Bible Verse Analysis

1 Corinthians 13.10


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Bible verse for analysis

But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away.

(1 Cor 13.10, NKJV)

Goal

To define "that which is perfect" as used in 1 Corinthians 13.10.

Significance

1 Corinthians 13.10 is sometimes cited as evidence that God is no longer bestowing certain spiritual gifts.

Word study

In everyday language, "perfect" means "without flaw."

  • "Perfect" in 1 Corinthians 13.10 translates the Greek word teleios.
  • Based on quoted references given below, the Greek word teleios carries several additional meanings including: complete, mature, full, fulfilled, having reached the end.

Therefore, we must examine the context of 1 Corinthians 13.10 so as to determine the meaning of teleios in this particular usage.


The context of 1 Corinthians 13.10

...But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away.For we know in part and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away. When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known. (1 Cor 13.8-12, NKJV)

Current situation

Changed Situation

Current ==> Changed

13.9a For we know in part 13.10a But when that which is perfect (teleios) has come,

Partial ==> Complete

13.9b and we prophesy in part. 13.10a But when that which is perfect (teleios) has come,

Partial ==> Complete

13.10b then that which is in part will be done away. 13.10a But when that which is perfect (teleios) has come,

Partial ==> Complete

13.11a When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; 13.11b but when I became a man, I put away childish things.

Childhood ==> Adulthood

13.12a For now we see in a mirror, dimly, 13.12b but then face to face.

Indirect, dim view ==> Full view

13.12c Now I know in part, 13.12d but then I shall know just as I also am known [inferred: known by God]

Partial ==>Complete


First Conclusion

In 1 Corinthians 10.13, "that which is perfect" means "that which is complete and mature."

Second Conclusion

"That which is perfect" will arrive when Christians...

  • Have full knowledge of God.
  • No longer need prophecy to have direct knowledge of God's will and purpose.
  • Attain full spiritual maturity.
  • See God face-to-face.
  • Know God up close and personal.

Summary Conclusion

"That which is perfect" will arrive when Lord Jesus comes in the clouds to rapture His church into the presence of God.

Significance of the conclusions

  • First Corinthians 13.8-10 says that the gifts of prophecy, tongues, and knowledge will fail/cease/vanish "when that which is perfect is come."
  • Per the above conclusions, "perfect" will occur at the Rapture of the Church.
  • The SOLE point of the above analysis is that 1 Corinthians 13.10 is NOT a proof text for saying that God is no longer bestowing the gifts of prophecy, tongues, and knowledge.
  • The preceding analysis does NOT in any way answer the question of whether God is (or is not) presently bestowing these particular gifts.
  • The only thing we know for certain is that the Holy Spirit definitely does give Spiritual gifts of HIS selection to Christians of HIS choice, according to HIS will (1 Cor 12.4-11).
  • God has perfect knowledge of which gifts He is (and is not) now bestowing, and on whom He is presently bestowing them. We do not.

End of study (references follow)

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References for Word Study of "perfect" - Greek teleios

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