1 Corinthians 14:24-25

1 Corinthians 14:24-25

24 But if an unbeliever or an inquirer comes in while everyone is prophesying, they are convicted of sin and are brought under judgment by all, 25 as the secrets of their hearts are laid bare. So they will fall down and worship God, exclaiming, “God is really among you!”
1 Corinthians 14:24-25

These are two odd verses as they follow an admonishment not to speak in tongues around unbelievers new to the church even though they are for unbelievers. Then further prophecy is not for unbelievers but for believers.

22 Tongues, then, are a sign, not for believers but for unbelievers; prophecy, however, is not for unbelievers but for believers. 23 So if the whole church comes together and everyone speaks in tongues, and inquirers or unbelievers come in, will they not say that you are out of your mind?
1 Corinthians 14:22-23

How was this to work for unbelievers? When you spoke in a language you knew not, but it was their own language. then it would be a sign for unbelievers as happened in Acts 2

6 When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard their own language being spoken. 7 Utterly amazed, they asked: “Aren’t all these who are speaking Galileans? 8 Then how is it that each of us hears them in our native language? 9 Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome 11 (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs—we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!” 12 Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, “What does this mean?”
Acts 2:6-12

So then what is the prophesying that is for believers but not for unbelievers in verse 22?

Preaching the word, discoursing on divine things; serveth not so much for them that believe not — Who cannot know that you are inspired in prophesying, and have no proof that your doctrine is true; but for them which believe — For their confirmation in the faith, and their edification in holiness and righteousness.
Benson Commentary

Wait a minute! Don’t verses 24-25 seem to contradict this especially if an unbeliever or an inquirer comes in while everyone is prophesying, they are convicted of sin and are brought under judgment by all, as the secrets of their hearts are laid bare. So they will fall down and worship God, exclaiming, “God is really among you!” How does this occur? Here it is best to remember context is king and everyone does not mean every single person, but instead in an orderly fashion either a Christian minister/pastor or elders steeped in the word

one after another they utter the words of divine truth, they each send something that pierces into his soul. By all of them he is convicted in his own conscience of some sin. He is condemned in his own eyes, a searching light is turned upon his heart. The secrets of his heart are made manifest, and he makes terrible discoveries of his guilt.
Ellicott’s Commentary

The key here is speaking God’s word will cause the unbeliever to see the secrets of his or her heart and know God’s disapproval. This is going to happen when he or she can see God is really among you! Anything else is fakery. This is the value of preaching, teaching, and open Bible studies where God’s word is discussed in depth and with humility. So spend time in the Bible, go to church, engage in one or more Bible studies to have your heart revealed to you.