Biblical Hermeneutics.

In 1 Corinthians 12:26 (NASB1995),

If the first statement is

If one member suffers, all the members suffer with it

I wonder why didn't apostle Paul write the succeeding statement as

If one member is honored, all the members are honored with it.

Is it only a grammar concern—meaning, rejoice is synonymous to honored and rejoice just sounded more grammatically correct in this context? But if that's the case then why not

If one member rejoices, all the members rejoice with it.

I figured it is possible Apostle Paul intended to use those exact words (i.e. honor and rejoice). But I’m a little bit helpless on my own figuring out why.

Is it: It's ok for us to share suffering but not honor? Would love to know your thoughts.

  • "rejoice is synonymous to honored" That's just not true. Not even in English, let alone in Greek. – curiousdannii Jun 18 at 2:26
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Certainly the author could have written the following:

And whether one members suffers, all the body parts suffer together.
Whether one body part is glorified, all the body parts are glorified together.
Whether one body part rejoices, all the body parts rejoice together.

Why, then, did the author reduce those three clauses into two? Why did he choose to write συγχαίρει (“rejoice together”) instead of συνδοξάζεται (“be glorified together”)?

It seems quite possible that the final clause (in particular, συγχαίρει) is a pregnant construction (constructio praegnans). Because συγχαίρει is preceded by δοξάζεται, the context suggests (as the author is aware) that δοξάζεται is implied in συγχαίρει. That is, the body parts are rejoicing together because they are glorified together. The author expects the reader to recognize that. Of course, he wouldn’t have just eliminated the second clause altogether and replaced συμπάσχει with συγχαίρει in the first clause:

And whether one members suffers, all the body parts rejoice together.

The reason should be obvious. In the reader’s mind, the feeling associated with suffering doesn’t elicit rejoicing. On the other hand, the feeling associated with being honored (glorified) does.

Georg Benedikt Winer discusses the condensed structure of a sentence and blending of two sentences.1

1 Winer, Section LXVI, p. 641–653
Winer, George Benedikt. A Grammar of the New Testament Diction. Trans. Masson, Edward. 4th ed. Edinburgh: Clark, 1863.
  • 1
    I appreciate your response, and actually enjoy reading them. You certainly do a better job at articulating yourself than I. – Nihil Sine Deo Jun 18 at 3:54
  • 1
    @NihilSineDeo—Thank you so much! That means a lot! – Der Übermensch Jun 18 at 5:09

“If one member suffers πασχει, all suffer συμπασχει together; if one member is honored δοξαζεται, all rejoice συγχαιρει together.” ‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭12:26‬ ‭

Though in English the words are suffer and suffer the Greek illustrates a different picture. The two verbs translated suffer in English in the Greek are

πασχει - this means to actually feel, undergo or experience the pain (personally)

συμπασχει - this means to suffer with or alongside. In other words to sympathize.

This therefore follows the same train of though for honor and rejoice.

δοξαζεται - we say honored but it would be glorified, or be renowned, recognized for something of importance

συγχαιρει - we today would liken this to congratulating someone, it’s taking part in someone else’s joy.

In both cases the second verb conveys the idea of sharing in to the other person’s experience, a second hand experience. The first verb is specific to the person in question and it’s something that they experience personally, first hand.

Your question arose due to the English failing to have equivalent verbs for the Greek words but it’s an understandable question when read from the English alone.

(If Paul had wanted to convey the exact same pattern with regards to suffering and glorification then he would have used συνδοξασθωμεν which means to be glorified together but unlike suffering the honoring/glorifying appears to require letting the person in question receive it exclusively and being happy for them. That’s an interesting distinction. We don’t share in another person’s glorification per se.

Now in the general sense those who enter INTO Christ receive what Christ receives and when He is glorified we are glorified together with him, Paul does not exhort us to merely acknowledge Christ’s glorification.

“and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with συμπασχομεν him in order that we may also be glorified with συνδοξασθωμεν him.” ‭‭Romans‬ ‭8:17‬

We are to suffer alongside Christ that we may be glorified alongside Him also)

  • Great insights, thanks! I hadn't realised the words were different for the suffering sentence too. – curiousdannii Jun 18 at 5:42
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    It’s more of a prefix than a new word entirely. But prefixes will alter the meaning of a word @curiousdannii – Nihil Sine Deo Jun 18 at 15:33

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