Pursue love, and use your ambition to try to get spiritual gifts but especially so that you might prophesy.
This is because those who speak in a tongue don't speak to people but to God; no one understands it—they speak mysteries by the Spirit.
Those who prophesy speak to people, building them up, and giving them encouragement and comfort.
People who speak in a tongue build up themselves; those who prophesy build up the church.
I wish that all of you spoke in tongues, but I'd rather you could prophesy. Those who prophesy are more important than those who speak in tongues, unless they are able to interpret them so that the church might be built up.
After all, brothers and sisters, if I come to you speaking in tongues, how will I help you unless I speak to you with a revelation, some knowledge, a prophecy, or a teaching?
Likewise, things that aren't alive like a harp or a lyre can make a sound, but if there aren't different notes in the sounds they make, how will the tune from the harp or the lyre be recognized?
And if a trumpet call is unrecognizable, then who will prepare for battle?
It's the same way with you: If you don't use language that is easy to understand when you speak in a tongue, then how will anyone understand what is said?
It will be as if you are speaking into the air! There are probably many language families in the world, and none of them are without meaning.
So if I don't know the meaning of the language, then I will be like a foreigner to those who speak it, and they will be like foreigners to me.
The same holds true for you: since you are ambitious for spiritual gifts, use your ambition to try to work toward being the best at building up the church.
Therefore, those who speak in a tongue should pray to be able to interpret.
If I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays but my mind isn't productive.
What should I do? I'll pray in the Spirit, but I'll pray with my mind too; I'll sing a psalm in the Spirit, but I'll sing the psalm with my mind too.
After all, if you praise God in the Spirit, how will the people who aren't trained in that language say "Amen!" to your thanksgiving, when they don't know what you are saying?
You may offer a beautiful prayer of thanksgiving, but the other person is not being built up.
I thank God that I speak in tongues more than all of you.
But in the church I'd rather speak five words in my right mind than speak thousands of words in a tongue so that I can teach others.
Brothers and sisters, don't be like children in the way you think. Well, be babies when it comes to evil, but be adults in your thinking.
In the Law it is written: I will speak to this people with foreign languages and foreigners' lips, but they will not even listen to me this way,a says the Lord.
So then, tongues are a sign for those who don't believe, not for those who believe. But prophecy is a sign for believers, not for those who don't believe.
So suppose that the whole church is meeting and everyone is speaking in tongues. If people come in who are outsiders or unbelievers, won't they say that you are out of your minds?
But if everyone is prophesying when an unbeliever or outsider comes in, they are tested by all and called to account by all.
The secrets of their hearts are brought to light. When that happens, they will fall on their faces and worship God, proclaiming out loud that truly God is among you!