1 Corinthians13:11

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When I was a child, I always spoke

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as a child, I always used my diaphragm to regulate my opinions about things

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the way a child does, I always came to a conclusion about things

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as a child does; when I became a man and reaped the consequences of becoming one,

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I brought the childish things to a motionless state.


When I was immature, it showed in the way I spoke, in the way I formed opinions about things (which included far too much emotion), in the conclusions I came to about things (I didn’t take enough factors into account even though I thought I had), but, when I matured in many ways and the new level of maturity became evident to others around me, I no longer relied on the useless way of doing things from my earlier days.


1: "I always spoke (as a child)”:

This verb is in the imperfect tense which should properly be rendered “I was speaking (as a child),” “it was my habit to speak (as a child).” But in order to make it sound better in English without losing the intent of the verb form, I have rendered it in my translation as “I always spoke.” This same verb form is used in the next two verbs in this verse.

2: "I used my diaphragm to regulate my opinions about things":

This verb is often rendered “to think” but it also means “to feel.” It comes from the noun “diaphragm or midsection” (think torso) and was used of “the heart, or the mind.” It has much to do with one’s “inner perception or insight;” notice that “insight” includes the word “in.” While it does have to do with one’s perception of self, it also involves one’s understanding of the world around him based on the starting point of what is inside him. This is much more than thinking; it is thinking and feeling at the same time. Our opinions are based on a variety of things such as our emotions, experiences, knowledge and relationships. The connection to the diaphragm or the midsection is that the diaphragm is used to regulate our breathing.


This is the Greek word from which we get our English words “logic, and logical.” It means “to compute, count, calculate, take into account reckon, reason and then come to a conclusion, come to the bottom line, decide.”

4: “I became a man”:

This verb and the next one are in the perfect tense, which, in Greek writing means that the action being referred to happened in the past but its consequences have remained and are still active at the time the statement was made.


All of us need to choose to act like adults or like children. Paul’s point here is that here is no room for childishness in the life of an adult. Those things should have been set aside long ago. One way to tell if someone is spiritually mature is to evaluate their focus; is it on exhibiting spiritual gifts, or on loving others?  Paul will return to the example of childishness in 14:20, and you can already guess where Paul places the Corinthians on the scale of maturity when it comes to spiritual gifts.