What is this “partial” that will be done away with ? (1 Corinthians 13:9-10)

The question I’ve received recently is about spiritual gifts and it goes like this:

If you have time, please  explain 1 Corinthians 13:9-10 to me. What does Apostle Paul speak about when he says “in part”?

In chapters 12, 13, 14 from 1 Corinthians, Apostle Paul speaks about spiritual gifts. When they receive the Holy Spirit, every Christian receives spiritual gifts to be able to serve in The Body of Christ that is the Church. The gifts are different. No Christian has all of the gifts neither do all Christians have the same gift. The Holy Spirit spreads the gifts as He wants and all of them are important for edifying the church. Some problems started in the church of Corinth because some of the people there were saying that their gifts were the most important and they despised others who had other gifts. Therefore,the Apostle Paul approached this subject with great care and in chapter 13 he wrote that if we don’t have love then spiritual gifts do not help usor others,  because our motivation is wrong. In this context, he wrote the verses you asked me about:

For we know in part and we prophesy in part; but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away. (1 Corinthians 13:9-10)


The expression “in part” from these verses relates precisely to the fact that we don’t have the same gifts, but that we have different gifts. A part of the church has the gift of prophecy, other parts have the gift of help, other parts faith etc. So, we have the gifts in part, but we don’t have the same gifts. These gifts are necessary to serve others until our Lord Jesus Christ comes and our resurrection and our rapture will take place. After that we will always be with Him and these “in part” or partial spiritual gifts that we have and serve each other with now wouldn’t be needed.

I recommend you to get the book “Spiritual gifts” and study it. If you will contact the administrators of our site, they will direct you to a group where this course is studied or they form a new group of people who want to study this subject. After signing up, you will receive the book by mail and then you will study this course in a group using Skypeif there isn’t such a group in your city.

May God bless you and help you to identify your spiritual gifts and serve with them in a way pleasing to God that contributes to the edifying of the church.

Translated by Elizaveta Bîrlădeanu