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“One who speaks in a tongue edifies himself; but one who prophesies edifies the church.”
(1 Cor 14:4)

Today’s simple word study is on the word “edify” from this verse above. I was going for a walk in the morning yesterday, and my mind wandered to this particular scripture and I became curious what the Strong’s definition of the word edify means. So in my thinking, I felt like this was God telling me by directing my thoughts to look it up when I get home. It proved to be true…

Strong’s Concordance – 3618. oikodomeó
oikodomeó: to build a house

Original Wordοἰκοδομέω
Part of SpeechVerb
Transliterationoikodomeó
Phonetic Spelling: (oy-kod-om-eh’-o)
Short Definition: I build, build up, edify
Definition: I erect a building, build; fig. of the building up of character: I build up, edify, encourage.

HELPS Word-studies

3618 oikodoméō (from 3624 /oíkos, “a house” and domeō, “to build”) – properly, to build a house (home, edifice); (figuratively) to edify – literally, “build someone up,” helping them to stand (be strong, “sturdy”).

Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance

build, edify, embolden.

From the same as oikodome; to be a house-builder, i.e. Construct or (figuratively) confirm — (be in) build(-er, -ing, up), edify, embolden.

I really love doing this, looking up certain words and finding out their actual meaning. It really does give insight into God’s Word I never had before.

I always heard that the word edify means to build up, strengthen etc, but after looking the word up, you can see here that it is compared to building a house. “I erect a building, build; fig. of building upon character.” The Strong’s exhaustive concordance here says “to be a house builder, i.e. Construct!”

Oikos, as it shows above, means “house,” and domeō means “to build.”

So, in application of this word, when we pray in tongues, we are being house builders! We, being the Temple of the Holy Spirit, are building the Holy Spirit’s home for Him! We are constantly under construction, and at times when we think we are finished, we undergo some renovation!

Who knows that building a home takes time – a good, sturdy, strong home does not get built in a day. It takes months. In the days of Paul, it took much longer, some projects even took years! What did they say to Jesus when He told them, “destroy this Temple and I will rebuild it in 3 days?” They said it took 40 something years! Of course Jesus was referring to His body that would be raised to life after 3 days, praise God! Well, building our character also takes a long time, and one of the ways we that we can do this, according to this verse, is by continuing, consistently speaking in tongues! Yes, by doing even this, we are actually working on our character and strengthening ourselves spiritually.

In fact, what does Jude vs 20 say? “Building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit.” This clearly refers also to praying in tongues. In fact when Jude says the word “building” yourselves up, he uses the same word, but intensifies it. The word is “epoikodomeo:” ep, from epi, meaning “fitting on,” then oiko, “house” and domeo, being “to build,” as we have seen already. So this actually means, according to HELPS Word-studies, “properly, appropriately build on, following a plan with pre-designed (pre-defined) specifications.” Then Strong’s exhaustive concordance simply puts it as, “to build upon, i.e. figuratively, to rear up – build thereon (thereupon, on, upon.)”

Wow! So altogether, we can say that praying in tongues, praying in the Spirit is actually building upon a foundation, (and Who is our foundation? CHRIST!) and we keep building upon it. It’s like adding extras, renovating a home, building another level. We, in the Spirit can, in reality, just keep building and building! We don’t have to stop – unless you decide to! And you know what? And in doing this, we are following  a plan with pre-designed specifications…whose plan and whose pre-designed specifications? God’s! God is building US according to His specifications!!! We just need to pray His way…

So, we are building His Temple, us, as we pray. He inhabits us, dwells in and wants to work in and through us! People who work from their homes have it made in my opinion! They are relaxed at home with family while also conducting their business from home – in the same way God has made His home in us, and while He relaxes and enjoys our fellowship inside of us, He also conducts His business in and through us! How exciting is that??

In the same way we build ourselves up by praying in an unknown tongue, so it is with prophesying. When we prophesy, or speak out a message to everyone in church, or in a group of believers, we are helping to build, and are involved in the construction work of the church, the very Body of Christ!

As individuals, we are the Temple of the Holy Spirit, and we need to edify ourselves by speaking in tongues and allow the Holy Spirit to work in our lives. Also, as a part of the church, a member of Christ’s Body, we need to seek to prophesy and build the church up.

While Paul states in the context of the whole passage, that prophecy is much more important in the church setting than tongues, (see vs 5) as it edifies the Body of Christ, he in no way negates the importance of speaking in tongues. In fact, in verse 5 he says “I wish you all spoke in tongues,” and then in verse 18 he says that he speaks in tongues more than anyone. However, that is mainly to himself and to God, and only does so in public if there is someone with the gift to interpret – which he says we should pray for also, as that would become prophecy to edify the church!

So to conclude, speaking in tongues is like your private home you’re building, while prophecy is building the universal church of God. I believe we can’t effectively build the church if we don’t build ourselves up first. If everyone built themselves up before coming to church, imagine what would happen at church! I believe wholeheartedly that prophecy comes out of your time with God at home. When you speak in tongues, He edifies you, and causes you to be sensitive to what God wants to say to His people. Jesus said this; “But you, when you pray, enter into your closet and lock your door, and pray to your father who is in secret, and your Father who sees in secret will reward you in public.”  What you do in private will show in what you do publicly. I believe the prophetic and speaking in tongues go hand in hand. You speak in tongues more, God will give you a word in season to build His church. The prophetic will be released in and through you as you pray in tongues and spend time alone with God.

God bless you, and go for it…