Right, so love is the most important thing, but if you're going to use your spiritual gifts, use them wisely.
The most useful gift, in Paul's opinion, is prophecy. The least helpful one is speaking in tongues.
Why is Paul down on this practice? Good question.
Basically, it's because when you speak in tongues, no one else can understand what the heck you're saying.
Prophets can build up a community with their predictions and the things they see. But speaking in tongues is a pretty individual exercise. Other people would like to understand what God is trying to say to you, too.
After all, Paul didn't come to Corinth speaking in tongues, did he? If he did, he probably wouldn't have inspired too many believers, since they would have no clue what he was talking about.
Of course, Paul does speak in tongues. He does it a ton actually. More than anyone in Corinth. But he'd rather say five words that help others than a thousand in holy gibberish that no one gets.
Sometimes non-believers are swayed when they see Christians speaking in tongues. But if a bunch of non-believers walk into a church and see everyone speaking in tongues they're going to think that those Christians have lost it.
All the Churchy Ladies
Okay, so what to do?
Well, Paul says that when the church comes together, people should take turns speaking in tongues. Then, someone can sit and interpret for them. If no one is around to interpret, then they need to hush it up 'til later.
And, while we're on the subject of shutting up in church—maybe the ladies should be doing that, too.
Paul says that "women should be silent in the churches." No talking. Singing. Zip.
If a lady has questions, she can go bother her husband with them when she gets home. Right after she finishes making him a sandwich.
But anyway, back to tongues. So, it's fine with Paul, but just don't overdo it, okay? Good.