He who speaks in a tongue1 edifies2 himself, but he who prophesies3 edifies the church.
I would like every one of you to speak in tongues,a but I would rather have you prophesy.4 He who prophesies is greater than one who speaks in tongues,b unless he interprets, so that the church may be edified.56
Now, brothers, if I come to you and speak in tongues, what good will I be to you, unless I bring you some revelation6 or knowledge7 or prophecy or word of instruction?87
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?99
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.
If then I do not grasp the meaning of what someone is saying, I am a foreigner to the speaker, and he is a foreigner to me.1012
So it is with you. Since you are eager to have spiritual gifts,11 try to excel in gifts that build up12 the church.
For this reason anyone who speaks in a tongue should pray that he may interpret what he says.1314
For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays,14 but my mind is unfruitful.