the weblog of Alan Knox

Mutual Edification and Reverence…

Posted by on Jan 12, 2007 in edification, gathering, spiritual gifts, worship | 2 comments

(Part 4 in a series on the implications of mutual edification as the purpose of the gathering of the church): I have argued previously that the purpose for the gathering of the church in the New Testament is mutual edification (1 Cor 14:26)—each believer building up other believers and being built up himself or herself (see here, here, and here). If most churches understand their purpose in gathering to be something other than edification (i.e. worship or evangelism), then this change in understanding will have significant implications for the contemporary church. These implications fall into both philosophical as well as practical categories.

This series will examine several of the implications of mutual edification for the gathering of the church.

Fourth, Christians should adjust their understanding of what it means to please God during the gathering of the church. In many gatherings and for many people, “reverence” during the meeting equates with silence for everyone except for those who are specially qualified to speak.

However, there is no indication in Scripture that an “untrained” person’s silence pleases God nor that education, training, knowledge, or role in the body qualifies anyone to speak. Instead, only the indwelling of the Spirit of God and the prompting of the Spirit makes someone eligible to speak during the meeting.

The body should allow any of its members to speak as long as the Holy Spirit directs that person to speak, love motivates the person, and mutual edification is their aim. Notice that in 1 Corinthians 14, Paul does not give these instructions to church leaders. He gives his instructions to the entire church. Everyone is responsible to edify the church, and to make sure that Paul’s instructions are carried out.

Implications of Mutual Edification Series:
1. Mutual Edification and Individualism
2. Mutual Edification and Leadership
3. Mutual Edification and Excellence
4. Mutual Edification and Reverence
5. Mutual Edification and Activities


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  1. 1-12-2007

    This has been a pet peeve of mine for a while now, so I’ll share with you the etymology of the word “reverence” (as if you want to know):

    c.1290, from O.Fr. reverence, from L. reverentia “awe, respect,” from revereri “to revere,” from re-, intensive prefix, + vereri “stand in awe of, fear,” from PIE *wer- “to be or become aware of” (cf. O.E. wær “aware, cautious;” see wary). The verb is first attested c.1300; revere (v.) is from 1661.

    The interesting thing is that people use the word and don’t even know what it means. Reverence means awareness of the honor and respect that is due. Yes, I am a walking, talking dictionary 😉

    I think I know why, from tradition, that reverence has been equated with silence and stillness, but that’s still not what the word means … it’s still a result of tradition. Perhaps it comes from Romans 13:7 – render honor to whom honor is due?

    Still, I think of reverence more in terms of revering the Lord and not people. If I revere the Lord (stand in awe of Him, which is what revere means) then I will treat people peoperly. I dunno … I’m rambling on here I think.

    But again, Alan, you are forcing me to think further (and that’s a good thing, to be sure) … I hadn’t thought about it in respect to the *entire* meeting and mutualy edification of the body.

  2. 1-12-2007


    Good comment. If we revere God, then we will obey him. That doesn’t mean that we will always be sitting quietly with our heads bowed. It also doesn’t mean that we will always be dancing and clappying our hands.

    If we revere God, then we will seriously try to hear him, then obey.