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1 Corinthians 14:12

ESV So with yourselves, since you are eager for manifestations of the Spirit, strive to excel in building up the church.
NIV So it is with you. Since you are eager for gifts of the Spirit, try to excel in those that build up the church.
NASB So you too, since you are eager to possess spiritual gifts, strive to excel for the edification of the church.
CSB So also you—since you are zealous for spiritual gifts, seek to excel in building up the church.
NLT And the same is true for you. Since you are so eager to have the special abilities the Spirit gives, seek those that will strengthen the whole church.
KJV Even so ye, forasmuch as ye are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek that ye may excel to the edifying of the church.
NKJV Even so you, since you are zealous for spiritual gifts, let it be for the edification of the church that you seek to excel.

What does 1 Corinthians 14:12 mean?

This passage makes the point that the spiritual gift of speaking in tongues is not helpful in church services or in public unless someone is present to interpret what is being said. This would require, in most cases, that either the speaker or someone else have the God-given, Spirit-empowered gift of interpretation of tongues.

Paul is not discouraging the Corinthians from wanting to experience and display spiritual gifts, however. He states that he knows they are eager for this, and he encouraged them to desire spiritual gifts in the first verse of this chapter. Instead, he is encouraging them to desire gifts that will meaningfully help them to build up the church. He wants them to want to build up the church—by building up each other—with the same eagerness that they desire "manifestations of the Spirit."

The word manifestation refers to obvious evidence that an idea or thing is really happening. Sickness manifests itself in undeniable symptoms. Abstract theories are proved true by the manifestation of concrete evidence. The Holy Spirit is proved genuine by the manifestation of His undeniable power through spiritual gifts given to Christians.

Paul writes that the Corinthians should want to see that in themselves and in each other. They should work to use those gifts, though, for the purpose of building each other up.
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