1 Corinthians 14 New Life Version (NLV)
Speaking in Special Sounds Is Not the Greatest Gift
14 You should want to have this love. You should want the gifts of the Holy Spirit and most of all to be able to speak God’s Word. 2 The man who speaks in special sounds speaks to God. He is not speaking to men. No one understands. He is speaking secret things through the power of the Holy Spirit. 3 The man who speaks God’s Word speaks to men. It helps them to learn and understand. It gives them comfort. 4 The man who speaks in special sounds receives strength. The man who speaks God’s Word gives strength to the church. 5 I wish all of you spoke in special sounds. But more than that, I wish all of you spoke God’s Word. The one who speaks God’s Word has a more important gift than the one who speaks in special sounds. But if he can tell what he is speaking, the church will be helped. 6 Christian brothers, if I come to you speaking in special sounds, what good is it to you? But if I tell you something God has shown me or something I have learned or what God’s Word says will happen in the future or teach you God’s Word, it will be for your good.
7 There are things on which people play music. If strange sounds are made on these, how will others know which one is played? 8 If a horn does not make a good sound, how will men know they are to get ready to fight? 9 It is the same if you speak to a person in special sounds. How will he know what you say? Your sounds will be lost in the air. 10 There are many languages in the world. All of them have meaning to the people who understand them. 11 But if I do not understand the language someone uses to speak to me, the man who speaks is a stranger to me. I am a stranger to him. 12 Since you want gifts from the Holy Spirit, ask for those that will build up the whole church. 13 So the man who speaks in special sounds should pray for the gift to be able to tell what they mean.
14 If I pray in special sounds, my spirit is doing the praying. My mind does not understand. 15 What should I do? I will pray with my spirit and I will pray with my mind also. I will sing with my spirit and I will sing with my mind also. 16 If you honor and give thanks to God with your spirit in sounds nobody understands, how can others honor and give thanks also if they do not know what you are saying? 17 You are honoring and giving thanks to God, but it is not helping other people.
18 I thank God that I speak in special sounds more than all of you. 19 But in a meeting of the church, it is better if I say five words that others can understand and be helped by than 10,000 words in special sounds.
20 Christian brothers, do not be like children in your thinking. Be full-grown, but be like children in not knowing how to sin. 21 God says in the Holy Writings, “I will speak to My people. I will speak through men from other lands in other languages. Even then My people will not listen to Me.” 22 So then speaking in special sounds is for those who do not believe. It is not for those who believe. But speaking God’s Word is for those who believe. It is not for those who do not believe.
23 If some people who are not Christians come to your church meeting while all the people are speaking in special sounds, they will think you are crazy. 24 But if a man who is not a Christian comes to your church meeting while you are all speaking God’s Word, he will understand that he is a sinner by what he hears. He will know he is guilty. 25 The secrets of his heart will be brought into the open. He will get on his knees and worship God. He will say, “For sure, God is here with you!”
26 What am I saying, Christian brothers? When you meet together for worship, some of you have a song to sing. Some of you want to teach and some have special words from God. Some of you speak in special sounds and some of you tell what they mean. Everything should be done to help those who are meeting together to grow strong as Christians. 27 No more than two or three people should speak in special sounds. Only one should speak at a time. Someone must tell the meaning of the special sounds. 28 If no one is there who can tell the meaning of the special sounds, he should not speak in the church. He should speak only to himself and to God. 29 Two or three should speak God’s Word. The other people should listen and decide if they are speaking right. 30 If someone sitting in the meeting gets some special word from God, the one who is speaking should stop. 31 All of you can speak God’s Word, but only one person at a time. In that way, all of you can learn and be helped. 32 Men who speak God’s Word are able to stop when they should. 33 God does not want everyone speaking at the same time in church meetings. He wants peace. All the churches of God’s people worship this way.
34 Women should not be allowed to speak in church meetings. They are to obey this teaching. The Law says this also. 35 If they want to find out about something, they should ask their husbands at home. It is a shame for a woman to speak in a church meeting.
36 Did the Word of God come from you Christians in the city of Corinth? Or are you the only people who received it? 37 Some of you may think you have the gift of speaking God’s Word or some other gift from the Holy Spirit. If you do, you should know that what I am writing to you is what God has told us we must obey. 38 If any man does not listen to this, have nothing to do with him.
39 So then, my Christian brothers, you should want to speak God’s Word. Do not stop anyone from speaking in special sounds. 40 All things should be done in the right way, one after the other.