“He that speaketh in an unknown tongue edifieth himself; but he that prophesieth edifieth the church” (1Co 14:4).
Some are of the opinion that speaking in tongues is a lesser gift based on 1 Cor 14: 5 which says: “I would that ye all spake with tongues, but rather that ye prophesied: for greater is he that prophesieth than he that speaketh with tongues, except he interpret, that the church may receive edifying.”
However, the lesson here is that spiritual gifts have different relevancies in different instances. The instance here is the edification of the church. See the verses before and after.
1Co 14:4 says: “He that speaketh in an unknown tongue edifieth himself; but he that prophesieth edifieth the church.” 1Co 14:6: “Now, brethren, if I come unto you speaking with tongues, what shall I profit you, except I shall speak to you either by revelation, or by knowledge, or by prophesying, or by doctrine?” Paul is saying: “If I want to minister to you, I’d use words that you understand. It would be more profitable to you as a church if I prophesy, because then, you’d understand what I’m saying.” Paul himself emphasized the importance of praying in tongues in edifying oneself, so he could not have been referring to it as a lesser gift. It is profitable in self edification the same way prophecy is profitable in edifying others.
Another untrue position is that speaking in tongues is an uncontrollable force that comes once a while. If that was the case, there would be no reason for Paul’s many instructions. 1Co 14:32 says that the spirits of prophets are subject to the control of prophets. That means you can control yourself.
You are to speak as the spirit gives utterance (Acts 2:4). It is not a case where a voice is speaking through you and you have no idea you’re your mouth is moving. No. You speak. The Holy Ghost gives you utterance.