Question:

Hello!

I was talking to someone about tongues, or the so called 'tongues,' with a frend. She insists that people can say what they don't understand and referred to I Corinthians 14:14. This verse literally says one can pray using words they themselves don't understand.

Please help me out. Thanks.


Answer:

"Therefore let him who speaks in a tongue pray that he may interpret. For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my understanding is unfruitful" (I Corinthians 14:13-14).

See: Prophecy versus Tongues but what is being overlooked is "He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself, but he who prophesies edifies the church" (I Corinthians 14:4). To claim that I Corinthians 14:14 means a person speaking in tongues does not know what he is saying forms a contradiction to what Paul just said. Paul is saying that if he prayed in a language no one else knew, he would be praying, but what he knows (understands) doesn't produce fruit because no one else can pray along with him.