1 Corinthians 14:1–25 (ESV)
Prophecy and Tongues
14 Pursue love, and earnestly desire the spiritual gifts, especially that you may prophesy. 2 For one who speaks in a tongue speaks not
to men but to God; for no one understands him, but he utters mysteries in the Spirit. 3 On the other hand, the one who prophesies speaks to people for their upbuilding and encouragement and consolation. 4 The
one who speaks in a tongue builds up himself, but the one who prophesies builds up the church. 5 Now I want you all to speak in tongues, but even more to prophesy. The one who prophesies is greater than the one who speaks in
tongues, unless someone interprets, so that the church may be built up.
6 Now, brothers, if I come to you speaking in
tongues, how will I benefit you unless I bring you some revelation or knowledge or prophecy or teaching? 7 If even lifeless instruments, such as the flute or the harp, do not give distinct notes, how will anyone know what is
played? 8 And if the bugle gives an indistinct sound, who will get ready for battle? 9 So with yourselves, if with your tongue you utter speech that is not intelligible, how will anyone know
what is said? For you will be speaking into the air. 10 There are doubtless many different languages in the world, and none is without meaning, 11 but if I do not know the meaning of the language,
I will be a foreigner to the speaker and the speaker a foreigner to me. 12 So with yourselves, since you are eager for manifestations of the Spirit, strive to excel in building up the church.
13 Therefore, one who speaks in a tongue should pray that he may interpret. 14 For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays but my mind is unfruitful.
15 What am I to do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will pray with my mind also; I will sing praise with my spirit, but I will sing with my mind also. 16 Otherwise, if you give thanks with
your spirit, how can anyone in the position of an outsider say “Amen” to your thanksgiving when he does not know what you are saying? 17 For you may be giving thanks well enough, but the other person is not being
built up. 18 I thank God that I speak in tongues more than all of you. 19 Nevertheless, in church I would rather speak five words with my mind in order to instruct others, than ten thousand
words in a tongue.
20 Brothers, do not be children in your thinking. Be infants in evil, but in your thinking be mature.
21 In the Law it is written, “By people of strange tongues and by the lips of foreigners will I speak to this people, and even then they will not listen to me, says the Lord.” 22 Thus
tongues are a sign not for believers but for unbelievers, while prophecy is a sign not for unbelievers but for believers. 23 If, therefore, the whole church comes together and all speak in tongues, and outsiders or unbelievers
enter, will they not say that you are out of your minds? 24 But if all prophesy, and an unbeliever or outsider enters, he is convicted by all, he is called to account by all, 25 the secrets
of his heart are disclosed, and so, falling on his face, he will worship God and declare that God is really among you.
Some Corinthians were pursuing their own edification to
the neglect of those around them. We, too, are naturally tempted to pursue what we think of as our own spiritual needs rather than patiently sharing God’s Word with others, especially those we regard as less spiritual. Such attitudes contribute to deeper
spiritual divisions among us. God calls us together for mutual edification in His Word, which always richly applies to the mature as well as the immature. Through the Word, God is really among us, giving His Spirit, faith in Christ, and all blessings of salvation.
I pray: Dearest Jesus, grant me the maturity to desire the edification of my brothers and sisters and to pursue gifts that build them up in Your love, so that our congregation
may confess You with one voice in one Spirit. Amen.
Edward A. Engelbrecht, The Lutheran Study Bible (St. Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House, 2009), 1971.