1 Corinthians 14:13-17, “13For this reason anyone who speaks in a tongue should pray that he may interpret what he says. 14For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my mind is unfruitful. 15So what shall I do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will also pray with my mind; I will sing with my spirit, but I will also sing with my mind. 16If you are praising God with your spirit, how can one who finds himself among those who do not understand say “Amen” to your thanksgiving, since he does not know what you are saying? 17You may be giving thanks well enough, but the other man is not edified.”
When my friend failed to speak in tongues when she was a guest at a church, they label her a sinner. When my sister attended her friend’s church, she saw a girl run up and down the aisle and fall all over herself time and time again, making it really difficult to calm things down in time for the sermon. When I attended a community church a half hour away, I couldn’t understand what the guest preacher was saying as he was whipping the other attendees into a frenzy of emotion. The only thing I managed to build up was frustration.
1 Corinthians 14:18-21, “18I thank God that I speak in tongues more than all of you. 19But in the church I would rather speak five intelligible words to instruct others than ten thousand words in a tongue.
20Brothers, stop thinking like children. In regard to evil be infants, but in your thinking be adults. 21In the Law it is written:
“Through men of strange tongues
and through the lips of foreigners
I will speak to this people,
but even then they will not listen to me,” says the Lord.”
I’ve seen evidence of people not listening to the Lord, in two of the above churches, it took a long time before the Bible was even opened and even when it was nothing much was said that needed to be. People would rather make a show of their holiness and whatnot than do as the Bible says. Better to not speak in tongues than to tear town the faith of a guest or destroy a brother or sister.
1 Corinthians 14:22-25, “22Tongues, then, are a sign, not for believers but for unbelievers; prophecy, however, is for believers, not for unbelievers. 23So if the whole church comes together and everyone speaks in tongues, and some who do not understand or some unbelievers come in, will they not say that you are out of your mind? 24But if an unbeliever or someone who does not understand comes in while everybody is prophesying, he will be convinced by all that he is a sinner and will be judged by all, 25and the secrets of his heart will be laid bare. So he will fall down and worship God, exclaiming, “God is really among you!””
Paul brings it back to the orginial premise: Speaking in tongues isn’t all that. Prophecy is a gift for believers. It does two things: 1. it lets believers know what is comming down the road 2. it convinces unbelievers that he is a sinner. Tongues does not have the same effect. So for the good of the church, would you seek the gift of prophecy?