As the Apostle Paul is wrapping up his commentary on spiritual gifts, he qualifies his audience: “If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord” (1 Corinthians 14:37).
When Paul advised the Corinthians earlier regarding marriage and divorce (1 Corinthians 7), he noted that some of the things he was saying were from the Lord, and some of them were his own experienced opinion. We must, like Paul, recognize that some of our opinions and thoughts are of our own preferences and cultural background, while others are straight from the Bible. We should never say “thus saith the Lord” just because that’s the way we think it should be. Prophecy is not a game of coercion.
Paul is speaking here to spiritual people who minister with spiritual gifts. He tells them to consider the advice he has just been giving in 1 Corinthians 12-14 to be prophetic and from God for His church. Carnal (worldly) people just do what feels right with spiritual gifts. But spiritual people exercise spiritual gifts with great fear and reverence for the gift-giver. This is Paul’s final answer on the topic of spiritual gifts.