The Transition Between the Apostolic and Post Apostolic Eras of the Church

(If you are not studying this chapter in connection with the book:
The Biblical View of the Gift of Languages, then you may want to refer to it.)

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 Holy Spirit

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.


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 of love.
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 cults,
which practices held the highest place of value in those cults.

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 of tongues.
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 "tongues."

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 love.

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 message."

See Topic, Spiritual Gifts: Gift of prophecy

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 philosophy
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 8:1,

"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 love.

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).


1. Love is patient: makrothumeō is a present active indicative.
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.

A. makro=long
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 meaning).

A. God's character: chrāstos (adjective) and chrāstotās (noun)

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 and generosity.

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 and pride.

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; Mk. 7:22
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; Romans 1:29

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 life style.

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 times.
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: ie, does 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 with you.

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.

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 to love.

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.


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."


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 14.


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.

Verse 9

1. gar (for) is a word of explanation of the previous statements.

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.

Verse 10

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 2:18.

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 explained.

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 away."

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 and knowledge.
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 and knowledge.
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.


Verse 12,

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 on earth.

5. Face to face: The Greek, prosopon pros prosopon, refers 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 Christ."

6. Now (arti): Again, this is during our life here on earth.

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.


Verse 13,

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 glory,
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 article.

A. Hour refers to a specific point of time within a time period.
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 world
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 teachers.

F. They had been taught about this time of false teachers before.

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 -eschatos hemera

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 coming.

A. The word antichristos without the definite article = AN antichrist or simply antichrist alone.

B. Is coming: this is a present middle indicative of erchomai, 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 tribulation.

E. What have they heard concerning what is coming into the world?
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 person.

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 the world.

"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 about.

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 verses 19-27.

A. He brings attention to the truth & his reason for writing, Verse 27.

B. He reminds them of an already established standard, v. 24

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 established standard.)

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.



Comments and Questions are Always Welcome.

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İRon Wallace, http://www.biblefragrances.com. Anyone is free to reproduce this material and distribute it,
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