What does the phrase “when the perfect comes” from 1 Corinthians 13:10 mean?

After answering a question from chapter 13 of the Epistle to the Corinthians, I was asked another question. One person says that he heard a different interpretation of verse 10, in which it is written:

but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away with. ( 1 Corinthians 13:10 NASB)

In the last message I was asked the question “What is this“ partial”that will be done away within 1 Corinthians 13:10?” and I explained that it refers to spiritual gifts. Throughout this segment, chapters 12, 13, and 14 of 1 Corinthians speak of spiritual gifts. Chapter 12 discusses the principles that apply to all gifts, Chapter 13 discusses how important it is for all of these gifts to spring from love and be lovingly applied, and Chapter 14 discusses in particular the gift of prophecy and speech in other languages. The brother who asked me the question said that he had heard that where it is written, “When the perfect comes,” this perfect will refer to the New Testament, which at the time the apostle Paul wrote was not yet written. Now, he says that since the coming of this perfection, which is the New Testament, there is no need for the gift of prophecy and the gift of speaking in other languages.

My dear ones, I want to tell you that we cannot interpret in this way at all. So, when it comes to what is perfect, it does not refer in any way to the fact that the New Testament was completed, all the revelation of God and all the Word of God was given. It is true that the Word of God is perfect, but in this particular text it does not refer to that. When he says, “when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away with” He is referring to the time when we will be with the Lord Jesus Christ. And this is why I say this, for the apostle Paul said:

But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills. For just as the body is one and yet has many parts, and all the parts of the body, though they are many, are one body, so also is Christ.(1 Corinthians 12:11-12 NASB)

The apostle Paul refers to all these spiritual gifts. Through the service of all gifts, we now see Christ as a mirror in a dark way. This mirror before was not as we have it now, but was a piece of polished silver, through which you do not see the image well. In Russian it is translated “сквозь тусклое стекло”, but then we will see Him face to face. Now we know in part about God and through all these spiritual gifts we contribute little by little to know Him in part. Now we know in part, but then we will know fully.

Those who say that this refers to Holy Scripture and then spiritual gifts, such as prophecy, were annulled, is not true. If we believe so, it means that the gift of knowledge and many other spiritual gifts have also been canceled. No, not at all. We believe that all the gifts that have been given to the church now work in the Body of Christ and will work until His coming.

To learn more about spiritual gifts, I recommend the inductive Bible study manual “Spiritual Gifts.” In this textbook each spiritual gift is approached separately, so you have the chance to understand the meaning and importance of each gift in the Body of Christ. Those wishing to purchase this manual can contact us at the telephone number (+373) 067629102.

Translated by Ina Croitoru