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Priorities in Worship

14 Pursue love; and long for the spiritual gifts, especially that you may prophesy. Someone who speaks in a tongue, you see, isn’t speaking to human beings but to God. Nobody can understand such speakers, because they speak mysteries in the spirit. But the one who prophesies speaks to other people, to build them up, to strengthen them, and to console them. The one who speaks in a tongue builds up himself or herself; but the one who prophesies builds up the church.

I would be delighted for all of you to speak in tongues, but I would be even more delighted to have you all prophesying. The one who prophesies is greater than the one who speaks in a tongue, unless they also give an interpretation so that the church may be built up.

Speaking Clearly in Church

Well then, my brothers and sisters, if I come to you speaking in tongues, how am I going to bring you any benefit unless I speak to you either in a revelation or in a word of knowledge or in a prophecy or in teaching? It’s the same with lifeless objects that make a sound, like a flute or a lyre. If they don’t give a distinct note, how will anyone know what tune is being blown or plucked? Think about it: if the trumpet doesn’t make a clear sound, who will get ready to fight?

It’s the same with you. Unless your tongue gives a distinct message, how will anyone be able to tell what you’re talking about? You will be like someone speaking into thin air. 10 To be sure, there are all kinds and types of languages in the world, and none of them is meaningless. 11 But if I don’t know the force of the words, I will remain a foreigner to the speaker, and the speaker will be a foreigner to me. 12 It’s the same with you. Since you are so eager for spiritual matters, try to specialize in doing things that will build up the church.

Praying with Mind as Well as Spirit

13 So the one who speaks in a tongue should pray to be able to say the same thing in clear speech. 14 If I pray in a tongue, you see, my spirit prays, but my mind remains fruitless. 15 Why is that important? I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the mind as well. I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the mind as well. 16 You see, if you say a blessing in the spirit, how can someone who isn’t one of the inner circle say the ‘Amen’ to your prayer? They won’t know what you’re talking about! 17 You may well be giving thanks in fine style, but the other person isn’t being built up. 18 I thank God that I speak in tongues more than all of you. 19 But in the assembly I would rather speak five words with my mind, to teach other people, than a thousand words in a tongue.

Signs for Believers and Unbelievers

20 Brothers and sisters, don’t be children in your thinking. Be babies when it comes to evil, but in your thinking be grown-ups. 21 This is what it says in the law: ‘I will speak to this people in foreign languages and with the lips of strangers, and even so they won’t listen to me, says the Lord.’ 22 So tongues are not meant for believers, but are a warning for unbelievers; while prophecy is not designed for unbelievers, but for those who come to faith. 23 What I mean is this: if the whole assembly comes together and everybody speaks in tongues, and outsiders or unbelievers come in, they’ll say you’re crazy, won’t they? 24 But if everyone prophesies, and outsiders or unbelievers come in, they will be called to account by everyone, judged by everyone, 25 the secrets of their hearts will be laid bare, and so they will fall down on their faces and worship God, declaring that ‘God is truly among you’.

Final Instructions for Worship

26 So where does this leave us, my brothers and sisters? When you come together, one person has a psalm, another some teaching, another a revelation, another a tongue, and another some interpretation. Let everything be done for the general upbuilding. 27 If anyone speaks in a tongue, there should be two or at most three, each taking their turn, and one of them should put it into plain speech. 28 But if none of them can do that, let them be silent in the assembly, and speak to themselves and to God.

29 As for prophets, let two or three speak, and the others evaluate what is said. 30 If fresh revelation comes to someone sitting there, the first person should be silent. 31 You can all prophesy one by one, so that everyone can learn, and everyone can be encouraged. 32 The spirits of prophets are under the control of prophets, 33 since God is the God, not of chaos, but of peace.

As in all the assemblies of God’s people, 34 the women should keep silence in the assemblies. They are not permitted to speak; they should remain in submission, just as the law declares. 35 If they want to understand something more, they should ask their own husbands when they get home. It’s shameful, you see, for a woman to speak in the assembly. 36 Do you suppose God’s word began with you? Are you the only ones it has reached?

37 If anyone thinks they are a prophet, or spiritual, they should acknowledge that what I write to you is the Lord’s command. 38 If anyone disregards this, they can be disregarded.

39 So, my brothers and sisters, be eager to prophesy, and don’t forbid speaking in tongues. 40 But everything should be done in a seemly fashion, and in proper order.