1 Corinthians 12:1-11

1 Corinthians 12:1-11
Ordinary C8


Now concerning spiritualA gifts, brothersB and sisters, I do not wantC you to be uninformed.D 

Notes on verse 1

A “spiritual” = pneumatikos. From pneuma (wind, breath, or ghost; a breeze or blast of air, a breath; figuratively, a spirit, the human soul or the part of us that is rational; also angels, demons, God, and the Holy Spirit); from pneo (to blow, breath, breathe hard). This is spiritual, spiritual people, or spiritual things – that which is ethereal or divine or religious.
B “brothers” = adelphos. From a (with, community, fellowship) + delphus (womb). This is a brother in a literal or figurative sense. It is also used of another member of the Church.
C “want” = thelo. This is to wish, desire, will, or intend. It is to choose or prefer in a literal or figurative sense. It can also mean inclined toward or take delight in. It can have a sense of being ready to act on the impulse in question.
D “be uninformed” = agnoeo. From a (not) + noieo (to perceive, think, understand); {from nous (mind, understanding, reasoning faculty, intellect, capacity to reflect); from noos (mind); probably from the base as ginosko (to know, recognize, realize, perceive, learn; gaining knowledge through personal experience)}. This is unaware not to know. Sometimes it is willful ignorance, but other times it is simple not knowing.

2 You knowE that when you were pagans,F you were enticedG

Notes on verse 2a

E “know” = eido. This is to know, consider perceive, appreciate, behold, or remember. It means seeing with one’s eyes, but also figuratively, it means perceiving – seeing that becomes understanding. So, by implication, this means knowing or being aware.
F “pagans” = ethnos. Probably from etho (a custom or culture). This is people who are united by having similar customs or culture. Generally, it is used to refer to Gentiles. This is a tribe, race, nation, or Gentiles in general. This is where the term “ethnicity” comes from.
G “enticed” = ago. This is lead, bring, carry, guide, drive, go.

and led astrayH to idolsI that could not speak.J 

Notes on verse 2b

H “led astray” = apago. Related to “enticed” in v2. 16x in NT. From apo (from, away from) + ago (see note G above). This is to lead away, take away, or bring. Figuratively, it can refer to being led astray or put to death.
I “idols” = eidolon. Related to “know” in v2. 11x in NT. From eidos (form, shape, sight, appearance); from eido (see note E above). This is an image, idol worship of an idol.
J “not speak” = aphonos. 4x in NT. From a (not, without) + phone (voice, sound, tone or noise; also a language or dialect); probably from phemi (to declare, say, use contrasts in speaking to shed light on one point of view); {from phao (to shine) or phaino (to bring light, cause to appear, shine, become visible or clear)} This is without voice, silent, meaningless.

3 Therefore I want you to understandK that no one speaking by the SpiritL of GodM ever saysN “Let JesusO be cursed!”P

Notes on verse 3a

K “want…to understand” = gnorizo. Related to “be uninformed” in v1. From ginosko (see note D above). This is to declare, know, discover, make known.
L “Spirit” = pneuma. Related to “spiritual” in v1. See note A above.
M “God” = Theos. From Proto-Indo-European origins, meaning do, put, place. This is God or a god in general.
N “says” = lego. This is to speak, say, name, call, command. It is generally to convey verbally.
O “Jesus” = Iesous. From Hebrew Yehoshua (Joshua, the Lord is salvation); {from YHVH (proper name of the God of Israel; the self-existent and eternal one); {from havah (to become) or from hayah (to come to pass, become, be)} + yasha (to deliver, defend, help, preserve, rescue; properly, to be open, wide or free, which implies being safe. So, in a causative sense, this is to free someone)}. This is Jesus or Joshua in Greek – the Lord saves or the Lord is salvation.
P “be cursed” = anathema. 6x in NT. From anatithemi (to set up or fort, communicate, submit, declare); {from ana (up, again, back, among, anew) + tithemi (to put, place, set, fix, establish in a literal or figurative sense; properly, this is placing something in a passive or horizontal position)}. This is solemn, anathema, or accursed. From its root, it is a thing that is laid up, such as a votive offering or something one pledges to God. So, it can be a divine curse or a divine ban, something or someone that is cast out.

and no one canQ say “Jesus is Lord”R except by the HolyS Spirit.

Notes on verse 3b

Q “can” = dunamai. This is to be able, or something that is possible. It can also be empowered or being powerful. The Greek word for “miracle” (dunamis) comes from this root.
R “Lord” = kurios. From kuros (authority, supremacy). This is a respectful address meaning master or sir. It refers to one who has control or power greater than one’s own. So, it was also applied to God and Jesus as Master or Lord.
S “Holy” = hagios. From hagnos (holy, sacred, pure ethically, ritually, or ceremonially; prepared for worship, chaste, unadulterated, pure to the core; undefiled by sin; figurative for innocent, modest, perfect). God is totally different from humanity and thus set apart. That which is consecrated to worship God (elements of worship) or to serve God (as the saints) are holy because they are now set apart for God’s purposes. Holy because important to God. This is sacred physically, pure. It can be morally blameless or ceremonially consecrated.

4 Now there are varietiesT of gifts,U but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of services,V but the same Lord; 

Notes on verses 4-5

T “varieties” = diairesis. 3x in NT. From diaireo (to divide, distribute); {from dia (through, because of, across, thoroughly) + haireo (to take, choose, or prefer)}. This is diversity, variety, difference, or distribution. It can also refer to spiritual endowments.
U “gifts” = charisma. 17x in NT. From charizomai (to show favor, kindness, or grace, to pardon, forgive); from charis (grace, kindness, favor, gratitude, thanks; being inclined to or favorable towards – leaning towards someone to share some good or benefit; literal, figurative, or spiritual; grace as abstract concept, manner, or action); from chairo (to rejoice, be glad; used to say hello; properly, delighting in the grace of God or experiencing God’s favor); from char– (to extend favor, lean towards, be inclined to be favorable towards). This is grace, undeserved favor, a free gift, or a spiritual gift. It is the working of grace, some spiritual gift or religious qualification. It could be some kind of miraculous endowment.
V “services” = diakonia. Perhaps from dia (through, across to the other side, thoroughly) + konis (dust) OR from dioko (to chase after, put to flight; by implication, to persecute or to purse like a hunter after its prey; this can be earnestly pursue or zealously persecute) {related to dio (put to flight)}. This is service, ministry, attending someone, service. It can mean serving someone at a table or otherwise as their servant/slave. It is also used for people who serve/minister in temples, as well as the work of Christian ministry. Figuratively, this word can mean money given for charity. This shares a root with “deacon” and is where the word “diaconate” comes from.

6 and there are varieties of activities,W but it is the same God who activatesX allY of them in everyone.Z 

Notes on verse 6

W “activities” = energema. 2x in NT. From energeo (to work, accomplish, be fervent or effectual); {(active, effective, operative, energized, powerful); {from en (in, at, by, with, among) + ergon (word, task, action, employment); {from ergo (to work, accomplish) or from erdo (to do)}}}. This is effect, working, activity.
X “activates” = energeo. Related to “activities” in v6. See note W above.
Y “all” = pas. This is all or every.
Z “everyone” = pas. Same as “all” in v6. See note Y above.

7 To eachAA is givenBB the manifestationCC of the Spirit for the common good.DD 

Notes on verse 7

AA “each” = hekastos. Perhaps from hekas (separate). This is each one, any, every. It is every individual as a distinct entity as opposed to those counted as a group in small sets.
BB “given” = didomi. To give, offer, place, bestow, deliver. This is give in a literal or figurative sense.
CC “manifestation” = phanerosis. Related to “speak” in v2. 2x in NT. From phaneroo (to make visible or clear, to make known; properly, to illumine and so to make apparent or bring into open view); from phaneros (visible, apparent, clear, shining); from phos (light, a source of light, fire, or radiance; light with specific reference to what it reveals; luminousness whether natural or artificial, abstract or concrete, literal or figurative); from phao (see note J above); from the same as phaino (see note J above). This is manifestation or disclosure. It is an exhibition, expression, or bestowment.
DD “common good” = sumphero. 17x in NT. From sun (with, together with) + phero (to bear, bring, lead, make known publicly; to carry in a literal or figurative sense). This is to collect, bring together, or be profitable to. It is combining things such that there is gain or profit or advantage.

To oneEE is given through the Spirit the utteranceFF of wisdom,GG and to anotherHH the utterance of knowledgeII according to the same Spirit, 

Notes on verse 8

EE {untranslated} = men. This is truly, indeed, even, in fact. Often, it is not translated, but used to emphasize affirmation.
FF “utterance” = logos. Related to “says” in v3. From lego (see note N above). This is word, statement, speech, analogy. It is a word that carries an idea or expresses a thought, a saying. It could refer to a person with a message or reasoning laid out in words. By implication, this could be a topic, line of reasoning, or a motive. It can be used for a divine utterance or as Word – Christ.
GG “wisdom” = sophia. From sophos (wise, clever, skilled, learned, cultivated); related to saphes (clear). This is skill, wisdom, insight, intelligence, clarity. It is wisdom as applied through a practical skill or shrewdness. It is not thoughtfulness or the mere gaining of intelligence for its own sake. Sophia is wisdom in action for everyday living.
HH “another” = allos. This is other, another. Specifically, it is another of a similar kind or type. There is a different word in Greek that speaks of another as a different kind (heteros).
II “knowledge” = gnosis. Related to “be uninformed” in v1 & “want…to understand” in v3. From ginosko (see note D above). This is knowing, knowledge, understanding, wisdom. It is direct knowledge – working knowledge that links theory and application.

9 to anotherJJ faithKK by the same Spirit, to anotherLL gifts of healingMM by the oneNN Spirit, 

Notes on verse 9

JJ “another” = heteros. This is other, another, different, strange. It is another of a different kind in contrast to the Greek word allos, which is another of the same kind. This could be a different quality, type, or group.
KK “faith” = pistis. From peitho (to have confidence, urge, be persuaded, agree, assure, believe, have confidence, trust). This is less about knowing, believing, and repeating a list of doctrines then it is about trusting God. Faith means listening to God and seeking to live a holy life even (and especially) when we don’t understand how everything works or fits together. Faith is about being faithful (trusting and doing) rather than being all knowing.
LL “another” = allos. Same as “another” in v8. See note HH above.
MM “healing” = iama. 3x in NT. From iaomai (to heal, particularly from a physical illness; also heal from a spiritual difficulty; to cure or make whole in a literal or figurative sense). This is healing, cure, or remedy.
NN “one” = heis. This is one, a person, only, some.

10 to anotherOO the workingPP of miracles,QQ to anotherRR prophecy,SS to anotherTT the discernmentUU of spirits,

Notes on verse 10a

OO “another” = allos. Same as “another” in v8. See note HH above.
PP “working” = energema. Same as “activities” in v6. See note W above.
QQ “miracles” = dunamis. Related to “can” in v3. From dunamai (see note Q above). This is might, strength, physical power, efficacy, energy, and miraculous power. It is force literally or figuratively – the power of a miracle or the miracle itself.
RR “another” = allos. Same as “another” in v8. See note HH above.
SS “prophecy” = propheteia. Related to “speak” in v2. 19x in NT. From prophetes (prophet or poet; one who speaks with inspiration from God); {from pro (before, in front of, earlier than) + phemi (see note J above) }. This is prophecy or prediction. It is when a prophet reveals the truth that they received.
TT “another” = allos. Same as “another” in v8. See note HH above.
UU “discernment” = diakrisis. 3x in NT. From diakrino (to judge, separate, contend, investigate, thoroughly judge); {from dia (through, across to the other side, thoroughly) + krino (to judge, decide, think good, condemn, determine, pass judgment, stand trial, sue; judging whether in court or in a private setting; properly, mentally separating or distinguishing an issue – to come to a choice or decision, to judge positively or negatively in seeking what is right or wrong, who is innocent or guilty; can imply trying, condemning, punishing, or avenging)}. This is discernment, passing judgment, or deciding.

to anotherVV various kindsWW of tongues,XX to anotherYY the interpretationZZ of tongues. 

Notes on verse 10b

VV “another” = allos. Same as “another” in v8. See note HH above.
WW “various kinds” = genos. From ginomai (to come into being, to happen, become, be born; to emerge from one state or condition to another; this is coming into being with the sense of movement or growth). This is family, offspring, kin – in a literal or figurative sense.
XX “tongues” = glossa. Root refers to a point that sticks out. This is tongue in a literal sense, but can also refer to language or a nation that speaks a different language. Figuratively, it can also refer to speaking in tongues or speech inspired by the Spirit.
YY “another” = allos. Same as “another” in v8. See note HH above.
ZZ “interpretation” = hermeneia. 2x in NT. From hermeneuo (to interpret, explain, translate); {probably from Hermes (Greek god who was messenger to the other gods, also god of language); perhaps from ereo (to say, tell, speak)}. This is interpretation or explanation. It can involve translating, but it is not word for word – more of a gloss or overview.

11 All these are activated by one and the same Spirit, who allotsAAA to each one individuallyBBB just as the Spirit chooses.CCC

Notes on verse 11

AAA “allots” = diaireo. Related to “varieties” in v4. 2x in NT.  See note T above.
BBB “individually” = idios. This is something that belongs to you or that is personal, private, apart. It indicates a stronger sense of possession than a simple possessive pronoun. This is where “idiot” comes from (denoting someone who hasn’t had formal training or education and so they rely on their own understanding).
CCC “chooses” = boulomai. This is to wish, desire, intend. Also, to plan with great determination.

Image credit: “The Mural at Kensington” in Vancouver. Photo by Rod Raglin, 2015.

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