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In First Corinthians chapter thirteen verse ten, Paul writes of a time when a complete thing (τέλειος) will render ineffective that which is out from a part. Due to poor translations and hermeneutics applied to this passage, a lot of confusion has resulted from using “perfect”, especially around the conclusion of the use of specific Spiritual gifts and prophecy within the assembly. The Greek word τέλειος (telios), found in First Corinthians chapter thirteen verse ten, does not carry the same meaning as the English concept of “perfect”; rather, it conveys completion through bringing something to its intended end. Whether or not it is without flaw has to do with what the goal, or intent, was for that thing.
When Scripture articulates the concept of maturity concerning a human, it refers to a person’s lifestyle upon the earth, not in their resurrected state. Otherwise, it indicates completion, such as with the greater and more complete Tabernacle in the heavens that Christ entered into to obtain eternal salvation in Hebrews chapter nine verse eleven. In First Corinthians chapter two verse six, Paul writes that he speaks a wisdom for the mature, not a wisdom of this malignantly evil age. Paul uses the same concept of maturity while addressing the Christians in Jerusalem who went back to living under law and, therefore, were not training their senses to discern what is proper from what lacks in character. Solid food is for the mature, whereas milk is for the inarticulate babbler, Hebrews chapter five verse fourteen. Due to their lack of maturity, they need someone again to teach them the basics of the oracles of God. In First Corinthians chapter fourteen verse twenty, Paul uses τέλειος (telios) for maturity […]
The word for looking at something in the Hebrew language is typically ראה (rah). After Lot separates from Abram and goes down into the valley to reside among the Sodomites, God has Abram lift up his eyes and look (rah) at the land, showing him all that his descendants will receive, Genesis 13:14. To gaze up on a person is expressed by שׁור (sor), Job 7:8. Those who see (rah) Job will no longer glance (sor) upon him. נבט (nabat) then relates to seeing in a way that gives regard to something; therefore, it is not specifically referring to the physical appearance, but of consideration or concern.
The distinctions in different words for how we see, are important to understand because by their use we are expressing specific meaning. When Lot’s wife turned and looked at Sodom after they had been rescued from its destruction by the Lord, she did not turn and physically glance at the city, or in fleeing decide to turn around and go back to Sodom. She turned her regard back to this extremely wicked place, and as a result God included her in the judgment by turning her to a pillar of salt, Genesis 19:26.
When Abraham is told to look towards the heaven and count the stars, God is not focusing on their appearance but on giving regard to all the stars in the heavens, Genesis 15:5. After God speaks to Moses through the burning bush, Moses hides his face so as to not look intensely or give regard to what he was seeing, Exodus 3:6. Later, the people of Israel give regard to Moses every time he goes out to the tent of meeting. When Moses entered the tent the […]
The tongue (γλῶσσα) describes the member of our body that is primarily used in speech and is therefore synonymous with what language we speak. In Scripture, tongue is always used of a known language upon the earth, even if the hearers do not understand it (1 Corinthians 14:11). How we use our tongue is important, for it has great power in influencing our path in life.
In the upper room, on the day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit came upon the disciples, tongues were divided unto them, Acts 2:3. These tongues were specific dialects of the devout Jews that were in Jerusalem at this time, Acts 2:11. This was a very specific event that was only repeated a few other times for a sign to the Jews. It is not the Spiritual gift of speaking in tongues. They did not continue to speak in tongues after this because the Holy Spirit mentally controlled (πίμπλημι) them to enable this, where today the Holy Spirit fills us where we lack (πληρόω) so that we are able to use our Spiritual gift and produce His fruit (Galatians 5:22-23). We see this sign again when Peter is in the house of Cornelius, a devout Gentile. While Peter is telling them of the death and resurrection of Christ, they begin to speak in tongues, causing the Jews with Peter to wonder, Acts 10:46. What caused them to wonder was not that the Gentiles could speak in another language, but that they were speaking the wonders of God, for God said that He would give the Jews a sign by speaking to them in other tongues, 1 Corinthians 14:21. One of the healings that Jesus did as a sign to the […]
The Complete Thing
1 Corinthians 13:8-12 The love never falls, but whether prophecy, it will be caused to be idle1, whether languages,2 they will cause themselves to cease3, whether knowledge, it will be caused to be idle. For out from a part we experientially know and out from a part we prophecy, but when the complete thing comes, then what is out from a part will be caused to be idle. When I was a baby4, I spoke as a baby, I thought as a baby. When I became a man, I made the things of the baby idle. For now I see through a mirror obscurely, but then face to face. Now I experientially know out from a part, but then I will be fully experientially know just as I am fully known.
Paul speaks of a day when the Church will no longer require the use of the Spiritual gifts of prophecy, languages5, and knowledge. When the full Word of God comes, He will stop giving revelation; therefore, prophecy will become idle. Languages, or better known as speaking in tongues, will cause themselves to stop existing because the purpose for speaking in another language ceases to exist. Speaking in another language was a sign to the Jews. It is no longer active since the Jewish nation has fully rejected Jesus and the Church6. Paul explains what knowledge he is referring to further down in the context where he states that the knowledge comes from only a partial revelation. Paul did not have the full cannon of Scripture at this time. He only had access to the Old Testament. Although he was involved […]