1 Corinthians 14:29 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

1 Corinthians 14:29, NIV: Two or three prophets should speak, and the others should weigh carefully what is said.

1 Corinthians 14:29, ESV: Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others weigh what is said.

1 Corinthians 14:29, KJV: Let the prophets speak two or three, and let the other judge.

1 Corinthians 14:29, NASB: Have two or three prophets speak, and have the others pass judgment.

1 Corinthians 14:29, NLT: Let two or three people prophesy, and let the others evaluate what is said.

1 Corinthians 14:29, CSB: Two or three prophets should speak, and the others should evaluate.

What does 1 Corinthians 14:29 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

After explaining how inappropriate use of spiritual gifts is harmful, Paul is setting down ground rules. These are guidelines for how church services are to be conducted in Corinth. The church was clearly full of believers with a variety of spiritual gifts. Apparently, those with speaking gifts, such as tongues and prophecy, were not exercising those gifts in an orderly way. Paul has limited the number of people speaking in tongues during a service to two or three, in turn, and only if someone can interpret what has been said.

Now he turns to those with the gift of prophecy. This gift involved receiving a revelation from God of some kind to deliver in clear language to those gathered. Many churches and teachers believe the gifts of tongues and prophecy are far less common in modern times than they were in the early church, especially since the New Testament was published in its current form. Others are convinced these gifts are still distributed by the Holy Spirit to a significant number of believers.

In either case, Paul also restricts the number of prophets speaking during a service to two or three. Since they claim to represent revelation from God, Paul also instructs "others" to weigh what they have said. This likely involves an analysis of the revelation to determine if it is truly from God (Acts 17:11; 1 John 4:1). Perhaps the "others" Paul has in mind are those with the spiritual gift of discerning whether a "spirit" is from God or another source (1 Corinthians 12:10).

John warned believers in the early church that many false prophets were in the world and that they must "test the spirits" before believing what any self-proclaimed prophet said (1 John 4:1–3).