1 Corinthians 13:8-13 “The Perfect”

Recently at church, there was turmoil over this passage of scripture. Feelings were hurt. Resentments created. So I thought I would devote the time to studying this passage for myself.

The last apparent paragraph of chapter thirteen of First Corinthians is relevant to the concerns of Christians for study. In this section of chapters twelve through fourteen, Paul contrasts love against spiritual gifts. The basic stance of the church for years has been that once the Bible was put into canon (printed form) then the spiritual gifts ended. However, Paul never says this in chapters twelve to fourteen of First Corinthians.

The point Paul is making that one will stay (abide) while the other passes away (cease) is not talking about the printing of the Bible.

Paul dose see the spiritual gifts as being incomplete and less superior then the (perfect) but Paul does not ever say this (perfect) is the collection of writing we now call the Bible. What Paul does hint at very strongly is that the perfect will give each one of us complete and perfect knowledge. This means we will all have the same knowledge: No more guessing, No more opinions. Paul gives us a hint at what this perfect is. He says that three things are better and superior to the spiritual gifts: Faith, Hope, and Love.

Paul used the analogy of a child being immature needing the gifts. Growing to a time when fully mature with complete knowledge. Paul never indicates when this time will be other than to say it will be in the future. Paul says that until that time, faith, hope, and love will always be superior to the gifts and after that time love will remain.

God is love. – John 4:16

God is forever. – Rev. 22:5

God is perfect. – Deut. 32:4 & 2 Sam 22:31

Therefore, God is perfect love.

Therefore, love is perfect even through eternity.

Paul indicates that love will remain forever in 1 Corinthians 13.

Conclusion is that Paul is talking about the perfect love of God in 1 Corinthians 13 when he says the gifts of the Spirit will cease when the perfect comes – we will all know with perfect knowledge, and is not talking about the printing of the Bible.

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One thought on “1 Corinthians 13:8-13 “The Perfect”

  1. I am glad to see you study this subject. In more than thirty years of preaching I never cease to be amazed at how two people can view a passage and come away with a different idea of what the intent of the Scripture is. I am glad God does not require that we understand perfectly all Scripture in order to be saved. I would not whole-heartedly agree with your assessment of this Scripture but I would certainly endorse your willingness to search the Scriptures for truth. God never wants us to accept someone else’s thoughts without examining them for ourselves.
    At the same time I am also amazed that two people can sit through the same event and come away with such a different understanding of what took place in the event. I do not see the same things taking place in this discussion of Scripture as you saw. I did not then and do not now see the study of this passage as the motivation for any misunderstanding or turmoil that may or may not have taken place. I see the cause as being something entirely different.
    I am so glad that God does not require we be clones of one another in order to be brethren. Keep studying, keep praying, and keep growing in the Lord. God never asked for sameness only that we love one another. You are a fine scholar and a good worker for the Lord.

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