“For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.” – 1 Corinthians 14:33
This verse is as abused almost as much as Matthew 7:1.
What’s the response of a sinner when confronted with his sin? “The Bible says don’t judge!” Wrong (1 Cor 2:15).
What’s the response of an ignorant man when confronted with a Bible truth hard for him to understand? “The Bible says God is not the author of confusion!” Just as wrong.
Don’t blame God for your confusion, study God’s word rightly divided to cure it.
Confused about Confusion
That “God is not the author of confusion” does not mean you will understand everything the first time you hear it, or the second, or the third.
If this were true then does this mean God did not write the Bible? The Bible can be confusing at first glance, and even a second glance.
The Bible is not written like a textbook or step by step instruction manual. Not all the books are in chronological order. The gospel of salvation is not revealed til towards the end. There appears to be contradictions, and what in the world is Song of Solomon about?
Maybe God should have written a children’s book that was less confusing. “Jesus loves you. Love him, too.” No, no, no, but perhaps we are getting closer to the point which is we are confused, not the Bible.
If God is not the author of confusion, does this mean the Bible is not authored by God? How absurd! Simply because we are ignorant does not mean the Bible is not true (2 Tim 3:16).
We have all been confused about spiritual things at some point. Until we learn, we are ignorant. Our ignorance is not God’s fault. You can be confused and still be wrong.
When God Confuses
There are times in the Bible when God intentionally confuses people. Consider the tower of Babel where God confounded the languages, or the parables and prophecies that were hidden except from those who had ears to hear.
And what of this verse?
“And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:” – 2 Thessalonians 2:11
Since God has purposely hid things in the Bible, and there are many things we have not yet learned, what is Paul saying in 1 Corinthians 14:33? In what way is God not the author of confusion?
God is not the author of confusion today, because he is now the author of grace and peace through the Lord Jesus Christ and His church.
The Confused Church in Corinth
The Corinthian church was the picture of God’s dispensational change. There were both Jews and Gentiles there.
The Corinthian Jews remembered God’s order and structure as given to Israel according to the law. There were laws for the priesthood, temple practices, sacrifices, food, marriage, and on and on. What laws are there under grace?
The Corinthian Gentiles saved through the gospel of the grace of God knew that they were free from the law by grace. However, their abuse of liberty and selfish boasting in their gifts caused confusion regarding whether what they had been given was from God.
When you combine Jews and Gentiles into one body with a variety of spiritual gifts, carnal mindedness, and an apathy toward Paul’s apostleship you are destined to have a mess.
Paul’s Answer to the Confusion
Paul rebukes the Corinthians for speaking in tongues when no one could understand, speaking chaotically, simultaneously, and noisily. In a few chapters he lays out rules of order for when they come together.
The purpose of their coming together and prophesying, praying, and tongues was that all may learn and be comforted.
“For ye may all prophesy one by one, that all may learn, and all may be comforted.” – 1 Corinthians 14:31
Since learning is the goal, then communication needed to happen in order: one by one; if there is no interpreter then tongues should not be spoken (1 Cor 14:28); when two or three speak, others must judge what he said whether it be true. (1 Cor 14:29).
The God of Peace in All Churches
God authored this dispensation of grace and peace. God authored the revelation of the mystery of Christ. God ordained the one body, one Spirit, one baptism, one hope, and one faith that characterizes this dispensation (Eph 4:3-5).
He did not establish the church to disorder, disunity, licentiousness, chaos, and spiritual ignorance. God did not give grace to let us run wild. That would be confusion.
He did not mix prophecy and mystery, Israel’s covenants with the church, or law with grace. That would be confusion.
God revealed his manifold wisdom in the revelation given to Paul, so that we would not be confused about what He is doing today, and how we ought to respond. We no longer have an excuse to remain ignorant of God’s will. We can now know what they did not before if we would listen and learn from the apostle of grace and peace (Eph 3:5-10).
The church should be a place to learn. It should be where ignorance of the Bible is cured.
Unfortunately, Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 14:33 are used to deny God’s truth, and Bible study, when confronted with something initially hard to understand (2 Pet 3:16).
God is not the author of confusion. People in the church cause confusion by their failure to acknowledge Paul’s apostleship and instructions.
Christ did not command Paul to confuse, but to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery (Eph 3:9). We should work in the church to understand this word of truth, else we become the authors of confusion.