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1 Corinthians 14 Worldwide English (New Testament) (WE)

14 Love is the thing you should want more than anything else. But you should also want other things the Spirit gives. You should want very much to be able to speak words from God.

The person who talks in tongues of a different language does not talk to people, but to God. People do not understand what he says. But he is saying secret things by the Spirit.

But the person who is a prophet speaks words from God to people plainly. He helps them to believe and to be strong, and he comforts them.

The person who talks in a different tongue helps himself. But the one who tells forth God's word helps all the people in the church.

I wish that you could all talk in different tongues. But I want even more that you should speak words from God for all to hear and understand. The person who speaks words from God is greater than the person who talks in tongues - unless he is able to tell the meaning of his words, so that he helps all the people in the church.

My brothers, if I come to you and talk in tongues of a different language, how can I help you? I cannot help you if I do not tell you something God has shown to me, or something I know, or God's word, or some teaching.

Such things as horns or harps have no life, but they make sounds. Now if they don't make the right noise, no one will know what the sound means.

If the war drum gives a sound that has no meaning, then no one will get ready to fight.

If you say words that people cannot understand, they will not know what you say. You talk for nothing!

10 There are no doubt many different languages in the world. And every one of them has a meaning.

11 But if a person talks in a language and I do not know the meaning of it, I will be like a stranger to him and he will be like a stranger to me.

12 So it is with you. You want the gifts of the Spirit. Then you should want the gift which will make you better able to help the church people.

13 So then, the person who talks in a tongue of a different language, should ask God to help tell the meaning of the tongue.

14 If I pray to God in a tongue of a different language, then I am talking with my spirit, but I do not use my mind.

15 What then shall I do? I will talk to God with my spirit and I will talk to God with my mind. I will sing with my spirit and I will sing with my mind.

16 If you thank God with your spirit only, an ordinary person cannot say, `Amen, it is so!' He does not know what you say.

17 The way you thank God is good, but it does not help an ordinary person.

18 I thank God that I can talk in tongues more than any of you.

19 But in the church meeting it is better for me to say five words with my mind, so that I will teach other people also. This is better than to say ten thousand words in a tongue of a different language.

20 My brothers, do not be like children in your thinking. When it comes to doing wrong things, be like small babies. But in your thinking be grown up people.

21 The holy writings say, `I will talk to these people by strangers and by people who talk in strange tongues. And yet, they will not listen to me.' This is what the Lord says.

22 So then, tongues are a sign to people who do not believe God. They are not a sign to those who believe him. But speaking words from God like a prophet is a sign to those who believe. It is not a sign to those who do not believe.

23 Sometimes all the people of the church may be gathered together. If everyone talks in tongues, and if some people who do not know or believe come in, they will say that you are crazy.

24 But what happens if everyone speaks words from God? If such people come in, then the words from God will prove to them that they have done wrong. They will all speak to the heart.

25 Such a person sees everything that has been hidden in his heart. Then he will kneel down and worship God. He will say, `It is true. God is here among you.'

26 What shall we do about it, my brothers? When you meet together, every one of you has something to help the other. One has a song to sing. One has something to teach people. One has something which God has shown to him. One has something to say in a tongue. One can tell the meaning of a tongue. Do all of these things to help one another.

27 If any people talk in a tongue, only two or not more than three should talk. They must talk one at a time and someone must tell the meaning.

28 But if there is no one to tell the meaning, a person must not talk in a tongue of a different language in the church meeting. He should talk to himself and to God.

29 Two or three prophets may speak words from God and the others should say what they think about it.

30 But if another person is sitting by and God gives him something to say, then the first person should stop talking.

31 One by one you may speak words from God. In that way, all will learn something and all will be stronger in faith.

32 Those who speak words from God are able to keep their own spirits quiet.

33-34 God does not want things to be out of order. He wants peace in the church meeting. In all the churches of God's people, the women should be quiet in the church meetings. They must not be allowed to talk. They must obey. The holy writings say this also.

35 If the women want to know something, they should ask their own husbands at home. It is a shame for a woman to talk in a church meeting.

36 Do you think that you were the first ones to tell the word of God? Or do you think that you are the only people who have it?

37 Perhaps someone thinks, `I am the one to speak words from God,' or, `I have the Spirit.' Then know this, the Lord has told me to write these things.

38 If anyone does not know this, then God will not know him.

39 So, my brothers, the thing you should want is to speak words from God. But at the same time, do not stop anyone from talking in tongues.

40 But everything should be done in the right way and in good order.

1 Corinthians 14 New International Version (NIV)

Intelligibility in Worship

14 Follow the way of love and eagerly desire gifts of the Spirit, especially prophecy. For anyone who speaks in a tongue[a] does not speak to people but to God. Indeed, no one understands them; they utter mysteries by the Spirit. But the one who prophesies speaks to people for their strengthening, encouraging and comfort. Anyone who speaks in a tongue edifies themselves, but the one who prophesies edifies the church. I would like every one of you to speak in tongues,[b] but I would rather have you prophesy. The one who prophesies is greater than the one who speaks in tongues,[c] unless someone interprets, so that the church may be edified.

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 or knowledge or prophecy or word of instruction? 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? Again, if the trumpet does not sound a clear call, who will get ready for battle? 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. 12 So it is with you. Since you are eager for gifts of the Spirit, try to excel in those that build up the church.

13 For this reason the one who speaks in a tongue should pray that they may interpret what they say. 14 For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my mind is unfruitful. 15 So what shall I do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will also pray with my understanding; I will sing 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” to your thanksgiving, since they do not know what you are saying? 17 You are giving thanks well enough, but no one else is edified.

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.

20 Brothers and sisters, stop thinking like children. In regard to evil be infants, but in your thinking be adults. 21 In the Law it is written:

“With other tongues
    and through the lips of foreigners
I will speak to this people,
    but even then they will not listen to me,
says the Lord.”[e]

22 Tongues, then, are a sign, not for believers but for unbelievers; prophecy, 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? 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 of their hearts are laid bare. So they will fall down and worship God, exclaiming, “God is really among you!”

Good Order in Worship

26 What then shall we say, brothers and sisters? When you come together, each of you has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. Everything must be done so that the church may be built up. 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 should speak, and the others should weigh carefully what is said. 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. 33 For God is not a God of disorder but of peace—as in all the congregations of the Lord’s people.

34 Women[f] should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the law 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 originate with you? Or are you the only people it has reached? 37 If anyone thinks they are a prophet or otherwise gifted by the Spirit, let them acknowledge that what I am writing to you is the Lord’s command. 38 But if anyone ignores this, they will themselves be ignored.[h]

39 Therefore, my brothers and sisters, be eager to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in tongues. 40 But everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way.

Footnotes:

  1. 1 Corinthians 14:2 Or in another language; also in verses 4, 13, 14, 19, 26 and 27
  2. 1 Corinthians 14:5 Or in other languages; also in verses 6, 18, 22, 23 and 39
  3. 1 Corinthians 14:5 Or in other languages; also in verses 6, 18, 22, 23 and 39
  4. 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.
  5. 1 Corinthians 14:21 Isaiah 28:11,12
  6. 1 Corinthians 14:34 Or peace. As in all the congregations of the Lord’s people, 34 women
  7. 1 Corinthians 14:35 In a few manuscripts these verses come after verse 40.
  8. 1 Corinthians 14:38 Some manuscripts But anyone who is ignorant of this will be ignorant
New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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