1 Corinthians 12:2 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

1 Corinthians 12:2, NIV: "You know that when you were pagans, somehow or other you were influenced and led astray to mute idols."

1 Corinthians 12:2, ESV: "You know that when you were pagans you were led astray to mute idols, however you were led."

1 Corinthians 12:2, KJV: "Ye know that ye were Gentiles, carried away unto these dumb idols, even as ye were led."

1 Corinthians 12:2, NASB: "You know that when you were pagans, you were led astray to the mute idols, however you were led."

1 Corinthians 12:2, NLT: "You know that when you were still pagans, you were led astray and swept along in worshiping speechless idols."

1 Corinthians 12:2, CSB: "You know that when you were pagans, you used to be enticed and led astray by mute idols."

What does 1 Corinthians 12:2 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Paul has clearly stated that he is about to address the issue of spiritual gifts in the life of the Corinthian church. He begins with an introduction which is difficult to fully interpret. Bible scholars differ widely on how best to explain what's going on in verses 2 and 3.

Some assume Paul's comments are about supernatural "utterances," or words spoken by spirits or the Holy Spirit through a human being. Others understand Paul to be describing a method: something by which Christians can avoid being led astray by false teachers in the church.

The best explanation seems to be that Paul is beginning to show that every believer is spiritual. This is meant in the sense that every believer is occupied by the Holy Spirit. Otherwise, no Christian would be able to say that "Jesus is Lord," as Paul says in the following verse.

First, though, he reminds those converted from paganism that when they were led by others to worship idols, those idols were mute. They said nothing, and nobody said anything by the power of any idol. Paul's Christian readers have come to understand that idols have no power because they are not actually gods (1 Corinthians 8:4).

In the following verse, Paul may be referring to religious Jews who claimed that Jesus is accursed, as they would see any mere mortal who was hung on a "tree" (Galatians 3:13).