1 Corinthians 14:1 (ESV)

Pursue love, and earnestly desire the spiritual gifts, especially that you may prophesy

What would be the point of earnestly desiring the spiritual gifts if they have ceased? How do Cessationists interpret this verse in a way that doesn't contradict the doctrine of Cessationism?

Note: for the interested reader, a spin-off question inspired by the accepted answer: Should πνευματικα (pneumatika) in 1 Corinthians 14:1 be translated as “spiritualities” or “spiritual things” instead of “spiritual gifts”?

  • 1
    I think we need some more detail and clarity on this. Why would this particular text 'contradict' cessationalism ? Why would one need to 'reconcile' anything ? Why would anyone need to 'interpret' anything at all ? Does not the text speak for itself ? Prophesy - 'the gift of communicating and enforcing revealed truth ... Biblehub.
    – Nigel J
    Commented Aug 26, 2021 at 6:57
  • @NigelJ - see the last edit.
    – user50422
    Commented Aug 26, 2021 at 13:21
  • I don't see any dispute with prophesy, as long as one accepts the lexical meaning.
    – Nigel J
    Commented Aug 26, 2021 at 14:28
  • @NigelJ - what about the other gifts? Notice that the verse says "spiritual gifts" (plural), not just the gift of prophecy alone (singular).
    – user50422
    Commented Aug 26, 2021 at 15:03

1 Answer 1


1 Corinthians 14:1 reads :

διωκετε την αγαπην ζηλουτε δε τα πνευματικα μαλλον δε ινα προφητευητε [TR undisputed]

The word 'gifts' is not there in the Greek text and the KJV faithfully puts italics for the missing word which is a conjecture.

Follow after charity, and desire spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may prophesy. [1 Corinthians 14:1 KJV]

... be desirous of spiritualities ...

... is the literal rendering of the undisputed text. 'Be desirous of spiritualities and rather that ye may prophesy' is the meaning.

The desire for spiritual things leads to genuine prophesy, that is to say the communication of truth.

The word 'prophet' is akin to the word 'seer' as used in the Old Testament. The prophets 'saw' conditions and they spoke to those conditions and warned of the foreseeable consequences of those conditions.

This skill is as applicable today as it ever was.

I do not believe cessationalists have any problem with understanding, applying and enforcing this text.

  • Nigel, I would really like to see your answer to this question.
    – user50422
    Commented Aug 27, 2021 at 10:19

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