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Jehovah’s Witnesses


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The Bible in Living English

1 Corinthians 14:1-40

14  Aim at love; but aspire to the manifestations of the Spirit, but preferably that you should prophesy. 2*  For he who speaks a language is speaking not to men but to God, for nobody understands, but in spirit he is speaking secrets; 3  but he who prophesies is speaking upbuilding and exhortation and comfort for men. 4  He who speaks a language is building himself up; but he who prophesies is building up the church. 5*  And I want to have you all speak languages, but preferably to have you prophesy; and he who prophesies is superior to him who speaks languages, except in case he translates so that the church may get an upbuilding. 6  And now, brothers, if I come to you speaking languages what good shall I do you unless I speak to you either in revelation or in knowledge or in prophecy or teaching? 7  It is the same with lifeless sound-producers: be it flute or be it harp, if it does not make a distinction in the notes how will the tune that is being played be known? 8*  For, again, if a trumpet makes an unclear sound, who will get ready for war? 9  So with you too: if by your tongues you do not produce plain speech, how will the meaning that is being spoken be known? for you will be talking into the air. 10  There are so many kinds, say, of sounds in the world, and none unvocal; if, then, 11*  I do not know the force of the sound, I shall be senseless to the speaker and the speaker senseless to me. 12*  In the same way you: since you are aspirants to spirit-gifts, try to excel for the upbuilding of the church. 13  Wherefore, let him who speaks a language pray that he may translate. 14  For if I pray in a language, my spirit is praying but my mind is not fruiting. 15  So what is the thing to do? I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the mind too; I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the mind too.— 16  Since if you bless in spirit, how is he who occupies the commoner’s place to say the Amen to your thanks, since he does not know what you are saying? 17  you are giving thanks well, but the other man is not being built up. 18  I thank God, I speak languages more freely than any of you; 19  but in meeting I had rather speak five sentences with my mind, in order to enlighten others too, than ten thousand sentences in a language. 20  Brothers, do not be children in intelligence; as to viciousness do be childlike, but in intelligence be adult. 21  In the law it stands written “By men of alien language and by alien lips I will speak to this people, and not even so will they listen to me, says the Lord.” 22  Consequently languages are for a token not to believers but to unbelievers, but prophecy not to unbelievers but to believers. 23*  If then the whole church meets together and all are speaking languages, and commoners or unbelievers come in, will they not say you are crazy? 24  But if all are prophesying, and some unbeliever or commoner comes in, he is reproved by all, he is put through an examination by all, 25  the things hidden in his heart come out; and thus he will throw himself down on his face and do reverence to God, declaring that God really is among you. 26  So what is the thing to do, brothers? When you come together, each has a psalm, has a teaching, has a revelation, has a language, has a translation—let everything be so done as to build up: 27  suppose somebody is speaking a language, let it be done by twos or at most threes, and one after another, and one translate; 28  but if there is no translator, let him keep silence in meeting, and speak to himself and to God. 29*  And of prophets let two or three speak and the others assess; 30  but if a revelation comes to another who is in the seats, let the first keep silence. 31  For you can all prophesy one at a time, in order that all may learn and all receive exhortation; 32  and prophets’ spirits subordinate themselves to prophets, 33**  for God is not a God of disorder but of peace. As in all meetings of God’s people, 34  let the women keep silence in the meetings; for it is not permissible for them to speak, but let them subordinate themselves, as the law too says. 35  But if they wish to find out something, let them put questions to their husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in meeting. 36  Or was it from you that the word of God started, or did it arrive at you alone? 37  If anybody is supposed to be a prophet or gifted with the Spirit, let him recognize what I am writing to you as being a commandment of the Lord; 38*  but if somebody discredits it, discredit that. 39  Consequently, brothers, aspire to prophesying, and do not bar speaking languages; 40  but let everything be done in a respectable and orderly way.


14:2 Lit. nobody hears
14:5 Lit. is greater than
14:8 Lit. For, too, if
14:11 (senseless, twice) Lit. a person ignorant of normal language
14:12 Lit. aspirants to spirits
14:23 Var. and commoners come in
14:29 Lit. and the others discriminate
14:33 Lit. God is not of disorder Var. they are not of disorder
14:33 Or but of peace, as in all the churches of God’s people. (New paragraph) Let the women
14:38 Lit. if somebody is unrecognizing, be unrecognizing. Var. if somebody does not know, he is not known. Var. if somebody discredits it, let him.