By Jim Murriner
I COR. 13:8-13
8 "Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away."
9 "For we know in part, and we prophesy in part."
10 "But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away."
11 "When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things."
12 "For now we see through a glass darkly; but then face to face; now I know in part ; but then shall I know even as also I am known."
13 "And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity."
I. The first thought in this section of scripture and the last thought in this section, are somewhat alike, when we look at this section of scripture as a whole.
"Charity never faileth....... but the greatest of these is charity."
While all other things mentioned here either fail or are done away, Charity is not done away, and when we look at all things Charity is the greatest of all which are listed here.
A. While Love or Charity is never to cease or go away; those special gifts given unto the church at Corinth as well as to other early churches were to end.
These gifts were to edify and accredit the church, and to show the world at that time that God had now chosen a different way of service unto Himself.
There were things that were happening at this time in history, and at this time in the history of the church which had to do with God's Word not being complete at this time.
1. "..but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail;"
This sounds like there will be a time that God will give His prophets some insight into the future which will not come to pass.
God is not the author of sin, and therefore this cannot mean that He will give His prophets a false vision, or a vision that shall fail to come to pass.
There is another meaning of prophecy ,,,to speak forth, such as in preaching,,, this too could not be what is meant here, God will not stop leading men to preach His Word.
2. "...whether there be tongues they shall cease".
Tongues means languages; does this mean then that a time will come that there will be no language?
Here again we are speaking of the special gifts given unto the early church until the time of the completeness of the Word of God.
3. "...whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away"
God gave special knowledge in the early days of His church, that the church might be accredited.
In Acts 2: we see both the gift of tongues and the gift of knowledge.
Here they not only were able to speak in other languages which they had not previously known, they seemed to know what they were saying.
B. vs. 9
This shows us that at that time the Word of God was only partial, and that the gifts were part of that partial giving of the Word of God.
C. vs. 10
What is it that is perfect? When we look at the context here including the previous verse it is clear that we are here looking at the Word being partly given at this time.
22 “But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.”
23 “For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass:”
24 “For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was.”
25 “But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.”
Once the Bible was complete, the special gifts which God gave during the time of giving of the Word, would cease.
This is why we need not look at special signs and wonders today, but to the Word of God.
1 “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets,”
2 “Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;”
1 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”
2 “The same was in the beginning with God.”