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1 Corinthians 14

14
Of speaking with tongues
1I told you to desire the greatest gifts, and that is why I bid you earnestly to pursue love, but of those other spiritual things of which I have spoken, in my opinion the best, the most useful, is prophecy or preaching. 2-4And why? Because it instructs and builds and strengthens. To utter a spiritual language known only to God is to hold converse indeed with God, to allow the Spirit itself to utter its own mysteries, and that is good. 5I would have you all to speak with such tongues as that; but this spiritual language, the tongue of God, needs interpretation; and through that interpretation man is blessed with something that comforts, consoles, and builds him up. 6-7Prophecy does this, interpreting to others the language of heaven, and building the Church on earth. Therefore is it a greater gift to prophesy than to speak the new tongues of the Spirit, for such words make the Church. The new tongues require interpretation. I shall be no help to you unless I reveal something to you, increase your knowledge of things divine, and act as a prophet and teacher. All tongues and languages and voices on earth have meaning. 8Even the trumpet, made of brass merely, can summon men to battle, the flute and the pipe can move men most variously. But what if their sounds be not understood? What if their stops and notes be so uncertainly handled that there is no recognition of their meaning? Who will arm himself then for the fray? 9-10And of the different languages which men talk, there is not one which is without meaning and interpretation. We call those “foreign” tongues which we cannot understand, and them that speak them “foreigners.” So it is with the language of heaven, the tongue that the Spirit speaks with spiritual utterings.
To speak with the understanding is of first importance
11It sounds strange and barbarous in the ears of those who do not understand it. It needs interpretation, and for those who understand it not, you do but speak into the air, not into their minds. 12-13If you be anxious and desirous for proofs of your spirituality, for the gifts and wonders of the Spirit and its activities, then let this desire for an overflowing measure of it in your hearts end always in the furthering of that great spiritual goal, the aim, as I have said, of all the operations of the Spirit, the building up of the Church, of the infinite body of the Christ. 14To that end pray and sing, bless and give thanks. 15If I pray with the mind as well as the Spirit, and sing with understanding as well as ecstasy, and interpret to the mind and consciousness the tongue of the Spirit which I utter, then is that great purpose fulfilled. 16Then will those who hearken to your blessing and giving of thanks say Amen to it. For the demands of the understanding have been fulfilled. 17But if you give thanks with spiritual voices only, in a language unknown to those who fill the place of the humble listeners and the congregation, however well you do it, the church is not fulfilled and is not edified. 18My brethren, this language of the Spirit utters itself richly in me, and in more frequent and fuller tones than in all of you, 19yet would I rather speak five words with the understanding that can help my brother than ten thousand in a language which he does not know. 20My brethren, you have become as little children in this world, but be not children in understanding, but children only in evil. This speaking with tongues, you say, is a sign, a miracle. 21Yes, God says, “With other lips and a strange tongue will I speak to this people, and yet will they not hearken to me.” (Is. xxviii. 11-12) 22They are a sign to those who have no faith, and a sign that is not accepted. 23In your own midst, when the whole church is gathered together as one, what need then of such strange and startling signs? 24For then are heard the voices of understanding that build the perfect church, psalm, and teaching, revelation, tongues and their interpretation; and when one from without enters this reasonable temple of worship, 25the thoughts of his own heart are laid bare to him, he is convicted and judged and made to cry out in his own soul, “surely God is in you” (Is. xlv. 14).
The need for orderliness
26To this great aim let all your worship tend; let psalm, teaching, revelation, tongues and their interpretation be subject to order and arrangement, and so help to build the church. 27Let not more than two or three at most speak with tongues simultaneously, and let these utterances of the Spirit invariably be interpreted and let them not be too long. 28Without interpretation there must be no speaking with tongues. Let him who feels this ability commune with himself and with God, and be silent in his ecstasy, unless he can make his meaning clear. 29Let not more than two or three members speak as prophets voicing the divine, 30and let the rest listen in silence, and distinguish carefully the truth of the words spoken; and where one or other is moved by revelation to speak, give place to him and let the first be silent. 31-32For everyone of you, and not a few only, is able to prophesy, and to do this for the good of all, for there is nothing unruly in the spirit of prophecy. It is subject to him who has the understanding of it, 33and in the churches of God all is order and peace. There is no disorder in the divine being. 34Therefore also the women are not to speak in your assemblies. This is the tradition of the law, and it must be still observed. You may think otherwise, you may even be doing otherwise in your churches. But it is forbidden. 35-38Are you the originators and only recipients of the Gospel? Did it not come first to me, and through me to you? And I tell you that the Lord has given a commandment about these things. Perhaps you do not understand it or recognise it? Then you show yourselves to be without the pale of God's ruling and guidance. Woman can learn and question and speak at home, not in public now. 39Then desire this gift of teaching and prophecy above all others, and allow the speaking with tongues, 40but let everything be done in an orderly and rational manner.
14
1Follow after love, and earnestly desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy. 2For he who speaks in another language speaks not to men, but to God; for no one understands; but in the Spirit he speaks mysteries. 3But he who prophesies speaks to men for their edification, exhortation, and consolation. 4He who speaks in another language edifies himself, but he who prophesies edifies the assembly. 5Now I desire to have you all speak with other languages, but rather that you would prophesy. For he is greater who prophesies than he who speaks with other languages, unless he interprets, that the assembly may be built up.
6But now, brothers,#The word for “brothers” here and where context allows may also be correctly translated “brothers and sisters” or “siblings.” if I come to you speaking with other languages, what would I profit you, unless I speak to you either by way of revelation, or of knowledge, or of prophesying, or of teaching? 7Even things without life, giving a voice, whether pipe or harp, if they didn’t give a distinction in the sounds, how would it be known what is piped or harped? 8For if the trumpet gave an uncertain sound, who would prepare himself for war? 9So also you, unless you uttered by the tongue words easy to understand, how would it be known what is spoken? For you would be speaking into the air. 10There are, it may be, so many kinds of sounds in the world, and none of them is without meaning. 11If then I don’t know the meaning of the sound, I would be to him who speaks a foreigner, and he who speaks would be a foreigner to me. 12So also you, since you are zealous for spiritual gifts, seek that you may abound to the building up of the assembly. 13Therefore let him who speaks in another language pray that he may interpret. 14For if I pray in another language, my spirit prays, but my understanding is unfruitful.
15What is it then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also. I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also. 16Otherwise if you bless with the spirit, how will he who fills the place of the unlearned say the “Amen” at your giving of thanks, seeing he doesn’t know what you say? 17For you most certainly give thanks well, but the other person is not built up. 18I thank my God, I speak with other languages more than you all. 19However in the assembly I would rather speak five words with my understanding, that I might instruct others also, than ten thousand words in another language.
20Brothers, don’t be children in thoughts, yet in malice be babies, but in thoughts be mature. 21In the law it is written, “By men of strange languages and by the lips of strangers I will speak to this people. Not even thus will they hear me, says the Lord.”#Isaiah 28:11-12 22Therefore other languages are for a sign, not to those who believe, but to the unbelieving; but prophesying is for a sign, not to the unbelieving, but to those who believe. 23If therefore the whole assembly is assembled together and all speak with other languages, and unlearned or unbelieving people come in, won’t they say that you are crazy? 24But if all prophesy, and someone unbelieving or unlearned comes in, he is reproved by all, and he is judged by all. 25And thus the secrets of his heart are revealed. So he will fall down on his face and worship God, declaring that God is among you indeed.
26What is it then, brothers? When you come together, each one of you has a psalm, has a teaching, has a revelation, has another language, has an interpretation. Let all things be done to build each other up. 27If any man speaks in another language, let it be two, or at the most three, and in turn; and let one interpret. 28But if there is no interpreter, let him keep silent in the assembly, and let him speak to himself, and to God. 29Let the prophets speak, two or three, and let the others discern. 30But if a revelation is made to another sitting by, let the first keep silent. 31For you all can prophesy one by one, that all may learn, and all may be exhorted. 32The spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets, 33for God is not a God of confusion, but of peace, as in all the assemblies of the saints. 34Let the women be quiet in the assemblies, for it has not been permitted for them to be talking except in submission, as the law also says,#Deuteronomy 27:9 35if they desire to learn anything. “Let them ask their own husbands at home, for it is shameful for a woman to be talking in the assembly.” 36What!? Was it from you that the word of God went out? Or did it come to you alone? 37If any man thinks himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him recognize the things which I write to you, that they are the commandment of the Lord. 38But if anyone is ignorant, let him be ignorant. 39Therefore, brothers, desire earnestly to prophesy, and don’t forbid speaking with other languages. 40Let all things be done decently and in order.