What does 1 Corinthians 14:13 mean?
ESV: Therefore, one who speaks in a tongue should pray that he may interpret.
NIV: For this reason the one who speaks in a tongue should pray that they may interpret what they say.
NASB: Therefore, one who speaks in a tongue is to pray that he may interpret.
CSB: Therefore the person who speaks in a tongue should pray that he can interpret.
NLT: So anyone who speaks in tongues should pray also for the ability to interpret what has been said.
KJV: Wherefore let him that speaketh in an unknown tongue pray that he may interpret.
NKJV: Therefore let him who speaks in a tongue pray that he may interpret.
Verse Commentary:
Paul has shown the Christians in Corinth why their application of the spiritual gift of speaking in tongues during the church service is unwise. In short, it's not helpful when nobody understands the words being spoken. He adds in the following verses that the exception to this rule is if the speaker or someone else can interpret what is being said.

For that reason, Paul tells those with the spiritual gift of speaking in tongues to pray for the additional gift of the interpretation of tongues (1 Corinthians 12:10). This gift would allow a believer to supernaturally understand what was being said in an unknown language and to translate that into the language of those present so they could understand, as well.

Once again, Paul makes clear that spiritual gifts cannot be acquired through hard work or training or by doing good works. Spiritual gifts must be given by God through the Holy Spirit. Christians are powerless to receive them otherwise. That's why Paul tells gifted tongues-speakers to pray for this specific gift of interpretation.
Verse Context:
First Corinthians 14:1–25 describes why the gift of prophecy is superior to the gift of tongues in church services, especially when nobody with the gift of interpreting tongues is available. Prophecy benefits everyone in the room with a revelation from God. Praying in a tongue, when nobody can interpret, only benefits the one praying. In fact, displaying the gift of tongues without interpretation may do more harm than good—it generates confusion and division. In contrast, the use of prophecy provides the opportunity for unbelievers to hear from God, be convicted about sin, and come to faith in Christ and genuine worship.
Chapter Summary:
Paul encourages the Corinthians to desire the gift of prophecy, especially, among the other gifts. He shows why its use in the church service is superior to the use of the gift of tongues if nobody is available to interpret. Prophecy benefits everyone; praying in tongues with nobody to interpret benefits only the speaker. Only two or three tongues-speakers should contribute to any service, and only then one at a time and followed by interpreters. The same applies to prophecy and the gift of discerning spirits. Orderliness and building up the church are guiding principles for any worship meeting. Modern churches are divided on the extent to who which these gifts are given, or should be practiced.
Chapter Context:
1 Corinthians 14 concludes Paul's teaching on the spiritual gifts begun in chapter 12. Between them, chapter 13 declared that Christlike love matters most of all. The gift of prophecy is better than the display of the gift of tongues in worship services unless someone with the gift of interpreting tongues is available. Even then, only those things which build up the church should be included in any service, and everything should be done in an orderly way, reflecting the character of God. The final two chapters of this letter discuss the resurrection of Christ and Paul's concluding remarks.
Book Summary:
First Corinthians is one of the more practical books of the New Testament. Paul writes to a church immersed in a city associated with trade, but also with corruption and immorality. These believers are struggling to properly apply spiritual gifts and to resist the ungodly practices of the surrounding culture. Paul's letter gives instructions for real-life concerns such as marriage and spirituality. He also deals with the importance of unity and gives one of the Bible's more well-known descriptions of love in chapter 13.
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