Decently and In Order

Text: 1 Corinthians 14:40

Our assemblies must be conducted “decently and in order” (KJV). What does this mean? How can we be sure our assemblies are what they need to be? This lesson will examine 1 Corinthians 14 to see how we can conduct our assemblies in the right way.

The Goal is Edification (v. 1-5)

  • Prophesying was better than speaking in tongues because it edified the church (v. 3, 5, 26) – we come together to edify and encourage one another (Hebrews 10:24-25)
  • Important to understand what edification is – not just a feeling; it is being strengthened by the word to do the Lord’s work (Acts 20:32; Ephesians 4:11-12)

The Meaning Must Be Clear (v. 6-12)

  • There must be a distinction between us and the religious world (v. 6-8; cf. John 4:24; 2 Timothy 4:2-4)
  • We must speak in such a way as to be understood (v. 9-11; cf. 2 Corinthians 3:12) – so the common people can understand (Mark 12:37; 1 Corinthians 1:26-27)

Our Minds Must Be Involved (v. 13-19)

  • Many have the idea that more emotional means more spiritual – but if our assemblies are not understandable, they do not edify (v. 16-17)
  • We are to be sober-minded (1 Corinthians 15:34) – be careful to do this properly; otherwise, we could sin in our worship (cf. Leviticus 10:1-3, 8-9)

Invite a Response to God (v. 20-25)

  • Not only are our words to be understandable, they are to invite a response – rather than inviting ridicule (v. 23), we are to invite a response to the gospel (v. 24-25)
  • Many wonder if we should offer an invitation in the assembly – some think it is just tradition; but an assembly conducted “decently and in order” should include one (cf. Acts 2:36-41)

All Must Be Done In Turn (v. 26-33)

  • Even during the time of actual spiritual gifts, there were not to be spontaneous outbursts in the assembly – God is not the author of confusion (v. 32-33); take turns so that all might be exhorted (v. 31)
  • In our assemblies, different men get up and lead worship (v. 26) – must be done in order; planned and executed so as not to distract from our purpose (worship and edification)

We Must Respect Our God-Given Roles (v. 34-36)

  • All people are equal before God (Galatians 3:28) – but that does not mean that all have the same roles; women are not permitted to teach or exercise authority (v. 34; 1 Timothy 2:11-12)
  • Even among the men, not all should take a public role in teaching (James 3:1) – not to discourage participation, but to encourage development (Hebrews 5:12; 2 Timothy 2:2)

We Must Follow the Lord’s Commandment (v. 37-38)

  • Everything we do must be by the Lord’s authority (Colossians 3:17) – we must worship in spirit and truth (John 4:24); do what the early church did (singing, praying, teaching, giving, taking the Lord’s Supper)
  • Those who do not recognize the need for authority should not be recognized (v. 38; 2 John 9-11)


  • Our assemblies are important and must be done “decently and in order” – we edify one another as we teach God’s word and do what He says
  • We need to be content with what God has given us to do, rather than seek to worship like the world

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