1 Corinthians 14
Modern English Version
Tongues and Prophecy
14 Follow after love and desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy. 2 For he who speaks in an unknown tongue does not speak to men, but to God. For no one understands him, although in the spirit, he speaks mysteries. 3 But he who prophesies speaks to men for their edification and exhortation and comfort. 4 He who speaks in an unknown tongue edifies himself, but he who prophesies edifies the church. 5 I desire that you all speak in tongues, but even more that you prophesy. For greater is he who prophesies than he who speaks in tongues, unless he interprets, so that the church may receive edification.
6 Now, brothers, if I come to you speaking in tongues, what shall I profit you, unless I speak to you by revelation or knowledge or prophesying or doctrine? 7 Even when things without life give sound, whether flute or harp, how will it be known what is played unless they give a distinction in the sounds? 8 If the trumpet makes an uncertain sound, who will prepare himself for the battle? 9 So also you, unless with the tongue you speak words easy to understand, how will it be known what is spoken? For you shall speak into the air. 10 There are, it may be, so many kinds of languages in the world, and none of them is without significance. 11 Therefore, if I do not know the meaning of the speech, I shall be a barbarian to him who speaks, and he who speaks will be a barbarian to me. 12 So, seeing that you are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek that you may excel to the edifying of the church.
13 Let him who speaks in an unknown tongue pray that he may interpret. 14 For if I pray in an unknown tongue, my spirit prays, but my understanding is unfruitful. 15 What is it then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding. I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding. 16 Otherwise, when you bless with the spirit, how will he who occupies the place of the unlearned say “Amen” at your giving of thanks, seeing he does not understand what you say? 17 For you indeed give thanks well, but the other is not edified.
18 I thank my God that I speak in tongues more than you all. 19 Yet in the church I had rather speak five words with my understanding, that by my voice I might teach others also, than ten thousand words in an unknown tongue.
20 Brothers, do not be children in your thinking; rather be infants in evil, but in your thinking be mature. 21 In the law it is written:
“With men of other tongues
and other lips
I will speak to this people;
but even then they will not hear Me,”[a]
says the Lord.
22 So tongues are for a sign, not to believers, but to unbelievers. But prophesying does not serve unbelievers, but believers. 23 Therefore if the whole church assembles in one place and all speak with tongues, and those who are unlearned or unbelievers come in, will they not say that you are out of your mind? 24 But if all prophesy and there comes in one who does not believe or one unlearned, he is convinced by all and judged by all. 25 Thus the secrets of his heart are revealed. And so falling down on his face, he will worship God and report that God is truly among you.
All Things to Be Done in Order
26 How is it then, brothers? When you come together, every one of you has a psalm, a teaching, a tongue, a revelation, and an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification. 27 If anyone speaks in an unknown tongue, let it be by two, or at the most by three, and each in turn, and let one interpret. 28 But if there is no interpreter, let him remain silent in the church, and let him speak to himself and to God.
29 Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others judge. 30 If anything is revealed to another that sits by, let the first keep silent. 31 For you may all prophesy one by one, that all may learn and all may be encouraged. 32 The spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets. 33 For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.
34 Let your women remain silent in the churches. For they are not permitted to speak. They are commanded to be under obedience, as the law also says. 35 If they will learn anything, let them ask their husbands at home, for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.
36 What? Did the word of God come from you? Or did it come to you only? 37 If anyone thinks himself to be a prophet or spiritual, let him acknowledge that what I am writing you is a command of the Lord. 38 But if anyone is ignorant, let him be ignorant.
39 Therefore, brothers, eagerly desire to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in tongues. 40 Let all things be done decently and in order.
1 Corinthians 14
New International Version
Intelligibility in Worship
14 Follow the way of love(A) and eagerly desire(B) gifts of the Spirit,(C) especially prophecy.(D) 2 For anyone who speaks in a tongue[a](E) does not speak to people but to God. Indeed, no one understands them;(F) they utter mysteries(G) by the Spirit. 3 But the one who prophesies speaks to people for their strengthening,(H) encouraging(I) and comfort. 4 Anyone who speaks in a tongue(J) edifies(K) themselves, but the one who prophesies(L) edifies the church. 5 I would like every one of you to speak in tongues,[b] but I would rather have you prophesy.(M) The one who prophesies is greater than the one who speaks in tongues,[c] unless someone interprets, so that the church may be edified.(N)
6 Now, brothers and sisters, if I come to you and speak in tongues, what good will I be to you, unless I bring you some revelation(O) or knowledge(P) or prophecy or word of instruction?(Q) 7 Even in the case of lifeless things that make sounds, such as the pipe or harp, how will anyone know what tune is being played unless there is a distinction in the notes? 8 Again, if the trumpet does not sound a clear call, who will get ready for battle?(R) 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 Undoubtedly there are all sorts of languages in the world, yet none of them is without meaning. 11 If then I do not grasp the meaning of what someone is saying, I am a foreigner to the speaker, and the speaker is a foreigner to me.(S) 12 So it is with you. Since you are eager for gifts of the Spirit,(T) try to excel in those that build up(U) the church.
13 For this reason the one who speaks in a tongue should pray that they may interpret what they say.(V) 14 For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays,(W) but my mind is unfruitful. 15 So what shall I do? I will pray with my spirit,(X) but I will also pray with my understanding; I will sing(Y) with my spirit, but I will also sing with my understanding. 16 Otherwise when you are praising God in the Spirit, how can someone else, who is now put in the position of an inquirer,[d] say “Amen”(Z) to your thanksgiving,(AA) since they do not know what you are saying? 17 You are giving thanks well enough, but no one else is edified.(AB)
18 I thank God that I speak in tongues more than all of you. 19 But in the church I would rather speak five intelligible words to instruct others than ten thousand words in a tongue.(AC)
22 Tongues, then, are a sign, not for believers but for unbelievers; prophecy,(AH) however, is not for unbelievers but for believers. 23 So if the whole church comes together and everyone speaks in tongues, and inquirers or unbelievers come in, will they not say that you are out of your mind?(AI) 24 But if an unbeliever or an inquirer comes in while everyone is prophesying, they are convicted of sin and are brought under judgment by all, 25 as the secrets(AJ) of their hearts are laid bare. So they will fall down and worship God, exclaiming, “God is really among you!”(AK)
Good Order in Worship
26 What then shall we say, brothers and sisters?(AL) When you come together, each of you(AM) has a hymn,(AN) or a word of instruction,(AO) a revelation, a tongue(AP) or an interpretation.(AQ) Everything must be done so that the church may be built up.(AR) 27 If anyone speaks in a tongue, two—or at the most three—should speak, one at a time, and someone must interpret. 28 If there is no interpreter, the speaker should keep quiet in the church and speak to himself and to God.
29 Two or three prophets(AS) should speak, and the others should weigh carefully what is said.(AT) 30 And if a revelation comes to someone who is sitting down, 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 the control of prophets.(AU) 33 For God is not a God of disorder(AV) but of peace(AW)—as in all the congregations(AX) of the Lord’s people.(AY)
34 Women[f] should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak,(AZ) but must be in submission,(BA) as the law(BB) says. 35 If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church.[g]
36 Or did the word of God(BC) originate with you? Or are you the only people it has reached? 37 If anyone thinks they are a prophet(BD) or otherwise gifted by the Spirit,(BE) let them acknowledge that what I am writing to you is the Lord’s command.(BF) 38 But if anyone ignores this, they will themselves be ignored.[h]
- 1 Corinthians 14:2 Or in another language; also in verses 4, 13, 14, 19, 26 and 27
- 1 Corinthians 14:5 Or in other languages; also in verses 6, 18, 22, 23 and 39
- 1 Corinthians 14:5 Or in other languages; also in verses 6, 18, 22, 23 and 39
- 1 Corinthians 14:16 The Greek word for inquirer is a technical term for someone not fully initiated into a religion; also in verses 23 and 24.
- 1 Corinthians 14:21 Isaiah 28:11,12
- 1 Corinthians 14:34 Or peace. As in all the congregations of the Lord’s people, 34 women
- 1 Corinthians 14:35 In a few manuscripts these verses come after verse 40.
- 1 Corinthians 14:38 Some manuscripts But anyone who is ignorant of this will be ignorant