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1 Corinthians 14:5

    1 Corinthians 14:5 Translations

    King James Version (KJV)

    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.

    American King James Version (AKJV)

    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 (ASV)

    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.

    Basic English Translation (BBE)

    Now though it is my desire for you all to have the power of tongues, it would give me more pleasure to be hearing the prophet's word from you; for this is a greater thing than using tongues, if the sense is not given at the same time, for the good of the church.

    Webster's Revision

    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.

    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.

    English Revised Version (ERV)

    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.

    Definitions for 1 Corinthians 14:5

    Church - Assembly of "called out" ones.

    Clarke's Commentary on 1 Corinthians 14:5

    I would that ye all spake with tongues - The word θελω does not so much imply a wish or desire, as a command or permission. As if he had said: I do not restrain you to prophesying or teaching though I prefer that; but I give you full permission to speak in Hebrew whenever it is proper, and when one is present who can interpret for the edification of the Church, provided yourselves have not that gift, though you understand the language. The apostle said tongue, in the singular number, 1 Corinthians 14:2, 1 Corinthians 14:4, because he spoke of a single man; now he says tongues, in the plural number, because he speaks of many speaking; but he has the same meaning in both places. - Lightfoot.

    Greater is he that prophesieth - A useful, zealous preacher, though unskilled in learned languages, is much greater in the sight of God, and in the eye of sound common sense, than he who has the gift of those learned tongues; except he interpret: and we seldom find great scholars good preachers. This should humble the scholar, who is too apt to be proud of his attainments, and despise his less learned but more useful brother. This judgment of St. Paul is too little regarded.

    Barnes' Notes on 1 Corinthians 14:5

    I would that ye all spake with tongues - "It is an important endowment, and is not, in its place, to be undervalued. It maybe of great service in the cause of truth, and if properly regulated, and not abused, I would rejoice if these extraordinary endowments were conferred on all. I have no envy against anyone who possesses it; no opposition to the endowment; but I wish that it should not be overvalued; and would wish to exalt into proper estimation the more useful but humble gift of speaking for the edification of the church."

    Greater is he that prophesieth - This gift is of more value, and he really occupies a more elevated rank in the church. He is more "useful." The idea here is, that talents are not to he estimated by their "brilliancy," but by their "usefulness." The power of speaking in an unknown tongue was certainly a more striking endowment than that of speaking so as simply to be "useful," and yet the apostle tells us that the latter is the more valuable. So it is always. A man who is useful, however humble and unknown he may be, really occupies a more elevated and venerable rank than the man of most splendid talents and dazzling eloquence, who accomplishes nothing in saving the souls of people.

    Except he interpret - However important and valuable the truth might he which he uttered, it would be useless to the church, unless he should explain it in language which they could understand. In that case, the apostle does not deny that the power of speaking foreign languages was a higher endowment and more valuable than the gift of prophecy. That the man who spoke foreign languages had the power of interpreting, is evident from this verse. From 1 Corinthians 14:27, it appears that the office of interpreting was sometimes performed by others.

    Wesley's Notes on 1 Corinthians 14:5

    14:5 Greater - That is, more useful. By this alone are we to estimate all our gifts and talents.