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1 Corinthians 14:20–22

Instruction for the Church

20 aBrethren, bdo not be children in your thinking; yet in evil cbe infants, but in your thinking be mature.

21 In athe Law it is written, “bBy men of strange tongues and by the lips of strangers I will speak to this people, and even so they will not listen to Me,” says the Lord.

22 So then tongues are for a sign, not to those who believe but to unbelievers; but aprophecy is for a sign, not to unbelievers but to those who believe.

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1 Corinthians 14:20–22 — The New International Version (NIV)

20 Brothers and sisters, stop thinking like children. In regard to evil be infants, but in your thinking be adults. 21 In the Law it is written:

“With other tongues

and through the lips of foreigners

I will speak to this people,

but even then they will not listen to me,

says the Lord.”

22 Tongues, then, are a sign, not for believers but for unbelievers; prophecy, however, is not for unbelievers but for believers.

1 Corinthians 14:20–22 — English Standard Version (ESV)

20 Brothers, do not be children in your thinking. Be infants in evil, but in your thinking be mature. 21 In the Law it is written, “By people of strange tongues and by the lips of foreigners will I speak to this people, and even then they will not listen to me, says the Lord.” 22 Thus tongues are a sign not for believers but for unbelievers, while prophecy is a sign not for unbelievers but for believers.

1 Corinthians 14:20–22 — King James Version (KJV 1900)

20 Brethren, be not children in understanding: howbeit in malice be ye children, but in understanding be men. 21 In the law it is written, With men of other tongues and other lips will I speak unto this people; and yet for all that will they not hear me, saith the Lord. 22 Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not: but prophesying serveth not for them that believe not, but for them which believe.

1 Corinthians 14:20–22 — New Living Translation (NLT)

20 Dear brothers and sisters, don’t be childish in your understanding of these things. Be innocent as babies when it comes to evil, but be mature in understanding matters of this kind. 21 It is written in the Scriptures:

“I will speak to my own people

through strange languages

and through the lips of foreigners.

But even then, they will not listen to me,”

says the Lord.

22 So you see that speaking in tongues is a sign, not for believers, but for unbelievers. Prophecy, however, is for the benefit of believers, not unbelievers.

1 Corinthians 14:20–22 — The New King James Version (NKJV)

20 Brethren, do not be children in understanding; however, in malice be babes, but in understanding be mature.

21 In the law it is written:

“With men of other tongues and other lips

I will speak to this people;

And yet, for all that, they will not hear Me,”

says the Lord.

22 Therefore tongues are for a sign, not to those who believe but to unbelievers; but prophesying is not for unbelievers but for those who believe.

1 Corinthians 14:20–22 — New Century Version (NCV)

20 Brothers and sisters, do not think like children. In evil things be like babies, but in your thinking you should be like adults. 21 It is written in the Scriptures:

“With people who use strange words and foreign languages

I will speak to these people.

But even then they will not listen to me,”

says the Lord.

22 So the gift of speaking in different kinds of languages is a sign for those who do not believe, not for those who do believe. And prophecy is for people who believe, not for those who do not believe.

1 Corinthians 14:20–22 — American Standard Version (ASV)

20 Brethren, be not children in mind: yet in malice be ye babes, but in mind be men. 21 In the law it is written, By men of strange tongues and by the lips of strangers will I speak unto this people; and not even thus will they hear me, saith the Lord. 22 Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to the unbelieving: but prophesying is for a sign, not to the unbelieving, but to them that believe.

1 Corinthians 14:20–22 — 1890 Darby Bible (DARBY)

20 Brethren, be not children in your minds, but in malice be babes; but in your minds be grown men.

21 It is written in the law, By people of other tongues, and by strange lips, will I speak to this people; and neither thus will they hear me, saith the Lord. 22 So that tongues are for a sign, not to those who believe, but to unbelievers; but prophecy, not to unbelievers, but to those who believe.

1 Corinthians 14:20–22 — GOD’S WORD Translation (GW)

20 Brothers and sisters, don’t think like children. When it comes to evil, be like babies, but think like mature people. 21 God’s word says, 

“Through people who speak foreign languages 

and through the mouths of foreigners 

I will speak to these people, 

but even then they will not listen to me, 

says the Lord.” 

22 So the gift of speaking in other languages is a sign for unbelievers, not for believers. The gift of speaking what God has revealed is a sign for believers, not for unbelievers.

1 Corinthians 14:20–22 — The Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)

20 Brothers, don’t be childish in your thinking, but be infants in regard to evil and adult in your thinking. 21 It is written in the law:

I will speak to these people

by people of other languages

and by the lips of foreigners,

and even then, they will not listen to Me,

says the Lord. 22 It follows that speaking in other languages is intended as a sign, not for believers but for unbelievers. But prophecy is not for unbelievers but for believers.

1 Corinthians 14:20–22 — The New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

20 Brothers and sisters, do not be children in your thinking; rather, be infants in evil, but in thinking be adults. 21 In the law it is written,

“By people of strange tongues

and by the lips of foreigners

I will speak to this people;

yet even then they will not listen to me,”

says the Lord. 22 Tongues, then, are a sign not for believers but for unbelievers, while prophecy is not for unbelievers but for believers.

1 Corinthians 14:20–22 — The Lexham English Bible (LEB)

20 Brothers, do not become children in your understanding, but with respect to wickedness be as a child, and in your understanding be mature. 21 In the law it is written:

“By those who speak a foreign language

and by the lips of others

I will speak to this people,

and not even in this way will they obey me,”

says the Lord. 22 So then, tongues are for a sign not to those who believe, but to unbelievers, but prophecy is not for unbelievers, but for those who believe.

1 Corinthians 14:20–22 — New International Reader’s Version (1998) (NIrV)

20 Brothers and sisters, stop thinking like children. Be like babies as far as evil is concerned. But be grown up in your thinking. 21 In the Law it is written,

“Through people who speak unfamiliar languages

and through the lips of strangers

I will speak to these people.

But even then they will not listen to me.”

That is what the Lord says.

22 So speaking in other languages is a sign for those who don’t believe. It is not a sign for those who do believe. But prophecy is for believers. It is not for those who don’t believe.


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Jon Courson's Application Commentary: New TestamentJon Courson's Application Commentary combines a verse-by-verse teaching of every paragraph of Scripture with practical topical studies throughout.