Open floor in the meeting

1 Corinthians 14:26 says “When you assemble, each one has a psalm, has a teaching, has a revelation, has a tongue, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification.”

The context in chapter 14 is the church meeting together, as we might usually do on a Sunday. Phrases like “in the church” v19, “the whole church assembles together” v23, “an ungifted man enters” v24 (Enters where? The local church meeting makes sense of this wording). Therefore verse 26 is something that should happen when the whole church assembles.

Chapter 14 v29-31: “Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others weigh what is said… For you can all prophesy one by one, so that all may learn and all be encouraged.” (my emphasis) The obvious intention is that multiple people from the group have an opportunity to speak to the whole group, the purpose is clearly defined – learning and encouragement. (This does not say the purpose of gathering together is to worship, but that is another topic.)

How can we do what these verses say to do?

In our church we have what we call the “open time”. It’s usually about 30 minutes in the middle of the church meeting, when any of the men are welcome to make a contribution from the floor. They will just stand in their place and speak. Common types of contributions are to ask for a song, read from the Bible, sometimes just reading, but usually with comments, and prayer. You can see that some of the men have prepared something to say beforehand. It is really encouraging, to realise that we can learn from each other as we live the Christian life.

It is unplanned but it is orderly. 1 Corinthians 14:33 says “…God is not a God of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints.” Verses 29-31 quoted above also show an orderly meeting.

Remember the last part of verse 26 is Let all things be done for edification. Edification means to build up (same root word as edify). has the definition “the act of one who promotes another’s growth in Christian wisdom, piety, happiness, holiness”1. The aim of the contributions are not self-promotion but to build the believers.

I visited another church recently and they also had a section in the programme like this, but the speakers went to a mic at the front.

How are you attempting to put this verse into action in your church?

Photo by Nicole Honeywill