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1 Corinthians 14

Prophecy and Tongues

1 Earnestly pursue love and eagerly desire spiritual gifts, especially the gift of prophecy. 2 For he who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men, but to God. Indeed, no one understands him; he utters mysteries in the Spirit. 3 But he who prophesies speaks to men for their edification, encouragement, and comfort. 4 The one who speaks in a tongue edifies himself, but the one who prophesies edifies the church.

5 I wish that all of you could speak in tongues, but I would rather have you prophesy. He who prophesies is greater than one who speaks in tongues, unless he interprets so that the church may be edified.

6 Now, brothers, if I come to you speaking in tongues, how will I benefit you, unless I bring you some revelation or knowledge or prophecy or teaching? 7 Even in the case of lifeless instruments, such as the flute or harp, how will anyone recognize the tune they are playing unless the notes are distinct? 8 Again, if the trumpet sounds a muffled call, who will prepare for battle? 9 So it is with you. Unless you speak intelligible words with your tongue, how will anyone know what you are saying? You will just be speaking into the air.

10 Assuredly, there are many different languages in the world, yet none of them is without meaning. 11 If, then, I do not know the meaning of someone’s language, I am a foreigner a to the speaker, and he is a foreigner to me.

12 It is the same with you. Since you are eager to have spiritual gifts, strive to excel in gifts that build up the church. 13 Therefore, the one who speaks in a tongue should pray that he may interpret. 14 For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my mind is unfruitful.

15 What then shall I do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will also pray with my mind. I will sing with my spirit, but I will also sing with my mind. 16 Otherwise, if you speak a blessing in spirit, b how can someone who is uninstructed say “Amen” to your thanksgiving, since he does not know what you are saying? 17 You may be giving thanks well enough, but the other one is not edified.

18 I thank God that I speak in tongues more than all of you. 19 But in the church, I would rather speak five coherent words to instruct others than ten thousand words in a tongue.

20 Brothers, stop thinking like children. In regard to evil be infants, but in your thinking be mature. 21 It is written in the Law:

“By strange tongues and foreign lips

I will speak to this people,

but even then they will not listen to Me,

says the Lord.” c 

22 Tongues, then, are a sign, not for believers, but for unbelievers. Prophecy, however, is for believers, not for unbelievers.

23 So if the whole church comes together and everyone speaks in tongues, and some who are uninstructed or some unbelievers come in, will they not say that you are out of your minds? 24 But if an unbeliever or uninstructed person comes in while everyone is prophesying, he will be convicted and called to account by all, 25 and the secrets of his heart will be made known. So he will fall facedown and worship God, proclaiming, “God is truly among you!”

Orderly Worship

26 What then shall we say, brothers? When you come together, everyone has a psalm or a teaching, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation. All of these must be done to build up the church.

27 If anyone speaks in a tongue, two, or at most three, should speak in turn, and someone must interpret. 28 But if there is no interpreter, he should remain silent in the church and speak only to himself and God.

29 Two or three prophets should speak, and the others should weigh carefully what is said. 30 And if a revelation comes to someone who is seated, the first speaker should stop. 31 For you can all prophesy in turn so that everyone may be instructed and encouraged. 32 The spirits of prophets are subject to prophets. 33 For God is not a God of disorder, but of peace—as in all the churches of the saints. d 

34 Women are to be silent in the churches. They are not permitted to speak, but must be in submission, as the law says. 35 If they wish to inquire about something, they are to ask their own husbands at home; for it is dishonorable for a woman to speak in the church. e 

36 Did the word of God originate with you? Or are you the only ones it has reached? 37 If anyone considers himself a prophet or spiritual person, let him acknowledge that what I am writing you is the Lord’s command. 38 But if anyone ignores this, he himself will be ignored. f 

39 So, my brothers, be eager to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in tongues. 40 But everything must be done in a proper and orderly manner.



11 a Literally a barbarian ; twice in this verse
16 b Or in the Spirit
21 c Isaiah 28:11–12
33 d Or of peace. As in all the churches of the saints: Thus, some translators begin the new paragraph after peace .
35 e Some manuscripts place verses 34–35 after verse 40.
38 f BYZ and TR let him be ignorant

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