Comparing 1 Corinthians 12:8-11; 13:8-13; Romans 12:6-8; Ephesians 4:11-16; and Hebrews to 6:1.
1 Cor 13:8"Charity never faileth; Whether there be prophecies, they
shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.
1 Cor 13:9For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.
1 Cor But WHEN that which is perfect is come, then that which is
in part shall be done away.[Greek: teleion]
1 Cor When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a
child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
1 Cor 13:12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face; nowI know
in part, but then shall I know even as I am known.
1 Cor And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these
Paul declared that, sometime in the future, the gift of prophecies shall fail; tongues shall
cease, and knowledge (12:8) will vanish away (13:8).This will happen
because they are only "in part," or partial, revelations of knowledge about Christ (13:9).They will be needed only until "that which is perfect (complete, mature, grown up) is come ().
"that which is perfect" (spiritual maturity) come anddispose of the three
gifts?If, as some say, this refers to the coming of Christ, then the text must
teach that all believers will remain spiritual children until Christ comes.The
fact that spiritual maturity is attainable elsewhere in Scripture seriously challenges this interpretation.Others claim tongues still exist, but discard the office of prophet.Still others claim the office of prophet still exists, but discards tongues.However, the correct understanding must include or discard all three.
key is the word "knowledge" (Greek: gnosis).In 12:8 a manifestation of
the Spirit included a "word of knowledge."Gentiles in the early Church desperately
needed this gift to reveal to them the whole truth about Christ.Jewish Christians,
still attached to the Law, also needed special knowledge to break them from Old Covenant thinking.
In 2nd Corinthians Paul uses the metaphor of a "veil" worn by those
under incomplete Old Covenant knowledge ().When
the New Testament truth about Christ is realized, that veil is removed ().Now, as we behold the reflected glory of God in a mirror (which is knowledge about Christ), we are being changed.This happens in the present!!! Chapter 4, verse one, continues, "Therefore seeing we have this ministry..," thus linking it to Ephesians 4:12's
Corinthians 13:12 says the childish gifts from the Holy Spirit do not reveal much in a mirror, 2nd Corinthians 3:18
uses the metaphor of a mirror differently.Through the Holy Spirit's revelation
of the New Covenant, "the glory of the Lord" is revealed, which transforms, or matures.
Ephesians And he gave some, apostles; and some,
prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastor and teachers [pastor-teachers].
Ephesians For the perfecting [equipping]
of the saints for the work of the ministry [and] for the edifying [building up] of the body of Christ.
Ephesians 4:13Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge
of the Son of God, unto a perfect [mature] man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ. [Greek: teleion]
Ephesians [In order] that we henceforth
be no more children, tosses to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine..."
4, apostles, prophets, evangelists, and pastor-teachers were given to the Church to "equip" the "saints."The apostles "equipped" the early Church by giving their eyewitness knowledge of Jesus.The prophets "equipped" the early Church with extra-special knowledge of Christ's
Person, redemption, protection. and return.
would then "do the work of the ministry" and "edify, or build up" the Church.This
work of the saints would continue UNTIL the Church reached unity of faith, unity about Christ and maturity,
that is, spiritual perfection.Afterwards the Church would not be as children.
13 and Ephesians 4 use similar wording:
"knowledge" (13:8) c.f. "knowledge
of the Son of God" ();
"child," () c.f. "no
more children" ();
"when I became a man"
() c.f. "unto a perfect
end partial knowledge and prophecy (13:9,10)c.f. no longer
"children tossed to and fro." ().
Heb 5:12 For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first
principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not the strong meat.
Heb For every one that uses milk is unskillful in the
word of righteousness, for he is a babe.
Heb But strong meat
belongs to them that are of full age [teleion], even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised
to discern both good and evil.
Heb 6:1 Therefor leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection [maturity: teleioteta]
Hebrews to 6:1 complete the picture about the perfection, or maturity of
the Church.Spiritual "babies,"cling
to "milk" "first principles" ().As long as they continue
such action, they will never become "skilful in the word of righteousness" ().Such is the state of believers who do not mature beyond elementary doctrines and childish gifts such as
prophets, tongues, and special knowledge!
Christian perfection, or spiritual maturity, only comes to those who partake of "solid food," advanced
doctrine such as that of Melchizedek (-12).Only
by using the solid food, the word of righteousness, does this perfection come ().The author of Hebrews refused to linger any longer with these "baby milk" doctrines, and proceeds into
the deeper theology of Christ;'s High Priesthood.It must be done!
the "partial" gifts of prophecy, tongues, and special knowledge end? For most,
they ended gradually as the full knowledge about Christ and the New Covenant became available through the written gospels
and epistles during first centuries. For those who have no (written) full
instruction, they are still necessary for partial revelation of God's will.Such
is the difference between "milk" and "solid food," and between "childish things" and "maturity."
Since most Christians today have the full knowledge of the gospel of Christ in the Scriptures, there is
no need for special partial revelation through a prophet.Jesus said "I am
THE truth" in John 14:6.Everything needed for salvation has been revealed already
through the written word of God (Acts , 27; 1 Cor 15:3; Gal 1:8,9;Col).