Why tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not: but prophesying serves not for them that believe not, but for them which believe.
ContextProphecy and Tongues
1Follow after charity, and desire spiritual gifts, but rather that you may prophesy. 2For he that speaks in an unknown tongue speaks not to men, but to God: for no man understands him; however, in the spirit he speaks mysteries. 3But he that prophesies speaks to men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort. 4He that speaks in an unknown tongue edifies himself; but he that prophesies edifies the church. 5I 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. 6Now, brothers, if I come to you speaking with tongues, what shall I profit you, except I shall speak to you either by revelation, or by knowledge, or by prophesying, or by doctrine? 7And even things without life giving sound, whether pipe or harp, except they give a distinction in the sounds, how shall it be known what is piped or harped? 8For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle? 9So likewise you, except you utter by the tongue words easy to be understood, how shall it be known what is spoken? for you shall speak into the air. 10There are, it may be, so many kinds of voices in the world, and none of them is without signification. 11Therefore if I know not the meaning of the voice, I shall be to him that speaks a barbarian, and he that speaks shall be a barbarian to me. 12Even so you, for as much as you are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek that you may excel to the edifying of the church. 13Why let him that speaks in an unknown tongue pray that he may interpret. 14For if I pray in an unknown tongue, my spirit prays, but my understanding is unfruitful. 15What 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. 16Else when you shall bless with the spirit, how shall he that occupies the room of the unlearned say Amen at your giving of thanks, seeing he understands not what you say? 17For you truly give thanks well, but the other is not edified. 18I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than you all: 19Yet in the church I had rather speak five words with my understanding, that by my voice I might teach others also, than ten thousand words in an unknown tongue. 20Brothers, be not children in understanding: however, in malice be you children, but in understanding be men. 21In the law it is written, With men of other tongues and other lips will I speak to this people; and yet for all that will they not hear me, said the LORD. 22Why tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not: but prophesying serves not for them that believe not, but for them which believe. 23If therefore the whole church be come together into one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in those that are unlearned, or unbelievers, will they not say that you are mad? 24But if all prophesy, and there come in one that believes not, or one unlearned, he is convinced of all, he is judged of all: 25And thus are the secrets of his heart made manifest; and so falling down on his face he will worship God, and report that God is in you of a truth.
Parallel VersesAmerican Standard Version
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.
Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to believers, but to unbelievers; but prophecies not to unbelievers, but to believers.
Darby Bible Translation
So that tongues are for a sign, not to those who believe, but to unbelievers; but prophecy, not to unbelievers, but to those who believe.
King James Bible
Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not: but prophesying serveth not for them that believe not, but for them which believe.
Young's Literal Translation
so that the tongues are for a sign, not to the believing, but to the unbelieving; and the prophesy is not for the unbelieving, but for the believing,