1 You must pursue love, while you are cultivating the spiritual endowments, and especially inspired preaching. 2 For anyone who speaks ecstatically is speaking not to men but to God, for no one can understand him, though he is uttering secret truths. 3 But the inspired preacher does his fellow-men good and encourages and comforts them. 4 Anyone who speaks ecstatically does himself good, but the inspired preacher does a congregation good. 5 I want you all to speak ecstatically, but I especially want you to be inspired to preach. The man who is inspired to preach is more useful than the one who speaks ecstatically??nless he can explain what he says so that it may do the church some good.
6 But as it is brothers, if I come back to you and speak ecstatically, what good will I do you, unless I have some revelation or special knowledge or message or teaching to give you? 7 Even inanimate things, like the flute or the harp, may produce sound, but if there is no difference in the notes, how can you tell what is being played? 8 If the bugle does not sound a clear call, who will prepare for battle? 9 So if you in your ecstatic speaking utter words no one can understand, how will people know what you are saying? You will be talking to the empty air! 10 There are probably ever so many different languages in the world, each with its own meaning. 11 So if I do not know the meaning of the language, I shall seem to the man who is speaking to be a foreigner, and he will seem to me to be one too. 12 So since you are ambitious for spiritual endowments, you must try to excel in them in ways that will do good to the church.
13 Therefore, the man who can speak ecstatically should pray for the power to explain what he says. 14 For if I pray ecstatically, it is my spirit that prays, but my mind is helping nobody. 15 Then what am I to do? I will pray ecstatically, but I will pray intelligently too. I will sing ecstatically, but I will sing intelligently too. 16 For if you utter blessings in ecstatic speech, how is an ordinary man to say Amen to your thanksgiving? For he does not know what you are saying. 17 You are giving thanks well enough, but it is doing him no good. 18 Thank God, I speak in ecstasy more than any of you. 19 But in public worship I would rather say five words with my understanding so as to instruct others also than ten thousand words in an ecstasy.
20 Brothers, you must not be children mentally. In evil be babies, but mentally be mature. 21 In the Law it says, "By men of strange languages and by the lips of foreigners I will speak to this nation, and not even then will they listen to me, says the Lord." 22 So this ecstatic speaking is meant as a sign not to those who believe but to unbelievers, but inspired preaching is a sign not to unbelievers but to those who believe. 23 Hence, if the whole church assembles and they all speak ecstatically, and ordinary people or unbelievers come in, will they not say that you are crazy? 24 But if they are all inspired to preach and some unbeliever or outsider comes in, he is convinced of his sin by them all, he is called to account by them all, 25 the secrets of his heart are exposed, and he will fall down on his face and worship God, and declare that God is really among you.
26 Then what is the right course, brothers? When you meet together, suppose every one of you has a song, a teaching, a revelation, an ecstatic utterance, or an explanation of one; it must all be for the good of all. 27 If there is any ecstatic speaking, let it be limited to two or three people at the most, and have one speak at a time and someone explain what he says. 28 But if there is no one to explain it, have him keep quiet in church, and talk to himself and to God. 29 And let two or three who are inspired to preach speak, while the rest weigh what is said; 30 and if anything is revealed to another who is seated, the one who is speaking must stop. 31 For in this way you can all preach one after another, as you are inspired to, so that everyone may be instructed and stimulated, 32 for the spirits of prophets will give way to prophets, 33 for God is not a God of disorder but of peace. This is the rule in all Christian churches. 34 Women are to keep quiet in church, for they are not allowed to speak. They must take a subordinate place, just as the Law says. 35 If they want to find out about anything, they should ask their husbands at home, for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in church. 36 Did God's message start from you Corinthians? Or are you the only people it has reached?
37 If anyone claims to be inspired to preach, or to have any other spiritual endowment, let him understand that what I am now writing you is a command from the Lord. 38 If anyone pays no attention to it, pay no attention to him. 39 So, my brothers, set your hearts on being inspired to preach, and yet do not hinder people from speaking ecstatically. 40 But let everything be done in a proper and orderly way.