Appropriate Use of Prophecy and Tongues
1 Pursue love, and strive for spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy. 2For the one who speaks in a tongue does not speak to people but to God, because no one understands, but by the Spirit#Or “in the Spirit”; or “in his spirit” he speaks mysteries. 3But the one who prophesies speaks to people edification and encouragement and consolation. 4The one who speaks in a tongue edifies himself, but the one who prophesies edifies the church. 5Now I want you all to speak with tongues, but even more that you may prophesy. The one who prophesies is greater than the one who speaks with tongues, unless he interprets, in order that the church may receive edification.
6But now, brothers, if I come to you speaking with tongues, how do I benefit you, unless I speak to you either with a revelation or with knowledge or with a prophecy or with a teaching? 7Likewise, the inanimate things which produce a sound, whether flute or lyre, if they do not produce a distinction in the tones, how will it be known what is played on the flute or on the lyre? 8For indeed, if the trumpet produces an indistinct sound, who will prepare for battle? 9And so you through the tongue, unless you produce a clear message, how will it be known what is spoken? For you will be speaking into the air. 10There are probably so many kinds of languages in the world, and none without meaning. 11Therefore, if I do not know the meaning of the language, I will be a barbarian to the one who is speaking, and the one who is speaking will be a barbarian in my judgment. 12In this way also you, since you are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek for the edification of the church, in order that you may abound.
13Therefore the one who speaks in a tongue must pray that he may interpret. 14For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays but my mind is unproductive. 15Therefore what should I do#Literally “what therefore is it”? I will pray with my spirit, but I will also pray with my mind. I will sing praise with my spirit, but I will also sing praise with my mind. 16For otherwise, if you praise in your spirit, how will the one who fills the place of the outsider say the “amen” at your thanksgiving, because he does not know what you are saying? 17For indeed you are giving thanks well, but the other person is not edified. 18I give thanks to God that I speak with tongues more than all of you, 19but in the church I prefer to speak five words with my mind, in order that I may instruct other people, than ten thousand words in a tongue.
20Brothers, do not become children in your understanding, but with respect to wickedness be as a child, and in your understanding be mature. 21In the law it is written:
“By those who speak a foreign language
and by the lips of others
I will speak to this people,
and not even in this way will they obey me,”#A quotation from Isa 28:11–12
says the Lord. 22So then, tongues are for a sign not to those who believe, but to unbelievers, but prophecy is not for unbelievers, but for those who believe. 23Therefore, if the whole church comes together at the same time and all speak with tongues, and outsiders or unbelievers enter, will they not say that you are out of your minds? 24But if all prophesy, and some unbeliever or outsider enters, he is convicted by all, he is judged by all, 25the secret things of his heart become evident, and so, falling on his face, he will worship God, proclaiming, “God is truly among you!”
Specific Instructions for Orderly Worship Services
26Therefore what should you do#Literally “what therefore is it”, brothers? Whenever you come together, each one of you has a psalm, has a teaching, has a revelation, has a tongue, has an interpretation. All things must be done for edification. 27If anyone speaks in a tongue, it must be on one occasion two or at most three, and one after the other#Literally “in turn”, and one must interpret. 28But if there is no interpreter, he must be silent in the church, but let him speak to himself and to God. 29Let two or three prophets speak, and the others evaluate. 30And if something is revealed to another who is seated, the first must be silent. 31For you are all able to prophesy in turn#Literally “one at a time, in order that all may learn and all may be encouraged, 32and the spirits of prophets are subject to prophets. 33For God is not a God of disorder but of peace.
As in all the churches of the saints, 34the women must be silent in the churches, for it is not permitted for them to speak, but they must be in submission, just as the law also says. 35But if they want to learn something, let them ask their own husbands at home, for it is shameful for a woman to speak in church. 36Or has the word of God gone out from you, or has it come to you only?
37If anyone thinks he is a prophet or spiritual,#Or “or one who possesses the Spirit” he should recognize that the things which I am writing to you are of the Lord.#Some manuscripts have “are a command of the Lord” 38But if anyone ignores this, he is ignored.#Or “if anyone is ignorant, let him be ignorant” 39So then, my brothers, desire to prophesy, and do not prevent speaking with tongues. 40But let all things be done decently and according to proper procedure.