1 Corinthians14:6

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But now brothers, if I should come to you speaking in [strange] tongues, what will be the benefit to you, if I should not speak to you in a revelation,

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or in knowledge,

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or in a prophecy,

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or in a teaching?

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But now brothers, what if I did what is reported that you do? What if I came to one of your church meetings and “prayed” out loud with unintelligible utterances I call my “prayer language”?  Would that benefit you, as all of the Spirit’s gifts are intended to do? Or, in order for it to benefit you and others would I also need to include a truth that has been uncovered for me by God , or some of the knowledge I have acquired from my personal experiences in my relationship with God, or a divinely inspired word of admonition about how to put truth to work in your life, or a summary of time-honored teaching that is respected by all followers of Jesus?



“to uncover, unveil, reveal something previously unknown.”


This is “practical, experiential knowledge, moral knowledge, and knowledge gleaned from relationships.”


This refers to “God-inspired speech which makes clear the mind of God” and the way we can apply His mind to our lives.


This usually refers to “established teaching, or summarized body of respected, time-honored teaching, doctrine, applied teaching.”


Paul was making the point that what they were doing in no way fit the purpose of the Holy Spirit’s gracious gifts. His undeserved gifts were, and are, always for the benefit of others, often fellow believers, and sometimes unbelievers. The only way the people in Corinth could be of benefit to others was to add something to their version of tongues. This shows that they had things backwards in many ways. In contrast, the two proper forms of tongues would be of benefit to others; speaking in a foreign language by the Spirit’s inspiration was of benefit to unbelievers because it was used to convince them to believe in Jesus, and private tongues, i.e. praying with unintelligible utterances such as groaning and tears, ends up being of benefit to others when that burden is clarified by God and then He helps us bring it to fruition as a ministry to others.