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Orderly Governing of the Gifts

14 Pursue love and eagerly desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy. For one who speaks in a tongue speaks not to people but to God—for no one understands, but in the Ruach he speaks mysteries. But one who prophesies speaks to people for building up, urging on, and uplifting. One who speaks in a tongue builds up himself, but one who prophesies builds up the community. Now I want you all to speak in tongues, but even more that you would prophesy.[a] One who prophesies is greater than one who speaks in tongues—unless he interprets, so that the community may be built up.

But now, brothers and sisters, if I come to you speaking in tongues, how will I benefit you—unless I speak to you by way of revelation or knowledge or prophecy or teaching? It is the same for lifeless things that make a sound—like a flute or a harp. If they make no distinction in the tones, how will what is played be recognized? For if the trumpet[b] makes an unclear sound, who will prepare himself for battle? So also with you with your tongue—unless you utter speech that is intelligible, how will what is spoken be understood? For you will be talking to the wind! 10 It may be that there are many kinds of languages in the world—and none without meaning. 11 If then I do not understand the meaning of the language, I will be a foreigner[c] to the speaker, and the speaker will be a foreigner to me. 12 Likewise with you—since you are zealous for spiritual gifts, keep trying to excel for the building up of the community.

13 Therefore let one who speaks in a tongue pray that he may interpret. 14 For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my mind is unfruitful. 15 What is it then? I will pray in my spirit, but I will also pray with my mind. I will sing praises with my spirit, and I will also sing praises with my mind. 16 Otherwise if you give thanks and praise in the spirit, how will one filling the place of the ungifted say the “Amen” to your thanksgiving, since he has no idea what you’re saying? 17 For you certainly give thanks well, but the other person is not built up. 18 I thank God that I speak in tongues more than all of you. 19 However, in Messiah’s community I would rather speak five words with my mind, so I may also instruct others, than ten thousand words in a tongue.

20 Brothers and sisters, stop being children in your thinking—rather, be infants in evil, but in your thinking be mature. 21 In the Prophets[d] it is written,

“By those with strange tongues
    and by the lips of strangers
    I will speak to this people.
And not even then will they listen to me,” says Adonai.

22 Therefore tongues are a sign not for believers but for unbelievers—but prophecy is a sign not for unbelievers but for believers. 23 So if Messiah’s whole community comes together and everyone speaks in tongues, and uninstructed or unbelieving people come in, won’t they say that you are crazy? 24 But if all are prophesying and some unbelieving or ungifted person comes in, he is convicted by all, he is called to account by all. 25 The secrets of his heart become known, and so he will fall down on his face and worship God, declaring, “God really is among you!”[e]

26 What is it then, brothers and sisters? Whenever you come together, each one has a psalm, a teaching, a revelation, a tongue, an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification. 27 If someone speaks in a tongue, let it be by two or at most three, and each in turn; and let one interpret. 28 But if there is no interpreter, let him keep silent in the community but speak to himself and to God. 29 Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others evaluate. 30 But if something is revealed to another sitting nearby, let the first one become silent. 31 For you can all prophesy one by one, so all may learn and be encouraged. 32 The spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets, 33 for God is not a God of confusion, but shalom.

As in all the communities of the kedoshim, 34 let women keep silent in the communities, for it is not permitted for them to speak out. Rather let them be in order, as the Torah also says. [f] 35 If they want to learn something, let them ask their own husbands at home—for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak out in the community. 36 Did the word of God originate with you? Or did it reach you alone?

37 If anyone thinks he is a prophet or spiritual, let him recognize that what I write to you is the Lord’s command. 38 But if someone does not recognize it, he is not recognized. 39 Therefore, brothers and sisters, be eager to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in tongues. 40 But let everything be done decently and in order.


  1. 1 Corinthians 14:5 cf. Num. 11:29.
  2. 1 Corinthians 14:8 Grk. salpigx (trumpet), Heb. chatzotzrah (trumpet); cf. Num. 10:2, 9, chatzotzrot kesef (silver trumpets).
  3. 1 Corinthians 14:11 Lit. barbarian.
  4. 1 Corinthians 14:21 Lit. Law, here applied to Torah, Prophets, and Writings; the quote is from Isa. 28:11-12.
  5. 1 Corinthians 14:25 cf. Isa. 45:14; Dan. 2:47; Zech. 8:23.
  6. 1 Corinthians 14:35 cf. Gen. 3:16.