“But where are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears.” 1 Corinthians 13:8-10.
According to this scripture, there is coming a time when something called “perfection” is coming and when it appears, the imperfect will disappear.
What “perfection” is this speaking of?
There are some who believe that the Bible is what is being spoken of here. It is the perfect revelation of God and at its appearance, there is no further need for partial revelations. There is no doubt that spiritual gifts, whether prophecy, tongues, etc. are used “in part”. As a matter of fact, the phrase, “in part” comes from a root word that means, “to receive one’s portion or share.” Paul spent a lot of time telling us that no one carries all the gifts. The Bible is a series of revelations, not given to one man but to several different men as each received from their portion or share in the Spirit. Any prophecy is focused upon a specific part of the puzzle. It took Jesus three years to unload the gospel of salvation to His disciples as He released it part by part. He even said that He had more to tell them but that they could not bear it at that time. What more He had would be released later by the Holy Spirit directly to the disciples. John 16:12-15
So, what perfection is coming that will cause there to be no need for the gifts? Is it the Bible?
I guess I have a question to ask in relation to that line of thinking – where did we get the Bible from? Didn’t it come from the teachings of Jesus and the apostles? Didn’t those same apostles have access to the teachings of the Old Testament?
So, what revelation do we now have that they did not posses? What we have comes from them. Therefore, if they had the same revelation we have and the gifts were operating, what has changed in reality? Do we see clearer than the apostles? Since the Bible says that these gifts operate until Jesus is revealed – see first blog entry on the gifts – that revelation being described as the apocalypse doesn’t it seem in order that the “face to face” meeting Paul is speaking of in chapter 13:12 occurs when we see Him face to face?
Then, we know there will be no further need for the gifts to operate as ministry tools. We will know in fullness and I will have the exact revelation heaven has.
Paul finishes his discourse by saying, “Therefore, my brothers, be eager to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in tongues. But everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way.” The Bible is to be the strict guide for the use of all spiritual gifts. No revelation supersedes or counteracts its truth. So, the gifts compliment and validate the truth of the Word.
So, what childish ways are we to put behind us as mature people of God?
We’ll look at that next time.