Re: 1Corinthians 12:1 & 1Corinthians 14:1

From: Edgar M. Krentz (
Date: Wed May 15 1996 - 12:55:17 EDT

>On Tue, 14 May 1996, Alistair O'Connell wrote:

>> but what does the word Pneumatikos really mean in the refs given as this
>> mail subject and,
>> why is it translated as two words i.e. spiritual gifts

Carl Conrad replied well:
>This is a relatively easy one! ;-) The adjective PNEUMATIKOS,-H, -ON
>means "having to do with the spirit," "spiritual," and is here used
>substantivally with the article (TWN, TA) so that one must translate,
>"things having to do with the spirit," or "spiritual things." This is a
>general term which Paul later refers to with the word TA XARISMATA,
>"gifts of grace," "grace-gifts," or "gifts of the spirit" and including
>the accomplishments such as prophecy, tongue-speaking, etc., some of
>which the Corinthians prided themselves on as personal achievements,
>although Paul insists that all of them are gifts of grace, all derived
>from the Holy Spirit, and therefore NOT to be identified as indications
>of status or privilege superior to those of others.
Carl's interpretation is good, though an alternative is possible. I take
the term PNEUMATIKWN in 1 Cor 12:1 to be a masculine nominative plural, not
a neuter as it certainly is in 1 Cor 14:1. I translate 1 Cor 12:1 as "Now
concerning people endowed with the Spirit," that is "Concerning
Pneumatics." I do this because of what Paul says in vv. 2-3 of chapter 12.

Of course, the form is ambiguous, since it can be either masculine or
neuter. Thus it is a matter of interpreting the significance of the
context. I stress the nearer context, Carl (I presume) the farther context
(14:1) and the subject matter of chapters 12-14.

I might add that the use of PNEUMATKON in 10:3-4 shows that Paul uses the
term adjectively to mean bread and drink that conveys spirit, i.e. in the
Lord's Supper, anticipated in the food in the Exodus desert.


Edgar M. Krentz Tel: 312-256-0752
Professor of New Testament FAX: 312-256-0782
1100 East 55th Street Home:312-947-8105
Chicago, IL 60615

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