Follow the way of love1 and eagerly desire2 spiritual gifts,3 especially the gift of prophecy.42
For anyone who speaks in a tonguea5 does not speak to men but to God. Indeed, no one understands him;6 he utters mysteries7 with his spirit.b3
But everyone who prophesies speaks to men for their strengthening,8 encouragement9 and comfort.
He who speaks in a tongue10 edifies11 himself, but he who prophesies12 edifies the church.
I would like every one of you to speak in tongues,c but I would rather have you prophesy.13 He who prophesies is greater than one who speaks in tongues,d unless he interprets, so that the church may be edified.146
Now, brothers, if I come to you and speak in tongues, what good will I be to you, unless I bring you some revelation15 or knowledge16 or prophecy or word of instruction?177
Even in the case of lifeless things that make sounds, such as the flute 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?189
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.
Undoubtedly there are all sorts of languages in the world, yet none of them is without meaning.