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1 Corinthians 14:40

ESV But all things should be done decently and in order.
NIV But everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way.
NASB But all things must be done properly and in an orderly way.
CSB But everything is to be done decently and in order.
NLT But be sure that everything is done properly and in order.
KJV Let all things be done decently and in order.

What does 1 Corinthians 14:40 mean?

This returns to where Paul started this section: the exercise of two specific spiritual gifts in the worship services of the church in Corinth. He has written positively of both these gifts, prophecy and speaking in tongues. Modern churches are divided on the extent to which these gifts are still given and/or should be practiced.

Paul has encouraged the Corinthians to desire the gift of prophecy and not to forbid, in general, the use of tongues. This includes the restrictions he gave for their use in church services. Now, though, he repeats the core principles that should guide them in the use of any gifts. This should be a key priority in the structure of any church service: "all things should be done decently and in order."

As revealed in this passage, the issue at hand isn't just about keeping things neat and tidy. Nor is it about being rigid or woodenly traditional. Paul has insisted that it has to do with reflecting God's own character. Our God is not a God of confusion, Paul has written (1 Corinthians 14:33). Because of this, the gifts given by Him should not be exercised in ways that are chaotic. Services conducted for the purpose of worshiping Him should also be orderly.

Beyond this, many believers choose to pursue order over chaos in every area of life in order to reflect God's character.
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