Week 37 is scheduled for study Sept. 4-10, 2023. Our focus this week is on the gift of prophecy and on the resurrection. The gift of prophecy is meant for the members of the Church.

Day 1

Record your impressions while you read 1 Corinthians 14-16. Pray about what the Spirit has taught you, and ask Heavenly Father if there is more He would like you to learn.

1 Corinthians 14 – I can seek the gift of prophecy.

Chapter 14 describes the differences between mainly two gifts of the Spirit – speaking in tongues and the gift of prophecy. Both are somewhat misunderstood by many people. Here are the first few verses of this chapter.

Follow after charity, and desire spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may prophesy.

For he that speaketh in an unknown tongue speaketh not unto men, but unto God: for no man understandeth him; howbeit in the spirit he speaketh mysteries.

But he that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort.

He that speaketh in an unknown tongue edifieth himself; but he that prophesieth edifieth the church.

Verse 1 – As we follow after (search for) the gift of charity, and we desire good gifts of the Spirit, we should seek the gift of prophesy.

Verse 2 – Joseph Smith replaces, in every instance, the word “unknown” with “another.” Too many people today have been exposed primarily to evangelical Christians who, when they speak in tongues just speak gibberish. No one expects to understand them. And often their display is accompanied by falling down or fits of shaking. This is not what the gift is meant to be or to be used for. We mainly see the gift of tongues in use by missionaries who go out and have to speak to people in another language. They are still learning the language, so the Spirit often opens their mind and their mouth to help them communicate His message in the listener’s native tongue. After all, understanding is key to acquiring faith in the message. Many missionaries have experienced this gift to one degree or another when having to speak in another language. Note that it is not an “unknown” tongue, but “another” tongue – a language that is already known, but not native to the speaker.

The other important point in verse 2 is that the purpose of prophesying is to bless or edify the church. In other words, the gift of prophecy is meant to uplift all who hear or read the words of the person prophesying (teaching the gospel). There is more than one definition of the word prophesy. The word “prophecy” [profuh-see] is the utterance of the one speaking. But to “prophesy” [profuh-sahy] (that is with a long i sound, as in “like.”) is to utter what the world describes as a prediction. To the world a prophecy is not a sure thing like it is to a Latter-day Saint. We recognize that when the prophet tells us what will happen in the future that his prophecy is a sure thing and can be guaranteed to happen. The world sees prophecies as changeable and possible only. The prophecy is what the prophet prophesies. Note the difference in spelling and pronunciation.

Now let’s look at the difference in the meaning of the two types of prophecy. When a prophet gives us the word of the Lord for future events he is prophesying, telling us what will happen. But according to Paul in this chapter, the gift of prophecy is also the ability to explain the gospel in understandable ways so that those who hear the spoken words or read the words are edified and uplifted. Their understanding of God’s word is enlarged by the clarity of the teaching of the person who has the gift. I don’t know if this makes the one who teaches the word of God a prophet or not. I’m not comfortable with the notion of claiming to be a prophet, since I know full well I am not in the same league as the prophet who leads the Church. But Paul is very clear that the ability to teach others the gospel in meaningful and clear ways is the gift of prophecy.

This means that when you attend a Sunday School lesson, a Relief Society or Priesthood lesson, or have a Spirit-filled family home evening, you have experienced the gift of prophecy, for you have been edified by the teaching of the word of God. Verses 3-4 are quite clear about this. This is why Paul encourages all of us to seek the gift of prophecy. When my son was born and I blessed him in sacrament meeting, I blessed him with the gift of prophecy. For the last nearly 40 years I have wondered where I got the temerity to claim my son would be a prophet. Now I understand that I was blessing him with the ability to teach the gospel so that others would be uplifted. That is a 40 year old load off my mind.

Day 2

Record your impressions while you read 1 Corinthians 14-16. Pray about what the Spirit has taught you, and ask Heavenly Father if there is more He would like you to learn.

1 Corinthians 14:34-35 – How does the statement about women in these verses apply today?

I don’t think Paul’s statements about women apply to us today. It was the custom of his society for women to be silent in Church. For them, a woman speaking up in a public meeting was a shameful thing, since all public gatherings were led by men. That doesn’t apply to our culture today, so when I read these verses I just recognize that our societies are different, and I note that I am grateful we honor the words of women in today’s society. I also recognize that there are still places on earth today where this older social norm still exists.

Day 3

Record your impressions while you read 1 Corinthians 14-16. Pray about what the Spirit has taught you, and ask Heavenly Father if there is more He would like you to learn.

1 Corinthians 15:1-34, 53-58 – Jesus Christ gained victory over death.

Paul’s rhetoric in this chapter is similar to Alma’s comments when explaining the gospel. Look at Alma 42:22.

22 But there is a law given, and a punishment affixed, and a repentance granted; which repentance, mercy claimeth; otherwise, justice claimeth the creature and executeth the law, and the law inflicteth the punishment; if not so, the works of justice would be destroyed, and God would cease to be God.

Alma is saying that if the things declared in the first part of the verse are not true then the result would be what follows in the last half of the verse. This is precisely what Paul is doing in 1 Corinthians 15. He just isn’t quite as succinct and precise as Alma is. I chalk up the differences to the society and educational backgrounds of the two men. Here is a quick example of Paul’s reasoning. He is saying that Christ has risen from the dead, yet some are saying that there is no resurrection. He reasons that if they are true then Christ did not rise from the dead, which nullifies all that he did for the human family, leaving all of us still in a state of sin.

16 For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised:

17 And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins.

We are always free to choose what it is we will believe and live by, but we also need to remember that when we make a choice there are consequences that go with each choice. The gospel of Christ tells us that because Christ paid for our sins and rose from the dead, granting resurrection to all, we can become free from our sinful natures and find  happiness through Christ’s teachings. If we reject those teachings do we have something better to believe from elsewhere? Our faith in Christ is that through his victory over death, and his atoning sacrifice, we can find ultimate happiness and personal peace. This is what we choose, as Latter-day Saints, to believe and to live by. All of our doctrines and practices hinge on this one core belief. Jesus is our one and only way back to God.

Day 4

Record your impressions while you read 1 Corinthians 14-16. Pray about what the Spirit has taught you, and ask Heavenly Father if there is more He would like you to learn.

1 Corinthians 15:35-54 – Resurrected bodies are different from mortal bodies.

Here is the basis for Paul’s teachings on the nature of the body in the resurrection.

36 Thou fool, that which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die:

37 And that which thou sowest, thou sowest not that body that shall be, but bare grain, it may chance of wheat, or of some other grain:

38 But God giveth it a body as it hath pleased him, and to every seed his own body.

His reasoning from these verses is as follows (in my own words, of course). When you plant a seed it is like the death of a body. You put it into the ground. What you had in mortality – the seed – is not what God raises up from that seed – the plant. The plant is far more glorious than what you planted, and it bears far more fruit in the end than just one seed, but up to a hundred fold. This same principle is demonstrated with the resurrection.

Some bodies that die are resurrected with more glory than others, just as some seeds produce more worthwhile fruit than others. There are bodies celestial, bodies terrestrial, etc. Each of them are based on the life that person lived, and the judgments of God.

Bodies raised from the grave are eternal in nature. That is what we saw when Jesus was resurrected. He still has a physical body that can eat and be touched, but it is now indestructible and will live forever. His body is able to receive glory far beyond what a mortal body could possess. This will be the same for all of us.

Side note: Paul teaches us that the last enemy to be put under the feet of Christ, or the last enemy to be conquered, will be death. Once Jesus has resurrected all of God’s children who came into mortality, death will be conquered. It will vanish, for there will be no more death, and those who have died will all be quickened or made alive by God’s Spirit to live forever with some degree of glory. This is our eternal destiny. This is the promise made to each and every one of us in our premortal or first estate. Only those who come to earth, and during our time from birth to the resurrection fully accept Christ’s gospel and embrace it with faith will also receive exaltation, the fullest degree of glory.

FHE/Personal Study

1 Corinthians 16:13 – Stand fast

13 Watch ye, stand fast in the faithquit you like men, be strong.

The manual has a fascinating activity to demonstrate this concept of standing fast, which means to plant yourself and not be moved. Satan wants to move us out of our course, to divert us so we become distracted and don’t fulfill our mission and purpose in life. The manual makes the following suggestion. “To help your family members relate to this verse, you could draw a circle on the ground and instruct a family member to “stand fast” inside it with his or her eyes closed. Then others could try to push or pull him or her from the circle.”

Imagine you are that person trying to “stand fast.” You have your eyes closed and are constantly being thrown off balance in one direction or another. To stay on your feet you must move them to put them under yourself to stay upright. After a few moments of constantly having to shift to try to stay firm on your feet, when you open your eyes do you think you will still be in the same place you started in? Chances are you will have gradually moved away from where you were. You may not like where you have ended up.

What do you think made you move from where you started to where you are now? Isn’t it because you couldn’t see what was causing you to move? If you could have watched who was pushing you or pulling you there would have been a frame of reference with which to make your adjustments so you could stay in the middle of your circle. The key here is that you need to see, to be watching in order to make the needed adjustments in your life. This is why God tells us to be watching for the signs of the times. We need to see what Satan is up to, what society is up to in order to not be swayed one way or the other, for with sight we can make better judgments and adjustments in our life. By watching what is going on around us in life we can stay centered and stand fast where God wants us to be for our own protection.

Improving Personal Study

Look for Patterns

The manual specifically wants us to look at patterns in 1 Corinthians 14. God works in patterns for a good reason. He tells us all the time that His course, or way of doing things, in unchanging. That means that if we can discern how He does things we can identify when He is at work in our lives, for we recognize His patterns of behavior. These are the same patterns we need to learn to live by.

Here is an example of one of God’s many patterns. These verses demonstrate to us the importance of learning to recognize God’s voice and the Spirit’s influence in our life. Paul has just told us that the gift of tongues is for helping to convert others to the gospel who speak another language from our own, but the gift of prophecy is to help us understand God’s dealings with us. The gift of prophecy is meant for the edification of those already inside of God’s kingdom on earth.

6 Now, brethren, if I come unto you speaking with tongues, what shall I profit you, except I shall speak to you either by revelation, or by knowledge, or by prophesying, or by doctrine?

And even things without life giving sound, whether pipe or harp, except they give a distinction in the sounds, how shall it be known what is piped or harped?

For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle?

These last two verses illustrate to us that not just any sound will do in any situation. If we need to prepare for battle, for instance, we need to know what the horn sounds like that will warn us of danger. That is a sound that is not life giving, for it is a manmade sound. But in the gospel, the teachings of God are life giving, so understanding and recognizing His teachings and understanding them is even more important than recognizing the sound of the battle trumpet. This is why the gift of prophecy, or teaching and explaining to gospel to others, is so important. This is a gift we all should be seeking, for not only do those who hear the word of God profit from this gift, but the person who learns and recognizes how to teach what they have learned profits even more from this gift. They must learn the meaning of the word of God before they can share it with others. Self conversion must come before the conversion of others. This is the power of the gift of prophecy as described by Paul.

Note: I have written a number of articles on the patterns of God’s behaviors. If you do a search in the search box at the top of this page (top right) you can get a listing of all the articles I’ve written on the patterns of God’s behavior. Search using the word “pattern.”

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NT37-2023 – God Is the Author of Peace