What is “the Perfect” of 1 Corinthians 13?

September 3, 2010

“For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears” (1 Corinthians 13:9-10). Since Paul doesn’t specify what the perfection is, Bible students have differed in their answer. Some see “the perfect” as the completion of the New Testament in about A.D. 95. Others see it as the coming of Christ to the earth. I tend to the latter view simply because I can’t see exactly how the “canon of the New Testament” view fits in the flow of the argument.

Paul seems to be saying that love is supreme even over certain spiritual gifts that the Corinthians so highly prized. Those gifts (tongues, knowledge, prophecy) will cease but love goes on forever. He seems to be saying that the various gifts will continue until Christ returns. This does not solve the question regarding which spiritual gifts are for today. It merely points out that the gifts themselves are inferior because they are temporary. Love is supreme because it abides forever.

Do you have any thoughts or questions about this post?