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1 Corinthians 14 :: New Living Translation (NLT)

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Tongues and Prophecy
Unchecked Copy Box1Co 14:1 - Let love be your highest goal! But you should also desire the special abilities the Spirit gives—especially the ability to prophesy.
Unchecked Copy Box1Co 14:2 - For if you have the ability to speak in tongues,[fn] 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,[fn] but it will all be mysterious.
Unchecked Copy Box1Co 14:3 - But one who prophesies strengthens others, encourages them, and comforts them.
Unchecked Copy Box1Co 14:4 - A person who speaks in tongues is strengthened personally, but one who speaks a word of prophecy strengthens the entire church.
Unchecked Copy Box1Co 14:5 - 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.
Unchecked Copy Box1Co 14:6 - Dear brothers and sisters,[fn] if I should come to you speaking in an unknown language,[fn] how would that help you? But if I bring you a revelation or some special knowledge or prophecy or teaching, that will be helpful.
Unchecked Copy Box1Co 14:7 - Even lifeless instruments like the flute or the harp must play the notes clearly, or no one will recognize the melody.
Unchecked Copy Box1Co 14:8 - And if the bugler doesn’t sound a clear call, how will the soldiers know they are being called to battle?
Unchecked Copy Box1Co 14:9 - 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.
Unchecked Copy Box1Co 14:10 - There are many different languages in the world, and every language has meaning.
Unchecked Copy Box1Co 14:11 - 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.
Unchecked Copy Box1Co 14:12 - 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.
Unchecked Copy Box1Co 14:13 - So anyone who speaks in tongues should pray also for the ability to interpret what has been said.
Unchecked Copy Box1Co 14:14 - For if I pray in tongues, my spirit is praying, but I don’t understand what I am saying.
Unchecked Copy Box1Co 14:15 - Well then, what shall I do? I will pray in the spirit,[fn] and I will also pray in words I understand. I will sing in the spirit, and I will also sing in words I understand.
Unchecked Copy Box1Co 14:16 - 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?
Unchecked Copy Box1Co 14:17 - You will be giving thanks very well, but it won’t strengthen the people who hear you.
Unchecked Copy Box1Co 14:18 - I thank God that I speak in tongues more than any of you.
Unchecked Copy Box1Co 14:19 - But in a church meeting I would rather speak five understandable words to help others than ten thousand words in an unknown language.
Unchecked Copy Box1Co 14:20 - 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.
Unchecked Copy Box1Co 14:21 - It is written in the Scriptures[fn]:
“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,”[fn]
says the LORD.
Unchecked Copy Box1Co 14:22 - 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.
Unchecked Copy Box1Co 14:23 - 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.
Unchecked Copy Box1Co 14:24 - 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.
Unchecked Copy Box1Co 14:25 - 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
Unchecked Copy Box1Co 14:26 - 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.
Unchecked Copy Box1Co 14:27 - No more than two or three should speak in tongues. They must speak one at a time, and someone must interpret what they say.
Unchecked Copy Box1Co 14:28 - But if no one is present who can interpret, they must be silent in your church meeting and speak in tongues to God privately.
Unchecked Copy Box1Co 14:29 - Let two or three people prophesy, and let the others evaluate what is said.
Unchecked Copy Box1Co 14:30 - But if someone is prophesying and another person receives a revelation from the Lord, the one who is speaking must stop.
Unchecked Copy Box1Co 14:31 - In this way, all who prophesy will have a turn to speak, one after the other, so that everyone will learn and be encouraged.
Unchecked Copy Box1Co 14:32 - Remember that people who prophesy are in control of their spirit and can take turns.
Unchecked Copy Box1Co 14:33 - For God is not a God of disorder but of peace, as in all the meetings of God’s holy people.[fn]
Unchecked Copy Box1Co 14:34 - 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.
Unchecked Copy Box1Co 14:35 - If they have any questions, they should ask their husbands at home, for it is improper for women to speak in church meetings.[fn]
Unchecked Copy Box1Co 14:36 - Or do you think God’s word originated with you Corinthians? Are you the only ones to whom it was given?
Unchecked Copy Box1Co 14:37 - 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.
Unchecked Copy Box1Co 14:38 - But if you do not recognize this, you yourself will not be recognized.[fn]
Unchecked Copy Box1Co 14:39 - So, my dear brothers and sisters, be eager to prophesy, and don’t forbid speaking in tongues.
Unchecked Copy Box1Co 14:40 - But be sure that everything is done properly and in order.
NLT Footnotes
Or in unknown languages; also in 14:4, 5, 13, 14, 18, 22, 26, 27, 28, 39.
Or speaking in your spirit.
Greek brothers; also in 14:20, 26, 39.
Or in tongues; also in 14:19, 23.
Or in the Spirit; also in 14:15b, 16.
Greek in the law.
Isa 28:11-12.
The phrase as in all the meetings of God’s holy people could instead be joined to the beginning of 14:34.
Some manuscripts place verses 34-35 after 14:40.
Some manuscripts read If you are ignorant of this, stay in your ignorance.

Holy Bible, New Living Translation copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Full copyright information is provided here. Visit the New Living Translation website.

For more information on this translation, see the NLT Preface.

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