1 Corinthians 14:5
Verse (Click for Chapter)
New International Version
I would like every one of you to speak in tongues, but I would rather have you prophesy. The one who prophesies is greater than the one who speaks in tongues, unless someone interprets, so that the church may be edified.

New Living Translation
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.

English Standard Version
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.

Berean Study Bible
I wish that all of you could speak in tongues, but I would rather have you prophesy. He who prophesies is greater than one who speaks in tongues, unless he interprets, so that the church may be edified.

Berean Literal Bible
Now I desire you all to speak in tongues, but rather that you should prophesy. Now the one prophesying is greater than the one speaking in tongues, unless he should interpret, so that the church might receive edification.

New American Standard Bible
Now I wish that you all spoke in tongues, but even more that you would prophesy; and greater is one who prophesies than one who speaks in tongues, unless he interprets, so that the church may receive edifying.

King James Bible
I would that ye all spake with tongues, but rather that ye prophesied: for greater is he that prophesieth than he that speaketh with tongues, except he interpret, that the church may receive edifying.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
I wish all of you spoke in other languages, but even more that you prophesied. The person who prophesies is greater than the person who speaks in languages, unless he interprets so that the church may be built up.

International Standard Version
Now I wish that all of you could speak in foreign languages, but especially that you could prophesy. The person who prophesies is more important than the person who speaks in a foreign language, unless he interprets it so that the church may be built up.

NET Bible
I wish you all spoke in tongues, but even more that you would prophesy. The one who prophesies is greater than the one who speaks in tongues, unless he interprets so that the church may be strengthened.

New Heart English Bible
Now I desire to have you all speak with other languages, but rather that you would prophesy, and he is greater who prophesies than he who speaks with other languages, unless he interprets, that the church may be built up.

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
I wish that all of you might speak in languages, but all the more that you may prophesy, for he who prophesies is greater than he who speaks in languages, unless he translates; but if he translates, he edifies the church.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
I wish that all of you could speak in other languages, but especially that you could speak what God has revealed. The person who speaks what God has revealed is more important than the person who speaks in other languages. This is true unless he can interpret what he says to help the church grow.

New American Standard 1977
Now I wish that you all spoke in tongues, but even more that you would prophesy; and greater is one who prophesies than one who speaks in tongues, unless he interprets, so that the church may receive edifying.

Jubilee Bible 2000
I would that ye all spoke with tongues, but rather that ye prophesied, for greater is he that prophesies than he that speaks with tongues, unless he interprets, that the congregation {Gr. ekklesia – called out ones} may receive edifying.

King James 2000 Bible
I would that you all spoke with tongues, but rather that you prophesied: for greater is he that prophesies than he that speaks with tongues, except he interpret, that the church may receive edifying.

American King James Version
I would that you all spoke with tongues but rather that you prophesied: for greater is he that prophesies than he that speaks with tongues, except he interpret, that the church may receive edifying.

American Standard Version
Now I would have you all speak with tongues, but rather that ye should prophesy: and greater is he that prophesieth than he that speaketh with tongues, except he interpret, that the church may receive edifying.

Douay-Rheims Bible
And I would have you all to speak with tongues, but rather to prophesy. For greater is he that prophesieth, than he that speaketh with tongues: unless perhaps he interpret, that the church may receive edification.

Darby Bible Translation
Now I desire that ye should all speak with tongues, but rather that ye should prophesy. But greater is he that prophesies than he that speaks with tongues, unless he interpret, that the assembly may receive edification.

English Revised Version
Now I would have you all speak with tongues, but rather that ye should prophesy: and greater is he that prophesieth than he that speaketh with tongues, except he interpret, that the church may receive edifying.

Webster's Bible Translation
I would that ye all spoke in languages, but rather that ye prophesied: for greater is he that prophesieth than he that speaketh in languages, except he interpret, that the church may receive edifying.

Weymouth New Testament
I should be right glad were you all to speak in 'tongues,' but yet more glad were you all to prophesy. And, in fact, the man who prophesies is superior to him who speaks in 'tongues,' except when the latter can interpret in order that the Church may get a blessing.

World English Bible
Now I desire to have you all speak with other languages, but rather that you would prophesy. For he is greater who prophesies than he who speaks with other languages, unless he interprets, that the assembly may be built up.

Young's Literal Translation
and I wish you all to speak with tongues, and more that ye may prophecy, for greater is he who is prophesying than he who is speaking with tongues, except one may interpret, that the assembly may receive edification.
Study Bible
Prophecy and Tongues
4The one who speaks in a tongue edifies himself, but the one who prophesies edifies the church. 5I wish that all of you could speak in tongues, but I would rather have you prophesy. He who prophesies is greater than one who speaks in tongues, unless he interprets, so that the church may be edified. 6Now, 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?…
Cross References
Numbers 11:29
But Moses said to him, "Are you jealous for my sake? Would that all the LORD'S people were prophets, that the LORD would put His Spirit upon them!"

Mark 16:17
And these signs will accompany those who believe: In My name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues;

Romans 14:19
So then, let us pursue what leads to peace and to mutual edification.

1 Corinthians 12:10
to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in various tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues.

1 Corinthians 12:28
And in the church God has appointed first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then workers of miracles, and those with gifts of healing, helping, administration, and various tongues.

1 Corinthians 13:1
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a ringing gong or a clanging cymbal.

1 Corinthians 14:3
But he who prophesies speaks to men for their edification, encouragement, and comfort.

1 Corinthians 14:4
The one who speaks in a tongue edifies himself, but the one who prophesies edifies the church.

1 Corinthians 14:12
It is the same with you. Since you are eager to have spiritual gifts, strive to excel in gifts that build up the church.

1 Corinthians 14:17
You may be giving thanks well enough, but the other one is not edified.
Treasury of Scripture

I would that you all spoke with tongues but rather that you prophesied: for greater is he that prophesies than he that speaks with tongues, except he interpret, that the church may receive edifying.

would.

1 Corinthians 12:28-30 And God has set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, …

1 Corinthians 13:4 Charity suffers long, and is kind; charity envies not; charity braggs …

Numbers 11:28,29 And Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of Moses, one of his young …

for.

1 Corinthians 14:1,3 Follow after charity, and desire spiritual gifts, but rather that …

except.

1 Corinthians 14:12,13,26-28 Even so you, for as much as you are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek …

1 Corinthians 12:10,30 To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another …

(5) I would that ye all spake with tongues.--To avoid danger of misunderstanding or misrepresentation the Apostle emphatically asserts here that the error which he is combating is the undue exaltation of the gift of tongues to the depreciation of other gifts. The teacher of religious truth to others, who thereby builds up the whole edifice of the body of Christ, is a greater one than he who is himself benefited by being possessed of profound but uncommunicable emotion.

Except he interpret.--The gift of interpreting might therefore belong to the same person who had the gift of tongues: and if he had this power of articulating for the benefit of others the emotion which he incoherently expresses in reverie, then the gift of tongues was useful to the Church at large, and so was as valuable as prophecy.

Verse 5. - I would that ye all spake with tongues. The language of relative disparagement which St. Paul uses throughout these chapters may lead us to regard this with surprise. Yet it is perfectly intelligible. Montanus truly said that each human spirit is like a harp, which the Holy Spirit strikes as with a plectrum, and which yields itself to the mighty hand by which the chords are swept. We have seen all along - and history has in various ages confirmed the impression, on every occasion when these phenomena have been reproduced in seasons of great spiritual revival - that the external symptoms may be imitated with most dangerous and objectionable results both to the speaker and to others. But when the expression is genuine, the fact that the tides of the Spirit can thus sweep through the narrow channels of individuality is in itself a sign that the spirit of the man is alive and not dead; and thus he is an evidence of God's power both to himself and to others. Those who have heard "the tongue" have told me that its force, melody, and penetrative quality produced an impression not to be forgotten. When we see the stuffed and stopped-up hearts and lives of thousands of frivolous and worldly money worshippers, we might well echo St. Paul's wish. Greater. Not of necessity greater absolutely or morally, but greater in the fact of his wider and deeper usefulness. Except he interpret. From this we infer that sometimes, when the passion had spent its force, the speaker in the tongue could give rational explanation of the thoughts and feelings to which he had given ecstatic utterance. I would that ye all spake with tongues,.... This the apostle says, to prevent being misunderstood; for his view was not to bring the gift of tongues into contempt, or to represent it as at all times, and on all occasions, useless and insignificant; nor would he be thought to envy them this gift, or beat them off of desiring it; for, for his own part, he could wish they all had it, was it the will of God; though he must needs say, that prophesying was most desirable by him, as being most profitable;

but rather that ye prophesied; he wished them all prophets, as Moses did all the Lord's people; he was not against their speaking with tongues, but this was the most eligible, for which he gives this reason:

for greater is he that prophesieth, than he that speaketh with tongues; that is, he is more useful and profitable to men, and so consequently more honourable, in higher esteem, and more valued, and in greater dignity, being in a more serviceable post and office, and which is more beneficial and advantageous to mankind:

except he interpret; what he said; and then he might stand upon an equal foot, and be equally useful with him that prophesieth; but this everyone could not do that spake with tongues; for speaking with tongues, and the interpretation of tongues, were two distinct gifts; see 1 Corinthians 12:10 and though a man that had the gift of tongues might understand what he himself said to his own edification, yet not be able to interpret it to the understanding and edification of others; and if he could not do this, his speaking was to no purpose: hence the apostle advises such an one to pray that he might interpret, have the gift of interpretation also, in 1 Corinthians 14:13.

That the church may receive edifying: which otherwise cannot be thought it should, or be expected, and then an opportunity and ordinance would be wholly lost. 5. Translate, "Now I wish you all to speak with tongues (so far am I from thus speaking through having any objection to tongues), but rather IN ORDER THAT (as my ulterior and higher wish for you) ye should prophesy." Tongues must therefore mean languages, not ecstatic, unintelligible rhapsodie (as Neander fancied): for Paul could never "wish" for the latter in their behalf.

greater—because more useful.

except he interpret—the unknown tongue which he speaks, "that the Church may receive edifying (building up)."14:1-5 Prophesying, that is, explaining Scripture, is compared with speaking with tongues. This drew attention, more than the plain interpretation of Scripture; it gratified pride more, but promoted the purposes of Christian charity less; it would not equally do good to the souls of men. What cannot be understood, never can edify. No advantage can be reaped from the most excellent discourses, if delivered in language such as the hearers cannot speak or understand. Every ability or possession is valuable in proportion to its usefulness. Even fervent, spiritual affection must be governed by the exercise of the understanding, else men will disgrace the truths they profess to promote.
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NT Letters: 1 Corinthians 14:5 Now I desire to have you all (1 Cor. 1C iC 1Cor i cor icor) Christian Bible Study Resources, Dictionary, Concordance and Search Tools
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