1 Corinthians 14:40 Meaning of Let All Things Be Done Decently and in Order

1 Corinthians 14:40
“But everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way.”

Explanation and Commentary on 1 Corinthians 14:40

Act in a way that is decent, rational and composed so that you do not dishonor God during your worship.

Paul concludes 1 Corinthians 14 with this general rule. It is part of a passage that runs from verse 36 to 40, where Paul is rebuking the Corinthians for their extreme pride in having spiritual gifts and their childish behavior in the congregation. The Corinthians were so self-absorbed that they behaved in some sort of uncontrolled manner that was different than other churches. The Bible does not tell us exactly what they did, only that it was a misuse of their spiritual gifts and disgraceful to God.

Paul gave the Corinthians this simple rule to follow to guide their actions in matters related to their worship of God. This included such things as the customs they would follow and how they would act so that they could properly glorify God and be an example for non-Christians in order to convert unbelievers.

Earlier in 1 Corinthians 14 and in previous chapters, Paul had given the Corinthians various rules to guide how they should be acting, such as what they chose to do even if it is perfectly legal to do so (1 Corinthians 10:23), how they eat and drink (1 Corinthians 10:31) and whether people should have long or short hair (1 Corinthians 11:14). Here, in this verse, Paul is telling the Corinthians that it is less important that they are burdened with specific rules than that they use a general rule of decency and order to guide their behavior.

As an example of the acting in a “fitting and orderly way,” Paul told the Corinthians that we should prefer the spiritual gift of prophecy over that of speaking in tongues because prophecy is a more useful spiritual gift. Speaking in tongues can be useful if there is an interpreter so that the audience can understand the message, whereas prophecy has no need for an interpreter.

Breaking Down the Key Parts of 1 Corinthians 14:40

#1: “But everything should be done in a fitting…”
“Fitting” is translated in some versions as “decently.”

#2: “…and orderly way.”
This means that we should do things in the proper sequence and at the right time, rather than in a haphazard and impulsive manner.

Bible Study on 1 Corinthians 14:40

Expert Overview of 1 Corinthians

Biblical Translations of 1 Corinthians 14:40

NIV
But everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way.

NLT
But be sure that everything is done properly and in order.

ESV
But all things should be done decently and in order.

KJV
Let all things be done decently and in order.

NKJV
Let all things be done decently and in order.

1 Corinthians 14:40 Meaning and Commentary

About the Author of this Blog Post
Natalie Regoli, Esq. is the author of this post and the editor-in-chief of our blog. She received her B.A. in Economics from the University of Washington and her Masters in Law from The University of Texas School of Law. In addition to being a seasoned writer, Natalie has almost two decades of experience as a lawyer and banker. She is a child of God, devoted wife, and mother of two boys. If you would like to reach out to contact Natalie, then go here to send her a message.