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By speaking languages that others don’t know, you help only yourself. But by prophesying you help everyone in the church. I am glad for you to speak unknown languages, although I had rather for you to prophesy. In fact, prophesying does much more good than speaking unknown languages, unless someone can help the church by explaining what you mean.

My friends, what good would it do, if I came and spoke unknown languages to you and didn’t explain what I meant? How would I help you, unless I told you what God had shown me or gave you some knowledge or prophecy or teaching?

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Anyone who speaks in a tongue(A) edifies(B) themselves, but the one who prophesies(C) edifies the church. I would like every one of you to speak in tongues,[a] but I would rather have you prophesy.(D) The one who prophesies is greater than the one who speaks in tongues,[b] unless someone interprets, so that the church may be edified.(E)

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(F) or knowledge(G) or prophecy or word of instruction?(H)

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Footnotes

  1. 1 Corinthians 14:5 Or in other languages; also in verses 6, 18, 22, 23 and 39
  2. 1 Corinthians 14:5 Or in other languages; also in verses 6, 18, 22, 23 and 39