Follow the way of love1 and eagerly desire2 spiritual gifts,3 especially the gift of prophecy.42
For those who speak in a tonguea5 do not speak to other people but to God. Indeed, no one understands them;6 they utter mysteries7 by the Spirit.
But those who prophesy speak to people for their strengthening,8 encouragement9 and comfort.
Those who speak in a tongue10 edify11 themselves, but those who prophesy12 edify the church.
I would like every one of you to speak in tongues,b but I would rather have you prophesy.13 Those who prophesy are greater than those who speak in tongues,c unless they interpret, so that the church may be edified.146
Now, brothers and sisters, 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 pipe 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.
If then I do not grasp the meaning of what someone is saying, I am a foreigner to the speaker, and the speaker is a foreigner to me.1912
So it is with you. Since you are eager for gifts of the Spirit,20 try to excel in those that build up21 the church.
For this reason those who speak in a tongue should pray that they may interpret what they say.2214
For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays,23 but my mind is unfruitful.
So what shall I do? I will pray with my spirit,24 but I will also pray with my understanding; I will sing25 with my spirit, but I will also sing with my understanding.
Otherwise when you are praising God in the Spirit, how can the others, who are now put in the same situation as an inquirer,d say "Amen"26 to your thanksgiving,27 since they do not know what you are saying?
You are giving thanks well enough, but the others are not edified.2818
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.2920
Brothers and sisters, stop thinking like children.30 In regard to evil be infants,31 but in your thinking be adults.
In the Law32 it is written: "With other tongues and through the lips of foreigners I will speak to this people, but even then they will not listen to me,3322
Tongues, then, are a sign, not for believers but for unbelievers; prophecy,34 however, is not for unbelievers but for believers.
So if the whole church comes together and everyone speaks in tongues, and inquirers or unbelievers come in, will they not say that you are out of your mind?3524
But if an unbeliever or an inquirer comes in while everyone is prophesying, they are convicted of sin and are brought under judgment by all,
as the secrets36 of their hearts are laid bare. So they will fall down and worship God, exclaiming, "God is really among you!"37