If I speak human or angelic tongues[a] but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith so that I can move mountains but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 And if I give away all my possessions, and if I give over my body in order to boast[b] but do not have love, I gain nothing.
4 Love is patient, love is kind. Love does not envy, is not boastful, is not arrogant, 5 is not rude, is not self-seeking, is not irritable, and does not keep a record of wrongs. 6 Love finds no joy in unrighteousness but rejoices in the truth. 7 It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
8 Love never ends. But as for prophecies, they will come to an end; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will come to an end. 9 For we know in part, and we prophesy in part, 10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will come to an end. 11 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put aside childish things. 12 For now we see only a reflection[c] as in a mirror, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I will know fully, as I am fully known. 13 Now these three remain: faith, hope, and love—but the greatest of these is love.
Prophecy: A Superior Gift
Pursue love and desire spiritual gifts, and especially that you may prophesy. 2 For the person who speaks in another tongue[d] is not speaking to people but to God, since no one understands him; he speaks mysteries in the Spirit.[e] 3 On the other hand, the person who prophesies speaks to people for their strengthening,[f] encouragement, and consolation. 4 The person who speaks in another tongue builds himself up, but the one who prophesies builds up the church. 5 I wish all of you spoke in other tongues,[g] but even more that you prophesied. The person who prophesies is greater than the person who speaks in tongues, unless he interprets so that the church may be built up.
6 So now, brothers and sisters, if I come to you speaking in other tongues, how will I benefit you unless I speak to you with a revelation or knowledge or prophecy or teaching? 7 Even lifeless instruments that produce sounds—whether flute or harp—if they don’t make a distinction in the notes, how will what is played on the flute or harp be recognized? 8 In fact, if the bugle makes an unclear sound, who will prepare for battle? 9 In the same way, unless you use your tongue for intelligible speech, how will what is spoken be known? For you will be speaking into the air. 10 There are doubtless many different kinds of languages in the world, none is without meaning. 11 Therefore, if I do not know the meaning of the language, I will be a foreigner[h] to the speaker, and the speaker will be a foreigner to me. 12 So also you—since you are zealous for spiritual gifts,[i] seek to excel in building up the church.
13 Therefore the person who speaks in another tongue should pray that he can interpret. 14 For if I pray in another tongue, my spirit prays, but my understanding is unfruitful. 15 What then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will also pray with my understanding. I will sing praise with the spirit, and I will also sing praise with my understanding. 16 Otherwise, if you praise with the spirit,[j] how will the outsider[k] say “Amen” at your giving of thanks, since he does not know what you are saying? 17 For you may very well be giving thanks, but the other person is not being built up. 18 I thank God that I speak in other tongues more than all of you; 19 yet in the church I would rather speak five words with my understanding, in order to teach others also, than ten thousand words in another tongue.
20 Brothers and sisters, don’t be childish in your thinking, but be infants in regard to evil and adult in your thinking. 21 It is written in the law,
I will speak to this people
by people of other tongues
and by the lips of foreigners,
and even then, they will not listen to me,[l]
says the Lord. 22 Speaking in other tongues, then, is intended as a sign, not for believers but for unbelievers, while prophecy is not for unbelievers but for believers. 23 If, therefore, the whole church assembles together and all are speaking in other tongues and people who are outsiders or unbelievers come in, will they not say that you are out of your minds? 24 But if all are prophesying and some unbeliever or outsider comes in, he is convicted by all and is called to account by all. 25 The secrets of his heart will be revealed, and as a result he will fall facedown and worship God, proclaiming, “God is really among you.”
Order in Church Meetings
26 What then, brothers and sisters? Whenever you come together, each one[m] has a hymn, a teaching, a revelation, another tongue, or an interpretation. Everything is to be done for building up. 27 If anyone speaks in another tongue, there are to be only two, or at the most three, each in turn, and let someone interpret. 28 But if there is no interpreter, that person is to keep silent in the church and speak to himself and God. 29 Two or three prophets should speak, and the others should evaluate. 30 But if something has been revealed to another person sitting there, the first prophet should be silent. 31 For you can all prophesy one by one, so that everyone may learn and everyone may be encouraged. 32 And the prophets’ spirits are subject to the prophets, 33 since God is not a God of disorder but of peace.
As in all the churches of the saints, 34 the women[n] should be silent in the churches, for they are not permitted to speak, but are to submit themselves, as the law also says. 35 If they want to learn something, let them ask their own husbands at home, since it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church. 36 Or did the word of God originate from you, or did it come to you only?
37 If anyone thinks he is a prophet or spiritual, he should recognize that what I write to you is the Lord’s command. 38 If anyone ignores this, he will be ignored.[o] 39 So then, my brothers and sisters, be eager to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in other tongues. 40 But everything is to be done decently and in order.