learn together, and to learn from scholars and teachers? And how is your growth in faith benefiting the community of faith, and not just yourself?
Prayer: Lord, you have given me the gift of a spirit and a mind. Help me use both in prayer and in praise to you. Show me how to use my mind to benefit the community of faith. In the name of Christ the teacher and Lord, I pray. Amen.
Author: Julie Hester
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].