1. Question Restatement:
Is the tempering the thing that was done to prevent a schism, or is it the giving of honor that was done to prevent the schism? Perhaps some combination of both?
2. Proposed Answer:
The immediate context, the entire book, and Ephesians 4, seems to indicate that Paul is teaching at least two principles - in order to preserve the unity of the Body:
- God has given those who are lacking more honor, and the Church should do the same;
- The reason that God mixed the Body together - of those who have abundance, and those who lack - is to fulfill the needs of those who lack, so all could rejoice together;
Edited NASB, 1 Corinthians 12:24 - whereas our more presentable members have no need. But God has so mixed together | συνεκέρασεν1 the body - for | τῷ2 those who are lacking, [because] God has given them even greater honor | τιμήν3
NASB, 1 Corinthians 12:25 - so that there may be no division in the body4;
1. Literally, "Mixed Together" - having mixed together those with abundance, and those who are lacking.
2. As a Participle of Cause, especially given the Aorist tense, and Dative Case of "for those who are lacking";
3. As a Participle of Cause or Concession
4. Certainly a Participle of Purpose;
Necessary Conditions for the Explicitly Stated Purpose:
NASB, 1 Corinthians 12:25 - so that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another.
Which was To Address The Problem, of People Accumulating too much Honor:
NASB, 1 Corinthians 1:11-12 - For I have been informed ... that there are quarrels among you. 12 Now I mean this, that each one of you is saying, “I am of Paul,” and “I of Apollos,” and “I of Cephas,” and “I of Christ.”
3. Analysis of the Greek:
3.1. Participle Phrases:
See: In 1 Corinthians 12:24 - Which Kind of Participle Phrase is "Having Given Them"?
This argument suggests that regardless of how the syntax is understood in that one verse - the rest of the context - and all of Paul's other writings - affirm the same things :
3.2. The Dative Case: "[τῷ | To / For] those who lack" -
The Greek Dative Case indicates that "the parts which lacks" are the recipients and "beneficiaries" of: A.) "Greater Honor"; AND ALSO - B.) "the Body being brought together".
Herbert Weir Smyth, A Greek Grammar for Colleges, The Dative Case - Dative Proper:
1457. The dative proper denotes that to or for which something is or is done.
1459. The dative proper is largely personal, and denotes the person who is interested in or affected by the action; and includes 1461-1473 as well as 1474 ff. The dative proper is not often used with things; when so used there is usually personification or semi-personification.
4. Refuting the Traditional Translation as a Participle of Manner:
4.1. If Translated as a Participle of Manner:
God brought together the Body, (having given more honor to those who were lacking) - so that there might not be divisions in the Body.
In this case, neither condition is a necessary necessary condition for unity, neither: fulfilling the needs of those who lack, nor giving greater honor to those who lack.
4.2. But, In Paul's Writings: Greater Honor is Required Towards those Who are Lacking -
NASB, Philipians 2:2-5 - make my joy complete by being of the same mind, ... the same love, united in spirit, ... one purpose. 3 Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit... regard one another as more important than yourselves; 4 do not merely look out for your own personal interests ...
4.3. Further, In Paul's Writings: Care for One Another is Required for Unity -
NASB, 1 Corinthians 12:25 a - so that there may be no division in the body - but [on the contrary] that the members may have the same care for one another.
NASB, Romans 12:3-5 - ... I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think ... 4 For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, 5 so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.
NASB, Galatians 6:2 - Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ.
NASB, Ephesians 4:11 - And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers,
NASB, Ephesians 4:12 - for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ;
NASB, Ephesians 4:16 - ... the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.