Okay. Bible Bite on 1 Corinthians 13:8-10. I’m guessing what you’re wondering: “Unger is going to talk about the cessation of tongues in a few paragraphs and solve the issue for us?
I am going to talk about one issue related to 1 Corinthians 13:8-10 and point out something that many people miss. Here’s the text (ESV):
8 Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away.
Now many say that tongues will cease when the “perfect” comes, and the perfect is basically the second coming of Christ. Sounds good. That seems fairly straight forward from a surface reading of 1 Corinthians…or does it?
Many walk through 1 Corinthians 13:8-10 and seem to gloss over the actual the words. Notice how in verse 9, the partial refers to knowledge and prophesy but not tongues? We “know” in part and “prophesy” in part but why don’t we “tongues” in part?
The language of 1 Corinthians 13:8 gives a hint:
Prophecy and Knowledge “will pass away” (both are a future passive indicative of “katargeo“). Same verb for both – “will be placed to the side”
Tongues is different. Tongues “will cease” (future middle indicative of “pauo“). Totally different verb in a different form gives us a hint that something is different (I know, this is rocket science). The verb means “will stop by itself”.
Katargeo means basically that something will be placed away when it’s done (i.e. coasting to a stop in your car and pulling to the side of the road), but pauo carries a much more abrupt idea of stopping (i.e. hitting the breaks in your car when something runs out in front of you).
So for the sake of argument, even if the “perfect” is the second coming of Christ, 1 Corinthians 13:8-10 gives us reason to think that the cessation of knowledge and prophecy is in a different category than tongues; tongues isn’t necessarily going to stop at the same time as knowledge and prophecy, or in the same way. The whole talk about “the perfect” arguably doesn’t even apply to tongues and I’d suggest that people who go off about “the perfect” with regard to tongues aren’t paying close as close attention the words of the text as they think.
Just some thoughts for those who may have not noticed that before.
Until Next Time,
Lyndon “blogging in absentia” Unger