Anyone with ordinary understanding can see at once that the great Apostle Paul was trying to correct an error, and to clear up the confused minds of the immature Corinthian church, recent converts from heathenism. But before we go into the study of the "Confused Corinthian Church," let us take a glance at their spiritual and intellectual standing. We quote: "Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant" (or, to remain ignorant). They were ignorant about spiritual gifts and dreadfully confused. "Ye know that ye were Gentiles (heathen), carried away unto these dumb idols, even as ye were led." They were recently converted heathen, and idol worshipers, and knew little of God and true Christian doctrine. Such could be easily confused and led astray. They spake in tongues while worshiping idol gods, before being converted to Christianity. Some of them claimed to be inspired by the Holy Ghost to curse Jesus Christ, and yet they spoke in tongues. They were divided, and contended over whom to worship. Some worshiped Paul, some Apollos, some Cephas, and some Jesus Christ. They were used to worshiping many idols which they could see. No wonder they were confused on the tongue question.
They were "carnal," only babes in Christ, and thus they were all confused over the Tongue Question. 1 Cor. 3:1- "I . . . could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ," -- not sanctified yet. Spiritually and intellectually, they were only babes, yet they spake in tongues. No wonder they were confused. He had to feed them like babies. "For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envy, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?" They were carnal not sanctified, but they spake in tongues. Some were puffed up and pouting; "Now some are puffed up, as though I would not come unto you," -- but they spake in tongues.
Fornication was a common practice among them. No other New Testament Church had this problem, and yet they spake in tongues. "It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles (the outside world), that one should have his father's wife. And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you." They harbored and defended these vile fornicators, and got puffed up when anyone tried to clean house but they spake in tongues. They were warned not to keep company with fornicators, idolators, drunkards, railors, extortioners, etc.
They were going to court with the heathen rulers over their own personal matters (Chap. 6). They were also warned against eating meat offered to idols lest they return to idol worship. They were accustomed to eating and drinking in their worship, like some modern churches, and yet they spoke in tongues. Jesus Christ never mentioned tongues as a part of His salvation.