I would like every one of you to speak in tongues,a but I would rather have you prophesy.1 He who prophesies is greater than one who speaks in tongues,b unless he interprets, so that the church may be edified.26
Now, brothers, if I come to you and speak in tongues, what good will I be to you, unless I bring you some revelation3 or knowledge4 or prophecy or word of instruction?57
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?69
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.712
So it is with you. Since you are eager to have spiritual gifts,8 try to excel in gifts that build up9 the church.
For this reason anyone who speaks in a tongue should pray that he may interpret what he says.1014
For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays,11 but my mind is unfruitful.
So what shall I do? I will pray with my spirit,12 but I will also pray with my mind; I will sing13 with my spirit, but I will also sing with my mind.
If you are praising God with your spirit, how can one who finds himself among those who do not understandc say "Amen"14 to your thanksgiving,15 since he does not know what you are saying?
You may be giving thanks well enough, but the other man is not edified.1618
I thank God that I speak in tongues more than all of you.
But in the church I would rather speak five intelligible words to instruct others than ten thousand words in a tongue.1720
Brothers, stop thinking like children.18 In regard to evil be infants,19 but in your thinking be adults.
In the Law20 it is written: "Through men of strange tongues and through the lips of foreigners I will speak to this people, but even then they will not listen to me,"d21 says the Lord.
Tongues, then, are a sign, not for believers but for unbelievers; prophecy,22 however, is for believers, not for unbelievers.
So if the whole church comes together and everyone speaks in tongues, and some who do not understande or some unbelievers come in, will they not say that you are out of your mind?2324
But if an unbeliever or someone who does not understandf comes in while everybody is prophesying, he will be convinced by all that he is a sinner and will be judged by all,
and the secrets24 of his heart will be laid bare. So he will fall down and worship God, exclaiming, "God is really among you!"25
What then shall we say, brothers?26 When you come together, everyone27 has a hymn,28 or a word of instruction,29 a revelation, a tongue30 or an interpretation.31 All of these must be done for the strengthening32 of the church.
If anyone speaks in a tongue, two--or at the most three--should speak, one at a time, and someone must interpret.