Nonfiction > The Bible > Harvard Classics > The Epistles of Paul to the Corinthians
   The Epistles of Paul to the Corinthians.
The Harvard Classics.  1909–14.
The First Epistle of Paul to the Corinthians
[1]    FOLLOW after love; yet desire earnestly spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may prophesy.
[2]  For he that speaketh in a tongue speaketh not unto men, but unto God; for no man understandeth; 1 but in the spirit he speaketh mysteries.
[3]  But he that prophesieth speaketh unto men edification, and exhortation, 2 and consolation.
[4]  He that speaketh in a tongue edifieth 3 himself; but he that prophesieth edifieth 4 the church.
[5]  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.
[6]  But now, brethren, if I come unto you speaking with tongues, what shall I profit you, unless I speak to you either by way of revelation, or of knowledge, or of prophesying, or of teaching?
[7]  Even things without life, giving a voice, whether pipe or harp, if they give not a distinction in the sounds, how shall it be known what is piped or harped?
[8]  For if the trumpet give an uncertain voice, who shall prepare himself for war?
[9]  So also ye, unless ye utter by the tongue speech easy to be understood, how shall it be known what is spoken? for ye will be speaking into the air.
[10]  There are, it may be, so many kinds of voices in the world, and no 5 kind is without signification.
[11]  If then I know not the meaning of the voice, I shall be to him that speaketh a barbarian, and he that speaketh will be a barbarian unto 6 me.
[12]  So also ye, since ye are zealous of spiritual 7 gifts, seek that ye may abound unto the edifying of the church.
[13]  Wherefore let him that speaketh in a tongue pray that he may interpret.
[14]  For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prayeth, but my understanding is unfruitful.
[15]  What is it then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also: I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also.
[16]  Else if thou bless with the spirit, how shall he that filleth the place of the 8 unlearned say the Amen at thy giving of thanks, seeing he knoweth not what thou sayest?
[17]  For thou verily givest thanks well, but the other is not edified. 9
[18]  I thank God, I speak with tongues more than you all:
[19]  Howbeit in the church I had rather speak five words with my understanding, that I might instruct others also, than ten thousand words in a tongue.
[20]    Brethren, be not children in mind: yet in malice be ye babes, but in mind be men. 10
[21]  In the law it is written, By men of strange tongues and by the lips of strangers will I speak unto this people; and not even thus will they hear me, saith the Lord.
[22]  Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to the unbelieving: but prophesying is for a sign, not to the unbelieving, but to them that believe.
[23]  If therefore the whole church be assembled together and all speak with tongues, and there come in men unlearned or unbelieving, will they not say that ye are mad?
[24]  But if all prophesy, and there come in one unbelieving or unlearned, he is reproved 11 by all, he is judged by all;
[25]  the secrets of his heart are made manifest; and so he will fall down on his face and worship God, declaring that God is among 12 you indeed.
[26]    What is it then, brethren? When ye come together, each one hath a psalm, hath a teaching, hath a revelation, hath a tongue, hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying.
[27]  If any man speaketh in a tongue, let it be by two, or at the most three, and that in turn; and let one interpret:
[28]  but if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the church; and let him speak to himself, and to God.
[29]  And let the prophets speak by two or three, and let the others discern. 13
[30]  But if a revelation be made to another sitting by, let the first keep silence.
[31]  For ye all can prophesy one by one, that all may learn, and all may be exhorted; 14
[32]  and the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets;
[33]  for God is not a God of confusion, but of peace.
  As in all the churches of the saints,
[34]  let the women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but let them be in subjection, as also saith the law.
[35]  And if they would learn anything, let them ask their own husbands at home: for it is shameful for a woman to speak in the church.
[36]  What? was it from you that the word of God went forth? or came it unto you alone?
[37]    If any man thinketh himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him take knowledge of the things which I write unto you, that they are the commandment of the Lord.
[38]  But 15 if any man is ignorant, let him be ignorant.
[39]    Wherefore, my brethren, desire earnestly to prophesy, and forbid not to speak with tongues.
[40]  But let all things be done decently and in order.
Note 1. Gr. heareth. [back]
Note 2. Or, comfort. [back]
Note 3. Gr. buildeth up. [back]
Note 4. Gr. buildeth up. [back]
Note 5. Or, nothing is without voice. [back]
Note 6. Or, in my case. [back]
Note 7. Gr. spirits. [back]
Note 8. Or, him that is without gifts: and so in ver. 23, 24. [back]
Note 9. Gr. builded up. [back]
Note 10. Gr. of full age, Comp. ch. 2. 6. [back]
Note 11. Or, convicted. [back]
Note 12. Or, in. [back]
Note 13. Gr. discriminate. [back]
Note 14. Or, comforted. [back]
Note 15. Many ancient authorities read But if any man knoweth not, he is not known, Comp. ch. 8. 3. [back]


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