“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.”
King James Version (KJV)
14:5 Greater - That is, more useful. By this alone are we to estimate all our gifts and talents.
1Co 14:5 Greater [is] he that prophesieth than he that speaketh with tongues. Greater, because he serves the church best. Unless the tongues were interpreted, they were an unmeaning sound to the church, while he who prophesied, instructed and built up. NOTE.--Concerning this gift of tongues, there is considerable confusion among commentators. Some have held that it was a sort of rhapsody under the influence of the Spirit in no earthly language. Others have held that it was a gift of the knowledge of foreign languages to the early Christians to enable them to preach the gospel to all nations. Neither view appears to be correct. (1) Undoubtedly there was a manifestation of the gift of tongues on the Day of Pentecost. Parthians, Medes, Elamites, Greeks, Romans, heard in their own language (Ac 2:8-11). (2) It was not a gift of the "knowledge" of a foreign language, for the speaker did not understand his own words (1Co 14:13,14). (3) It was a gift, not for exercise in the church, but a "sign to them that believe not" (1Co 14:22). When they heard the gospel message in a tongue which the speaker did not understand, but in their own tongue (as on the Day of Pentecost), their wonder was excited, and many would confess that it was the work of God.