1 Corinthians 14:26 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

1 Corinthians 14:26, NIV: What then shall we say, brothers and sisters? When you come together, each of you has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. Everything must be done so that the church may be built up.

1 Corinthians 14:26, ESV: What then, brothers? When you come together, each one has a hymn, a lesson, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation. Let all things be done for building up.

1 Corinthians 14:26, KJV: How is it then, brethren? when ye come together, every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying.

1 Corinthians 14:26, NASB: What is the outcome then, brothers and sisters? When you assemble, each one has a psalm, has a teaching, has a revelation, has a tongue, has an interpretation. All things are to be done for edification.

1 Corinthians 14:26, NLT: Well, my brothers and sisters, let's summarize. When you meet together, one will sing, another will teach, another will tell some special revelation God has given, one will speak in tongues, and another will interpret what is said. But everything that is done must strengthen all of you.

1 Corinthians 14:26, CSB: What then, brothers and sisters? Whenever you come together, each one has a hymn, a teaching, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation. Everything is to be done for building up.

What does 1 Corinthians 14:26 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Paul has taken care to show why the gift of tongues should not be displayed unless exercised alongside the gift of interpretation. He has demonstrated why the gift of prophecy is so much more valuable in church gatherings than uninterpreted tongues. He has also shown that love is far superior to any of the gifts that may be used within the church.

Now Paul comes to some bottom-line instructions for how and when to use spiritual gifts at gatherings of the church. He describes a service very differently from the way most modern churches hold Christian services. This speaks to the wide freedom believers have in how we arrange worship meetings. Instead of those in charge presenting content to the congregation, Paul's picture of a service in Corinth resembles an open microphone format, as members of the community present one item after another.

From the context, it seems the Corinthians may have been practicing something similar but far less orderly. Perhaps many people were speaking in tongues or exercising other spiritual gifts at the same time. Paul will insist on two things in every service: orderliness—specifically in the form of taking defined turns—and that everything be done for the purpose of building up the others present.

He lists things that each person may contribute, and does not insist every person must contribute. These include a hymn, perhaps from the Psalms, a lesson, most likely from one with the gift of teaching, a revelation, perhaps by someone with the gift of prophecy, speaking in a tongue, followed by someone exercising the spiritual gift of interpreting tongues by describing what was just said in the language of those present.

Paul further narrows what is allowed in a service in the following verses.