Today’s Scripture: Yet in the church I had rather speak five words with my understanding, that by my voice I might teach others also, than ten thousand words in an unknown tongue. 1 Corinthians 14:19

I asked a few of the staff members at our church this question. “When is 5 better than 10,000?” Here are some of their replies…

  1. “5 ants at your picnic is better than 10,000.”
  2. “Strokes on a golf course.”
  3. “5 real friends are better than 10,000 Facebook friends.”
  4. “The number of food poisoning reports from the new buffet in town.”
  5. “The number of times I have said something stupid today.”
  6. “It is better to have only 5 hairs to shave than 10,000.”
  7. “For your wife to have 5 pairs of shoes rather than 10,000 (purses will work as well).”
  8. “Kids.”
  9. “5 cups of Starbucks are better than 10,000 of Folgers.”
  10. “Stitches.”

As we can see there are plenty of times when 5 is better than 10,000. The Apostle Paul gave an illustration along these lines when he said that he would rather speak five words that could be understood than ten thousand words in an unknown tongue.

The Bible is clear that the sign gifts (which tongues were part of) have ceased. At the time of this epistle, these gifts were still around. “Biblical tongues” is speaking in a known language which the speaker has not learned. The Corinthian church was abusing the gift of tongues. Some in the Corinthian church were speaking in unknown tongues. Essentially, they were “speaking to the air” (1 Corinthians 14:9).

In the same sense when we witness, it is much better to speak a few words easily understood than 10,000 words, and they have no idea what is required to be saved. We must be certain to share the gospel as simply and clearly as possible. Fortunately, God wrote down a clear, simple gospel in His Word.

Let’s use the Word of God when sharing the gospel. Even if we just use 5 words easily understood, it is better than an unclear gospel – no matter how many words.

Devotional by Jim Scudder Jr.