1 Corinthians 14:1-20 King James Version

Speaking in Tongues

14 Follow after charity, and desire spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may prophesy. 2  For he that speaketh in an unknown tongue speaketh not unto men, but unto God: for no man understandeth [1] him; howbeit in the spirit he speaketh mysteries. 3  But he that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort. 4  He that speaketh in an unknown tongue edifieth himself; but he that prophesieth edifieth the church. 5  I would that ye all spake with tongues, but rather that ye prophesied: for greater is he that prophesieth than he that speaketh with tongues, except he interpret, that the church may receive edifying.

6  Now, brethren, if I come unto you speaking with tongues, what shall I profit you, except I shall speak to you either by revelation, or by knowledge, or by prophesying, or by doctrine? 7  And even things without life giving sound, whether pipe or harp, except they give a distinction in the sounds, [2] how shall it be known what is piped or harped? 8  For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle? 9  So likewise ye, except ye utter by the tongue words easy to be understood, how shall it be known what is spoken? for ye shall speak into the air. 10  There are, it may be, so many kinds of voices in the world, and none of them is without signification. 11  Therefore if I know not the meaning of the voice, I shall be unto him that speaketh a barbarian, and he that speaketh shall be a barbarian unto me. 12  Even so ye, forasmuch as ye are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek that ye may excel to the edifying of the church. 13  Wherefore let him that speaketh in an unknown tongue pray that he may interpret. 14  For if I pray in an unknown tongue, my spirit prayeth, but my understanding is unfruitful.

15  What is it then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also: I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also. 16  Else when thou shalt bless with the spirit, how shall he that occupieth the room of the unlearned say Amen at thy giving of thanks, seeing he understandeth not what thou sayest? 17  For thou verily givest thanks well, but the other is not edified. 18  I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than ye all: 19  Yet in the church I had rather speak five words with my understanding, that by my voice I might teach others also, than ten thousand words in an unknown tongue. 20  Brethren, be not children in understanding: howbeit in malice be ye children, but in understanding be men. [3]

Footnotes

[1] 14:2 understandeth: Gr. heareth

[2] 14:7 sounds: or, tunes

[3] 14:20 men: Gr. perfect, or, of a ripe age

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