1 Corinthians 14:12 MEANING

1 Corinthians 14:12
(12) Even so ye.--Here follows the practical application of the previous teaching and illustration. The "ye" of 1 Corinthians 14:9 was addressed to them as human beings generally; but here the Apostle returns to the immediate subject in hand, viz., the exaltation of particular spiritual gifts in the Corinthian Church. He passes now from the contrast between prophecy and tongues to give practical instruction (1 Corinthians 14:12-19) as to how they should seek to use the gift of tongues. The word for "spiritual gifts" is, in the Greek, literally spirits, but is evidently meant to imply the gifts, and especially that one under consideration--the gift of tongues.

Seek that ye may excel to the edifying of the church.--Better, seek, then, to the edifying of the Church, that ye may abound. The point cannot be that they were to seek to excel in spiritual gifts, that so they might edify the Church, for the next verse explains how the gift is to be sought so that it may edify others; but the force of the passage here is as given above--they are to seek this gift for the benefit of others, and so they will themselves, by serving others, abound yet more and more (1 Corinthians 8:7; 1 Thessalonians 4:1).

Verse 12. - Even so ye. A general form of conclusion from the previous remarks. Of spiritual gifts; literally, since ye are zealots of spirits. That ye may excel to the edifying of the Church; rather, seek them to the edifying of the Church, that ye may abound. The same word is used in Matthew 5:20 ("exceed"); 1 Corinthians 8:8 ("are we the better").

14:6-14 Even an apostle could not edify, unless he spoke so as to be understood by his hearers. To speak words that have no meaning to those who hear them, is but speaking into the air. That cannot answer the end of speaking, which has no meaning; in this case, speaker and hearers are barbarians to each other. All religious services should be so performed in Christian assemblies, that all may join in, and profit by them. Language plain and easy to be understood, is the most proper for public worship, and other religious exercises. Every true follower of Christ will rather desire to do good to others, than to get a name for learning or fine speaking.Even so ye, forasmuch as ye are zealous of spiritual gifts,.... Gr. "of spirits"; that is, "of the gifts of the Spirit", as the Syriac version renders it; and we rightly, "spiritual gifts"; the extraordinary gifts of the Spirit, for which the apostle does not blame them; these being what he had before exhorted them to covet earnestly, and zealously affect and desire: but then he further advises,

seek that ye may excel, to the edifying of the church: above all, be desirous of such gifts, and of excelling in them, and abounding in the exercise of them, which may be most profitable and edifying to the members of the church; and what these were, and in what manner to be used, he had before signified: the Alexandrian copy reads, seek that ye may prophesy.

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