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1 Corinthians 14 New Matthew Bible (NMB)

Paul shows that the gift of prophecy (that is, of interpreting or preaching) excels the gift of languages, and how they both ought to be used.

14 Labour for love, and covet spiritual gifts, and most chiefly to prophesy. For he who speaks in an unknown tongue speaks not to people, but to God, for no one understands him. However, in the Spirit he speaks mysteries. But he who prophesies speaks to people, for edifying, for exhortation, and for comfort. He who speaks in an unknown tongue, profits himself; he who prophesies, edifies the congregation.

I would that you all spoke with tongues, but rather that you prophesied. For greater is he who prophesies than he who speaks with tongues – unless he expounds it also, so that the congregation may have edifying. Now brethren, if I come to you speaking with tongues, how do I profit you, unless I speak to you either by revelation, or by knowledge, or by instruction?

Moreover, when things without life give sound, whether it be a pipe or a harp, unless they make a distinction in the sounds, how can it be known what is piped or harped? And also, if the trumpet gives an uncertain call, who will prepare himself to fight? So also likewise, when you speak with tongues, unless you speak words that have meaning, how can it be understood what is spoken? For you will be but speaking in the air.

10 Many kinds of voices are in the world, and none of them are without signification. 11 If I do not know what the voice means, I will be as a foreigner to him who speaks, and he who speaks will be a foreigner to me. 12 So then, since you covet spiritual gifts, seek to have them in plenty for the edifying of the congregation.

13 Therefore let him who speaks in an unknown tongue pray such that he may interpret also. 14 If I pray in an unknown tongue, my spirit prays, but my understanding brings no one fruit. 15 What is it then? I will pray with the spirit, and will pray with the meaning also. I will sing with the spirit, and will sing with the meaning also. 16 For otherwise, when you bless with the spirit, how can the person who is unlearned say Amen at your giving of thanks, seeing he does not understand what you say? 17 You give thanks well, but the other is not edified. 18 I thank my God that I speak with tongues more than you all, 19 yet in the congregation I would rather speak five words with my meaning for the information of others, than ten thousand words in an unknown tongue.

20 Brethren, do not be children in understanding. As concerning evil, be children, but in understanding be mature. 21 In the law it is written: With other tongues and with other lips I will speak to this people, and yet for all that, they will not hear me, says the Lord. 22 Therefore tongues are for a sign, not to those who believe, but to those who believe not. On the other hand, prophesying serves not for those who don’t believe, but for those who believe.

23 If therefore when all the congregation has come together and all speak with tongues, there come in people who are unlearned, or those who do not believe, will they not say that you are out of your minds? 24 But if all prophesy and there comes in one who does not believe, or one unlearned, he is convicted by everyone, and is judged by everyone. 25 And in this way the secrets of his heart are opened, and so he falls down on his face and worships God, and says that God is with you indeed.

26 How is it then, brethren? When you come together, each one has his song, has his word, has his tongue, has his revelation, has his interpretation. Let all things be done for edifying. 27 If any man speaks with tongues, let it be two in all, or at the most three in all, and that by turn; and let another interpret it. 28 But if there is no interpreter, let him keep silence in the congregation, and let him speak to himself and to God.

29 Let the prophets speak two in all, or three in all, and let the others judge. 30 If any revelation is made to another who sits by, let the first hold his peace. 31 For you may all prophesy one by one, so that all may learn, and all may have comfort. 32 For the spirits of the prophets are in the control of the prophets. 33 For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as he is in all other congregations of the saints.

34 Let your wives keep silence in the congregations. For it is not permitted to them to speak, but let them be under obedience, as the law says. 35 If they wish to learn anything, let them ask their husbands at home. For it is unseemly for women to speak in the congregation.

36 Did the word of God come forth from you? Or did it come to you only? 37 If anyone thinks himself a prophet, or spiritual, let him understand the things I write to you. For they are the commandments of the Lord. 38 But if anyone is ignorant, let him be ignorant.

39 And so, brethren, desire to prophesy, and do not forbid to speak with tongues. 40 And let all things be done decently and in order.

New Matthew Bible (NMB)

Copyright © 2016 by Ruth Magnusson (Davis). All rights reserved.

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.


  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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