(If you are not studying this chapter in connection with
The Biblical View of the Gift of Languages, then you may want to refer
The nation of Israel was the evangelistic agent for God
from the time of its inception at the deliverance from Egypt in the year
2513 AH (ano hominus - the year of man), until 70 AD (4110 AH), when both
her city and temple were destroyed by the legions of Rome. This fulfilled
the prophecies of Christ concerning the temporary displacement of Israel
as God's servant nation, as found at Matthew 21:43; 23:36-39 and Luke 21:20-24.
During this 1600 year period, Israel had times of success and failure,
but ultimately the failures culminated in their rejection of Jesus as the
Messiah (Luke 19:41-44; Matthew 23:37; Acts 2:36) and the administration
of God's judgment upon the nation until the second coming of Jesus at the
Day of the Lord (Luke 21:24). God replaced Israel with a new nation, which
would produce the fruits of the kingdom (Matthew 21:43); a spiritual nation
(1 Peter 2:4-10) that would function as the evangelistic agent until such
time as God would restore Israel once again, as prophesied in both testaments
(Isaiah 59:20-21; Jeremiah 31:31-34; Romans 11:25-29).
See Topic: DISPENSATIONS and the
Baptism of the
Between the resurrection of Jesus in 30 AD and the formal
displacement of Israel in 70 AD, was a 40 year transition period, during
which God smoothly removed Israel and established the church as His representative
on the earth. During this time, God used temporary revelation and sign
gifts to establish the authority of the apostles and vindicate the new
revelation that He would be giving to the world through them. One such
sign gift was given exclusively to the nation of Israel to confirm to them
that God had indeed displaced them with a new evangelistic agent. That
sign was the gift of languages (tongues). The Revelation gifts were given
in order to provide new doctrinal truths for moral living and worship,
in view of the Messiah's sin-sacrifice on the cross and His subsequent
resurrection in victory over the forces of Satan. Once God completed the
revelation of this new truth through the last apostle, John, those gifts
would be set aside and no longer function because they would no longer
be needed. And once God finalized the displacement of Israel in 70 AD,
the sign gift of languages would simply cease, since it would no longer
be needed. Through it all, the point of contact between spiritual living
in the age of Israel, and spiritual living in the church age, was and is
the law of love. This is maintained through all the teachings of Jesus
and the apostolic writings, and no matter how much misunderstanding and
distortion exists, whether through emotional or intellectual compromise
(Philippians 2:14), the 15 virtues of love will always be the standard
for proper interaction with man and fellowship with God.
1 Corinthians 13:1-3
Verse 1 is very tricky because it plays upon the frame of reference of
the Corinthians and not ours. For us to come "up to speed" we
need to understand the cultic background of Corinth.
THE MYSTERY CULTS:
A. Concerning the expression of "tongues:"
1. The Theological Dictionary of the New Testament,
Vol. 1, page 722, "Parallels may be found for this phenomenon in various
forms and at various periods
and places in religious history."
2. "In Greek religion there is a series of comparable
phenomena from the enthusiastic cult of the Thracian Dionysus to the divinatory
manticism of the Delphic Phrygia."
3. Page 723, "The unintelligible lists of magical
names and letters in the magic papyrus which are used in the invoking and
conjuring of gods and spirits may also be analogous to this obscure and
meaningless speaking with tongues. With these mystical divine names, etc,
in which there are echoes of all the various oriental languages, we may
certainly couple the view that they derive from supraterrestrial tongues
used by the gods and spirits in heaven, each class having its peculiar
voice or dialect."
4. Summary: The practice in these cults was to force oneself
into an emotional or physical frenzy through drinking
or dancing or chanting and singing. This produces a semi-conscious, self-hypnotic
condition in which an unintelligible ecstatic gibberish would be uttered.
They considered this, speaking the language of the gods and angels and
therefore was the ultimate in earthly spiritual communion.
B. The Corinthian problem:
1. The Corinthian church had all the gifts functional
within their assembly. 1 Corinthians 1:7
2. They began their Christian experience with the proper
doctrinal foundation. 1 Corinthians 1:5-6; 2:1-5
3. But they moved into emotional slavery. In other words,
they ceased to function on the terms of God's quality
1 Corinthians 1:12; 3:3; 6:5-8; 2 Corinthians 6:11-12
4. They observed the similarity of the "gift"
of tongues to their past practices in the mystery
which practices held the highest place of value in
5. So it was very natural to transfer that value to the
bona fide spiritual gift of tongues.
a. The emotional attraction
b. Caters to individual pride
6. But there were problems.
a. In the mystery cults, everyone performed the activity
b. But the spiritual gift of tongues was limited.
1. Not all had it.
2. Women did not have it.
3. It was infrequently used:
its rank: a lesser gift (1 Corinthians 12:28)
its purpose: evangelistic and directed to Jews only
7. So because of this pseudo-value placed on tongues,
everyone wanted to do it just as they had done in
the mystery cults.
8. But since they could not, a false activity developed
to give the appearance of the genuine gift.
a. But it was only a return to the cultic practice of
the pagan Greeks.
b. It was emotional self-hypnosis which produced a verbal gibberish that
only "imitated" the true gift.
c. The mental desire to have it, plus the emotional and peer pressure enabled
everyone to create their own "language".
9. The result was verbal chaos in the services and a de-emphasis
on love and doctrinal instruction. Therefore, no edification.
Paul's intent in 1 Corinthians 13, is to place the emphasis
on love and the filling/control of the Spirit rather than on either the
bona fide gift of tongues or its emotional "cultic" imitation.
Verse 1: The desire for approbation from using the imitation
1. IF I SPEAK WITH THE TONGUES OF MEN: In context, this
refers to the bona fide gift of tongues, which was
the use of a specific Gentile language in order to
communicate the Messianic message to the Jews. There
is nothing wrong with using this gift, for Paul himself acknowledged
that he used it extensively (1 Corinthians 14:18). But
if the Holy Spirit is not in control then everything that the believer does comes from the flesh (Romans 8:8) and the selfishness
of his own lusts. In other words, if love is not the motivator behind the use of the gift, then the Spirit is quenched and the flesh
(sin nature) is in control resulting in a false representation
of the gift of tongues.
2. AND OF ANGELS: this does not refer to the bona fide
gift, for the gift was the use of human languages to communicate specific
truth to the hearers. This specifically refers to
the cultic practice that had been "imported"
from the Greek mystery cults and adopted by the emotional,
carnal "majority" of the church in order to find some kind of personal "satisfaction" in thinking that
God is doing something special and mystical with them.
There is absolutely no evidence in scripture that man
ever has or even can speak in the language of angels. Furthermore, every time
that angels had a message to give to a human, it was
always in that person's own language, not in some
angelic language. However, it was believed by participants
in the Greek mystery cults that they were speaking with the languages of
angels and gods.
3. AND DO NOT HAVE LOVE: This refers to the expression
of that quality of love which reflects the attitude of God in seeking
the benefit of others. The 15 virtues of love are listed in verses 4-7.
Additional teaching from Paul informs us that this quality of love can
only be produced by learning the truths of God's viewpoint and allowing
that viewpoint to permeate our soul so that His standards become ours (Philippians
1:9; 1 Timothy 1:5). In other words, only as the believer maintains fellowship
with God can love be reflected from his soul. For church age believers,
fellowship is intricately connected with the filling-control of the Holy
Spirit (See Spirituality) so that the real contrast here, is between carnality
and spirituality; between self benefit and mutual benefit.
4. I HAVE BECOME A NOISY GONG: This refers to the actual
impact that is realized when love is not the motivator
for our actions. The "gonging bronze" was
used by someone selling wares in the market in order
to draw attention to himself and his merchandise.
5. OR A CLANGING CYMBAL: This is the device used by a
"professional mourner" in order to draw attention to the sorrow
of the occasion. These "mourners" could
be hired to attend a funeral procession or gathering and through the noise-making
routines would draw people's attention and give the impression (real or
false) that the dead was much loved and much respected.
In both cases, the one who involves himself with this
"counterfeit" activity is only bringing
attention to himself and not seeking the glory of
God or the benefit of his fellow believers.
Verse 2: Three other areas that are neutralized without
1. AND IF I HAVE PROPHECY: The spiritual gift and function
of prophecy as a spiritual gift. The gift involved
both a fore-telling side and a forth-telling side.
The emphasis in this section of scripture is the emphasis
placed on the gift at Acts 15:32, "And Judas and Silas, also being
prophets themselves, encouraged and strengthened the brethren with a lengthy
See Topic, Spiritual Gifts: Gift
But whether the function be "prophetic" in nature
or didactic, if the believer is out of fellowship with God and operating
independent from the motivating standards of love,
then his prophesying and his teaching is useless and
he is viewed as "nothing."
2. AND KNOW ALL MYSTERIES AND ALL KNOWLEDGE: It is at
first, tempting to relate this back to the list of
gifts and regard it as a reference to "the word
of knowledge" at verse 12:8, but since Paul uses the verbal forms
of these words, it is more likely that his intent is to deal with the "possession"
of information that one places value on as pertinent to his Christian life.
"Know," then refers to the result of disciplined study of God's
word so that one possesses a thorough "academic" knowledge of
God's plan. The point is, that even though one may have a lot of "knowledge,"
without the motivation of love, that knowledge is nothing. Furthermore, the knowledge that one possesses may actually be
a knowledge that is not in agreement with the standards
of God such as at Colossians 2:8,
"See to it that no one takes you captive through
and empty deception, according to the tradition of men,
according to the elementary principles of the world,
rather than according to Christ."
Mysteries in the plural takes this beyond the revelation
of God and once again addresses the Greek "mystery"
cults. The issue in those cults was the possession of private and/or "restricted"
cultic knowledge (mysteries) which you then used to
build your prestige and power within the cult.
"Mystery" as it is used in reference to God's
plan always refers to the progressive nature of revealing His plan to His
people, as Paul explained at Ephesians 3:4-5, "which in other generations
was not made known . . ."
"All knowledge," refers to the possession of
academic information about God that would be used
as a false criterion for spirituality and fellowship with God. Paul mentioned
this quality of knowledge earlier at 1 Corinthians
"We know that we all have knowledge.
Knowledge makes arrogant, but love edifies."
It is important to realize that in this comparison, Paul
is not excluding knowledge but simply demeaning the possession of knowledge
for the sake of knowledge itself, without any application of beneficent
3. AND IF I HAVE ALL FAITH, SO AS TO REMOVE MOUNTAINS:
This refers to the function of faith as a miracle
producing ability, which is probably what the gift
at 1 Corinthians 12:9 is referring to. But as it is with any idea of faith,
the issue is really the object of faith rather than the function of faith
itself. This is illustrated at Matthew 7:22, where we find that unbelievers
can perform miracles "in the name of Christ." It should therefore,
not be surprising to us that believers also can become involved with a
"false" miracle producing way of life which is not motivated
by "true" Christian love, but instead, by a self-centered,
self promoting lust for approbation, power and money. In such cases, that
miracle producing "faith" is useless in God's eyes, no matter
HOW MANY "mountains" are moved.
Verse 3: Two areas of "religious" devotion
1. GIVE ALL MY POSSESSIONS TO FEED THE POOR: Material
generosity without the "true" motivator
of beneficent love for the people involved, has no spiritual value. "It
profits me nothing."
2. DELIVER MY BODY TO BE BURNED: Even religious sacrifice
to the point of martyrdom for what you believe has
no spiritual value if it is not motivated by "true"
love as it is defined by God. Keep in mind that every
religious movement has its martyrs, but the existence of martyrs does not
vindicate the movement any more than an abundance
of social generosity does.
The whole point of 1 Corinthians 13:1-7 is to establish
the fact that a believer can participate in various activities, think he
is in fellowship with God and sharing from the things of God, and yet,
in actuality be trapped in a circle of emotional religious deception.
Verses 4-7: Here Paul gives a detailed analysis of the
quality of love which is produced by the Holy Spirit
and the word of God in the soul. The fruit of the
Spirit is love (Galatians 5:23).
See Topic: BENEFICENT
1. Love is patient: makrothumeō is a present active
Each of the virtues of love are stated as a present tense of the verb to
indicate the constant and absolute nature of these virtues.
B. thumeō comes from thumos (passion, anger)
C. Thus, long time before anger is expressed or passion is shown.
D. Patient under emotional pressure.
E. The present tense indicates the constant expression of love.
Love is never anything but patient.
2. Love is kind: This verb is chrāsteuomai and only
occurs here. It occurs as a present middle indicative (middle with active
A. God's character: chrāstos (adjective) and chrāstotās
1. Luke 6:35 - impartial generosity cf. Matthew 5:43-48
2. Rom. 2:4 - forbearance and patience
3. Eph. 2:7-9; Titus 3.4-5; 1 Pet. 2.3 --- salvation provision
B. Used with believers: Gal. 5:22; Eph. 4:32; Col. 3:12;
1 Cor. 15:33
C. Grace orientation expressed through impartial sensitivity, non-violence
3. Love is not jealous: the verb is zāloō as
a present active indicative + the negative.
Jealousy is a mental attitude sin which combines covetousness
A. Jealousy originally was one of the 7 Divine viewpoint
attitudes God designed for the human soul. (Respect, love, pride, ambition,
hatred, jealousy and anger)
B. Jealousy was the attitude of protectiveness and zeal
for the promotion of Divine viewpoint in man's environment.
C. But through the distortion of the sin nature, this protectiveness and
zeal was redirected to self and the promotion of self.
D. Thus, jealousy emanates from the sin nature. Gal. 5:21;
E. And is evidence of the sin nature's control. 1 Cor. 3:1-3
F. Jealousy is a characteristic of the unbeliever lifestyle. Titus 3:3;
4. Love does not brag: perperuomai (present middle indicative
+ negative) means to be puffed up with a lot of air.
This is the only place the word occurs.
It communicates a conceited attitude, bragging & "wind-bagging"
throughout life. Love is not conceited.
5. Is not arrogant: this verb is phusioō as a present
passive indicative + the negative. It literally means to be puffed up,
and communicates the idea of being puffed up with nothing but thinking
that one has it all and is all. This refers to a rebellious, defiant, schismatic
A. Arrogance replaces beneficent love w/ self-promotion
at the expense of others.
B. Academic success without grace produces arrogance. 1 Cor. 8:1; Is. 47:10
C. Material success without grace produces arrogance. Hosea 13:6;
D. Arrogance deceives ones whole life style. Obadiah verse 3.
6. Does not act unbecomingly: This word is used only 2
It is aschāmoneō as a present active indicative + negative.
A. 1 Corinthians 7:36 - a father being unfair or dishonest
concerning an established standard for a daughter's marriage.
B. schāma, means a scheme, pattern or design; a = negative to that
scheme or design.
C. The design is God's established standards for the moral structure and
function of the human race.
D. It refers to negative living in the sphere of God's morality structure.
E. Thus, does not act immorally
7. Does not seek it's own: This verb is zāteō
as a present active indicative + the negative. The object is literally,
"the things of it's own."
Thus, love is not self-seeking or promoting at the expense of others.
A. CF 1 Corinthians 10:23-24, 31-33
B. Rom. 15:1-3
C. Rom. 13:8-10
8. Is not provoked: This verb is paroxunō (present
active indicative + negative) and means to provoke to wrath, irritate.
In the passive voice it means to BE irritated or provoked to wrath
A. It indicates a patience with people and circumstances.
B. These things do not control you, but God's word controls you.
C. Apply to: personalities, children, weather, physical discomfort, traffic,
politics, crime, crowds, lines, dripping faucets.
9. Does not take into account a wrong suffered:
not hold a grudge
A. logidzomai (present middle indicative + the negative)
means to consider, reckon, impute, take into account.
B. The wrong: kakos with the definite article refers to that HARM which
is done to you or even to others.
C. Love does not hold a grudge or seek vengeance.
1. Forgiveness: Ephesians 4:2, 32
2. Divine justice: Romans 12:17-21
10. Does not rejoice in unrighteousness: Does not take
pleasure in that which is opposite to Divine viewpoint.
A. rejoice: chairō - (present active indicative +
negative) means to be glad, or to take pleasure in something.
B. adikia - that which is contrary to God's standards of righteousness.
C. Examples: sexual perversion and jokes; evil deeds; criminal ingenuity;
other's misfortunes - Proverbs 17:5
11. But (in contrast) rejoices in the truth: sugchairō
as a present active indicative + alātheia. This means to express divine
viewpoint as it relates to all areas of morality living and worship.
12. Bears all things: stegō - (present active indicative)
means to endure, cover, silence, conceal.
A. It refers to endurance in the normal pressures of life
which hit from the outside.
B. Physical pressures, world pressures, moral pressures.
13. Believes all things: pisteuō - (present active
indicative) refers to having an attitude that gives the benefit of the
doubt in the sphere of our moral environment. We can call it MORAL OPTIMISM.
Trusting people at the onset, but using reason and wisdom concerning the
repeated carelessness and armful activity of others. This does not mean
that the believer should disregard the failure of others, but that the
believer should not pre-judge and instead, give the benefit of the doubt,
and even giving people a second and perhaps a third chance in their relationship
14. Hopes all things: elpidzō (present active indicative)
refers to having absolute confidence in the plan of God.
This attitude operates on the premise of knowing and believing Romans 8:28,
so that we trust that God will indeed cause all things to work together
for the benefit of those who love Him.
This is SPIRITUAL OPTIMISM.
15. Endures all things: hupomenō (present active
indicative) means to remain up under pressure.
This is a word for consistent victory over the pressures of the Christian
life which seek to bring about a spiritual defeat.
It refers to the application of God's character and plan to the antagonistic
environment in which the believer lives here on earth.
16. Love never fails: piptō, (present active indicative)
+ oudepote (at no time, or never) falls.
There are two things that can be seen by the use of this word in reference
A. Most certainly we can see the idea that love never
falls from its place of prominence and authority as the prime ingredient
for living the Christian life. It communicates the quality and permanence
of the way of life that operates on God's character standards.
B. But also, WHILE genuine beneficent love is functioning
in the soul, the believer will not sin. Love is incompatible with sin,
and in order to sin, the believer must choose to function opposite to the
standards of love as outlined in the 15 virtues. IN other words, if we
let love dictate our thoughts, speech and actions, then there will be no
sin in the life.
C. Galatians 5:6, faith operating through love
D. Romans 13:8, He who loves the other has fulfilled the law
Verses 8-10: orientation to the plan of God concerning
the temporary nature of the gift of tongues.
Verse 8a, LOVE NEVER FAILS
Love supercedes everything else in the Christian experience
other than the presence and function of the Holy Spirit in the believer's
life. But this concept needs to be kept in the context of Christian growth,
for without the knowledge of God's word; the principles and standards of
God's plan and His righteousness, love cannot be produced in the life.
Paul writes at 1 Timothy 1:4, "But the goal of the instruction is
LOVE; out from a cleansed heart, and a good conscience, and an un-hypocritical
expression of faith."
Verse 8b, BUT IF THERE ARE GIFTS OF PROPHECY THEY SHALL
BE DONE AWAY
This statement relates only to the gift of prophecy. The
Greek word, katargeo, means to set aside, render ineffective and powerless,
to abolish, to nullify. It occurs in a future passive indicative, which
indicates that the gift of prophecy will "receive" an abrogation
at some time in the future. The KJV translation here does not accurately
represent the meaning of the verb, but translates it as "shall fail."
Not only is this a mistranslation, but the idea of FAIL is totally wrong
concerning prophecy. All the prophecies of the Bible will be fulfilled
to the letter, and nothing of what God has spoken will FAIL. Furthermore,
there is confusion in the KJV by translating the Greek word, pipto, as
FAILETH in the first part of the verse, and then the word, karargeo, as
fail, in the next part - giving the impression in the English that they
are speaking about the same thing, which is not true.
KNOWLEDGE is also assigned a future abrogation by the
use of the identical word, katargeo, with the same morphology (future passive indicative).
And again the KJV has failed to represent either the true meaning of this
verb or the fact that it is the very same verb for both knowledge and prophecy,
but instead, inserts a different English word (shall vanish away), which
only adds to the confusion. The abrogation of these
two gifts is discussed in verses 9-12.
However, TONGUES, THEY SHALL CEASE: Here we have a different
word to communicate the longevity of the gift of tongues.
And the most important point in this context is that
verses 9-12 explain only the relationship of katargeo to the gift of prophecy
and knowledge and have nothing to do with the cessation
of tongues. The cessation of tongues is governed
by this different word and by the context that Paul
establishes in the next chapter which culminates at verses 20-22. The word is,
pauo, which means to cease. It occurs in the
future middle indicative. The significance of the
middle voice is that the subject acts upon itself
with a reflexive idea. It means that the subject,
tongues, will cease of its own accord without any specific action from an outside source. In other words, when tongues has
accomplished its purpose it will cease of its own accord because its job will be done and there is nothing else for it to do.
Again, "when" this happens has nothing to
do with verses 9-12, for that deals only with prophecy
and knowledge. The job of tongues will become accomplished
when there is no longer a "physical" nation of Israel to be the specific recipient of the message. This occurred
in 70 AD when the Roman army destroyed the temple.
That removal of the temple and temple activity made final the transition
from the old priestly body to the new one.
For a complete understanding of this truth, one needs
to study the history of Israel's priestly responsibility and her failure
as God's representative on earth. This will be discussed in detail in chapter
Verses 9-12: These verses explain the meaning of the Greek
word, "katargeo," and not the word, "pauo,"
they do not address the issue of tongues at all. However,
in the same way that tongues was abused and counterfeited in the Corinthian
church, so it is being done today. And in the same
way that tongues is counterfeited today, so there
is a search for a more "mystical" involvement with prophecy, wisdom and knowledge. And it is within the context of
the counterfeit emphasis on "tongues" that
this counterfeit emphasis on prophecy, wisdom and
knowledge occurs. The language of 1 Corinthians 13:9-12 seems
to extend the function of prophecy and knowledge throughout the church age, but the fact that the counterfeit "tongues"
is the primary emphasis within these groups of believers,
makes it apparent that God could not be honoring any
function of prophecy and knowledge.
The bona fide gift of tongues has ceased as of 70 AD and any "move"
of God will not be made in support of that which has
ceased in accord with His perfect plan for the change
from Israel to the church, as the priestly agent.
Paul's intent is to demonstrate to the Corinthians that
what they were doing was in violation of love as well
as in violation of the original design for the gift
of tongues in the first place.
That is why he concludes chapter 13 with, "And now remains faith, hope (confidence) and love, these three; but the greater
of these three is love.
1. gar (for) is a word of explanation of the previous
2. ek merous ginoskomen: we know in part
This is a reference to the spiritual gift, the word of
knowledge (gnosis), as it is listed at verse 12:8. The prepositional phrase (ek + the noun,
meros) literally means out from (the) part or from (what
is) partial. In other words, the temporary gift, word of knowledge, operates
from what is incomplete in regard to divine revelation. It operates in
fact, BECAUSE the revelation from God is incomplete at that time. However,
when God's revelation to His people becomes complete through the Spirit's
ministry to the apostles and prophets, then the temporary gift of knowledge
will be done away with.
3. kai ek merous propheteuomen: and we prophecy in part.
The verb refers back to verse 2, "if I have prophecy,"
and indicates the function of the prophet in proclaiming God's revelation
to His people.
Once again, the phrase, "out from the part,"
indicates an incomplete prophetic message BECAUSE there is no complete
body of revealed truth for God's people. It is God's plan to provide such
a body of truth, so that throughout the church age, God's people will have
an absolute standard for doctrine and policy as the Old Testament and the
Apostolic revelation melds into a complete and sufficient canon of scripture.
4. The gift of languages (tongues) is NOT mentioned as
being "in part" because it is NOT "in part." It is
in a separate category from prophecy and knowledge.
1. but when the perfect is come: The word perfect, is
the adjective, teleios, and refers to something that is complete, especially
in this context, where it is clearly in contrast to what is partial (ek meros). The word occurs as a neuter to indicate a thing rather than a person.
It therefore does not refer to the person of Christ, but instead, to the
revelation ABOUT Christ. The verb, come, is an aorist active subjunctive
of erchomai, and indicates a specific point of time when there will exist
a complete body of divine revelation for God's people. That body of revelation
became complete when John received from the Holy Spirit, the book of the
Revelation. This is labeled the completion of the canon of Scripture, and
although not specifically described as that in the bible, John discusses
the IDEA and future reality of that significant HOUR in history at 1 John
This passage is discussed in detail in ADDENDUM ONE at
then end of this chapter.
2. The partial: This time a definite article (the) occurs
with the prepositional phrase to indicate that Paul is referring to the
two things mentioned that operate in an incomplete sphere; that is, the
spiritual gifts of prophecy and knowledge as indicated in verse 9. When
the complete revelation is provided by God, then those gifts which operate
in the sphere of the incomplete will no longer be needed and will be abolished.
This does not refer to the gift of tongues. Tongues is
NOT listed as being "in part," but is classed in a different
category of spiritual gift. Therefore, tongues will not be abolished when
prophecy and knowledge are abolished. In actuality, tongues will simply
CEASE of itself when its job is done sometime prior to 70 AD as already
3. shall be done away: the verb is katargeo as a future
passive indicative to indicate a time yet in the future when THE complete
comes on the scene. At that time, the period of incomplete revelation will
be over, and the spiritual gifts that operated in the sphere of that incomplete
will no longer be needed, and will therefore be abolished. The verb means
to set aside, wipe out, or abolish something. It also means to nullify,
render powerless or make idle, but these temporary gifts are not simply
"put on hold," but are actually discontinued so that since the
completion of the canon of scripture, none of the revelation type communication
gifts are in existence.
In the context, the two things that are abolished are
prophecies and knowledge, but by way of application and actuality, the
other revelation gifts were abolished also. For certainty in clarification,
it needs to be said again, that tongues is not included as one of the PARTIAL
things in view and should not be seen as the object of this verb or of
the illustrations that follow in verses 11-12. The gift of tongues operates
under an entirely different factor than an incomplete or complete revelation.
Verses 11-12 now give examples of what it means to "do
It does not refer to what is going to cease, but only
to what is going to be abolished. If tongues is to cease, that ceasing
must be found in some other verses than what is given here, because the
verses that follow verse 8 deal only with what will be done away - prophecies
There is no violation of context. There is no taking out of context.
Paul makes 3 statements.
1. prophecies will be done away
2. tongues will cease
3. knowledge will be done away
He only explains "when" in reference to prophecies
The "when" for the gift of tongues is found in other passages
that explain what its purpose was.
Verse 11, The Illustration of Maturity
The child represents the incomplete, and becoming a man
represents the complete. It is a natural part of growing up that, what
is childish has no part in our grown-up existence. So also, when THE CHURCH
reaches an age where it can be considered grown-up, that PARTIAL condition
will be displaced by a more complete and permanent condition of having
a reliable, unchanging standard of divine truth. In its childhood, the
church needed the revelation gifts that provided only PARTIAL information
toward its stabilizing and ADULTHOOD. Once that adulthood is reached, then
what was partial and related only to the churches childhood, would be set
aside. The HUGE question for this passage is, WHEN is it that the church
can be considered to have reached its adulthood? There are two main choices
for this answer. (1) it could refer to the time when the church will be
removed from this earth and be in the presence of God in heaven. Those
who advocate this choice, use verse 12 to show that "face to face"
refers to when WE are present with the Lord. This seems to be almost TOO
obvious. Unless we have somehow been influenced to think that the gifts
will continue to function when the church is in heaven, then OF COURSE
they will stop to function when the church is removed. It seems that the
only reason to mention this abolition of the revelation gifts is, because
they are indeed to be set aside at some time DURING the history of the
church here on the earth. (2) It could refer to the completion of the OFFICIAL
canon of Scripture, which would occur in c. 96 AD when John the apostle
completed The Book of the Revelation. The revelation gifts provided partial
information, but once that PARTIAL information was all communicated to
the church, the written result (the canon of Scripture) was a complete
body of truth that revealed all that the church would need for life and
worship throughout the remainder of its days on the earth.
ADDENDUM TWO, at the end of this chapter, gives the scriptural
basis for viewing the Bible as becoming complete and authoritative within
the apostolic era.
From an EXPERIENTIAL standpoint, revelation from God did
indeed cease after John completed The Revelation. There is nothing that
has been OFFICIALLY added since then, there is nothing that is needed.
Furthermore, any TEACHING that has been given by individuals MUST be held
to the standard of the apostolic revelation; anything that differs from
that revelation is false, and anything that agrees with it would simply
be superfluous. The idea that God still uses the revelation gifts to provide
GUIDANCE information to individuals has two obstacles to bypass. (1) The
believer is to receive personal guidance information, both specific and
general, from the written books of the Bible via the influence or the IMPRESSIONING
by the Holy Spirit. No persons have authority to be that INSPIRED guide
for others. AND there is no way to KNOW that any particular person truly
SPEAKS FOR GOD, because that claim is made by many who hold to theological
views clearly in conflict with the written Bible. Just because someone
makes the claim that "God told me," does not make it true, nor
does it obligate me to him or to his teaching.
(2) For the most part, those who claim that God still
provides REVELATION type guidance to his people through prophets and other
gifts, likewise advocate the practice of the pseudo gift of tongues. Since
the cessation of the gift of Languages (tongues) is governed by a different
standard than the Greek word DONE AWAY, and since that gift has indeed
ceased as of 70 AD based on its clearly stated designed purpose, any activity
that claims to be that gift of languages TODAY, is false. Accordingly,
any claim by those who practice this pseudo activity, that the gifts of
knowledge and prophecy, etc. are also valid for the church today, is highly
suspect. For God would not give support to a functional gift of prophecy
by using those who claim to possess such a gift, to advocate something
(tongues) whose existence, and mode of expression are clearly in violation
of the written Bible (The study on 1 Corinthians 14 will clarify these
violations of the true purpose for the temporary gift of languages that
God gave to the church as a ministry to national Israel).
Accordingly, the theory that verse 12 extends the existence
and function of the revelation gifts of prophecy and knowledge throughout
the entire history of the church, is refuted by both reason and experience.
What then of the impression given by verse 12 that those gifts do remain
in effect until the church is removed? I suggest that Paul is using the
doctrinal truth of our INCOMPLETE status here on earth as compared to our
COMPLETE status when we are in heaven, as another ILLUSTRATION of the abolition
of the revelation gifts.
1. For: The Greek particle, gar, is used once again to
provide additional explanation of the original claim made at verse 10,
"when the complete arrives, the incomplete will be done away."
2. Now (arti): This refers to the present time of the
believer's life on earth and serves as the introduction to another ILLUSTRATION
of incomplete being replaced with complete.
3. we see in a mirror dimly: The word, dimly, is the Greek,
en ainigma, and means, in an indistinct image. It refers to the fact that
EVEN THOUGH we have a complete written revelation from God, we are still
limited and incomplete concerning the fullness of our experience with God
as it will be when we are face to face with Him.
4. But then: This refers to what comes after our life
5. Face to face: The Greek, prosopon pros
to an intimacy that can only be looking to our presence with the Lord as
described by Jesus at John 14:1-3, "where I am there you may be also,"
and what Paul writes later at 2 Corinthians 5:8, "at home (pros) with
the Lord," and again at Philippians 1:23, "to depart and be with
6. Now (arti): Again, this is during our life here on
7. I know are in part: The verb, ginosko (present active
indicative) refers to the temporal experience of our life (Paul uses the
first person probably because of his personal involvement with the reality
of what he is writing about) and the cognizance we have of God's fullness.
The term, in part, once again is ek meros, which indicates OUT FROM THE
PART (or partial), and refers to the incompleteness of our existence here
on earth because we are absent from God. The use of this term makes the
correlation back to the original subject of incomplete revelation vs. complete
revelation and is the point of contact for the ILLUSTRATION.
8. But then: This refers to the THEN of the immediate
context, which is when the believer is face to face with the Lord.
9. I will fully know: This is the verb epiginosko (future
middle indicative) and is used to indicate the possession of full knowledge,
but the nature of that FULLNESS is based on context.
At 2 Peter 1:3, we are told that DURING THIS LIFE, God
has given us everything that we need for life and worship through His FULL
KNOWLEDGE (the noun, epignosis). But clearly the use of FULLY KNOW here
goes beyond this life and refers to that which can only be experienced
through a face to face presence with God.
The reason that we must extend this into a heavenly context
is because what follows, kind of defines the NATURE of this full knowledge.
10. Just as I am fully known: This is the same verb but
as an aorist passive indicative. It indicates what GOD knows of us, not
from the perspective of omniscience, but from the standpoint of the COMPLETE
picture about His plan for us and the universe. It teaches that we are
going to have a much more complete understanding of the human race and
God's plan when we are face to face with Him.
AND - in the same way that our INCOMPLETE existence here
on earth will be replaced by a complete experience of face to face with
God, SO also, the incomplete quality of God's revelation to the church
during the formative years (apostolic era), will be replaced by a more
complete revelation when God finishes providing "all that we need
for life and worship" through the written Bible.
FAITH refers to the function of faith that takes the character
of God as represented in His word and applies it to
every situation in life.
See Topic: Faith Rest
CONFIDENCE refers to the resultant attitude of total confidence
in the character and plan of God as it is revealed
in His word.
LOVE refers to the character reflection of Christ as evidenced
in the 15 virtues of love outlined in verses 4-7.
Love is the ultimate goal of all Christian activity.
The comprehension of love as we learn God's word;
the application of love to ourselves as we apply God's standards to our own soul; and the expression of love to others as
we reflect the beneficent nature of love from God's
perspective (1 Timothy 1:5).
"But the goal of the instruction is love out from
a pure heart
and a good conscience and an un-hypocritical faith." (BFT)
Eph. 3:16-19 (BFT),
That He would grant you, according to the riches of His
to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man;
so that, having been rooted and grounded in love,
Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith;
so that you may be able to comprehend with all the saints
what is the breadth and length and height and depth,
and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge,
so that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.
In the context of the local church and the function of
the spiritual gifts, the issue in love is the mutual
benefit of those in attendance since they are there to worship God and
be edified by the teaching of the word. Paul discusses
this in detail in 1 Corinthians Chapter 14.
ADDENDUM ONE: Anticipation of the completed canon of Scripture
1 John 2:18
A LAST HOUR: A pivotal point in the plan of God
1. Children: paidion is used to emphasize involvement
in the growth process.
A. When this word is used, the writer wants to impress
the recipients with the need to be under instruction, whether in general
or for specific information.
B. In this case, it is for specific orientation to the
advance and nature of false teachers (verse 26).
2. It is A LAST hour: the word is hora without a definite
A. Hour refers to a specific point of time within a time
B. The specific our may be a short or extended point of time, but it is
a distinct event within an established time frame.
C. It is used here to indicate a pivotal event in the
progress of God's plan.
D. Other examples of such pivotal points in God's plan.
1. Christ's Messianic sacrifice:
John 2:4 - my hour has not yet come
Mark 14:35 - the hour might pass Him by
Matthew 26:45 - the hour is at hand
John 12:23, hour has come for the Son of man to be glorified.
2. Change in worship perspective: John 4:21, 23
An hour is coming and now is.
3. Change in salvation perspective: John 5:25, an hour
is coming and now is when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of Man.
(This is a salvation issue, not a resurrection issue)
4. The resurrection program: John 5:28-29
An hour is coming when all who are in the tombs
5. The apostolic period of persecution: John 16:2
An hour is coming for everyone who kills you to think that he is offering
service to God.
6. Christ's 40 day resurrection ministry: John 16:25-26
An hour is coming when I will no more speak to you figuratively.
7. Hour of divine judgment during the Day of the Lord:
Rev. 3:10 - the hour of testing that will come upon the
Rev. 14:7 - the hour of His judgment has come
Rev. 14:15 - the hour to reap has come
8. The 3 days of the scattered disciples: John 16:32
An hour is coming and already is, for you to be scattered.
E. But what is THIS last hour that John writes about?
1. It is a period of time was present at the end of John's
ministry (c. 90 AD).
2. It was not the end of the church age,
ie, the time
for Christ's return. John's discussion about the return of the Lord (Verse
2:28; 3:2) is not different from how Paul and Peter deal with it.
3. This HOUR is characterized by a prevalence of false
F. They had been taught about this time of false teachers
1. Just as: kathos - this adverb establishes a standard
of previous teaching.
2. You heard: akouo as an aorist active indicative
3. It corresponds with what Paul taught at 2 Tim. 3:1-5
In the last days (eschatos hemera) - in the days to come.
4. It corresponds with Peter at 2 Peter 2:1 and 3:1-4
5. It corresponds with Jude at verses 17-19 and verse
4 - eschatos chronos - in the TIME to come.
6. Thus, John's vocabulary for the same time period is
eschatos hora with emphasis on its present arrival.
3. All this previous teaching about false teachers can
be summed up by John's vocabulary, which indicates that an antichrist is
A. The word antichristos without the definite article
= AN antichrist or simply antichrist alone.
B. Is coming: this is a present middle indicative of
and refers to the arrival of a person or time which will be characterized
by speech and lifestyle that is antagonistic to the Messiah (Christ).
C. Anti, means against or instead of, and refers to both
false prophets and false messiahs.
D. The word antichrist refers to false teachers in general
and is not a title for the beast of Revelation 13 or the man of lawlessness
of 2 Thessalonians 2. Yes, traditionally, the title has been almost universally
applied to the beast, but the word only occurs in John's letters and never
is there a hint that it refers directly to the future dictator of the
E. What have they heard concerning what is coming into
If we go back to what has been written, then we go back to several things,
realizing that no one else uses ANTI so we have to find its equivalent.
1. Jesus: Mat. 24:24, "for many FALSE christs and
false prophets will arise." 30 AD
2. Paul: the deceitful spirits of 1 Tim. 4:1. c. 65 AD
3. Peter: the false teachers of 1 Pet. 2:1. c. 68 AD
F. And yet the apostles acknowledge that there were false
prophets had had infiltrated even as they wrote. And then Jude (which is
more difficult to date, but is probably between 68 and 80 AD) writes that
certain persons HAVE secretly infiltrated, indicating there presence "already"
just as John tells us.
4. John's vocabulary for the fulfillment of that previous
teaching is - many antichrists.
A. Even now: kai nun, indicates conformity to the established
standard of the previous teaching.
B. many antichrists: these are described at v. 22, 4:3
& 2 John 7.
C. have arisen: ginomai means to become, but in a temporal
context, it means to arrive on the scene. As a perfect active indicative,
it means that the arrival in view has indeed arrived, and it is not going
to go away.
D. None of the apostles make any claims that THE man of
lawlessness has arrived, but simply that the "spirit" behind
the man of lawlessness has arrived. Thus we are warned of this "spirit
of antichrist" (based on John 4:2-3) as a CONCEPT rather than a specific
E. John continues telling us about the "spirit"
who denies the incarnation of Jesus, "and this is the one (spirit
- based on context) who is OF the antichrist, concerning which you have
heard that IT (spirit) is coming and NOW is in the world already."
F. Even though the definite article is now used, it points
BACK to what is in context and not forward. John uses the definite article
at 2 John 7 also, where it very clearly refers to what is NOW present in
"For many deceivers have gone out into the world,
those who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh
(again - the issue revolves around the doctrine of the incarnation).
THIS (what is then present) is THE deceiver and THE antichrist."
Ie, this is the "spirit" of antichrist which he previously taught
G. There is nothing in this context which should take
us forward to "the end times" (which have not presently arrived)
and have us apply the term antichrist to the man of lawlessness and the
two beasts of The Revelation.
H. And of course believers overcome these false teachers
by faith and love - that is, they overcome the FALSE DOCTRINES of these
false teachers, but have ever been the recipients of great physical persecution
and can not boast of any PHYSICAL victory over them.
5. From this: Through the fulfillment of previous teaching
concerning false teachers.
6. We know: ginosko (present active indicative) refers
to experiential knowledge through observing the presence and effects of
the false teachers.
7. that it is A LAST hour.
A. This is not the last days of the church age - for there
are yet 1900 + years left, even though John does not know it.
B. Under the principle of inspiration, John would not
erringly write that it is time for Christ to return.
C. But what he could know, is that the time period spoken
of by the others is presently at hand.
8. Furthermore, John has in mind a pivotal event in the
progress of God's plan. The list below is of pivotal events.
A. Birth of the Messiah
B. Baptism of the Messiah
C. Crucifixion of the Messiah
D. Birth of the church
E. Fall of Jerusalem
F. Completion of the canon of Scripture and end of apostolic era
G. Beginning of Daniel's 70th week
H. Rise of the man of lawlessness
I. Return of Jesus at the Day of the Lord.
9. In 90 AD, the only pivotal event in the progress of
God's plan, which would elicit a major attack from Satan via false teachers,
would be the imminent completion of God's written revelation within 6 years.
10. Accordingly, John actually addresses this issue in
A. He brings attention to the truth & his reason for
writing, Verse 27.
B. He reminds them of an already established standard,
C. He brings up the reality of those who are trying to
deceive, verse 26. (that is, to detract from the integrity of the already
D. Verse 27, refers to the ministry of the Holy Spirit
in having previously taught them what that established standard is.
ADDENDUM TWO: New Testament Authority
The apostolic writings provide the absolute and COMPLETE
authority in doctrine and policy for the church throughout all of its history.
1. Rom. 16.17-18, Now I urge you brethren, keep your eye
on those who cause dissensions and hindrances contrary TO THE TEACHING
WHICH YOU LEARNED, and turn away from them. For such men are slaves, not
or our Lord Christ but of their own appetites; and by their smooth and
flattering speech they deceive the hearts of the unsuspecting.
2. 1 Tim. 1.3-4, As I urged you - - - in order that you
may instruct certain men not to teach strange doctrines, nor pay attention
to myths and endless genealogies, which give rise to mere speculation rather
than promoting the administration of God which is by faith.
3. 1 Tim. 4.1-3,6, But the Spirit explicitly says that
in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to
deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, by means of the hypocrisy of
liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron, men who forbid
marriage and advocate abstaining from foods which God has created to be
gratefully shared in by those who believe and know the truth. In pointing
out these things to the brethren, you will be a good servant of Christ
Jesus, nourished on the words of the faith and of the SOUND DOCTRINE WHICH
YOU HAVE BEEN FOLLOWING.
4. 1 Tim. 6.3, If anyone advocates a different doctrine,
and does not agree with sound words, those of our Lord Jesus Christ, and
with the doctrine conforming to good worship - - -
5. 2 Tim. 1.13, retain THE STANDARD OF SOUND WORDS WHICH
YOU HAVE HEARD FROM ME, in the faith and love which are in Christ Jesus.
6. 2 Tim. 3.13-14, but evil men and impostors will proceed
from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. You however, continue
in THE THINGS YOU HAVE LEARNED and become convinced of, knowing from whom
you have learned them;
7. 2 Tim. 4.3-4, For the time will come when they will
not endure sound doctrine; teachers in accordance to their own desires;
and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths.
8. Titus 1.9, Holding fast the faithful word which is
IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE TEACHING, that he may be able both to exhort in
sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict.