1 Corinthians Chapter 12

(Tap footnote to read it.  Old Testament quotations are underlined.  "Love" with a caret ("^love") is agapé.1"agapé" The Greek words ἀγάπη (agapé, noun), and ἀγαπάω (agapaó; verb) are typically translated "love".  However, unlike our English word "love" – which primarily speaks of affection and feelings – agapé centers on choice and behavior.  It’s the "love" based on will, choice, behavior, and action; not feelings.  (Feelings-based love is the Greek word φιλέω (phileó), which properly means "brotherly love/affection".)  Thus, you could hate someone passionately and still treat him with "agapé".  Agapé "love" is best understood as the pursuit of what is most beneficial to someone or something, regardless of the cost to yourself or the type of response received from the person or thing.  It can also indicate a preference for someone or something over other things. )

Spiritual Gifts
  1. Now brothers, I don’t want you to be ignorant about spiritual things.
  2. You *know that when you were pagans, you were being led to mute idols, just like men being led astray.
  3. Therefore, I declare to you that no one speaking in God’s Spirit says “Jesus is anathema1“anathema” likely because of the Bible, this Greek word has entered the English vocabulary.  In Greek it literally means to curse someone, or more specifically to offer a curse to them to devote them to God’ destruction.  It can also have the connotation of being abominable and/or detestable.“, and no one is able to say “Jesus is Lord” except by the Holy Spirit.
  4. Now, there are varieties of gifts but the same Spirit.
  5. And there are varieties of ministries and the same Lord.
  6. And there are varieties of powers but the same God, the One who works all things in all men.
  7. And to each man, the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the benefit of all.
  8. For indeed, a word of wisdom is given to one man through the Spirit, but to another man a word of knowledge by the same Spirit.
  9. To a different one, faith is given by the same Spirit; but to another, gifts of healing by the one Spirit.
  10. To another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, and to another discernment of spirits, to a different one the tongues of various nations,2“nations” is more accurately “ethnicities” or “races”.  The Greek word refers to the offspring of a common ancestor, and thus families, races, or nations.  It’s used this way consistently throughout the New Testament, and is sometimes translated “kinds” – as in various kinds of families/races/nations – but it retains the focus on a common ancestor, and thus should be translated accordingly. but to another the interpretation of tongues.
  11. But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each individually just as He wills.
Many Parts, One Body
  1. For just as the body has many parts and is one body; and just as all the parts of the body are one body though being many parts; so also is the Anointed.
  2. For also we were all baptized into one body in one Spirit, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free men.  And we were all given one Spirit to drink.
  3. For also, the body isn’t one part, but many.
  4. If the foot says, “Because I’m not a hand, I’m not part of the body” it doesn’t stop being part of the body because of this.
  5. And if the ear says, “Because I’m not an eye, I’m not part of the body” it doesn’t stop being part of the body because of this.
  6. If the whole body was an eye, where would the sense of hearing be?  If the whole body was an ear, where would the sense of smell be?
  7. But at this moment, God placed the parts in the body – each one of them – just as He willed.
  8. But if all were one part, where would the body be?
  9. But now, there are indeed many parts, but only one body.
  10. And the eye can’t say to the hand, “I don’t have need of you”.  Or again, the head can’t say to the feet, “I don’t have need of you”.
  11. But rather it’s much better; the parts of the body which seem to be weaker are essential.
  12. And parts of the body which we presume to be less honorable, these we clothe with far greater honor; and our indecent parts have far greater modesty.
  13. But our presentable parts have no need of that.  But God orchestrated3“orchestrated”  The Greek word used here means to mix disparate elements together to produce a unified and harmonious whole. the body, having given far greater honor to the parts which fall short,
  14. so there might not be division in the body, but the parts might have the same concern for one another.
  15. And if one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it.  And if one part is honored, all the parts rejoice with it.
Spiritual Gifts
  1. Now, you are the body of the Anointed and parts of it individually.
  2. And to those in the church, God indeed appointed apostles initially,4“initially” is more literally “first”, but not in the sense of importance or authority.  Some take “first” to mean that apostles have greater authority because they are first on this list, and then ascribe a descending hierarchy based on a gift’s position on this list.  That is manifestly not Paul’s intent here.  The word used for “first” here is “πρῶτον” (proton) which carries the connotation of time, not authority.  By contrast, the Greek word “ἀρχή” (arché) does mean first in the sense of time and/or authority, and is sometimes translated “ruler”. prophets second, teachers third, afterwards miracles, after that gifts of healing, helps, administration,5“administration” This Greek word properly refers to the pilot (though not the captain) of a sailing ship, who guides the ship under the captain’s direction.  This has the idea of directing day-to-day affairs to keep the ship on course; hence “administration”. and tongues of various nations.6“nations” see note on verse 10
  3. All aren’t apostles are they? All aren’t prophets are they? All aren’t teachers are they? All don’t work miracles do they?
  4. All don’t have gifts of healing do they?  All don’t speak in tongues do they?  All don’t interpret do they?
  5. But zealously desire the greater gifts.  And further, I show you a most excellent way.


Next: 1 Corinthians chapter 13

Previous: 1 Corinthians chapter 11

Up: The Book of 1 Corinthians

Up: BOS Bible Index


Note: If you think a word, phrase, or passage could be better translated - or is wrong - then Please Say Something. This is an open source Bible that's accountable to all Christians. See this link for details.

Legal Use: Please feel free to quote the BOS Bible, but follow the guidelines on the Legal Use page when doing so. They are easy and mostly common sense.