Pursue love, and desire spiritual gifts, but especially the gift of speaking what God has revealed.
When a person speaks in another language, he doesn't speak to people but to God. No one understands him. His spirit is speaking mysteries.
But when a person speaks what God has revealed, he speaks to people to help them grow, to encourage them, and to comfort them.
When a person speaks in another language, he helps himself grow. But when a person speaks what God has revealed, he helps the church grow.
I wish that all of you could speak in other languages, but especially that you could speak what God has revealed. The person who speaks what God has revealed is more important than the person who speaks in other languages. This is true unless he can interpret what he says to help the church grow.
Brothers and sisters, it wouldn't do you any good if I came to you speaking in other languages, unless I explained revelation, knowledge, prophecy, or doctrine to you.
Musical instruments like the flute or harp produce sounds. If there is no difference in the notes, how can a person tell what tune is being played?
For example, if the trumpet doesn't sound a clear call, who will get ready for battle?
In the same way, if you don't speak in a way that can be understood, how will anyone know what you're saying? You will be talking into thin air.
No matter how many different languages there are in the world, not one of them is without meaning.
If I don't know what a language means, I will be a foreigner to the person who speaks it and that person will be a foreigner to me.
In the same way, since you're eager to have spiritual gifts, try to excel in them so that you help the church grow.
So the person who speaks in another language should pray for an interpretation of what he says.
If I pray in another language, my spirit prays, but my mind is not productive.
So what does this mean? It means that I will pray with my spirit, and I will pray with my mind. I will sing psalms with my spirit, and I will sing psalms with my mind.
Otherwise, if you praise God only with your spirit, how can outsiders say "Amen!" to your prayer of thanksgiving? They don't know what you're saying.
Your prayer of thanksgiving may be very good, but it doesn't help other people grow.
I thank God that I speak in other languages more than any of you.
Yet, in order to teach others in church, I would rather say five words that can be understood than ten thousand words in another language.
Brothers and sisters, don't think like children. When it comes to evil, be like babies, but think like mature people.
God's word says, "Through people who speak foreign languages and through the mouths of foreigners I will speak to these people, but even then they will not listen to me, says the Lord."
So the gift of speaking in other languages is a sign for unbelievers, not for believers. The gift of speaking what God had revealed is a sign for believers, not for unbelievers.
Suppose the whole congregation gathers in the same place and you speak in other languages. When outsiders or unbelievers come in, won't they say that you're out of your mind?
Now suppose you speak what God has revealed. When unbelievers or outsiders come in you will show them where they are wrong and convince them that they are sinners.
The secrets in their hearts will become known, and in this way they will quickly bow with their faces touching the ground, worship God, and confess that God is truly among you.