1 Corinthians 12:8-9: "...and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit," ESV.

v8 to another/allo the utterance of knowledge.

v9 to another/hetero faith.

v9 to another/allo gifts of healing.

If "hetero" is used here to introduce ,"another class which differs in kind from the preceding one" [Meyer's NT Commentary] then:

A. In what way does it differ?

B. Which class do the "gifts of healing " belong to? Do they differ from the preceding one?

Is Meyer's commentary correct? Is there a different way of explaining "hetero" in v9?

  • 1
    To another man or person.
    – Lucian
    Commented Jul 18, 2021 at 17:12

3 Answers 3


HELPS Word-studies

2087 héteros – another (of a different kind). 2087 /héteros ("another but distinct in kind") stands in contrast to 243 /állos ("another of the same kind"). 2087 /héteros ("another of a different quality") emphasizes it is qualitatively different from its counterpart (comparison).

English Standard Version 1 Corinthians 12:

8 For to one                  is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, 
  and to another [G243 allō]  the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit,

This group of individuals is given utterances of wisdom and knowledge. The next verse introduces a different kind of group by heterō

9 to another [G2087 heterō]    faith by the same Spirit, 
  to another [G243 allō]       gifts of healing by the one Spirit,

The 2nd group specializes in faith and healings.

Both groups are empowered by the same Spirit. The 1st group specializes in speaking wisdom and knowledge. The 2nd specializes in performing faith and healing.

What does “another/hetero” mean in 1 Corinthians 12:9?

The Greek hetero delineates the 1st group from the 2nd group.


Let me list the different words in the verse of 1 Cor 8-10 -

  • to one is given a word of wisdom
  • to another ἄλλος a word of knowledge
  • to a different one ἕτερος faith
  • to another ἄλλος gifts of healing
  • to another ἄλλος working of miracles
  • to another ἄλλος prophecy
  • to another ἄλλος the distinguishing of spirits
  • to a different one ἕτερος various kinds of tongues
  • to another ἄλλος the interpretation of tongues

Now, some try to make a sharp distinction between ἄλλος (another of the same kind) vs ἕτερος (another of a different kind); but this distinction was somewhat lost as can be seen from their use elsewhere. For example, ἕτερος is used to denote "another of the same kind" in places like Matt 8:21, 11:16, 12:45, 16:14, Luke 3:18, 5:7, etc.

Further, in places like Matt 16:14 we see the two words used synonymously.

Thus, all I would see no real distinction between these synonyms here, other than Paul's attempt to produce a chiastic pattern and to vary the sound of the writing and break up the monotony of repetition.

  • You mention Mat 8:21. Is not this another/heteros sort of disciple, i.e. one who makes excuses and did not continue to follow Jesus, as opposed to Mat 8:23 the others who got into the boat and followed him?
    – C. Stroud
    Commented Jul 22, 2021 at 13:26
  • In Matthew 11:16 the others/heterois are different in that the ones who call out want to engage in a shared activity but the others/heterois are at this moment not behaving like "playmates". They do not want to join in. Playmates are playmates because they join in but these didn't join in; they are different from the first group.
    – C. Stroud
    Commented Jul 22, 2021 at 13:44
  • @C.Stroud - I get the feeling that your distinctions are rather forced. Even BDAG says that, at times, ἕτερος is used interchangeably with ἄλλος, especially in lists.
    – Dottard
    Commented Jul 22, 2021 at 21:31

1 Corinthians 12 is addressed in v1 to "brothers". Brothers in Christ. They already have salvation faith. But if a special gift of faith is necessary for an exceptional situation then this faith might be different from salvation faith. "another/hetero" could be another type of faith, one for special circumstances other than salvation.

In Matthew 17:20 we have faith to move mountains, not faith tied to salvation. [Remove otherwise impossible problems?]

In Luke 17:6 we have faith but again salvation is not specifically mentioned. Instead we have trees being uprooted and thrown into the sea. An example, I think, of God overturning nature to prove faith in Himself.

What is "another/hetero" faith in v9? My answer:

The gift of "another/hetero" faith, which is a different from salvation faith.

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