I have a question for you. I know I've heard the answer before, but refresh my memory please.
In I Cor. 13:10 (part of our readings for this week), it says that the gifts of the Spirit will be done away with
when that which is perfect has come. From the verses above I can tell that this means the word of God, or the
Bible, but how do we refute those who believe that this means the 2nd coming of Christ? I can see how one
might very easily make that assumption.
Thanks for any info. you can provide.
Concerning I Corinthians 13:10, I'll try to answer your question by stating something obvious, first. One main
reason we can know that Paul was not talking about the 2nd coming was because neither Jesus nor the 2nd
coming is in the context of this passage. Seems like if Paul had this in mind (as he did in I Thess. 4:13-18; II
Thess. 1:6-9; etc.) he would have used some words or phrases relative to Jesus and/or the 2nd coming. But, he
did not do that. If I was talking to a person about this passage, this is where I would begin. To say "that which is
perfect" automatically means Jesus is to jump to the wrong conclusion.
Further, look at the contrast between v. 9 and v. 10. It is a contrast between what is "in part" and what is
"perfect." Remember, the Biblical word "perfect" does not mean sinless, but it means complete, mature, or of full
age. So, Paul is contrasting what is "in part" with what is "complete" in verses 9-10, on down to verse 12. Paul
here is not speaking of two different things, but of the same thing. Therefore, the "in part" was just a "part" of
the "perfect/complete." In other words, whatever the "in part" was, it would have the same characteristics as the
"complete." (Like a pie: one slice of pecan pie came from a whole, or "complete" pecan pie, not from an apple,
cherry, chocolate, etc.!) Therefore, if the "complete" is Christ, would the "in part" be part of Christ? Or if the
"complete" was the 2nd coming, would the "in part" be part of the 2nd coming? That position makes no sense.
At that current moment in time in I Corinthians 13, Paul said they: 1) know in part; 2) prophesy in part; 3)
understand/speak as a child; 4) see through a glass darkly; 5) know in part. But, Paul was looking forward to the
time, and it was obviously not too far away, when those things were no longer true, but that Christians would: 1)
speak/think as a man; 2) put away childish things; 3) see clearly (face to face); 4) know as are known.
All such things point, not to a person, but to a completed revelation. Paul said during this time of miraculous
spiritual gifts, they currently knew/prophesied (would this not be God's word they knew and were prophesying?)
"in part," they understood like children, and couldn't see clearly. Yet, when those things "passed away," "failed,"
and "ceased," there would only be three things abiding: faith, hope, and love.
How can men have faith today? Through the word (Rom. 10:17).
How can men have hope today? Through the word (Ps. 119:49, Rom. 15:4; Col. 1:23)
How can men learn of true love? Through the word (I Jn. 5:2; Jn. 14:15).
In connection with these things and thinking about that word "perfect," don't forget that James spoke of "the
perfect law of liberty" (Jas. 1:25).
I hope this helps you. If I can be of service to you anymore, let me know.
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