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Greater Gifts

May 6, 2005

So I’m reading 1 Corinthians chapter 12.  Last verse: "But earnestly desire the greater gifts. And I show you a still more excellent way."  As far as I can remember, I’ve either been taught, or personally insinuated, that ‘the greater gifts’ referred to the very visible gifts of teaching, healing, speaking in tongues, etc., the list that Paul talks about in the verses before.  Makes sense for context.  Our context-happy professors would be proud.

But thinking about the chapter as a whole, I wonder if the context was not wide enough.  What if by "greater gifts" Paul is actually referring to the gifts he mentions earlier in verses 19-25?

19If they were all one member, where would the body be? 20But now there are many members, but one body. 21And the eye cannot say to the hand, "I have no need of you"; or again the head to the feet, "I have no need of you." 22On the contrary, it is much truer that the members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary; 23and those members of the body which we deem less honorable, on these we bestow more abundant honor, and our less presentable members become much more presentable, 24whereas our more presentable members have no need of it. But God has so composed the body, giving more abundant honor to that member which lacked, 25so that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another.

Especially with the transition in the last part of ch 12 into chapter 13 which discusses the nature of love within the body and Paul’s comments that if you had all these ‘cool’ gifts, but no love, then it’d be pointless.  Seems to fit with the whole ‘first will be last, last shall be first’ concept.  What do you guys think? 

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. May 6, 2005 11:26 am

    I started to leave a comment, but it inflated so large that it didn’t fit here anymore. Go check out my blog for the full meal deal. If you wanna…

  2. May 6, 2005 12:06 pm

    Sweet. I’ll go check it out right now. You’re more than welcome to leave novels here. Now if Typepad wouldn’t let… that’s another issue.

  3. SirMaurer permalink
    May 9, 2005 11:38 am

    Hopefully mine won’t end up inflating a la Tre’s response. 😉

    I think the context is right on Hutchy-babe. I have been thinking about this long and hard this semester (thanks to Dr. F’s Spiritual Gifts class). Leaning kinda toward the Cessationist point of view regarding miraculous gifts my view is slightly bent in that direction. However, we usually get so caught up in the whole “gifts” debate that we ignore the “greatest way” that Paul talks about in chapter 13. Love is what it was, is and always will be about. Regardless on your stance regarding spiritual/miraculous gifts (which I might argue in light of chapter 13 is almost meaningless) the most important thing we (Christians) need to do is treat each other with love. If fact I think I remember reading somewhere (sarcasm coming) that the world will know us based on the way we treat each other . . . or something.

    Okay

    soapbox . . . out

    Lata

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