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.