1 Corinthians 12:31
Parallel Verses
New International Version
Now eagerly desire the greater gifts. And yet I will show you the most excellent way.

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

Darby Bible Translation
But desire earnestly the greater gifts, and yet shew I unto you a way of more surpassing excellence.

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

Young's Literal Translation
and desire earnestly the better gifts; and yet a far excelling way do I shew to you:

1 Corinthians 12:31 Parallel
Commentary
Clarke's Commentary on the Bible

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 neighbor, 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 1 Corinthians 12:29, 1 Corinthians 12:30, 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 δυναμεις, miracles or powers; some taking the meaning to be helps, assistances, as in 2 Corinthians 12:9; others to be κυβερνησεις, governments, as in Romans 8:38; 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.

Verses 8, 9, and 10

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

covet.

1 Corinthians 8:1 Now as touching things offered to idols, we know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffs up, but charity edifies.

1 Corinthians 14:1,39 Follow after charity, and desire spiritual gifts, but rather that you may prophesy...

Matthew 5:6 Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.

Luke 10:42 But one thing is needful: and Mary has chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.

shew.

1 Corinthians 13:1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.

*etc:

Philippians 3:8 Yes doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord...

Hebrews 11:4 By faith Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous...

Library
Tenth Sunday after Trinity Spiritual Counsel for Church Officers.
Text: 1 Corinthians 12, 1-11. 1 Now, concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant. 2 Ye know that when ye were Gentiles ye were led away unto those dumb idols, howsoever ye might be led. 3 Wherefore I make known unto you, that no man speaking in the Spirit of God saith, Jesus is anathema [accursed], and no man can say, Jesus is Lord, but in the Holy Spirit. 4 Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. 5 And there are diversities of ministrations, and the same
Martin Luther—Epistle Sermons, Vol. III

May the Thirty-First Connection and Concord
"By one Spirit are we all baptized into one body." --1 CORINTHIANS xii. 12-19. It is only in the spirit that real union is born. Every other kind of union is artificial, and mechanical, and dead. We can dovetail many pieces of wood together and make the unity of an article of furniture, but we cannot dovetail items together and make a tree. And it is the union of a tree that we require, a union born of indwelling life. We may join many people together in a fellowship by the bonds of a formal creed,
John Henry Jowett—My Daily Meditation for the Circling Year

Sermon for the Tenth Sunday after Trinity
(From the Epistle for the day) Admonishing each man to mark what is the office to which he is called of God, and teaching us to practise works of love and virtue, and to refrain from self-will. 1 Cor. xii. 6.--"There are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all." ST. PAUL tells us in this Epistle that there are different kinds of works, but that they are all wrought by the same Spirit to the profit and well-being of man. For they all proceed from the same God who
Susannah Winkworth—The History and Life of the Reverend Doctor John Tauler

Antipathies
(Tenth Sunday after Trinity.) 1 Cor. xii. 3, 4, 5, 6. Wherefore, I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost. Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all. We are to come to the Communion this day in love and charity
Charles Kingsley—Town and Country Sermons

1 Corinthians 12:30
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