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Spiritual Gifts

12

Now concerning spiritual gifts, brothers and sisters, I do not want you to be uninformed. 2You know that when you were pagans, you were enticed and led astray to idols that could not speak. 3Therefore I want you to understand that no one speaking by the Spirit of God ever says “Let Jesus be cursed!” and no one can say “Jesus is Lord” except by the Holy Spirit.

4 Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; 5and there are varieties of services, but the same Lord; 6and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who activates all of them in everyone. 7To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. 8To one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, 9to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, 10to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the discernment of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. 11All these are activated by one and the same Spirit, who allots to each one individually just as the Spirit chooses.

One Body with Many Members

12 For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. 13For in the one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.

14 Indeed, the body does not consist of one member but of many. 15If the foot would say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. 16And if the ear would say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. 17If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole body were hearing, where would the sense of smell be? 18But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. 19If all were a single member, where would the body be? 20As it is, there are many members, yet one body. 21The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” 22On the contrary, the members of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23and those members of the body that we think less honorable we clothe with greater honor, and our less respectable members are treated with greater respect; 24whereas our more respectable members do not need this. But God has so arranged the body, giving the greater honor to the inferior member, 25that there may be no dissension within the body, but the members may have the same care for one another. 26If one member suffers, all suffer together with it; if one member is honored, all rejoice together with it.

27 Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it. 28And God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers; then deeds of power, then gifts of healing, forms of assistance, forms of leadership, various kinds of tongues. 29Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? 30Do all possess gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret? 31But strive for the greater gifts. And I will show you a still more excellent way.

The Gift of Love

13

If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3If I give away all my possessions, and if I hand over my body so that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

4 Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant 5or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. 7It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

8 Love never ends. But as for prophecies, they will come to an end; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will come to an end. 9For we know only in part, and we prophesy only in part; 10but when the complete comes, the partial will come to an end. 11When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became an adult, I put an end to childish ways. 12For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known. 13And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love.


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1Co 12:1-31. The Use and the Abuse of Spiritual Gifts, Especially Prophesying and Tongues.

This is the second subject for correction in the Corinthian assemblies: the "first" was discussed (1Co 11:18-34).

1. spiritual gifts—the signs of the Spirit's continued efficacious presence in the Church, which is Christ's body, the complement of His incarnation, as the body is the complement of the head. By the love which pervades the whole, the gifts of the several members, forming reciprocal complements to each other, tend to the one object of perfecting the body of Christ. The ordinary and permanent gifts are comprehended together with the extraordinary, without distinction specified, as both alike flow from the divine indwelling Spirit of life. The extraordinary gifts, so far from making professors more peculiarly saints than in our day, did not always even prove that such persons were in a safe state at all (Mt 7:22). They were needed at first in the Church: (1) as a pledge to Christians themselves who had just passed over from Judaism or heathendom, that God was in the Church; (2) for the propagation of Christianity in the world; (3) for the edification of the Church. Now that we have the whole written New Testament (which they had not) and Christianity established as the result of the miracles, we need no further miracle to attest the truth. So the pillar of cloud which guided the Israelites was withdrawn when they were sufficiently assured of the Divine Presence, the manifestation of God's glory being thenceforward enclosed in the Most Holy Place [Archbishop Whately]. Paul sets forth in order: (1). The unity of the body (1Co 12:1-27). (2). The variety of its members and functions (1Co 12:27-30). (3). The grand principle for the right exercise of the gifts, namely, love (1Co 12:31; 1Co 13:1-13). (4) The comparison of the gifts with one another (1Co 14:1-40).

I would not have you ignorant—with all your boasts of "knowledge" at Corinth. If ignorant now, it will be your own fault, not mine (1Co 14:38).

2. (Eph 2:11).

that ye were—The best manuscripts read, "That WHEN ye were"; thus "ye were" must be supplied before "carried away"—Ye were blindly transported hither and thither at the will of your false guides.

these dumb idolsGreek, "the idols which are dumb"; contrasted with the living God who "speaks" in the believer by His Spirit (1Co 12:3, &c.). This gives the reason why the Corinthians needed instruction as to spiritual gifts, namely, their past heathen state, wherein they had no experience of intelligent spiritual powers. When blind, ye went to the dumb.

as ye were led—The Greek is, rather, "as ye might (happen to) be led," namely, on different occasions. The heathen oracles led their votaries at random, without any definite principle.

3. The negative and positive criteria of inspiration by the Spirit—the rejection or confession of Jesus as Lord [Alford] (1Jo 4:2; 5:1). Paul gives a test of truth against the Gentiles; John, against the false prophets.

by the Spirit—rather, as Greek, "IN the Spirit"; that being the power pervading him, and the element in which he speaks [Alford], (Mt 16:17; Joh 15:26).

of God … Holy—The same Spirit is called at one time "the Spirit of God"; at another, "the HOLY Ghost," or "Holy Spirit." Infinite Holiness is almost synonymous with Godhead.

speaking … say—"Speak" implies the act of utterance; "say" refers to that which is uttered. Here, "say" means a spiritual and believing confession of Him.

Jesus—not an abstract doctrine, but the historical, living God-man (Ro 10:9).

accursed—as the Jews and Gentiles treated Him (Ga 3:13). Compare "to curse Christ" in the heathen Pliny's letter [Epistles, 10.97]. The spiritual man feels Him to be the Source of all blessings (Eph 1:3) and to be severed from Him is to be accursed (Ro 9:3).

Lord—acknowledging himself as His servant (Isa 26:13). "Lord" is the Septuagint translation for the incommunicable Hebrew name Jehovah.

4. diversities of gifts—that is, varieties of spiritual endowments peculiar to the several members of the Church: compare "dividing to every man severally" (1Co 12:11).

same Spirit—The Holy Trinity appears here: the Holy Spirit in this verse; Christ in 1Co 12:5; and the Father in 1Co 12:6. The terms "gifts," "administrations," and "operations," respectively correspond to the Divine Three. The Spirit is treated of in 1Co 12:7, &c.; the Lord, in 1Co 12:12, &c.; God, in 1Co 12:28. (Compare Eph 4:4-6).

5, 6. "Gifts" (1Co 12:4), "administrations" (the various functions and services performed by those having the gifts, compare 1Co 12:28), and "operations" (the actual effects resulting from both the former, through the universally operative power of the one Father who is "above all, through all, and in us all"), form an ascending climax [Henderson, Inspiration].

same Lord—whom the Spirit glorifies by these ministrations [Bengel].

6. operations—(Compare 1Co 12:10).

same God … worketh—by His Spirit working (1Co 12:11).

all in all—all of them (the "gifts") in all the persons (who possess them).

7. But—Though all the gifts flow from the one God, Lord, and Spirit, the "manifestation" by which the Spirit acts (as He is hidden in Himself), varies in each individual.

to every manto each of the members of the Church severally.

to profit withalwith a view to the profit of the whole body.

8-10. Three classes of gifts are distinguished by a distinct Greek word for "another" (a distinct class), marking the three several genera: allo marks the species, hetero the genera (compare Greek, 1Co 15:39-41). I. Gifts of intellect, namely, (1) wisdom; (2) knowledge. II. Gifts dependent on a special faith, namely, that of miracles (Mt 17:20): (1) healings; (2) workings of miracles; (3) prophecy of future events; (4) discerning of spirits, or the divinely given faculty of distinguishing between those really inspired, and those who pretended to inspiration. III. Gifts referring to the tongues: (1) diverse kinds of tongues; (2) interpretation of tongues. The catalogue in 1Co 12:28 is not meant strictly to harmonize with the one here, though there are some particulars in which they correspond. The three genera are summarily referred to by single instances of each in 1Co 13:8. The first genus refers more to believers; the second, to unbelievers.

by … by … by—The first in Greek is, "By means of," or "through the operation of"; the second is, "according to" the disposing of (compare 1Co 12:11); the third is, "in," that is, under the influence of (so the Greek, Mt 22:43; Lu 2:27).

word of wisdom—the ready utterance of (for imparting to others, Eph 6:19) wisdom, namely, new revelations of the divine wisdom in redemption, as contrasted with human philosophy (1Co 1:24; 2:6, 7; Eph 1:8; 3:10; Col 2:3).

word of knowledge—ready utterance supernaturally imparted of truths ALREADY REVEALED (in this it is distinguished from "the word of wisdom," which related to NEW revelations). Compare 1Co 14:6, where "revelation" (answering to "wisdom" here) is distinguished from "knowledge" [Henderson]. Wisdom or revelation belonged to the "prophets"; knowledge, to the "teachers." Wisdom penetrates deeper than knowledge. Knowledge relates to things that are to be done. Wisdom, to things eternal: hence, wisdom is not, like knowledge, said to "pass away" (1Co 13:8), [Bengel].

9. faith—not of doctrines, but of miracles: confidence in God, by the impulse of His Spirit, that He would enable them to perform any required miracle (compare 1Co 13:2; Mr 11:23; Jas 5:15). Its nature, or principle, is the same as that of saving faith, namely, reliance on God; the producing cause, also, in the same,' namely, a power altogether supernatural (Eph 1:19, 20). But the objects of faith differ respectively. Hence, we see, saving faith does not save by its instrinsic merit, but by the merits of Him who is the object of it.

healingGreek plural, "healings"; referring to different kinds of disease which need different kinds of healing (Mt 10:1).

10. working of miracles—As "healings" are miracles, those here meant must refer to miracles of special and extraordinary POWER (so the Greek for "miracles" means); for example, healings might be effected by human skill in course of time; but the raising of the dead, the infliction of death by a word, the innocuous use of poisons, &c., are miracles of special power. Compare Mr 6:5; Ac 19:11.

prophecy—Here, probably, not in the wider sense of public teaching by the Spirit (1Co 11:4, 5; 14:1-5, 22-39); but, as its position between "miracles" and a "discerning of spirits" implies, the inspired disclosure of the future (Ac 11:27, 28; 21:11; 1Ti 1:18), [Henderson]. It depends on "faith" (1Co 12:9; Ro 12:6). The prophets ranked next to the apostles (1Co 12:28; Eph 3:5; 4:11). As prophecy is part of the whole scheme of redemption, an inspired insight into the obscurer parts of the existing Scriptures, was the necessary preparation for the miraculous foresight of the future.

discerning of spirits—discerning between the operation of God's Spirit, and the evil spirit, or unaided human spirit (1Co 14:29; compare 1Ti 4:1; 1Jo 4:1).

kinds of tongues—the power of speaking various languages: also a spiritual language unknown to man, uttered in ecstasy (1Co 14:2-12). This is marked as a distinct genus in the Greek, "To another and a different class."

interpretation of tongues—(1Co 14:13, 26, 27).

11. as he will—(1Co 12:18; Heb 2:4).

12, 13. Unity, not unvarying uniformity, is the law of God in the world of grace, as in that of nature. As the many members of the body compose an organic whole and none can be dispensed with as needless, so those variously gifted by the Spirit, compose a spiritual organic whole, the body of Christ, into which all are baptized by the one Spirit.

of that one body—Most of the oldest manuscripts omit "one."

so also is Christ—that is, the whole Christ, the head and body. So Ps 18:50, "His anointed (Messiah or Christ), David (the antitypical David) and His seed."

13. by … Spirit … baptized—literally, "in"; in virtue of; through. The designed effect of baptism, which is realized when not frustrated by the unfaithfulness of man.

Gentiles—literally, "Greeks."

all made to drink into one Spirit—The oldest manuscripts read, "Made to drink of one Spirit," omitting "into" (Joh 7:37). There is an indirect allusion to the Lord's Supper, as there is a direct allusion to baptism in the beginning of the verse. So the "Spirit, the water, and the blood" (1Jo 5:8), similarly combine the two outward signs with the inward things signified, the Spirit's grace.

are … have been—rather as Greek, "were … were" (the past tense).

14. Translate, "For the body also." The analogy of the body, not consisting exclusively of one, but of many members, illustrates the mutual dependence of the various members in the one body, the Church. The well-known fable of the belly and the other members, spoken by Menenius Agrippa, to the seceding commons [Livy, 2.32], was probably before Paul's mind, stored as it was with classical literature.

15. The humbler members ought not to disparage themselves, or to be disparaged by others more noble (1Co 12:21, 22).

foot … hand—The humble speaks of the more honorable member which most nearly resembles itself: so the "ear" of the "eye" (the nobler and more commanding member, Nu 10:31), (1Co 12:16). As in life each compares himself with those whom he approaches nearest in gifts, not those far superior. The foot and hand represent men of active life; the ear and eye, those of contemplative life.

17. Superior as the eye is, it would not do if it were the sole member to the exclusion of the rest.

18. now—as the case really is.

every one—each severally.

19. where were the body—which, by its very idea, "hath many members" (1Co 12:12, 14), [Alford].

20. now—as the case really is: in contrast to the supposition (1Co 12:19; compare 1Co 12:18).

many members—mutually dependent.

21. The higher cannot dispense with the lower members.

22. more feeble—more susceptible of injury: for example, the brain, the belly, the eye. Their very feebleness, so far from doing away with the need for them, calls forth our greater care for their preservation, as being felt "necessary."

23. less honourable—"We think" the feet and the belly "less honorable," though not really so in the nature of things.

bestow … honourputting shoes on (Margin) the feet, and clothes to cover the belly.

uncomely parts—the secret parts: the poorest, though unclad in the rest of the body, cover these.

24. tempered … together—on the principle of mutual compensation.

to that part which lacked—to the deficient part [Alford], (1Co 12:23).

25. no schism—(compare 1Co 12:21)—no disunion; referring to the "divisions" noticed (1Co 11:18).

care one for another—that is, in behalf of one another.

26. And—Accordingly.

all … suffer with it—"When a thorn enters the heel, the whole body feels it, and is concerned: the back bends, the belly and thighs contract themselves, the hands come forward and draw out the thorn, the head stoops, and the eyes regard the affected member with intense gaze" [Chrysostom].

rejoice with it—"When the head is crowned, the whole man feels honored, the mouth expresses, and the eyes look, gladness" [Chrysostom].

27. members in particular—that is, severally members of it. Each church is in miniature what the whole aggregate of churches is collectively, "the body of Christ" (compare 1Co 3:16): and its individual components are members, every one in his assigned place.

28. set … in the church—as He has "set the members … in the body" (1Co 12:18).

first apostles—above even the prophets. Not merely the Twelve, but others are so called, for example, Barnabas, &c. (Ro 16:7).

teachers—who taught, for the most part, truths already revealed; whereas the prophets made new revelations and spoke all their prophesyings under the Spirit's influence. As the teachers had the "word of knowledge," so the prophets "the word of wisdom" (1Co 12:8). Under "teachers" are included "evangelists and pastors."

miracles—literally, "powers" (1Co 12:10): ranked below "teachers," as the function of teaching is more edifying, though less dazzling than working miracles.

helps, governments—lower and higher departments of "ministrations" (1Co 12:5); as instances of the former, deacons whose office it was to help in the relief of the poor, and in baptizing and preaching, subordinate to higher ministers (Ac 6:1-10; 8:5-17); also, others who helped with their time and means, in the Lord's cause (compare 1Co 13:13; Nu 11:17). The Americans similarly use "helps" for "helpers." And, as instances of the latter, presbyters, or bishops, whose office it was to govern the Church (1Ti 5:17; Heb 13:17, 24). These officers, though now ordinary and permanent, were originally specially endowed with the Spirit for their office, whence they are here classified with other functions of an inspired character. Government (literally, "guiding the helm" of affairs), as being occupied with external things, notwithstanding the outward status it gives, is ranked by the Spirit with the lower functions. Compare "He that giveth" (answering to "helps")—"he that ruleth" (answering to "governments") (Ro 12:8). Translate, literally, "Helpings, governings" [Alford].

diversities of tongues—(1Co 12:10). "Divers kinds of tongues."

29. Are all?—Surely not.

31. covet earnestlyGreek, "emulously desire." Not in the spirit of discontented "coveting." The Spirit "divides to every man severally as He will" (1Co 12:1); but this does not prevent men earnestly seeking, by prayer and watchfulness, and cultivation of their faculties, the greatest gifts. Beza explains, "Hold in the highest estimation"; which accords with the distinction in his view (1Co 14:1) between "follow after charity—zealously esteem spiritual gifts"; also with (1Co 12:11, 18) the sovereign will with which the Spirit distributes the gifts, precluding individuals from desiring gifts not vouchsafed to them. But see on 1Co 14:1.

the best gifts—Most of the oldest manuscripts read, "the greatest gifts."

and yetGreek, "and moreover." Besides recommending your zealous desire for the greatest gifts, I am about to show you a something still more excellent (literally, "a way most way-like") to desire, "the way of love" (compare 1Co 14:1). This love, or "charity," includes both "faith" and "hope" (1Co 13:7), and bears the same fruits (1Co 13:1-13) as the ordinary and permanent fruits of the Spirit (Ga 5:22-24). Thus "long-suffering," compare 1Co 12:4; "faith," 1Co 12:7; "joy," 1Co 12:6; "meekness," 1Co 12:5; "goodness," 1Co 12:5; "gentleness," 1Co 12:4 (the Greek is the same for "is kind"). It is the work of the Holy Spirit, and consists in love to God, on account of God's love in Christ to us, and as a consequence, love to man, especially to the brethren in Christ (Ro 5:5; 15:30). This is more to be desired than gifts (Lu 10:20).

1Co 13:1-13. Charity or Love Superior to All Gifts.

The New Testament psalm of love, as the forty-fifth Psalm (see Ps 45:1, title) and the Song of Solomon in the Old Testament.

1. tongues—from these he ascends to "prophecy" (1Co 13:2); then, to "faith"; then to benevolent and self-sacrificing deeds: a climax. He does not except even himself, and so passes from addressing them ("unto you," 1Co 12:31) to putting the case in his own person, "Though I," &c.

speak with the tongues—with the eloquence which was so much admired at Corinth (for example, Apollos, Ac 18:24; compare 1Co 1:12; 3:21, 22), and with the command of various languages, which some at Corinth abused to purposes of mere ostentation (1Co 14:2, &c.).

of angels—higher than men, and therefore, it is to be supposed, speaking a more exalted language.

charity—the principle of the ordinary and more important gifts of the Spirit, as contrasted with the extraordinary gifts (1Co 12:1-31).

sounding … tinklingsound without soul or feeling: such are "tongues" without charity.

cymbal—Two kinds are noticed (Ps 150:5), the loud or clear, and the high-sounding one: hand cymbals and finger cymbals, or castanets. The sound is sharp and piercing.

2. mysteries—(Ro 11:25; 16:25). Mysteries refer to the deep counsels of God hitherto secret, but now revealed to His saints. Knowledge, to truths long known.

faith … remove mountains—(Mt 17:20; 21:21). The practical power of the will elevated by faith [Neander]; confidence in God that the miraculous result will surely follow the exercise of the will at the secret impulse of His Spirit. Without "love" prophecy, knowledge, and faith, are not what they seem (compare 1Co 8:1, 2; Mt 7:22; Jas 2:14; compare 1Co 13:8), and so fail of the heavenly reward (Mt 6:2). Thus Paul, who teaches justification by faith only (Ro 3:4, 5; Ga 2:16; 3:7-14), is shown to agree with James, who teaches (Jas 2:24) "by works" (that is, by LOVE, which is the "spirit" of faith, Jas 2:26) a man is justified, "and not by faith only."

3. bestow … goods … poor—literally, "dole out in food" all my goods; one of the highest functions of the "helps" (1Co 12:28).

give … body to be burned—literally, "to such a degree as that I should be burned." As the three youths did (Da 3:28), "yielded their bodies" (compare 2Co 12:15). These are most noble exemplifications of love in giving and in suffering. Yet they may be without love; in which case the "goods" and "body" are given, but not the soul, which is the sphere of love. Without the soul God rejects all else, and so rejects the man, who is therefore "profited" nothing (Mt 16:26; Lu 9:23-25). Men will fight for Christianity, and die for Christianity, but not live in its spirit, which is love.

4. suffereth long—under provocations of evil from others. The negative side of love.

is kind—the positive side. Extending good to others. Compare with love's features here those of the "wisdom from above" (Jas 3:17).

envieth—The Greek includes also jealousy.

vaunteth not—in words, even of gifts which it really possesses; an indirect rebuke of those at Corinth who used the gift of tongues for mere display.

not puffed up—with party zeal, as some at Corinth were (1Co 4:6).

5. not … unseemlyis not uncourteous, or inattentive to civility and propriety.

thinketh no evilimputeth not evil [Alford]; literally, "the evil" which actually is there (Pr 10:12; 1Pe 4:8). Love makes allowances for the falls of others, and is ready to put on them a charitable construction. Love, so far from devising evil against another, excuses "the evil" which another inflicts on her [Estius]; doth not meditate upon evil inflicted by another [Bengel]; and in doubtful cases, takes the more charitable view [Grotius].

6. rejoiceth in the truth—rather, "rejoiceth with the truth." Exults not at the perpetration of iniquity (unrighteousness) by others (compare Ge 9:22, 23), but rejoices when the truth rejoices; sympathizes with it in its triumphs (2Jo 4). See the opposite (2Ti 3:8), "Resist the truth." So "the truth" and "unrighteousness" are contrasted (Ro 2:8). "The truth" is the Gospel truth, the inseparable ally of love (Eph 4:15; 2Jo 12). The false charity which compromises "the truth" by glossing over "iniquity" or unrighteousness is thus tacitly condemned (Pr 17:15).

7. Beareth all things—without speaking of what it has to bear. The same Greek verb as in 1Co 9:12. It endures without divulging to the world personal distress. Literally said of holding fast like a watertight vessel; so the charitable man contains himself in silence from giving vent to what selfishness would prompt under personal hardship.

believeth all things—unsuspiciously believes all that is not palpably false, all that it can with a good conscience believe to the credit of another. Compare Jas 3:17, "easy to be entreated"; Greek, "easily persuaded."

hopeth—what is good of another, even when others have ceased to hope.

endureth—persecutions in a patient and loving spirit.

8. never faileth—never is to be out of use; it always holds its place.

shall fail … vanish away—The same Greek verb is used for both; and that different from the Greek verb for "faileth." Translate, "Shall be done away with," that is, shall be dispensed with at the Lord's coming, being superseded by their more perfect heavenly analogues; for instance, knowledge by intuition. Of "tongues," which are still more temporary, the verb is "shall cease." A primary fulfilment of Paul's statement took place when the Church attained its maturity; then "tongues" entirely "ceased," and "prophesyings" and "knowledge," so far as they were supernatural gifts of the Spirit, were superseded as no longer required when the ordinary preaching of the word, and the Scriptures of the New Testament collected together, had become established institutions.

9, 10. in part—partially and imperfectly. Compare a similar contrast to the "perfect man," "the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ" (Eph 4:11-13).

10. that which is in part—fragmentary and isolated.

11. When … a child—(1Co 3:1; 14:20).

I spake—alluding to "tongues."

understood—or, "had the sentiments of." Alluding to "prophecy."

I thoughtGreek "reasoned" or "judged"; alluding to "knowledge."

when I became … I put away—rather, "now that I am become a man, I have done away with the things of the child."

12. now—in our present state.

see—an appropriate expression, in connection with the "prophets" of seers (1Sa 9:9).

through a glass—that is, in a mirror; the reflection seeming to the eye to be behind the mirror, so that we see it through the mirror. Ancient mirrors were made of polished brass or other metals. The contrast is between the inadequate knowledge of an object gained by seeing it reflected in a dim mirror (such as ancient mirrors were), compared with the perfect idea we have of it by seeing itself directly.

darkly—literally, "in enigma." As a "mirror" conveys an image to the eye, so an "enigma" to the ear. But neither "eye nor ear" can fully represent (though the believer's soul gets a small revelation now of) "the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him" (1Co 2:9). Paul alludes to Nu 12:8, "not in dark speeches"; the Septuagint, "not in enigmas." Compared with the visions and dreams vouchsafed to other prophets, God's communications with Moses were "not in enigmas." But compared with the intuitive and direct vision of God hereafter, even the revealed word now is "a dark discourse," or a shadowing forth by enigma of God's reflected likeness. Compare 2Pe 1:19, where the "light" or candle in a dark place stands in contrast with the "day" dawning. God's word is called a glass or mirror also in 2Co 3:18.

then—"when that which is perfect is come" (1Co 13:10).

face to face—not merely "mouth to mouth" (Nu 12:8). Ge 32:30 was a type (Joh 1:50, 51).

know … known—rather as Greek, "fully know … fully known." Now we are known by, rather than know, God (1Co 8:3; Ga 4:9).

13. And now—Translate, "But now." "In this present state" [Henderson]. Or, "now" does not express time, but opposition, as in 1Co 5:11, "the case being so" [Grotius]; whereas it is the case that the three gifts, "prophecy," "tongues," and "knowledge" (cited as specimens of the whole class of gifts) "fail" (1Co 13:8), there abide permanently only these three—faith, hope, charity. In one sense faith and hope shall be done away, faith being superseded by sight, and hope by actual fruition (Ro 8:24; 2Co 5:7); and charity, or love, alone never faileth (1Co 13:8). But in another sense, "faith and hope," as well as "charity," ABIDE; namely, after the extraordinary gifts have ceased; for those three are necessary and sufficient for salvation at all times, whereas the extraordinary gifts are not at all so; compare the use of "abide," 1Co 3:14. Charity, or love, is connected specially with the Holy Spirit, who is the bond of the loving union between the brethren (Ro 15:30; Col 1:8). Faith is towards God. Hope is in behalf of ourselves. Charity is love to God creating in us love towards our neighbor. In an unbeliever there is more or less of the three opposites—unbelief, despair, hatred. Even hereafter faith in the sense of trust in God "abideth"; also "hope," in relation to ever new joys in prospect, and at the anticipation of ever increasing blessedness, sure never to be disappointed. But love alone in every sense "abideth"; it is therefore "the greatest" of the three, as also because it presupposes "faith," which without "love" and its consequent "works" is dead (Ga 5:6; Jas 2:17, 20).

but—rather, "and"; as there is not so strong opposition between charity and the other two, faith and hope, which like it also "abide."




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