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  • PARALLEL BIBLE - 1 Corinthians 12:31


    CHAPTERS: 1 Corinthians 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16     
    VERSES: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31

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    King James Bible - 1 Corinthians 12:31

    But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way.

    World English Bible

    But earnestly desire the best
    gifts. Moreover, I show a most excellent way to you.

    Douay-Rheims - 1 Corinthians 12:31

    But be zealous for the better
    gifts. And I shew unto you yet a more excellent way.

    Webster's Bible Translation

    But covet earnestly the best
    gifts. And yet I show to you a more excellent way.

    Greek Textus Receptus


    ζηλουτε
    2206 5720 V-PAM-2P δε 1161 CONJ τα 3588 T-APN χαρισματα 5486 N-APN τα 3588 T-APN κρειττονα 2909 A-APN και 2532 CONJ ετι 2089 ADV καθ 2596 PREP υπερβολην 5236 N-ASF οδον 3598 N-ASF υμιν 5213 P-2DP δεικνυμι 1166 5719 V-PAI-1S

    Treasury of Scriptural Knowledge

    VERSE (31) -
    1Co 8:1; 14:1,39 Mt 5:6 Lu 10:42

    SEV Biblia, Chapter 12:31

    Procurad pues, los mejores dones; mas aun yo os enseo el camino ms excelente.

    Clarke's Bible Commentary - 1 Corinthians 12:31

    Verse 31. But
    covet earnestly] To covet signifies to desire earnestly.

    This disposition towards heavenly things is highly laudable; towards earthly things, is deeply criminal. A man may possess the best of all these gifts, and yet be deficient in what is essentially necessary to his salvation, for he may be without that love or charity which the apostle here calls the more excellent way, and which he proceeds in the next chapter to describe.

    Some think that this verse should be read affirmatively, Ye earnestly contend about the best gifts; but I show unto you a more excellent way; i.e. get your hearts filled with love to God and man-love, which is the principle of obedience, which works no ill to its neighbour, and which is the fulfilling of the law. This is a likely reading, for there were certainly more contentions in the Church of Corinth about the gifts than about the graces of the Spirit.

    1. AFTER all that has been said on the different offices mentioned by the apostle in the preceding chapter, there are some of them which perhaps are not understood. I confess I scarcely know what to make of those which we translate helps and governments. Bishop Pearce, who could neither see Church government nor state government in these words, expresses himself thus: "These two words, after all that the commentators say about them, I do not understand; and in no other part of the New Testament is either of them, in any sense, mentioned as the gift of the Spirit; especially it is observable that in ver. 29, 30, where the gifts of the Spirit are again enumerated, no notice is taken of any thing like them, while all the other several parts are exactly enumerated. Perhaps these words were put in the margin to explain dunameiv, miracles or powers; some taking the meaning to be helps, assistances, as in 2 Cor. xii. 9; others to be kubernhseiv, governments, as in Rom. viii. 38; and from being marginal explanations, they might have been at last incorporated with the text." It must, however, be acknowledged that the omission of these words is not countenanced by any MS. or version. One thing we may fully know, that there are some men who are peculiarly qualified for governing by either providence or grace; and that there are others who can neither govern nor direct, but are good helpers. These characters I have often seen in different places in the Church of God.

    2. In three several places in this chapter the apostle sums up the gifts of the Spirit. Dr. Lightfoot thinks they answer to each other in the following order, which the reader will take on his authority.


    John Gill's Bible Commentary

    Ver. 31. But covet earnestly the best gifts , etc.] Which may be rendered either indicatively as an assertion, ye do covet earnestly the best gifts: of prophesying and teaching, of doing miracles, healing diseases, speaking with, and interpreting, different tongues and languages; but I can, and do show you something that is better, and more excellent than these: or, by way of interrogation, do ye covet earnestly the best gifts? do you zealously affect them, fervently desire them, and emulate one another in your endeavours after them? I have something to observe to you which exceeds them all, and which you would do well to follow after, and eagerly pursue; or imperatively, as an exhortation, as it is rendered by our translators: and by the best gifts may be meant, the best of these external gifts before mentioned; and not those of the highest class, and the more extraordinary, but which are the most useful and beneficial to the church, as preaching or prophesying was: the Corinthians seemed most covetous and desirous of speaking with different tongues; but the apostle shows, in ( 1 Corinthians 14:1-40), by divers reasons, that prophesying was preferable, being more serviceable and useful to the church, and so more eligible and to be desired by them, to which he may have regard here: or else by them are meant the internal graces of the Spirit, as faith, hope, and love, which are all of them gifts of Gods grace; all useful and valuable, and better than all external extraordinary gifts whatever, which a man might have, and be nothing, be lost and damned; whereas he that believes in Christ, has a good hope through grace, and love in his soul to God, Christ, and his people, though he is destitute of the other gifts, shall certainly be saved; wherefore these are the gifts which men should be solicitous for and covet after, and be greatly concerned to know that they have them, and to be content without the other: and yet show I unto you a more excellent way : if by the best gifts are designed the above graces of the Spirit, then by the more excellent way, Christ must be meant, the author and object of these graces; who is the way to the covenant, and to a participation of all the blessings of it, as justification, pardon, adoption, and eternal life; the way into a Gospel church, and to all the ordinances of the Gospel dispensation, as baptism, and the Lords supper; for faith in him is the prerequisite, and proper qualification for the enjoyment of each of these: Christ is the way of salvation, and the way to the Father, and to heaven and eternal happiness; and an excellent one he is, the more, yea, the most excellent; he is the only way to each of these; he is the new and living way, a plain and pleasant one; and so a safe and secure one, in which all that walk shall certainly be saved: now this way the apostle showed, declared, pointed out in the ministry of the word; it was his chief and principal business, the sum of his doctrine, to make known Christ, and him crucified, as the way, the truth, and the life; to direct souls to him, and to show them the way of salvation by him: but if by the best gifts are meant the more useful ones of those before mentioned, as prophesying, or preaching, then the more excellent way designs grace, special and internal grace; and that either grace in general, regenerating, sanctifying grace, including all sorts of grace; which is the way of a souls passing from the death of sin to a life of faith and holiness; and is the way to eternal glory, and which gives a meetness for it, and is inseparably connected with it. This is a more excellent way than gifts; for gifts, be they ever so great, may be lost or taken away, through disuse or misimprovement; but grace always remains, can never be lost, nor will ever be taken away, but will issue in everlasting life: men may have the greatest gifts, and yet not be saved, as Judas and others; but he that has the least degree of faith in Christ, hope in him, and love to him, shall be saved by him with an everlasting salvation: or particularly the grace of charity, or love to the saints, may be intended by the more excellent way; which is the evidence of a mans passing from death and life; the new commandment of Christ, and the fulfilling of the law; without which, a man, though he has never such great gifts, he is nothing as a Christian, nor in the business of salvation; and is the greatest of all the graces of the Spirit; and is of such a nature, that when prophecies, tongues, knowledge, and all external gifts shall fail, and even the internal graces of faith and hope shall cease, the one being changed for vision, and the other swallowed up in enjoyment, this will continue; and the rather this grace may be thought to be meant, since the apostle immediately passes to treat it in the next chapter, and prefers it to all gifts, and even graces.

    Matthew Henry Commentary

    Verses 27-31 - Contempt,
    hatred, envy, and strife, are very unnatural in Christians It is like the members of the same body being without concern for on another, or quarrelling with each other. The proud, contentious spiri that prevailed, as to spiritual gifts, was thus condemned. The office and gifts, or favours, dispensed by the Holy Spirit, are noticed. Chie ministers; persons enabled to interpret Scripture; those who laboure in word and doctrine; those who had power to heal diseases; such a helped the sick and weak; such as disposed of the money given in charity by the church, and managed the affairs of the church; and suc as could speak divers languages. What holds the last and lowest rank in this list, is the power to speak languages; how vain, if a man does s merely to amuse or to exalt himself! See the distribution of thes gifts, not to every one alike, ver. #(29, 30). This were to make the church all one, as if the body were all ear, or all eye. The Spiri distributes to every one as he will. We must be content though we ar lower and less than others. We must not despise others, if we have greater gifts. How blessed the Christian church, if all the members di their duty! Instead of coveting the highest stations, or the mos splendid gifts, let us leave the appointment of his instruments to God and those in whom he works by his providence. Remember, those will no be approved hereafter who seek the chief places, but those who are mos faithful to the trust placed in them, and most diligent in their Master's work __________________________________________________________________


    Greek Textus Receptus


    ζηλουτε
    2206 5720 V-PAM-2P δε 1161 CONJ τα 3588 T-APN χαρισματα 5486 N-APN τα 3588 T-APN κρειττονα 2909 A-APN και 2532 CONJ ετι 2089 ADV καθ 2596 PREP υπερβολην 5236 N-ASF οδον 3598 N-ASF υμιν 5213 P-2DP δεικνυμι 1166 5719 V-PAI-1S

    Vincent's NT Word Studies

    31. The
    best (ta kreittona). The correct reading is ta meizona the greater. So Rev.

    Yet (eti). Some construe with more excellent, rendering yet more excellent. So Rev. Others render moreover, and give the succeeding words a superlative force: "and moreover a most excellent way," etc. See on with excellency, ch. ii. 1.

    Way. To attain the higher gifts. The way of love as described in ch. 13. "Love is the fairest and best in himself, and the cause of what is fairest and best in all other things" (Plato, "Symposium," 197).


    Robertson's NT Word Studies

    12:31 {The greater gifts} (ta carismata ta meizona). Paul unhesitatingly ranks some spiritual gifts above others. zelow here has good sense, not that of envy as in #Ac 7:9; 1Co 13:4. {And a still more excellent way} (kai eti kaq' huperbolen hodon). In order to gain the greater gifts. "I show you a way _par excellence_," beyond all comparison (superlative idea in this adjunct, not comparative), like kaq' huperbolen eis huperbolen (#2Co 4:17). huperbole is old word from huperballw, to throw beyond, to surpass, to excel (#2Co 3:10; Eph 1:19). "I show you a supremely excellent way." Chapter #1Co 13 is this way, the way of love already laid down in #8:1 concerning the question of meats offered to idols (cf. #1Jo 4:7). Poor division of chapters here. this verse belongs with chapter #1Co 13.


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