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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
Speak in Ways That Can Be Understood
1Pursue love, and desire spiritual gifts, but especially the gift of speaking what God has revealed. 2When a person speaks in another language, he doesn’t speak to people but to God. No one understands him. His spirit is speaking mysteries. 3But when a person speaks what God has revealed, he speaks to people to help them grow, to encourage them, and to comfort them. 4When a person speaks in another language, he helps himself grow. But when a person speaks what God has revealed, he helps the church grow. 5I wish that all of you could speak in other languages, but especially that you could speak what God has revealed. The person who speaks what God has revealed is more important than the person who speaks in other languages. This is true unless he can interpret what he says to help the church grow. 6Brothers and sisters, it wouldn’t do you any good if I came to you speaking in other languages, unless I explained revelation, knowledge, prophecy, or doctrine to you.
7Musical instruments like the flute or harp produce sounds. If there is no difference in the notes, how can a person tell what tune is being played? 8For example, if the trumpet doesn’t sound a clear call, who will get ready for battle? 9In the same way, if you don’t speak in a way that can be understood, how will anyone know what you’re saying? You will be talking into thin air.
10No matter how many different languages there are in the world, not one of them is without meaning. 11If I don’t know what a language means, I will be a foreigner to the person who speaks it and that person will be a foreigner to me. 12In the same way, since you’re eager to have spiritual gifts, try to excel in them so that you help the church grow. 13So the person who speaks in another language should pray for an interpretation of what he says.
14If I pray in another language, my spirit prays, but my mind is not productive. 15So what does this mean? It means that I will pray with my spirit, and I will pray with my mind. I will sing psalms with my spirit, and I will sing psalms with my mind. 16Otherwise, if you praise God only with your spirit, how can outsiders say “Amen!” to your prayer of thanksgiving? They don’t know what you’re saying. 17Your prayer of thanksgiving may be very good, but it doesn’t help other people grow. 18I thank God that I speak in other languages more than any of you. 19Yet, in order to teach others in church, I would rather say five words that can be understood than ten thousand words in another language.
20Brothers and sisters, don’t think like children. When it comes to evil, be like babies, but think like mature people. 21God’s word says,
“Through people who speak foreign languages
and through the mouths of foreigners
I will speak to these people,
but even then they will not listen to me,
says the Lord.”
22So the gift of speaking in other languages is a sign for unbelievers, not for believers. The gift of speaking what God has revealed is a sign for believers, not for unbelievers. 23Suppose the whole congregation gathers in the same place and you speak in other languages. When outsiders or unbelievers come in, won’t they say that you’re out of your mind? 24Now suppose you speak what God has revealed. When unbelievers or outsiders come in you will show them where they are wrong and convince them that they are sinners. 25The secrets in their hearts will become known, and in this way they will quickly bow with their faces touching the ground, worship God, and confess that God is truly among you.
Maintain Order in Your Worship Services
26So what does this mean, brothers and sisters? When you gather, each person has a psalm, doctrine, revelation, another language, or an interpretation. Everything must be done to help each other grow. 27If people speak in other languages, only two or three at the most should speak. They should do it one at a time, and someone must interpret what each person says. 28But if an interpreter isn’t present, those people should remain silent in church. They should only speak to themselves and to God.
29Two or three people should speak what God has revealed. Everyone else should decide whether what each person said is right or wrong. 30If God reveals something to another person who is seated, the first speaker should be silent. 31All of you can take your turns speaking what God has revealed. In that way, everyone will learn and be encouraged. 32People who speak what God has revealed must control themselves. 33God is not a God of disorder but a God of peace.
As in all the churches of God’s holy people, 34the women must keep silent. They don’t have the right to speak. They must take their place as Moses’ Teachings say. 35If they want to know anything they should ask their husbands at home. It’s shameful for a woman to speak in church. 36Did God’s word originate with you? Are you the only ones it has reached?
37Whoever thinks that he speaks for God or that he is spiritually gifted must acknowledge that what I write to you is what the Lord commands. 38But whoever ignores what I write should be ignored.
39So, brothers and sisters, desire to speak what God has revealed, and don’t keep anyone from speaking in other languages. 40Everything must be done in a proper and orderly way.