#8: "All Participate No One Dominates"
Discussion Questions and Study Guide

Discussion Questions

  • Discuss why is it important that everyone participates and no one dominates in the ekklesia: "each one has" and "one by one"?

    • "How is it then, brethren? Whenever you come together, each of you has a psalm, has a teaching, has a tongue, has a revelation, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification. If anyone speaks in a tongue, let there be two or at the most three, each in turn and let one interpret. But if there is no interpreter, let him keep silent in church, and let him speak to himself and to God. Let two or three prophets speak and let the others judge" (I Cor. 14:26-29).

  • According to this passage, what are some participatory activities in the Ekklesia?

    • "How is it then, brethren? Whenever you come together, each of you has a psalm, has a teaching, has a tongue, has a revelation, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification. If anyone speaks in a tongue, let there be two or at the most three, each in turn and let one interpret. But if there is no interpreter, let him keep silent in church, and let him speak to himself and to God. Let two or three prophets speak and let the others judge. But if anything is revealed to another who sits by, let the first keep silent. For you can all prophesy one by one, that all may learn and all may be encouraged. And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets. For God is not the author of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints" (I Cor. 14:26-33).

  • According to I Cor. 14:24-25, what part do the unbelievers and the uninformed play in the Ekklesia? Why is it helpful to have them present? How does this address Jesus’ prayer in John 17:20-21? ​

    • "But if all prophesy, and an unbeliever or an uninformed person comes in, he is convinced by all, he is convicted by all. And thus the secrets of his heart are revealed; and so, falling down on his face, he will worship God and report that God is truly among you" (I Cor. 14:24-25).​

    • “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me" (John 17:20-21).

  • Open discussion question: what did you learn or how were you inspired by this video?

Group Guidelines for Discussion

  1. No one can dominate or monopolize the conversation, rather give an opportunity for everyone to participate.

  2. No one has a final verdict for interpretation.

  3. Everyone is encouraged to participate whether or not they have the popular understanding.

  4. Do not criticize anyone or cast a negative light and treat each other with love and kindness.

 

Study Outline with Supplemental Scriptures

I.  QUESTION: (video timestamp 00:24) Could you set a little context for us about how everyone should participate and no one should dominate in an ekklesia?

A.  In the last video, we mentioned that one of the first characteristics of Ekklesia is that you need diversity and people from various factions. Chapter 12 in I Corinthians continues this idea. Many Bible teachers chop up these chapters saying chapter 12 is about the gifts, chapter 13 is about love, and chapter 14 is about the priesthood of all believers.

B.  But within context, you have to read these chapters as a complete description of Ekklesia because chapter 11 starts with Ekklesia, and 14 talks about the Ekklesia gathering together. Chapters 12 and 13 are in that context. Therefore, the focus of chapter 12 is not on the supernatural gifts. 

1.  The focus of chapter 12 is that each member has a gift. 

2.  Every member is gifted, and we are all different within the Body of Christ.

3.  Paul used the Body as a metaphor and said, "Like the physical body, in the Body of Christ as believers we are all different" (I Cor. 12:12-18)

a)  We all can't be an eye or ears or a hand. 

b)  "The eye cannot say to the hand, 'I have no need of you" (I Corinthians 12:21).

c)  In the Body of Christ, we are different, and we need each other. 

d)  We need the mouth. We need the feet.

e)  We should bestow more honor on those we feel are less honorable or "less comely" (attractive) (I Cor. 12:23)

4.  Chapter 12 emphasizes that even though we differ, we are all drinking One Spirit, and we are baptized into One Body, and we all lift up Jesus Christ as our LORD. (1 Cor. 12:13)

C.  When we go to chapter 13, which discusses the matter of love, this chapter is written in the context that there are believers in the Ekklesia whom you may consider your enemies doctrinally or politically. 

1.  So you need this chapter of love to be patient, kind, not boast, and love one another in an environment where others are different from you. 

D.  When we come to chapter 14, we see the second characteristic of democracy, which is free speech. Everybody participates. Everybody needs to speak. Everybody needs to give their portion of of Christ in their own experiences and perspectives (I Corinthians 14:26-33).

II.  QUESTION: (video timestamp 3:34) When I look at I Corinthians 14, it reminds me of what happened in the Old Testament where they brought various gifts to their annual feasts. Is there a connection to that, do you think? 

A.  In the Old Testament, you are referring to the three Annual Feast. In those three feasts, all the Twelve Tribes of Israel came together. 

1.  They are each charged to bring their first fruits of whatever they produced in their tribe of livestock, fruits, or grains, etc. (Deut. 14:22-27; 16:16-17). 

2.  They came together to worship and fellowship. During that gathering, what are they eating? They are sharing and eating each other's food (Neh. 8:10).

3.  For example, a tribe in the south may be growing mangoes. At the same time, a tribe in the north is growing apples.

4.  Both tribes come to one of the Feasts. The tribe in the north can eat the mangoes that the tribe in the south provided. At the same time, the tribe in the south can eat the apples that the tribe in the north provided.

5.  When they come together, they share the riches of their land, and in sharing, everyone gets to taste the best of the entire good land, not just their little portion.

6.  The Bible tells us that it is a "sin" to come empty-handed! You have to bring your portion. (Deut. 16:16-17)  

7.  You cannot come to worship empty-handed because that means you have nothing to share with the people who are there. 

8.  You would be eating other people's food, but they have nothing to eat from you.

B.  Similarly, in the ekklesia gathering in I Corinthians 14, everyone has something to bring. You may have a song, a prayer, teaching, or a revelation. 

1.  Paul is charging those gathered to have something related to uplifting Christ (1Cor. 12:2-3). 

2.  We are each to share the unsearchable riches of Christ in our understanding and experience in the Ekklesia. 

3.  We do this so we can, in effect, "Taste and see each other's Christ."

4.  Even a contribution of "5 words" is beneficial and meaningful (1Cor. 14:19)

4.  If a person shows up and they don't participate, then I don't get to experience Christ in that person. 

III.  QUESTION: (video timestamp 05:59) Paul says in I Corinthians 14, "everyone prophecies." What does Paul mean, "Everyone prophecies"? A lot of people think that only prophets prophecy, so what is he talking about there? (I Corinthians 14:15-16; 24-33) 

A.  If you read I Corinthians 14, "prophesying" or "prophecy," this includes praying, singing, testimony, hymn, teaching, and a revelation. Based on the context of this chapter, the catch-all word "prophecy" or "prophesy" includes all of these. 

1.  We all should desire to prophesy (I Corinthians 14:1, 39). 

2.  Each believer has something and can share one by one. (I Cor. 14:26, 31)

B. Most people think of prophesying as a miraculous gift only bestowed upon a certain few. Many of these teach that not all of us have such a gift to foretell the future. 

1.  The meaning of this word, "prophesying," in context is to "unveil something hidden." 

2.  Here the word "prophecy" means you are bringing to light something that is a mystery.

C.  So we must ask, "What is the mystery that is being unveiled? What is hidden that needs to be brought to light?" 

1.  According to the New Testament, Christ is the mystery of God (Col. 2:2).

2.  God is a mystery, and by seeing and understanding Christ, you see and understand God.

3.  Ephesians 3:4-6 Paul tells us that the "mystery of Christ" is the joint Body between the Gentile believers and the Jewish believers. 

4. Therefore, the great mystery is Christ and His ekklesia (Eph. 5:32)

D.  So in our prophesying, when we have ekklesia, we are to bring out the riches of Christ. Jesus said that the whole Scripture is testifying concerning Him. (Luke 24:27) We need to bring up the unsearchable riches of Christ in Scripture and our experiences for revelation and applciation. The Ekklesia, which is His Body, also needs to be unveiled as part of the unsearchable riches of Christ. 

IV.  QUESTION: (video timestamp 09:16) Who is in charge of the Ekklesia? 

A.  The Spirit is in charge. No physical person is in charge. Why do we say that? Because in that Ekklesia, when someone is speaking, and the LORD reveals something to another person sitting by, then that person who is sitting by should rise and say, "I have something to say." (I Corinthians 14:29-33) 

1.  The person speaking needs to then yield the floor to this other person by letting them speak. 

2.  If a third person sees something that the LORD is showing, then the second person needs to sit down to let the third person speak. (I Cor. 14:29-30)

3.  They do this one-by-one each after the other. (I Cor. 14:29-30)

4.  In other words, no one is dominating by saying, "I have the floor, and no one can interrupt me."

5.  No! Everyone can be interrupted because it is Ekklesia, which requires free speech. (I Corinthians 14:29-33) In an ekklesia, everyone is equal. 

6.  We all need to bring our Christ and speak our portion when the Spirit moves us. Therefore we need to discern and judge, and everyone is also participating. 

V.   QUESTION: (video timestamp 10:55) You may have some strong personalities in the ekklesia gathering. You may have some people who talk a lot, so what do you do in those situations when you have someone who talks a lot? How do we create an environment where everyone gets to share if we have that strong personality among us? 

A.  The ones with a strong personality need to see and have a vision of Ekklesia. Ekklesia is not their ministry, so they need to be sensitive not to dominate or overpower others.

1.  These strong personalities need to provide a doorway for less aggressive people to speak. 

2.  They can do this by saying something like, "Scott, what do you think about these verses?" to those who have been quiet.

3.  Or, "What do you think about what this person just said when they shared their testimony?" 

4.  Asking questions like these opens up the door for more fellowship.

5.  Unlike a ministry context, interruptions are encouraged in an ekklesia, so someone speaking can be interrupted but without confusion (I Cor. 14:29-30).

6.  Interruptions are encouraged so everyone can participate, but they should always be done in a way that builds up the Body (I Cor. 14:26).

B.  We would advise those who are knowledgeable not to speak first. Let those who are less knowledgeable or less mature in the LORD share first. Doing this allows everyone to participate in fellowship. 

VI.  STATEMENT: (video timestamp 12:20) We would advise people to ask questions rather than simply making statements. Questions can facilitate a discussion so everyone can get involved. 

A.  Additionally, don't be the authority that says, "This is the way it is!"

B.  Instead, let it be an open forum and discussion because once you say, "This is the way it is!" it terminates all discussion.

C.  This lesson is a part of learning how to fellowship in an ekklesia where there are diverse perspectives. We respect each person's perspective as we lift up Jesus Christ together.

VII.  QUESTION: (video timestamp 13:15) So how is this different from a ministry?

A.  Unlike Ekklesia, a ministry belongs to a person or an organization. If you go to a place, a church, or even a home where they say, "I have something to teach. I have something to say. I have an assignment from the LORD, and I am going to exercise my gift to teach." That is that person's ministry, and you cannot go and disrupt that person's ministry. 

1.  You can't go to a church or a conference and say, "Hey, I don't agree with that." Or "I want to say something different," or "What you are teaching is wrong."

2.  In a ministry context, you cannot interrupt the person speaking.

3.  If that teaching is wrong, then you don't stay in that ministry. 

4.  You can object to that person on the internet, but not in his forum where he is speaking.

B.  However, in Ekklesia, it is a wide-open forum. It is not anyone's ministry.

1.  The Ekklesia is not a ministry where someone is dominating, and someone says, "This is my ministry, and don't interrupt." 

2.  No! The Ekklesia is an open forum and a safe space where anyone can share what they have of Jesus Christ and not be judged or condemned. 

3.  In the Ekklesia, everyone is received and accepted as we lift up Jesus Christ together.

VIII.  QUESTION: (video timestamp 14:48) So why is it important that we have "unbelievers and the uninformed" as we gather together as an ekklesia?

A.  First of all, that is Paul's view. There were unbelievers and the uninformed in the Ekklesia that was gathering (I Cor. 14:16,23-24).

1.  They saw the diversity and the love and heard everyone speaking and lifting up Christ from each person's experience and perspectives (14:24)

2.  As a result of witnessing this, they fell down and worshiped God. They became believers! They said, "God is truly among you! God is here!" (14:25)

B.  The unbelievers and the uninformed are there to witness the testimony of Jesus! They are there to say, "Wow! God is here!

1.  The Ekklesia is the Lampstand and the Light (Rev. 1:13). 

2.  The light is attracting those that are not yet believing and those that are uninformed. 

3.  The meal could have attracted them; it doesn't matter because they are there to witness the testimony of Jesus.

4.  In Acts 2, Luke wrote, "The LORD added to the church [ekklesia] daily those who were being saved" because the Ekklesia had favor with all the people (Acts 2:47).

5.  So we should invite our unbelieving friends and new beleivers to Ekklesia.

IX.  QUESTION: (video timestamp 16:48) Jesus said in John 17, "The world will see our unity, and as a result of seeing that unity they will believe." So on some level, one might argue that if they see the unity of the Body of Christ, then they will believe, right? 

A.  That fulfills the LORD's prayer. (John 17:20-26) 

1.  The LORD's prayer is that when you are one, the world believes in the LORD's reality. 

2.  That is what happened in I Corinthians 14 here in the Ekklesia even though it is in someone's home, so there are not too many people in that home. 

3.  Ekklesia in a home is typically between 12 and 25 people based on the size of the home, and probably no more than 50 people. Yet the unbelievers were there in the gathering, and they saw Jesus. 

X.  QUESTION: (video timestamp 18:08) This is the last video of this series. What are some takeaways from this video? But we also want to have some final thoughts to give to the people taking part in this. 

A.  There are two characteristics of democracy in Ekklesia. The first characteristic is diversity to represent the demographic of the citizens, which we discussed in the last video. The second characteristic is free speech, which we discussed in this video. 

B.  In the LORD's Ekklesia, we see diversity in I Corinthians 11, 12, and 13. And in chapter 14, we see free speech. 

1.  That is unique to the LORD's Ekklesia compared to churches or ministries today. 

2.  Ministries do not have such diversity. Every church is homogeneous in some ways.

3.  Churches and ministries also do not allow free speech because the pastor or the minister dominates the topic and understanding. 

XII.  QUESTION: (video timestamp 19:37) That is a summation of this particular discussion. Now we want to talk about, "What are we going to do next?" 

A.  As a part of the entire Alpha Ekklesia course, this series includes the ninth session. There is one more session. There is no video for the ninth session. The ninth session will be an actual ekklesia gathering where you invite friends who are believers or unbelievers to have a meal together, to have the LORD's supper together (communion), and to remember and lift up Jesus together. During this gathering, everyone is sharing. 

B.  This gathering incorporates everything that we've seen from Scripture and learned in the last 8 sessions, minus a video and guided discussions. We encourage you to have the LORD's supper and have the complete freedom to share whatever is on your heart concerning Jesus Christ and HIS Body. 

XIII.  STATEMENT: (video timestamp 20:56) And we are here as a resource for anybody who has questions. If somebody has questions, they can contact us at www.onebody.life 

A.  We would love to hear your feedback and testimonies and meet those who are also teaching these things. We would also love to team up with those that have the same vision.

B.  We are in this ministry to provide this understanding of the Lord's Ekklesia.

C.  Come to our website, and there is a study guide and questions for each session and reference material. 

D.  Whoever has a good experience in the ninth session should continue Ekklesia! 

E.  The Ekklesia doesn't have to meet every week. It could be once a month. It could be once a year! You could meet two or three times a week if you want. There is no rule around this.

F.  Anyone who has gone through this video series can start another group with another cohort to spread the Gospel of Peace to build up the Lord's One Body.

 

 

Group Guidelines for Discussion

  1. No one can dominate or monopolize the conversation, rather give an opportunity for everyone to participate.

  2. No one has a final verdict for interpretation.

  3. Everyone is encouraged to participate whether or not they have the popular understanding.

  4. Do not criticize anyone or cast a negative light and treat each other with love and kindness.

Discussion Questions

  • Discuss why is it important that everyone participates and no one dominates in the ekklesia: "each one has" and "one by one"?

    • "How is it then, brethren? Whenever you come together, each of you has a psalm, has a teaching, has a tongue, has a revelation, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification. If anyone speaks in a tongue, let there be two or at the most three, each in turn and let one interpret. But if there is no interpreter, let him keep silent in church, and let him speak to himself and to God. Let two or three prophets speak and let the others judge" (I Cor. 14:26-29).

  • According to this passage, what are some participatory activities in the Ekklesia?

    • "How is it then, brethren? Whenever you come together, each of you has a psalm, has a teaching, has a tongue, has a revelation, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification. If anyone speaks in a tongue, let there be two or at the most three, each in turn and let one interpret. But if there is no interpreter, let him keep silent in church, and let him speak to himself and to God. Let two or three prophets speak and let the others judge. But if anything is revealed to another who sits by, let the first keep silent. For you can all prophesy one by one, that all may learn and all may be encouraged. And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets. For God is not the author of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints" (I Cor. 14:26-33).

  • According to I Cor. 14:24-25, what part do the unbelievers and the uninformed play in the Ekklesia? Why is it helpful to have them present? How does this address Jesus’ prayer in John 17:20-21? ​

    • "But if all prophesy, and an unbeliever or an uninformed person comes in, he is convinced by all, he is convicted by all. And thus the secrets of his heart are revealed; and so, falling down on his face, he will worship God and report that God is truly among you" (I Cor. 14:24-25).​

    • “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me" (John 17:20-21).

  • Open discussion question: what did you learn or how were you inspired by this video?