Re: 1 Cor 12-14

Mike Adams (
Thu, 9 Jan 1997 09:43:19 -0700

Hi. Remember me? The one who tossed in this can of worms for everyone's
dining pleasure. My original question was: Were we commanded in I Cor 12:31
to zealously seek the "greater gifts" in the context that "greater"
referred to a hierarchical order as listed in chapter 12 verses 8-10? The
overwhelming concensus in this forum was a resounding "NO!!!"

However, my attention was drawn away from MEIZONA to ZHLOUTE by some
mysterious person who posts privately and doesn't sign their messages. This
distraction has led me and others to a very challenging and fruitful
pursuit. (As I see the clouds of dust disappearing over the hill, and I
hear the hoofbeats fading away, I am left wondering "Who was that masked

As a result, I looked for an excuse to be bold, to choose to view ZHLOUTE
in 12:31 as indicative, and I have found enough evidence that I accept it
as MY preferred interpretation. I need not repeat all the arguments, as
Andrew has articulated them quite clearly in his posts.

May I add this, that in the "sandwiched chapter" we are told (AGAPH) "OU
ZHLOI, ... OU ZHTEI TA EAUTHS..." I choose to view this as a further rebuke
to those pursuing "greater gifts" (12:31) and evidence that we are
commanded to pursue "spiritual things" (14:1) in the context of tenaciously
following after love, and for the purpose of edifying the whole body.

Moreover, if ZHLOUTE were perceived as indicative, then there would be no
need to painstakingly decipher MEIZONA. "Greatest Gifts" wouldn't refer to
any hierarchy by PAUL's standard. It would simply denote the object(s) of
the Corinthians' obsession ...manifestation, title, function, or
whatever... which they had chosen to pursue inordinately.

In this light, could we not likewise define MEIZONA as that which we would
esteem most highly, that which we would chose to fervently pursue OUTSIDE
the context of love and mutual edification? (for instance, knowledge of
Biblical Greek?)...ouch! tripped on my toes a bit there...

Thanks all! I certainly got more out of this discussion than I orginally
bargained for.

Ellen Adams
WellSpring Fellowship
Sheridan, Colorado

> 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
> > were the greater charismata. It seems much more natural textually
> > have to read in any thing) if we take it at face value. Since they
> > not seeking the greater charismata, but the lesser, according to Paul's
> > listing of importance in v. 28, then the imperative makes excellent
> >
> 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
> interpreted
> 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
> instructors
> 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
> course
> they WERE important) and that gifts of administration or tongues are not
> as
> important. A church full of apostles or prophets would be a very
> deficient
> 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.
> > 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
> prophesy.
> > 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
> problem!
> > Paul S. Dixon, pastor
> > Ladd Hill Bible Church
> > Wilsonville, Oregon
> cheers,
> Andrew
> +------------------------------------------------------------------------
> | Andrew S. Kulikovsky B.App.Sc(Hons) MACS