Posted by: Pastor Terry Hagedorn | August 20, 2018

Preaching and Hearing (I Cor. 14:3). Dr. Robert L. Horton

Paul begins an extended discussion of spiritual gifts in chapter 11 of I Corinthians. He interrupts it in chapter 13 to discuss something even more important than gifts of the Spirit – the nature and importance of love. Then he resumes the discussion in chapter 14, and places an emphasis on prophecy. But his definition of prophecy runs counter to the way many think of spiritual gifts. Paul says, “He who prophesies speaks edification and exhortation and comfort to men” (14:3). This sounds exactly like a definition of preaching.

Those called by God to preach, which calling is a spiritual gift to the church (see Eph. 4:11), are to speak to men just as Paul describes. They are to seek to edify their hearers, that is to instruct them in the truths of the Gospel and the Bible. They are to encourage growth from babes in Christ taking in only the milk of the Word to mature believers capable of chewing on solid doctrinal meat. In exhortation they challenge believers to live as becoming saints. And they are to apply the love of Christ to the emotional and spiritual needs of the congregation.

We who sit in the pews are to learn from the lessons, hear and practice the exhortations, and experience the shepherding love and care of our Savior. Faithful hearing is an active obligation in response to the Spirit’s gift of prophecy given to the church in the person of the preacher.


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