A More Excellent Way (The Longer Version)

Written by Larry M. Jaynes:

I Corinthians 12:31: But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way.

But covet earnestly the best gifts is the way that some people try to find the “so called” best gifts in the Bible. Yet, the Apostle Paul is literally saying the opposite; sure you can try your hardest (and covet earnestly) to get the best spiritual gifts, yet shew I unto you a more excellent way. Paul was writing to an entire church of believers in Corinth, saying that there was another way to conduct their lives, a better way to live than the way they were currently living, a more excellent way. This way is the way of love, to conduct our lives with charity as the following verses in chapter 13 then explain. It is to live in a more excellent way than any other way because living with the love of God in our hearts is the best way to enjoy life and experience happiness.

The basis for Paul explaining to the believers that there is a more excellent way goes back to verse 27–31 of I Corinthians chapter 12, which shows some of the gifts that the believers in the church were coveting, thus prompting Paul’s discourse.

I Corinthians 12:27–30:
-27: Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.
-28: And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.
-29: Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles?
-30: Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret?

This section of Scripture first states that we are the body of Christ and then that we are members in particular in that body. Each believer is unique within the body and each has a special place that is tailor-made for him or her with room to grow. As Proverbs 18:16 says, “A man’s gift maketh room for him, and bringeth him before great men.” It is this more excellent way of God’s love that allows room to grow and enjoy life as God intended for His children.

Then within this body, there are some ministries given by God in Christ Jesus, such as Apostles and Prophets and Teachers. Also, some believers in the body work miracles very well, such as ministering healing to others. As well, there are others in the body who are very diverse in the use of additional spiritual gifts and manifestations that have been supplied by God’s grace to help us walk with Him and with each other.

The verses above are not a shopping list from which we can pick and choose the ones we personally want to have; rather, God set some, i.e., God gives to His children what is needed at the appropriate time and in the proper measure to supply whatever would fit the spiritual need within the body of Christ. Paul is saying that when and where believers simply conduct their lives in love, they will then have tapped into the more excellent way as God supplies to His church (the body of Christ) the best and most needed gifts, which will be received effortlessly and enjoyed by all.

I Corinthians chapter 13 begins explaining some of the spiritual qualities of charity. The love of God (charity) is the more excellent way because it will bring the most needed and “best gifts” right to you at the appropriate time and in the right measure. The chapter unfolds to the believers the more excellent way with explanations of some of the greatness of God’s love applied, what it will accomplish when acted upon, and also what charity will not do. For instance “{charity} doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;” (verse 5). Chapter 13 of I Corinthians is a wonderful chapter for believers to read and reread over and again.

I Corinthians 13:6: {Charity} Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;

Iniquity means wrongdoing, or unrighteousness. In other words, let us say we see someone who wronged us in some way in the past now going through a hard time and we think, “That is just what he deserves!” This kind of rejoicing in or finding satisfaction with someone’s misfortune is where charity cannot and will not function because that kind of thinking does not emanate out of the love of God. This is because charity thinketh no evil.

“Rejoice” is spiritual joy repeated over and again! We will have and enjoy this continuous rejoicing when and where we have charity in our lives. When we look into the Scriptures, recognizing them as divine truth from God, it will cause our hearts to rejoice. When the truth begins to hold us up, then the love of God in our hearts will also begin to bubble over into rejoicing ― abundantly. I Corinthians 13:8 reads, “Charity never faileth” when active in one’s life. Now, how often will we fail when we have God’s love in our endeavors in life? Never!

How do Christians avoid being failures? Charity never faileth. When and where we have charity in our hearts, we will succeed. If charity could fail just once, then it would be worthless for it could let us down at a most important moment. However, and thankfully, charity never faileth.

Our loving, heavenly Father has given to His children a more excellent way to live, a more excellent way to follow, and a more excellent way to love. All that any believer can do is either walk into the abundance of God’s more excellent way and learn to be loving, or not. However, when you as a believer only try to walk with God in His love, you will assuredly fulfil your God-given talents and gifts as you continue rejoicing in the truth, for you will have tapped into a new spiritual love that will never fail you, for it is God’s more excellent way.

I Peter 4: 8–11 (The Amplified Bible):**
-8: Above all things have intense and unfailing love for one another, for love covers a multitude of sins [forgives and disregards the offenses of others].
-9: Practice hospitality to one another (those of the household of faith). [Be hospitable, be a lover of strangers, with brotherly affection for the unknown guests, the foreigners, the poor, and all others who come your way who are of Christ’s body.] And [in each instance] do it ungrudgingly (cordially and graciously, without complaining but as representing Him).
-10: As each of you has received a gift (a particular spiritual talent, a gracious divine endowment), employ it for one another as [befits] good trustees of God’s many-sided grace [faithful stewards of the extremely diverse powers and gifts granted to Christians by unmerited favor].
-11: Whoever speaks, [let him do it as one who utters] oracles of God; whoever renders service, [let him do it] as with the strength which God furnishes abundantly, so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ (the Messiah). To Him be the glory and dominion forever and ever (through endless ages). Amen (so be it).

**Scripture taken from THE AMPLIFIED BIBLE.
The Amplified New Testament copyright (c) 1958, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation.
Used by permission.

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