1 Corinthians 14:20 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

1 Corinthians 14:20, NIV: Brothers and sisters, stop thinking like children. In regard to evil be infants, but in your thinking be adults.

1 Corinthians 14:20, ESV: Brothers, do not be children in your thinking. Be infants in evil, but in your thinking be mature.

1 Corinthians 14:20, KJV: Brethren, be not children in understanding: howbeit in malice be ye children, but in understanding be men.

1 Corinthians 14:20, NASB: Brothers and sisters, do not be children in your thinking; yet in evil be infants, but in your thinking be mature.

1 Corinthians 14:20, NLT: Dear brothers and sisters, don't be childish in your understanding of these things. Be innocent as babies when it comes to evil, but be mature in understanding matters of this kind.

1 Corinthians 14:20, CSB: Brothers and sisters, don't be childish in your thinking, but be infants in regard to evil and adult in your thinking.

What does 1 Corinthians 14:20 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Paul begins now to wrap up his teaching on why the gift of prophecy is better than the gift of tongues. He tells the Christians in Corinth not to be immature in their thinking. This echoes what he wrote about them being infants in Christ in 1 Corinthians 3:1. He seems to be describing their fascination with the display of tongues as immature. Instead, they should be hungry for the meaning and "meat" that comes with hearing God's Word.

It's not that he wants believers to become hardened and cynical. Paul wants the Corinthians to keep their innocence, especially with regard to evil ideas and practices. He insists they can maintain that innocence while also learning to think and act with maturity.

Paul may have been echoing Jesus' instructions to His followers in Matthew 10:16, "I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves."