1 Corinthians 12:31
Parallel Verses
New American Standard Bible
But earnestly desire the greater gifts. And I show you a still more 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
Barnes' Notes on the Bible

But covet earnestly - Greek "Be zealous for" Ζηλοῦτε Zēloute. This word, however, may be either in the indicative mood (ye do covet earnestly), or in the imperative, as in our translation. Doddridge contends that it should be rendered in the indicative mood, for he says it seems to be a contradiction that after the apostle had been showing that these gifts were not at their own option, and that they ought not to emulate the gifts of another, or aspire to superiority, to undo all again, and give them such contrary advice. The same view is given by Locke, and so Macknight. The Syriac renders it, "Because you are zealous of the best gifts, I will show to you a more excellent way." But there is no valid objection to the common translation in the imperative, and indeed the connection seems to demand it. Grotius renders it, "Pray to God that you may receive from him the best, that is, the most useful endowments."

The sense seems to be this, "I have proved that all endowments in the church are produced by the Holy Spirit; and that he confers them as he pleases. I have been showing that no one should be proud or elated on account of extraordinary endowments; and that, on the other hand, no one should he depressed, or sad, or discontented, because he has a more humble rank. I have been endeavoring to repress and subdue the spirit of discontent, jealousy, and ambition; and to produce a willingness in all to occupy the station where God has placed you. But, I do not intend to deny that it is proper to desire the most useful endowments; that a man should wish to be brought under the influence of the Spirit, and qualified for eminent usefulness. I do not mean to say that it is wrong for a man to regard the higher gifts of the Spirit as valuable and desirable, if they may be obtained; nor that the spirit which seeks to excel in spiritual endowments and in usefulness, is improper.

Yet all cannot be apostles; all cannot be prophets. I would not have you, therefore, seek such offices, and manifest a spirit of ambition. I would seek to regulate the desire which I would not repress as improper; and in order to that, I would show you that, instead of aspiring to offices and extraordinary endowments which are beyond your grasp, there is a way, more truly valuable, that is open to you all, and where all may excel." Paul thus endeavors to give a practicable and feasible turn to the whole subject, and further to repress the longings of ambition and the contentions of strife, by exciting emulation to obtain that which was accessible to them all, and "which, just in the proportion in which it was obtained," would repress discontent, and strife, and ambition, and produce order, and peace, and contentedness with their endowments and their lot, the main thing which he was desirous of producing in this chapter. This, therefore, is one of the "happy turns" in which the writings of Paul abounds. He did not denounce their zeal as wicked. He did not attempt at once to repress it. He did not say that it was wrong to desire high endowments. But he showed them an endowment which was more valuable than all the others; which was accessible to all; and which, if possessed, would make them contented, and produce the harmonious operation of all the parts of the church. That endowment was love.

A more excellent way - See the next chapter. "I will show you a more excellent way of evincing your "zeal" than by aspiring to the place of apostles, prophets, or rulers, and that is by cultivating universal charity or love."

1 Corinthians 12:31 Parallel Commentaries

Library
May the Twenty-Ninth Many Gifts --One Spirit
1 CORINTHIANS xii. 1-13. There is no monotony in the workmanship of my God. The multitude of His thoughts is like the sound of the sea, and every thought commands a new creation. When He thinks upon me, the result is a creative touch never again to be repeated on land or sea. And so, when the Holy Spirit is given to the people, the ministry does not work in the suppression of individualities, but rather in their refinement and enrichment. Our gifts will be manifold, and we must not allow the difference
John Henry Jowett—My Daily Meditation for the Circling Year

Making and Breaking Connections.
Many Experiences, but One Law. In mechanics power depends on good connections. A visit to any great machine shop makes that clear. There must be good connections in two directions--inward toward the source of power, and outward for use. The same law holds true in spiritual power as in mechanical. There must be good connections. These nights we have been together a few things have seemed clear. We have seen that from the standpoint of our lives there is need of power, as well as from the standpoint
S.D. Gordon—Quiet Talks on Power

The Government of the Church.
"No man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost."--1 Cor. xii. 3. The last work of the Holy Spirit in the Church has reference to government. The Church is a divine institution. It is the body of Christ, even tho manifesting itself in a most defective way; for as the man whose speech is affected by a stroke of paralysis is the same friendly person as before, in spite of the defect, so is the Church, whose speech is impaired, still the same holy body of Christ. The visible and invisible
Abraham Kuyper—The Work of the Holy Spirit

Spiritual Gifts.
"But desire earnestly the greater gifts. And a still more excellent way show I unto you." --1 Cor. xii. 31 (R.V.). The charismata or spiritual gifts are the divinely ordained means and powers whereby the King enables His Church to perform its task on the earth. The Church has a calling in the world. It is being violently attacked not only by the powers of this world, but much more by the invisible powers of Satan. No rest is allowed. Denying that Christ has conquered, Satan believes that the time
Abraham Kuyper—The Work of the Holy Spirit

1 Corinthians 12:30
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