1 Cor. 12:31 - how to interpret

Discussion in '2000-02 Archive' started by qwerty, Sep 27, 2002.

  1. qwerty

    qwerty
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2001
    Messages:
    417
    Likes Received:
    0
    1 Cor. 12:31
    KJV
    But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way.
    NAS
    But earnestly desire the greater gifts. And I show you a still more excellent way.

    I have seen two major interpretative methods for this verse.
    1. That the “way” (love) is better and different than the gifts
    2. That the “way” (love) is how the gifts operate best

    The underlying Greek construction seems to lend itself to number 2.
    The question is: What does the word “more” modify?

    Also, the following verses in chapter 13 seem to say that the gifts operate best when done with love.

    What do the Greek experts here say?
     
  2. qwerty

    qwerty
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2001
    Messages:
    417
    Likes Received:
    0
    (Note:
    I am not aware of how to get the Greek text to appear as Greek text. In my document, they are Greek text, but when copied in, they change.)

    The following is an explanation of 1 Cor. 12:31. I think it makes much more sense than to try and say that the "way (love)" that Paul is referring to in 1 Cor. 13 is different and unique from the gifts.

    First Epistle to the Corinthians
    Copyright 1937
    R.C.H. Lenski
    Augsburg Publishing House

    Commentary on 1 Cor. 12:31

    The first point is the type of the gift desired; we are to admire, value, and seek the higher types. A second point must be taken into consideration when Paul is speaking of the acquirement and the use of any gift. This is the motive for having and for employing the gift, namely the motive of love. In this regard the Corinthians are gravely deficient as we have already seen in other connections in earlier chapters. Just what this motive of Christian love is Paul intends to tell the Corinthians at some length. He introduces this part of his instruction by saying:
    And besides I point out to you an exceedingly excellent way, namely for this zealous striving to which I urge you.
    Blass and others would change the reading because the wording is somewhat unusual. Although the phrase ( kaq uperbolhn ) modifies a noun, it is quite plain. Paul tells the Corinthians to seek the superior gifts and adds ( eti ) that he will now show them a superior way for seeking them. The emphatic adjective: the “greater” gifts is thus balanced by the emphatic phrase: a way “in excess,” on that exceeds, i.e., in excellence for its purpose. The sense is, however, not that this exceeding excellent way is to be sought in place of the gifts, as a substitute for them. The idea expressed is not that “love” is more excellent than gifts. This introduces a false contrast and would call for an adversative connective, namely (de ) or (alla ) in place of Paul’s (kai ) and (eti ). Nor does Paul elaborate the thesis that love is preferable to gifts. In 1 Cor. 14:1 he urges us to seek both. Love is to be the all-dominating motive in seeking and in using spiritual gifts.

    From: http://www.greekbible.com
    1 Cor. 12:31
    zhloute de ta carismata ta meizona. kai eti kaq uperbolhn odon umin deiknumi.
     

Share This Page

Loading...