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1Corinthians  ◦   Chapter 14

1Live in harmony with other-centered love, and eagerly pursue gifts that develop your character and enable you to spread the Remedy of Christ–especially the gift of speaking clearly the truth about God.2For anyone who speaks unclearly, or in a foreign language, does not communicate healing truth to others but is speaking to God the secrets of the heart.3But those who speak clearly the truth about God communicate to others the healing Remedy to sin–for their strengthening, encouraging, and comfort.4 Those who speak in a foreign language benefit only themselves, but those who speak the truth about God clearly — for others to hear and understand — benefit the entire church.5I would like all of you to speak multiple languages, but even more, I want you to be able to effectively present the truth about God. Those who present the truth about God effectively and accurately are more essential in spreading the healing Remedy to sin than those who speak multiple languages, unless they are the translators for those who speak the healing truth so the church can hear and understand.

6For instance, if I come to you and speak in a foreign language, and only God understands, what good will I be to you? Unless I communicate truths in ways you can comprehend, how can you benefit?7Even with musical instruments, such as a flute or harp, the notes must be distinct and harmonious for a tune to be heard; otherwise it is meaningless noise.8Likewise, if a trumpet doesn't make its call clear and distinct, who would understand the message and get ready for battle?9It is the same for you: If you don't speak clear, intelligible words in a known language, how will anyone understand what you are saying? You will just be a noisemaker, cluttering the air with your meaningless words.10Of course, there are many languages in the world, and all have a meaning to their people.11If I don't understand someone else's language, then we are foreigners to each other and our words have no benefit to the other.12This is exactly how it is with you–too many people talking with very little understanding. Since you are eager for gifts that develop your character, then develop those gifts that effectively communicate the Remedy to the church.

13This is why those who speak a foreign language should pray that they may interpret what they say, so all may be benefited by their words.14For if I pray with my heart, baring my inmost feelings in a language that expresses my emotional state, my understanding and insight are not developed.15So what is the healthy option? I will pray with my heart and mind united in appreciation and understanding of God's character of love; I will sing with my heart and mind united in devotion to God's kingdom of love.16If you are praising God by expressing your inmost feelings in unintelligent utterances, how can those who don't understand say, "That makes sense and I agree" to your praise, since they have no idea what you are saying?17You may be giving thanks, but others are not benefited by your expression.

18I thank God that I speak in more languages than all of you.19But when I am in church, I would rather speak five words that people can understand–in order to enlighten others–than ten thousand words in an unknown language.

20Brothers and sisters, stop thinking like children! When it comes to evil, be innocent in thought–like infants who don't see the worst in people–but in your reasoning be mature, understanding God's methods and principles.21In the Scriptures it is written: "Through people of unknown languages and through the mouths of foreigners I will speak truth to these people, but even that will not impress them, and they will not listen to me," says the Lord.

22The gift of languages, then, is a sign–not for those who already know and trust God, but for those who don't know or trust him. Clearly speaking the truth about God, however, is for those who do know and trust God, not for those who don't know him.23Think about it: if the church comes together and everyone is speaking a different language, won't those who don't understand, and visitors, think you are incoherent and deranged?24But if those who don't know God, or who don't understand the truth, come in while people are speaking clearly the truth about God, they will recognize the truth and be convinced of their own terminal condition. They will be diagnosed accurately by all,25and the hidden symptoms in their hearts and minds will be exposed; so they will humble themselves in adoration to God, acknowledging, "God's presence and truth are really among you!"

26Brothers and sisters, what then is a reasonable and healthy course of action? When you fellowship together, everyone has a song that touches their heart, or an idea which has helped in their growth, or an insight, or an instruction, or they speak a language that they understand best, or have an interpretation that makes most sense to them; but all of this sharing must be done for the building up and strengthening of the entire group.27As for those sharing in their language, allow only two or three at most and then one at a time, and of course, have someone interpret for the rest of the church.28If there is no interpreter, then the speakers should keep quiet in church and speak only to themselves and God.

29Two or three who can speak clearly the truth about God should speak, and the others should think for themselves and consider carefully what is said.30And if an insight, revelation or inspiration comes to someone in the audience, the speaker should pause and allow the other to speak.31For all of you can speak the truth about God clearly, in an orderly fashion, so that everyone can be instructed and encouraged.32The hearts of those who speak the truth about God are subject to their own self-governance,33for God is not a God of chaos and disorder but of order and peace. All the congregations of God's people worship in an orderly fashion,34so don't act like pagans and allow the women to shout, scream, roll on the floor or carry on hysterically. Your women should be respectful and quiet. They should not interrupt the speaker with questions, but wait and listen to what is being presented from God's word.35And if they are still confused, then each one should ask her own husband for clarification when the meeting is over, for it is shameful for women to misrepresent God by acting like pagans and shouting in the church.

36Did you write God's word–the Bible? Are you the only people who have heard the truth about God?37If any one of you thinks they are a spokesperson for God, or that they have gifts or talents from God, let them embrace and endorse the truths I have written, which are from the Lord.38If they ignore this, they also will be ignored.

39Therefore, my brothers and sisters, be eager to speak the truth about God, and don't forbid foreign languages with translation,40but do everything in a loving, peaceful and orderly manner.