1 Corinthians 12:3b-13

1 Corinthians 12:3b-13
Pentecost A27


Therefore I want you to understandA that no one speaking by the SpiritB of GodC ever says “Let JesusD be cursed!”E

Notes on verse 3a

A “want…to understand” = gnorizo. From ginosko (to know, recognize, realize, perceive, learn; gaining knowledge through personal experience). This is to declare, know, discover, make known.
B “Spirit” = pneuma. From pneo (to blow, breath, breathe hard). This is wind, breath, or ghost. A breeze or a blast or air, a breath. Figuratively used for a spirit, the human soul or part of us that is rational. It is also used supernaturally for angels, demons, God, and the Holy Spirit. This is where pneumonia comes from.
C “God” = theos. From Proto-Indo-European origins, meaning do, put, place. This is God or a god in general.
D “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.
E “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 canF say “Jesus is Lord”G except by the HolyH Spirit.

Notes on verse 3b

F “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.
G “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.
H “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 varietiesI of gifts,J but the same Spirit; 5 and there are varieties of services,K but the same Lord; 6 and there are varieties of activities,L but it is the same God who activatesM all of them in everyone. 

Notes on verses 4-6

I “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.
J “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.
K “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.
L “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.
M “activates” = energeo. Related to “activities” in v6. See note L above.

To each is given the manifestationN of the Spirit for the common good.O 8 To oneP is given through the Spirit the utteranceQ of wisdom,R and to another the utterance of knowledgeS according to the same Spirit, 

Notes on verses 7-8

N “manifestation” = phanerosis. 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 (to shine or make visible, especially with rays of light); from the same as phaino (to bring light, cause to appear, shine, become visible or clear). This is manifestation or disclosure. It is an exhibition, expression, or bestowment.   
O “common good” = sumhero. 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.
P {untranslated} = men. This is truly, indeed, even, in fact. Often, it is not translated, but used to emphasize affirmation.
Q “utterance” = logos. From lego (to speak, tell, mention). 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.
R “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.
S “knowledge” = gnosis. Related to “want…to understand” in v3. From ginosko (see note A above). This is knowledge, wisdom, understanding, working knowledge, or doctrine.

9 to another faithT by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healingU by the one Spirit, 10 to another the workingV of miracles,W to another prophecy,X

Notes on verses 9-10a

T “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.
U “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.
V “working” = energema. Same as “activities” in v6. See note L above.
W “miracles” = dunamis. Related to “can” in v3. From dunamai (see note F 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.
X “prophecy” = propheteia. 19x in NT. Related to “manifestation” in v7. From prophetes (prophet or poet; one who speaks with inspiration from God); from pro (before, in front of, earlier than) + phemi (to declare, say, use contrasts in speaking to shed light on one point of view); {from phao (see note N above) or phaino (see note N above)}. This is prophecy or prediction, communicating truth as given from God.

to another the discernmentY of spirits, to another various kindsZ of tongues,AA to another the interpretationBB of tongues. 

Notes on verses 10b

Y “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.
Z “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.
AA “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.
BB “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 allotsCC to each one individuallyDD just as the Spirit chooses.EE

Notes on verses 11

CC “allots” = diaireo. Related to “varieties” in v4. 2x in NT. See note I above.
DD “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).
EE “chooses” = boulomai. This is to wish, desire, intend. Also, to plan with great determination.

12 For just as the bodyFF is one and has many members,GG and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ.HH 

Notes on verses 12

FF “body” = soma. Perhaps from sozo (to save, heal, rescue); from sos (safe, well, rescued). This is body or flesh. It can be body in a literal or figurative sense (as the body of Christ). This is where the word “somatic” comes from.
GG “members” = melos. This is a limb or an organ of the body. So, it is a member of a greater whole. It is used figuratively for the body of Christ.
HH “Christ” = christos. From chrio (consecrate by anointing with oil; often done for prophets, priests, or kings). Literally, the anointed one, Christ. The Greek word for Messiah.

13 For in the one Spirit we were all baptizedII into one body—JewsJJ or Greeks,KK slavesLL or freeMM—and we were all made to drinkNN of one Spirit.

Notes on verses 13

II “baptized” = baptizo. From bapto (to dip or dye; to entirely cover with liquid, to stain). This is to submerge, wash, or immerse. Used specially for baptism.
JJ “Jews” = ioudaios. From Ioudas (Judah, Judas); from Hebrew Yehudah (Judah, son of Jacob, his tribal descendants, a name for the southern kingdom. Literally, it means praised); probably from yadah (to throw one’s hands into the air in a gesture of praise); from yad (hand). This is Jewish, a Jew, or Judea.
KK “Greeks” = hellen. From Hellas (Hellas, what Greeks called themselves); perhaps from helane (torch) OR from selene (moon). This is Greek, but was used for Gentiles, broader populations that spoke Greek and were a part of Greek culture regardless of their heritage. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helen_(given_name)
LL “slaves” = doulos. Perhaps from deo (to tie, bind, fasten, impel, compel; to declare something against the law or prohibited). This is used for a servant or for a slave, enslaved. It refers to someone who belongs to someone else. But, it could be voluntary (choosing to be enslaved to pay off debt) or involuntary (captured in war and enslaved). It is used as a metaphor for serving Christ. Slavery was not inherited (i.e. the children of slaves were not assumed to be slaves) and slaves could buy their way to freedom. Slavery was generally on a contractual basis (that is for the duration of how long it took you to pay your debt and/or save up enough money to buy your freedom).
MM “free” = eleutheros. Probably from erchomai (to come or go). This is a free person, at liberty, not a slave. Properly, it is unshackled – figuratively, it is one who has the freedom to choose their destiny. Also, it is one who does not have obligation or liability.
NN “made to drink” = potizo. 15x in NT. From potos (drink or for drinking) OR from pino (to drink literally or figuratively). This is to give to drink, water, furnish, irrigate, or feed.

Image credit: “Holy Spirit” from St. George’s Cathedral, London.

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