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1 Corinthians 14 Common English Bible (CEB)

Spiritual gifts and church order

14 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? 10 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. 11 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. 12 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.

13 Therefore, those who speak in a tongue should pray to be able to interpret. 14 If I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays but my mind isn’t productive. 15 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. 16 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? 17 You may offer a beautiful prayer of thanksgiving, but the other person is not being built up. 18 I thank God that I speak in tongues more than all of you. 19 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.

20 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. 21 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. 22 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. 23 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? 24 But if everyone is prophesying when an unbeliever or outsider comes in, they are tested by all and called to account by all. 25 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!

26 What is the outcome of this, brothers and sisters? When you meet together, each one has a psalm, a teaching, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation. All these things must be done to build up the church. 27 If some speak in a tongue, then let two or at most three speak, one at a time, and someone must interpret. 28 However, if there is no interpreter, then they should keep quiet in the meeting. They should speak privately to themselves and to God. 29 In the case of prophets, let two or three speak and have the rest evaluate what is said. 30 And if some revelation comes to someone else who is sitting down, the first one should be quiet. 31 You can all prophesy one at a time so that everyone can learn and be encouraged. 32 The spirits of prophets are under the control of the prophets. 33 God isn’t a God of disorder but of peace. Like in all the churches of God’s people, 34 the women should be quiet during the meeting. They are not allowed to talk. Instead, they need to get under control, just as the Law says. 35 If they want to learn something, they should ask their husbands at home. It is disgraceful for a woman to talk during the meeting.

36 Did the word of God originate with you? Has it come only to you? 37 If anyone thinks that they are prophets or “spiritual people,” then let them recognize that what I’m writing to you is the Lord’s command. 38 If someone doesn’t recognize this, they aren’t recognized. 39 So then, brothers and sisters, use your ambition to try to get the gift of prophecy, but don’t prevent speaking in tongues. 40 Everything should be done with dignity and in proper order.

Common English Bible (CEB)

Copyright © 2011 by Common English Bible

1 Corinthians 14 New International Version (NIV)

Intelligibility in Worship

14 Follow the way of love and eagerly desire gifts of the Spirit, especially prophecy. For anyone who speaks in a tongue[a] does not speak to people but to God. Indeed, no one understands them; they utter mysteries by the Spirit. But the one who prophesies speaks to people for their strengthening, encouraging and comfort. Anyone who speaks in a tongue edifies themselves, but the one who prophesies edifies the church. I would like every one of you to speak in tongues,[b] but I would rather have you prophesy. The one who prophesies is greater than the one who speaks in tongues,[c] unless someone interprets, so that the church may be edified.

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 revelation or knowledge or prophecy or word of instruction? 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? 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. 10 Undoubtedly there are all sorts of languages in the world, yet none of them is without meaning. 11 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. 12 So it is with you. Since you are eager for gifts of the Spirit, try to excel in those that build up the church.

13 For this reason the one who speaks in a tongue should pray that they may interpret what they say. 14 For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my mind is unfruitful. 15 So what shall I do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will also pray with my understanding; I will sing with my spirit, but I will also sing with my understanding. 16 Otherwise when you are praising God in the Spirit, how can someone else, who is now put in the position of an inquirer,[d] say “Amen” to your thanksgiving, since they do not know what you are saying? 17 You are giving thanks well enough, but no one else is edified.

18 I thank God that I speak in tongues more than all of you. 19 But in the church I would rather speak five intelligible words to instruct others than ten thousand words in a tongue.

20 Brothers and sisters, stop thinking like children. In regard to evil be infants, but in your thinking be adults. 21 In the Law 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,
says the Lord.”[e]

22 Tongues, then, are a sign, not for believers but for unbelievers; prophecy, however, is not for unbelievers but for believers. 23 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? 24 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, 25 as the secrets of their hearts are laid bare. So they will fall down and worship God, exclaiming, “God is really among you!”

Good Order in Worship

26 What then shall we say, brothers and sisters? When you come together, each of you has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. Everything must be done so that the church may be built up. 27 If anyone speaks in a tongue, two—or at the most three—should speak, one at a time, and someone must interpret. 28 If there is no interpreter, the speaker should keep quiet in the church and speak to himself and to God.

29 Two or three prophets should speak, and the others should weigh carefully what is said. 30 And if a revelation comes to someone who is sitting down, the first speaker should stop. 31 For you can all prophesy in turn so that everyone may be instructed and encouraged. 32 The spirits of prophets are subject to the control of prophets. 33 For God is not a God of disorder but of peace—as in all the congregations of the Lord’s people.

34 Women[f] should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the law says. 35 If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church.[g]

36 Or did the word of God originate with you? Or are you the only people it has reached? 37 If anyone thinks they are a prophet or otherwise gifted by the Spirit, let them acknowledge that what I am writing to you is the Lord’s command. 38 But if anyone ignores this, they will themselves be ignored.[h]

39 Therefore, my brothers and sisters, be eager to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in tongues. 40 But everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way.

Footnotes:

  1. 1 Corinthians 14:2 Or in another language; also in verses 4, 13, 14, 19, 26 and 27
  2. 1 Corinthians 14:5 Or in other languages; also in verses 6, 18, 22, 23 and 39
  3. 1 Corinthians 14:5 Or in other languages; also in verses 6, 18, 22, 23 and 39
  4. 1 Corinthians 14:16 The Greek word for inquirer is a technical term for someone not fully initiated into a religion; also in verses 23 and 24.
  5. 1 Corinthians 14:21 Isaiah 28:11,12
  6. 1 Corinthians 14:34 Or peace. As in all the congregations of the Lord’s people, 34 women
  7. 1 Corinthians 14:35 In a few manuscripts these verses come after verse 40.
  8. 1 Corinthians 14:38 Some manuscripts But anyone who is ignorant of this will be ignorant
New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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