Prophecy and Tongues
Pursue love and be eager for the spiritual gifts, especially that you may prophesy. For the one speaking in a tongue does not speak to people but to God, for no one understands; he is speaking mysteries by the Spirit. But the one who prophesies speaks to people for their strengthening, encouragement, and consolation. The one who speaks in a tongue builds himself up, but the one who prophesies builds up the church. I wish you all spoke in tongues, but even more that you would prophesy. The one who prophesies is greater than the one who speaks in tongues, unless he interprets so that the church may be strengthened.
Now, brothers and sisters, if I come to you speaking in tongues, how will I help you unless I speak to you with a revelation or with knowledge or prophecy or teaching? It is similar for lifeless things that make a sound, like a flute or harp. Unless they make a distinction in the notes, how can what is played on the flute or harp be understood? If, for example, the trumpet makes an unclear sound, who will get ready for battle? It is the same for you. If you do not speak clearly with your tongue, how will anyone know what is being said? For you will be speaking into the air. There are probably many kinds of languages in the world, and none is without meaning. If then I do not know the meaning of a language, I will be a foreigner to the speaker and the speaker a foreigner to me. It is the same with you. Since you are eager for manifestations of the Spirit, seek to abound in order to strengthen the church.
So then, one who speaks in a tongue should pray that he may interpret. If I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my mind is unproductive. What should I do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will also pray with my mind. I will sing praises with my spirit, but I will also sing praises with my mind. Otherwise, if you are praising God with your spirit, how can someone without the gift say “Amen” to your thanksgiving, since he does not know what you are saying? For you are certainly giving thanks well, but the other person is not strengthened. I thank God that I speak in tongues more than all of you, but in the church I want to speak five words with my mind to instruct others, rather than ten thousand words in a tongue.
Brothers and sisters, do not be children in your thinking. Instead, be infants in evil, but in your thinking be mature. It is written in the law: “By people with strange tongues and by the lips of strangers I will speak to this people, yet not even in this way will they listen to me,” says the Lord. So then, tongues are a sign not for believers but for unbelievers. Prophecy, however, is not for unbelievers but for believers. So if the whole church comes together and all speak in tongues, and unbelievers or uninformed people enter, will they not say that you have lost your minds? But if all prophesy, and an unbeliever or uninformed person enters, he will be convicted by all, he will be called to account by all. The secrets of his heart are disclosed, and in this way he will fall down with his face to the ground and worship God, declaring, “God is really among you.”
What should you do then, brothers and sisters? When you come together, each one has a song, has a lesson, has a revelation, has a tongue, has an interpretation. Let all these things be done for the strengthening of the church. If someone speaks in a tongue, it should be two, or at the most three, one after the other, and someone must interpret. But if there is no interpreter, he should be silent in the church. Let him speak to himself and to God. Two or three prophets should speak and the others should evaluate what is said. And if someone sitting down receives a revelation, the person who is speaking should conclude. For you can all prophesy one after another, so all can learn and be encouraged. Indeed, the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets, for God is not characterized by disorder but by peace.
As in all the churches of the saints, the women should be silent in the churches, for they are not permitted to speak. Rather, let them be in submission, as in fact the law says. If they want to find out about something, they should ask their husbands at home, because it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in church. Did the word of God begin with you, or did it come to you alone?
If anyone considers himself a prophet or spiritual person, he should acknowledge that what I write to you is the Lord’s command. If someone does not recognize this, he is not recognized. So then, brothers and sisters, be eager to prophesy, and do not forbid anyone from speaking in tongues. And do everything in a decent and orderly manner.