Prophecy a Superior Gift

14 (A)Pursue love, yet (B)desire earnestly (C)spiritual gifts, but especially that you may (D)prophesy. For one who (E)speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God; for no one [a]understands, but [b]in his spirit he speaks (F)mysteries. But one who prophesies speaks to men for (G)edification and (H)exhortation and consolation. One who (I)speaks in a tongue (J)edifies himself; but one who (K)prophesies (L)edifies the church. Now I wish that you all (M)spoke in tongues, but (N)even more that you would prophesy; and greater is one who prophesies than one who (O)speaks in tongues, unless he interprets, so that the church may receive (P)edifying.

But now, brethren, if I come to you speaking in tongues, what will I profit you unless I speak to you either by way of (Q)revelation or of (R)knowledge or of (S)prophecy or of (T)teaching? Yet even lifeless things, either flute or harp, in producing a sound, if they do not produce a distinction in the tones, how will it be known what is played on the flute or on the harp? For if (U)the [c]bugle produces an indistinct sound, who will prepare himself for battle? So also you, unless you utter by the tongue speech that is clear, how will it be known what is spoken? For you will be (V)speaking into the air. 10 There are, perhaps, a great many kinds of [d]languages in the world, and no kind is without meaning. 11 If then I do not know the meaning of the language, I will be to the one who speaks a [e](W)barbarian, and the one who speaks will be a [f]barbarian [g]to me. 12 So also you, since you are zealous of [h]spiritual gifts, seek to abound for the (X)edification of the church.

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 (Y)What is the outcome then? I will pray with the spirit and I will pray with the mind also; I will (Z)sing with the spirit and I will sing with the mind also. 16 Otherwise if you bless [i]in the spirit only, how will the one who fills the place of the [j]ungifted say (AA)the “Amen” at your (AB)giving of thanks, since he does not know what you are saying? 17 For you are giving thanks well enough, but the other person is not (AC)edified. 18 I thank God, I speak in tongues more than you all; 19 however, in the church I desire to speak five words with my mind so that I may instruct others also, rather than ten thousand words in a tongue.

Instruction for the Church

20 (AD)Brethren, (AE)do not be children in your thinking; yet in evil (AF)be infants, but in your thinking be mature. 21 In (AG)the Law it is written, “(AH)By men of strange tongues and by the lips of strangers I will speak to this people, and even so they will not listen to Me,” says the Lord. 22 So then tongues are for a sign, not to those who believe but to unbelievers; but (AI)prophecy is for a sign, not to unbelievers but to those who believe. 23 Therefore if the whole church assembles together and all speak in tongues, and [k]ungifted men or unbelievers enter, will they not say that (AJ)you are mad? 24 But if all (AK)prophesy, and an unbeliever or an [l]ungifted man enters, he is (AL)convicted by all, he is called to account by all; 25 (AM)the secrets of his heart are disclosed; and so he will (AN)fall on his face and worship God, (AO)declaring that God is certainly among you.

26 (AP)What is the outcome then, (AQ)brethren? When you assemble, (AR)each one has a (AS)psalm, has a (AT)teaching, has a (AU)revelation, has a (AV)tongue, has an (AW)interpretation. Let (AX)all things be done for edification. 27 If anyone speaks in a (AY)tongue, it should be by two or at the most three, and each in turn, and one must (AZ)interpret; 28 but if there is no interpreter, he must keep silent in the church; and let him speak to himself and to God. 29 Let two or three (BA)prophets speak, and let the others (BB)pass judgment. 30 But if a revelation is made to another who is seated, the first one must keep silent. 31 For you can all prophesy one by one, so that all may learn and all may be exhorted; 32 and the spirits of prophets are subject to prophets; 33 for God is not a God of (BC)confusion but of [m]peace, as in (BD)all the churches of the (BE)saints.

34 The women are to (BF)keep silent in the churches; for they are not permitted to speak, but (BG)are to subject themselves, just as (BH)the Law also says. 35 If they desire to learn anything, let them ask their own husbands at home; for it is [n]improper for a woman to speak in church. 36 [o]Was it from you that the word of God first went forth? Or has it come to you only?

37 (BI)If anyone thinks he is a prophet or (BJ)spiritual, let him recognize that the things which I write to you (BK)are the Lord’s commandment. 38 But if anyone does not recognize this, he [p]is not recognized.

39 Therefore, my brethren, (BL)desire earnestly to (BM)prophesy, and do not forbid to speak in tongues. 40 But (BN)all things must be done properly and in an orderly manner.


  1. 1 Corinthians 14:2 Lit hears
  2. 1 Corinthians 14:2 Or by the Spirit
  3. 1 Corinthians 14:8 Lit trumpet
  4. 1 Corinthians 14:10 Lit voices
  5. 1 Corinthians 14:11 Or foreigner
  6. 1 Corinthians 14:11 Or foreigner
  7. 1 Corinthians 14:11 Or in my estimation
  8. 1 Corinthians 14:12 Lit spirits
  9. 1 Corinthians 14:16 Or with the
  10. 1 Corinthians 14:16 I.e. unversed in spiritual gifts
  11. 1 Corinthians 14:23 V 16, note 2
  12. 1 Corinthians 14:24 V 16, note 2
  13. 1 Corinthians 14:33 Or peace. As in all...saints, let
  14. 1 Corinthians 14:35 Or disgraceful
  15. 1 Corinthians 14:36 Lit Or was
  16. 1 Corinthians 14:38 Two early mss read is not to be recognized

14 Pursue the love, and seek earnestly the spiritual things, and rather that ye may prophecy,

for he who is speaking in an [unknown] tongue -- to men he doth not speak, but to God, for no one doth hearken, and in spirit he doth speak secrets;

and he who is prophesying to men doth speak edification, and exhortation, and comfort;

he who is speaking in an [unknown] tongue, himself doth edify, and he who is prophesying, an assembly doth edify;

and I wish you all to speak with tongues, and more that ye may prophecy, for greater is he who is prophesying than he who is speaking with tongues, except one may interpret, that the assembly may receive edification.

And now, brethren, if I may come unto you speaking tongues, what shall I profit you, except I shall speak to you either in revelation, or in knowledge, or in prophesying, or in teaching?

yet the things without life giving sound -- whether pipe or harp -- if a difference in the sounds they may not give, how shall be known that which is piped or that which is harped?

for if also an uncertain sound a trumpet may give, who shall prepare himself for battle?

so also ye, if through the tongue, speech easily understood ye may not give -- how shall that which is spoken be known? for ye shall be speaking to air.

10 There are, it may be, so many kinds of voices in the world, and none of them is unmeaning,

11 if, then, I do not know the power of the voice, I shall be to him who is speaking a foreigner, and he who is speaking, is to me a foreigner;

12 so also ye, since ye are earnestly desirous of spiritual gifts, for the building up of the assembly seek that ye may abound;

13 wherefore he who is speaking in an [unknown] tongue -- let him pray that he may interpret;

14 for if I pray in an [unknown] tongue, my spirit doth pray, and my understanding is unfruitful.

15 What then is it? I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray also with the understanding; I will sing psalms with the spirit, and I will sing psalms also with the understanding;

16 since, if thou mayest bless with the spirit, he who is filling the place of the unlearned, how shall he say the Amen at thy giving of thanks, since what thou dost say he hath not known?

17 for thou, indeed, dost give thanks well, but the other is not built up!

18 I give thanks to my God -- more than you all with tongues speaking --

19 but in an assembly I wish to speak five words through my understanding, that others also I may instruct, rather than myriads of words in an [unknown] tongue.

20 Brethren, become not children in the understanding, but in the evil be ye babes, and in the understanding become ye perfect;

21 in the law it hath been written, that, `With other tongues and with other lips I will speak to this people, and not even so will they hear Me, saith the Lord;'

22 so that the tongues are for a sign, not to the believing, but to the unbelieving; and the prophesy [is] not for the unbelieving, but for the believing,

23 If, therefore, the whole assembly may come together, to the same place, and all may speak with tongues, and there may come in unlearned or unbelievers, will they not say that ye are mad?

24 and if all may prophecy, and any one may come in, an unbeliever or unlearned, he is convicted by all, he is discerned by all,

25 and so the secrets of his heart become manifest, and so having fallen upon [his] face, he will bow before God, declaring that God really is among you.

26 What then is it, brethren? whenever ye may come together, each of you hath a psalm, hath a teaching, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation? let all things be for building up;

27 if an [unknown] tongue any one do speak, by two, or at the most, by three, and in turn, and let one interpret;

28 and if there may be no interpreter, let him be silent in an assembly, and to himself let him speak, and to God.

29 And prophets -- let two or three speak, and let the others discern,

30 and if to another sitting [anything] may be revealed, let the first be silent;

31 for ye are able, one by one, all to prophesy, that all may learn, and all may be exhorted,

32 and the spiritual gift of prophets to prophets are subject,

33 for God is not [a God] of tumult, but of peace, as in all the assemblies of the saints.

34 Your women in the assemblies let them be silent, for it hath not been permitted to them to speak, but to be subject, as also the law saith;

35 and if they wish to learn anything, at home their own husbands let them question, for it is a shame to women to speak in an assembly.

36 From you did the word of God come forth? or to you alone did it come?

37 if any one doth think to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge the things that I write to you -- that of the Lord they are commands;

38 and if any one is ignorant -- let him be ignorant;

39 so that, brethren, earnestly desire to prophesy, and to speak with tongues do not forbid;

40 let all things be done decently and in order.