What does 1 Corinthians 14:39 mean?
ESV: So, my brothers, earnestly desire to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in tongues.
NIV: Therefore, my brothers and sisters, be eager to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in tongues.
NASB: Therefore, my brothers and sisters, earnestly desire to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in tongues.
CSB: So then, my brothers and sisters, be eager to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in tongues.
NLT: So, my dear brothers and sisters, be eager to prophesy, and don’t forbid speaking in tongues.
KJV: Wherefore, brethren, covet to prophesy, and forbid not to speak with tongues.
NKJV: Therefore, brethren, desire earnestly to prophesy, and do not forbid to speak with tongues.
Verse Commentary:
In wrapping up this section, Paul returns to where he began his teaching about the use of spiritual gifts in the church service. In verse 1, he encouraged the Christians in Corinth to earnestly desire the gift of prophecy and now he does so again.

This gift, given by the Holy Spirit to believers, involved proclaiming revelation from God to others for the purpose of building them up. Before the Scriptures were available, this was one method by which God communicated truth to His people. Some churches believe that God continues to regularly communicate in this way. Other churches believe this gift is not normally distributed by God, mostly replaced by the gift of teaching Scripture.

Paul has emphasized in this section that the gift of prophecy is more beneficial for the church than the gift of speaking in unknown languages. Still, he expressed his desire that all the Christians in Corinth would be able to speak in tongues (1 Corinthians 14:5). Now he makes clear once more that he is not forbidding anyone from exercising this gift, in general, aside from the restrictions he gave them for the use of the gift in church services (1 Corinthians 14:26–28).

He repeats the main principle behind his instructions for church services in the following verse.
Verse Context:
First Corinthians 14:26–40 includes specific instructions to the Corinthians on an orderly worship service. These meetings should reflect the character of God. Everyone should have an opportunity to bring a hymn, a lesson, a prophetic revelation from God, and even to speak in a tongue if someone is able to interpret. Each must happen one at a time, in turn, and only two or three tongues-speakers or prophets should contribute during a single service. Wives must remain silent and be in submission to their husbands. Only that which builds up the church should be included.
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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