6 But now, brethren, if I come to you speaking with tongues, what shall I profit you unless I speak to you either by revelation, by knowledge, by prophesying, or by teaching? 7 Even things without life, whether flute or harp, when they make a sound, unless they make a distinction in the sounds, how will it be known what is piped or played? 8 For if the trumpet makes an uncertain sound, who will prepare for battle? 9 So likewise you, unless you utter by the tongue words easy to understand, how will it be known what is spoken? For you will be speaking into the air. (1 Corinthians 14:6–9, NKJV)
Speaking in tongues was a temporary miraculous gift of the Spirit by which one spoke in a foreign language unknown to the speaker but understandable to the hearers (1 Cor. 12:7-11; 13:8). Such a miracle helped spread the gospel to the world (1 Cor. 14:21). Without comprehension, the gift did not edify the listeners (1 Cor. 14:2, 4-5, 11-12, 28). Paul used musical instruments to illustrate the goal of comprehension through clarity (v. 7-8). Then, he made his point that using the gift of tongue-speaking was intended for people to understand the gospel message (v. 9, 7). If it failed to accomplish this, then it was ineffective (even hurtful, 14:23). We want people to understand what we say when we teach God’s word. Let us use “easy to understand” words to promote mature understanding and spiritual strength in those who hear us (v. 9, 18-20, 26).
44 Then He said to them, “These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me.” 45 And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures. 46 Then He said to them, “Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day,” (Luke 24:44–46, NKJV)
The Old Testament prophecies concerning the Christ were fulfilled in Jesus. The Lord Himself explained those prophecies to His apostles, opening their minds (understanding) to comprehend their meaning. Here is a key to understanding the OT prophecy: The New Testament explains the OT prophecies about Christ. The Holy Spirit inspired the apostles and prophets of Jesus to tell us what the OT prophecies meant (see examples in Acts 2:25-31; 13:32-41; 2 Pet. 1:19-21). We cannot lay a pre-conceived template over the inspired Scriptures and demand they conform to what we have already decided. Such an approach twists the Scriptures and destroys souls (2 Pet. 3:16). We must come with open hearts to comprehend the Scriptures (Acts 17:11-12).
99 I have more understanding than all my teachers, for Your testimonies are my meditation. 100 I understand more than the ancients, because I keep Your precepts. (Psalm 119:99–100, NKJV)
I remember a course in school called Reading Comprehension. We learned to read with understanding, retention, and application (the essence of education). Repetition assists comprehension and retention. By repeatedly hearing and using information, we learn and retain knowledge. Over time, the ability to comprehend and retain information educates the child, whose use of that education can produce success. Today’s passage explains the advantage of being educated and trained in the word of God. The student may even surpass the teacher in wisdom and understanding by consistent meditation on God’s word, as well as persistently obeying His mandates (Col. 1:9-10; Phil. 1:9-11). The “uneducated and untrained” apostles had a greater understanding than the religious intellectuals – much like their Master before them (Acts 4:13; John 7:14-15). Age does not necessarily mean greater understanding (Job 32:6-9). God’s word contains the knowledge and understanding we need to wisely “abhor what is evil” and “cling to what is good” (Rom. 12:9). Let us be humble enough to realize wisdom does originate with us, but with Almighty God. Then, may we absorb understanding from His word to live in harmony with Him, even when doing so does not harmonize with the learned ones of this age (1 Tim. 6:20-21).
4 In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. (John 1:4–5, NKJV)
The Word’s creation of the world is ample proof that He is the source of life (John 1:3). Not only did He create life on our planet, He also spoke into existence the light that sustains that life. But, He is the source of a light that is far greater than the sun, moon and stars. The Word, who was with God and was God, is the source of eternal life. The life He came to give is abundant (John 10:10). Those who believe in Him “shall never die” (John 11:26). The everlasting life He brought to the world illuminates the path out of sin’s darkness to the presence of the Father (John 14:6). The light of His life is so powerful that the darkness of sin did not overtake (overwhelm) it (John 1:5). Jesus taught, “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life” (John 5:24). The Word gives us life and lights our path to the throne of God. Unquestionably, Jesus is the light of the world, and he who follows Him “shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life” (John 8:12). The eternal life Christ gives through His word is stronger than the darkness of sin and death. Trust and follow the word of God. Walk in the light of His truth, and have life eternal.
17 that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— 19 to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. (Ephesians 3:17–19, NKJV)
Paul next prayed that the saints in Ephesus would be able to comprehend the greatness of the love of Christ. We grasp the meaning and scope of love by seeing it in practice; by experiencing it. We know love because “God is love,” and because “He loved us and sent His Son” to die for us (1 Jno. 4:8, 10). Experiencing fellowship with Christ and the love of God that stabilizes and secures us, enhances our ability to comprehend Christ’s love – a love that surpasses knowledge. A full complement of God’s blessings are offered and attainable in Christ. What love we should have for God for the boundless love of Christ. We are drawn closer to God and enlivened in faith as we realize that we are the objects of God’s love in Christ. Yes, “God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son” (Jno. 3:16). That is the greatness of Christ’s love for you. Live by faith and experience the magnitude of God’s love, and be filled with God’s abundant blessings – the fullness of God (Eph. 1:3).