Re: 1 Cor 12-14

Andrew Kulikovsky (
Thu, 09 Jan 1997 21:42:33 +0900

Paul Dixon - Ladd Hill Bible Church wrote:
> Andrew:
> How do you interpret the listing in v. 28 (first apostles, second
> prophets, third teachers, etc.)? If you take ZHLOUTE in 12:31 as an
> indicative, then you are forced to say they were seeking what they thought
> were the greater charismata. It seems much more natural textually (don't
> have to read in any thing) if we take it at face value. Since they were
> not seeking the greater charismata, but the lesser, according to Paul's
> listing of importance in v. 28, then the imperative makes excellent sense.

As I said in my previous messages, I don't think Paul places any order
of importance on the various gifts. The immediate context is absolutely
explicit about this. I must ask you how you can interpret the list as
'order of inportance' in light of this context?

The use of firstly, second and third in the list of gifts could be
as like someone saying "This happens firstly because ........, secondly
because ........ and thridly because .........

Or more likely that Paul is laying out the structure of the church:
The apostles were the foundation of the church, prophets are the
of the church, teachers are the builders of the church and the rest are
services or ministries of the church.

This doesn't imply that apostles were the most important (although of
they WERE important) and that gifts of administration or tongues are not
important. A church full of apostles or prophets would be a very
church. Each gift is important - this is exactly was Paul is saying in
ch. 12!

> The significance of the listing in v. 28 seems to be according to the
> principle of love, or the greatest good for the greatest number. Chapter
> 13 is just an amplication of this, and the thought of charging the
> Corinthians to habitually seek the greater charismata, especially
> prophesying (since they could hardly be expected to seek to act as
> apostles), is resumed and developed in 14:1.

I disagree. I see the listing as most probably according to church
structure. In ch. 13:2 it states that "if I have the gift of prophesy
.... but have not love, I am nothing. The problem with the Corinthian
church is not just the gifts but the USE of these gifts. People were
misusing their gifts and pushing themselves, building themselves up.
The church had degraded into chaos (see. ch 14) so this is the
reason for ch. 13. Gifts are of no value unless they are properly used,
for the benefit of the church.

I should point ou that no where in the Greek of 14:1 will you find the
word XARISMATA. The Greek is as follows:


The charge is to habitually seek spirituality - especially that you may

> The charge to seek habitually the greater charismata does not militate
> against the idea of God's sovereign dispersement of the gifts. Faith is a
> gift, but that does not mean we cannot be charged to believe.

I don't see 12:31 it as a charge but as Paul's assessment of the

> Paul S. Dixon, pastor
> Ladd Hill Bible Church
> Wilsonville, Oregon


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