The Gift New Testament

A free online Bible study resource

1 Corinthians

14:1Chase after love, but set your hearts on spiritual gifts, especially prophecy.14:2For the one who speaks in an unknown language does not speak to people but to God, because no one else can comprehend it; they are telling spiritual secrets.14:3But the one who prophesies builds people up, giving them strength and comfort.

14:4The one speaking in an unlearned language builds up only that person, but the one who prophesies builds up the Congregation.14:5I would prefer that all of you could speak in unlearned languages, but even more that you could prophesy, because the one who prophesies is greater than the one who speaks in unlearned languages— unless there is a translator so that the Congregation benefits.

14:6Sisters and brothers, if I came to you speaking unknown languages, what benefit would I be giving you if I never speak to you by revelation or knowledge or prophecy or teaching?14:7Consider inanimate things like the flute or harp; if the notes are not played distinctly, who will know the songs?14:8And who would prepare for battle if the trumpet is not sounded clearly?

14:9In the same way, who will know what you’re saying if you only speak in unknown languages? You’d only be talking to the air.14:10The world is filled with all kinds of sounds,14:11but if I cannot make sense of a sound I will be a foreigner to the one making it, and they will be a foreigner to me.

14:12As for you, since you are so eager to have spiritual gifts, go all out for those that build up the Congregation.14:13So if someone speaks in an unlearned language they should also pray that they can translate,14:14because if I only pray in an unlearned language, my spirit prays but my mind gets nothing out of it.14:15So what will I do? I will pray spiritually but also rationally; I will play music spiritually but also play it rationally.

14:16Otherwise, if this is only done spiritually, how would a visitor say “Absolutely!” to your thanksgiving since they have no clue what you’re going on about?14:17You may be giving thanks well enough, but the visitor gets no benefit at all.14:18I thank God that I speak in unlearned languages more than the rest of you,14:19but in the Congregation I’d much rather speak five intelligible words that instruct others, than ten thousand words in an unlearned language.

14:20Brothers and sisters, don’t have a childish perspective: be babies when it comes to evil, but be mature in how you view this.14:21In the Law it is written, “‘I will speak to this people in various languages and by the lips of others, but they will refuse to listen to me’, says the Master.”14:22So then, unknown languages are a sign— not for believers but for unbelievers. Conversely, prophecy is not for unbelievers but for believers.

14:23So when you meet together in one place as a Congregation, and everyone is speaking in unlearned languages, suppose a visitor or an unbeliever arrives. Won’t they say you are all out of your minds?14:24But if a visitor or an unbeliever arrives when you are prophesying, they come under conviction by all of this14:25and the condition of their heart is made obvious. Then they will fall down to worship God and exclaim, “God is truly among you!”

14:26Then what is this that’s happening when you get together, sisters and brothers? Everyone has a song of praise, a teaching, a revelation, an unknown language and a translation, but everything must be done for building people up.14:27If anyone speaks in an unknown language, two or at the most three should speak, one at a time, and someone must translate.14:28If there is no translator they should keep quiet in the meeting; let them speak to themselves and to God.

14:29As for prophets, let a few speak while the others judge what is said.14:30If a revelation comes to another who is sitting there, the first one should stop.14:31You can all prophesy in turn so that everyone may learn and be comforted,14:32because the spirits of the prophets are under their control.14:33For God is not the God of disorder but of peace, as in all the Congregations of the holy ones.

14:34You write,

“The women must be silent in the meeting; they are not allowed to speak but must be supportive, as the law also says.14:35If they want to learn anything they must learn from their own husbands at home. For it is vile for a woman to speak in the meeting.”

14:36What?! Did the Word of God originate with you? Do you really think you are the only ones to whom it was given?14:37Whoever presumes to be a prophet or to be spiritual must realize that what I’m writing to you is a directive from the Master.14:38Whoever is wrong about this is wrong indeed!

14:39So then, sisters and brothers, be eager to prophesy and do not prevent people from speaking in unknown languages.14:40Yet do everything decently and in order.