Amplified Bible

1 Corinthians 14

Prophecy a Superior Gift

1Pursue [this] love [with eagerness, make it your goal], yet earnestly desire and cultivate the spiritual gifts [to be used by believers for the benefit of the church], but especially that you may [a]prophesy [to foretell the future, to speak a new message from God to the people]. For one who speaks in an unknown tongue does not speak to people but to God; for no one understands him or catches his meaning, but by the Spirit he speaks mysteries [secret truths, hidden things]. But [on the other hand] the one who prophesies speaks to people for edification [to promote their spiritual growth] and [speaks words of] encouragement [to uphold and advise them concerning the matters of God] and [speaks words of] consolation [to compassionately comfort them]. One who speaks in a tongue edifies himself; but one who prophesies edifies the church [promotes growth in spiritual wisdom, devotion, holiness, and joy]. Now I wish that all of you spoke in unknown tongues, but even more [I wish] that you would prophesy. The one who prophesies is greater [and more useful] than the one who speaks in tongues, unless he translates or explains [what he says], so that the church may [b]be edified [instructed, improved, strengthened].

Now, believers, if I come to you speaking in unknown tongues, how will I benefit you unless I also speak to you [clearly] either by revelation [revealing God’s mystery], or by knowledge [teaching about God], or by prophecy [foretelling the future, speaking a new message from God to the people], or by instruction [teaching precepts that develop spiritual maturity]? Yet even lifeless things, whether flute or harp, when producing a sound, if they do not produce distinct [musical] tones, how will anyone [listening] know what is piped or played? And if the [war] bugle produces an indistinct sound, who will prepare himself for battle? So it is with you, if you speak words [in an unknown tongue] that are not intelligible and clear, how will anyone understand what you are saying? You will be talking into the air [wasting your breath]! 10 There are, I suppose, a great many kinds of languages in the world [unknown to us], and none is lacking in meaning. 11 But if I do not know the meaning of the language, I will [appear to] be a [c]foreigner to the one who is speaking [since he knows exactly what he is saying], and the one who is speaking will [appear to] be a foreigner to me. 12 So it is with you, since you are so very eager to have spiritual gifts and manifestations of the Spirit, strive to excel in ways that will build up the church [spiritually].

13 Therefore let one who speaks in a tongue pray that he may [be gifted to] translate or explain [what he says]. 14 For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my mind is unproductive [because it does not understand what my spirit is praying]. 15 Then what am I to do? I will pray with the [d]spirit [by the Holy Spirit that is within me] and I will pray with the mind [using words I understand]; I will sing with the spirit [by the Holy Spirit that is within me] and I will sing with the mind [using words I understand]. 16 Otherwise if you bless [and give thanks to God] in the spirit only, how will any outsider or someone who is not gifted [in spiritual matters] say the “Amen” [of agreement] to your thanksgiving, since he does not know what you are saying? 17 You are giving thanks well enough [in a way that God is glorified], but the other person [who does not understand you] is not edified [and spiritually strengthened since he cannot join in your thanksgiving]. 18 I thank God that I speak in [unknown] tongues more than all of you; 19 nevertheless, in public worship I would rather say five understandable words in order to instruct others, than ten thousand words in a tongue [which others cannot understand].

Instruction for the Church

20 Brothers and sisters, do not be children [immature, childlike] in your thinking; be infants in [matters of] evil [completely innocent and inexperienced], but in your minds be mature [adults]. 21 It is written in the Law, “By men of strange tongues and by the lips of foreigners I will speak to this people, and not even then will they listen to Me,” says the Lord. 22 Therefore, [unknown] tongues are [meant] for a [supernatural] sign, not to believers but to unbelievers [who might be receptive]; while prophecy [foretelling the future, speaking a new message from God to the people] is not for unbelievers but for believers. 23 So then, if the whole church gathers together and all of you speak in [unknown] tongues, and outsiders or those who are not gifted [in spiritual matters] or unbelievers come in, will they not say that you are out of your mind? 24 But if all prophesy [foretelling the future, speaking a new message from God to the people], and an unbeliever or outsider comes in, he is convicted [of his sins] by all, and he is called to account by all [because he can understand what is being said]; 25 the secrets of his heart are laid bare. And so, falling on his face, he will worship God, declaring that God is really among you.

26 What then is the right course, believers? When you meet together, each one has a psalm, a teaching, a revelation (disclosure of special knowledge), a tongue, or an interpretation. Let everything be constructive and edifying and done for the good of all the church. 27 If anyone speaks in a tongue, it should be limited to two or at the most three, and each one speaking in turn, and one must interpret [what is said]. 28 But if there is no one to interpret, the one [who wishes to speak in a tongue] must keep silent in church; let him speak to himself and to God. 29 Let two or three prophets speak [as inspired by the Holy Spirit], while the rest pay attention and weigh carefully what is said. 30 But if an inspired revelation is made to another who is seated, then the first one must be silent. 31 For [in this way] you can all prophesy one by one, so that everyone may be instructed and everyone may be encouraged; 32 for the spirits of prophets are subject to the prophets [the prophecy is under the speaker’s control, and he can stop speaking]; 33 for God [who is the source of their prophesying] is not a God of confusion and disorder but of peace and order.

As [is the practice] in all the churches of the saints (God’s people),

34 the [e]women should be silent in the churches, for they are not authorized to speak, but are to take a subordinate place, as the Law says. 35 If there is anything they want to learn [that is, if they have questions about anything being said or taught], they are to ask their own husbands at home; for it is improper for a [f]woman to talk in church. 36 Did the word of the Lord originate from you [Corinthians], or has it come to you only [so that you know best what God requires]?

37 If anyone thinks and claims that he is a prophet [a true spokesman for God] or spiritually astute [filled with and energized by the Holy Spirit], let him recognize that the things which I write to you are the Lord’s commandment. 38 If anyone does not recognize this [that it is a command of the Lord], he is not recognized [by God].

39 Therefore, believers, desire earnestly to prophesy [to foretell the future, to speak a new message from God to the people], and do not forbid speaking in unknown tongues. 40 But all things must be done appropriately and in an orderly manner.

Notas al pie

  1. 1 Corinthians 14:1 In both the Old and the New Testaments, prophets are divinely inspired to foretell the future in the process of delivering God’s word to the people. Paul is saying to the Corinthians that all gifts are worthy and necessary (cf 12:11, 18, 29, 30), but that they should give the gift of prophecy the highest priority (cf Deut 18).
  2. 1 Corinthians 14:5 Lit receive edification.
  3. 1 Corinthians 14:11 Lit barbarian, i.e. one who did not speak Greek; especially a person from an uncivilized region whose speech could not be readily translated.
  4. 1 Corinthians 14:15 May refer to Paul’s spirit, the Holy Spirit, or the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
  5. 1 Corinthians 14:34 When used elsewhere in the New Testament, in specific reference to a woman (cf Eph 5:22; Col 3:18; Titus 2:4, 5; 1 Peter 3:1, 5), this word refers to a married woman, so these admonitions (vv 34, 35) may be directed primarily to the wives of believing husbands.
  6. 1 Corinthians 14:35 Paul does not comment on unmarried women; they probably have to abide by the prohibition against speaking out in church as well, and ask questions outside the service.

New Living Translation

1 Corinthians 14

Tongues and Prophecy

1Let love be your highest goal! But you should also desire the special abilities the Spirit gives—especially the ability to prophesy. For if you have the ability to speak in tongues,[a] you will be talking only to God, since people won’t be able to understand you. You will be speaking by the power of the Spirit,[b] but it will all be mysterious. But one who prophesies strengthens others, encourages them, and comforts them. A person who speaks in tongues is strengthened personally, but one who speaks a word of prophecy strengthens the entire church.

I wish you could all speak in tongues, but even more I wish you could all prophesy. For prophecy is greater than speaking in tongues, unless someone interprets what you are saying so that the whole church will be strengthened.

Dear brothers and sisters,[c] if I should come to you speaking in an unknown language,[d] how would that help you? But if I bring you a revelation or some special knowledge or prophecy or teaching, that will be helpful. Even lifeless instruments like the flute or the harp must play the notes clearly, or no one will recognize the melody. And if the bugler doesn’t sound a clear call, how will the soldiers know they are being called to battle?

It’s the same for you. If you speak to people in words they don’t understand, how will they know what you are saying? You might as well be talking into empty space.

10 There are many different languages in the world, and every language has meaning. 11 But if I don’t understand a language, I will be a foreigner to someone who speaks it, and the one who speaks it will be a foreigner to me. 12 And the same is true for you. Since you are so eager to have the special abilities the Spirit gives, seek those that will strengthen the whole church.

13 So anyone who speaks in tongues should pray also for the ability to interpret what has been said. 14 For if I pray in tongues, my spirit is praying, but I don’t understand what I am saying.

15 Well then, what shall I do? I will pray in the spirit,[e] and I will also pray in words I understand. I will sing in the spirit, and I will also sing in words I understand. 16 For if you praise God only in the spirit, how can those who don’t understand you praise God along with you? How can they join you in giving thanks when they don’t understand what you are saying? 17 You will be giving thanks very well, but it won’t strengthen the people who hear you.

18 I thank God that I speak in tongues more than any of you. 19 But in a church meeting I would rather speak five understandable words to help others than ten thousand words in an unknown language.

20 Dear brothers and sisters, don’t be childish in your understanding of these things. Be innocent as babies when it comes to evil, but be mature in understanding matters of this kind. 21 It is written in the Scriptures[f]:

“I will speak to my own people
    through strange languages
    and through the lips of foreigners.
But even then, they will not listen to me,”[g]
    says the Lord.

22 So you see that speaking in tongues is a sign, not for believers, but for unbelievers. Prophecy, however, is for the benefit of believers, not unbelievers. 23 Even so, if unbelievers or people who don’t understand these things come into your church meeting and hear everyone speaking in an unknown language, they will think you are crazy. 24 But if all of you are prophesying, and unbelievers or people who don’t understand these things come into your meeting, they will be convicted of sin and judged by what you say. 25 As they listen, their secret thoughts will be exposed, and they will fall to their knees and worship God, declaring, “God is truly here among you.”

A Call to Orderly Worship

26 Well, my brothers and sisters, let’s summarize. When you meet together, one will sing, another will teach, another will tell some special revelation God has given, one will speak in tongues, and another will interpret what is said. But everything that is done must strengthen all of you.

27 No more than two or three should speak in tongues. They must speak one at a time, and someone must interpret what they say. 28 But if no one is present who can interpret, they must be silent in your church meeting and speak in tongues to God privately.

29 Let two or three people prophesy, and let the others evaluate what is said. 30 But if someone is prophesying and another person receives a revelation from the Lord, the one who is speaking must stop. 31 In this way, all who prophesy will have a turn to speak, one after the other, so that everyone will learn and be encouraged. 32 Remember that people who prophesy are in control of their spirit and can take turns. 33 For God is not a God of disorder but of peace, as in all the meetings of God’s holy people.[h]

34 Women should be silent during the church meetings. It is not proper for them to speak. They should be submissive, just as the law says. 35 If they have any questions, they should ask their husbands at home, for it is improper for women to speak in church meetings.[i]

36 Or do you think God’s word originated with you Corinthians? Are you the only ones to whom it was given? 37 If you claim to be a prophet or think you are spiritual, you should recognize that what I am saying is a command from the Lord himself. 38 But if you do not recognize this, you yourself will not be recognized.[j]

39 So, my dear brothers and sisters, be eager to prophesy, and don’t forbid speaking in tongues. 40 But be sure that everything is done properly and in order.

Notas al pie

  1. 14:2a Or in unknown languages; also in 14:4, 5, 13, 14, 18, 22, 26, 27, 28, 39.
  2. 14:2b Or speaking in your spirit.
  3. 14:6a Greek brothers; also in 14:20, 26, 39.
  4. 14:6b Or in tongues; also in 14:19, 23.
  5. 14:15 Or in the Spirit; also in 14:15b, 16.
  6. 14:21a Greek in the law.
  7. 14:21b Isa 28:11-12.
  8. 14:33 The phrase as in all the meetings of God’s holy people could instead be joined to the beginning of 14:34.
  9. 14:35 Some manuscripts place verses 34-35 after 14:40.
  10. 14:38 Some manuscripts read If you are ignorant of this, stay in your ignorance.