Grace Words

A Daily Bible Reader's Blog

Presented by Mike Tune, Pulpit Minister for the Church of Christ in Falls Church and Amazing Grace International

Tuesday, November 6. 1 Corinthians 14 – 16

    1 Corinthians 13 is the love chapter of the Bible.  Read most often at weddings, this text has mainly to do with the kind of love that should be evident among members of the body of Christ, the Church, for and between one another. 

    Disorder in the worship assembly, ostensibly over leading roles and the exercise of gifts like prophecy and tongue speaking had led to division and hard feelings.  This was, to Paul, evidence of a spiritual immaturity.  The flip side of that coin is love, the sign of maturity.  No matter how righteous the cause, a church that is continually beset by division is a baby church.  As long as the division exists, it will never be mature.

    This leads me to an important point about 13:10 and the coming “perfection.”

    The word translated “perfection” (or “perfect” in some Bibles) has been subject to a wide range of ideas.  Some believe it to refer to Jesus (who else would be “perfect?).  Others believe it refers to the Bible, known as the “perfect law of liberty” (James 1:25).  But both views are wrong.

    The word translated “perfection” (or “perfect”) occurs three times in First Corinthians (here, 2:6 and 14:20).  In all those other cases, it is translated “mature” or “adults.”  There is no reason to assign another meaning in 13:10.  Here’s the point that is so important.  The very things the Corinthians are fighting about, tongue speaking and prophecy, are spiritual gifts that were, even in Paul’s day, temporary, given to a baby church to help them grow up.  One day those gifts would disappear – as they should, when spiritual maturity arrived.  Churches that clamor for and exalt high miraculous gifts like these are only seeking to stay at the baby stage.  Arguing over them will guarantee that maturity will never come.