1 Corinthians 14:27 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

1 Corinthians 14:27, NIV: If anyone speaks in a tongue, two--or at the most three--should speak, one at a time, and someone must interpret.

1 Corinthians 14:27, ESV: If any speak in a tongue, let there be only two or at most three, and each in turn, and let someone interpret.

1 Corinthians 14:27, KJV: If any man speak in an unknown tongue, let it be by two, or at the most by three, and that by course; and let one interpret.

1 Corinthians 14:27, NASB: If anyone speaks in a tongue, it must be by two or at the most three, and each one in turn, and one is to interpret;

1 Corinthians 14:27, NLT: No more than two or three should speak in tongues. They must speak one at a time, and someone must interpret what they say.

1 Corinthians 14:27, CSB: If anyone speaks in a tongue, there are to be only two, or at the most three, each in turn, and let someone interpret.

What does 1 Corinthians 14:27 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Paul is delivering instructions to the church in Corinth for how they should conduct their church services. He has described something like an open-microphone format, in which believers take orderly turns. In this way, those who wish to do so may present a song, a lesson, a revelation, or some speaking in tongues with a follow-up interpretation.

His bottom-line rule in all cases is that whatever is presented must build up those who are present.

Now he further limits what is allowed. Only two or three people should be allowed to speak in a tongue, and only one at a time. In each case, they should be followed by someone with the spiritual gift of interpretation explaining what was said in clear language for all to hear. Paul will add, in the following verse, that nobody should speak in tongues during the service if nobody present is able to interpret. This restriction follows directly from his prior teaching that uninterpreted tongues are not edifying (1 Corinthians 14:13–19).