Saturday, September 17, 2011


I do not want to take anymore time discussing one's "prayer language," singing "in the Spirit," and the "tongues of angels" (1 Cor. 14:14-15; 13:1). I have already addressed the "unknown" insertion in Part Six, and apart from 1 Corinthians 13:1, there is nothing within the Scriptures to support the view that angels had their own language. In every instance where God's messengers communicated with mankind, they did so in the language of those to whom they were speaking. I am not sure if there is a difference between "singing in the spirit," and what Paul called "spiritual songs" (Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16), but one's "prayer language" is described as requiring an interpreter for the speaker to understand his own prayer (1 Cor. 14:14). However, Paul made some things absolutely clear when he told his readers "...forbid not to speak with tongues" (1 Cor. 14:39), limited the manifestation of tongues to three (1 Cor. 14:27), and that all were to keep silent if there were no interpreter present (1 Cor. 14:28).

Instead, I want to conclude this series by discussing whether or not three of the gifts of the Spirit ceased. In 1 Corinthians 13, Paul began by mentioning tongues, prophecy, and knowledge as being useless without being motivated by love (v. 1-2). He continued by saying, "Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away" (1 Cor. 13:8-10)

There are two different Greek words which are translated "fail," "cease," "vanish away," "done away."
1) "fail," "vanish away," "done away" - - καταργέω (katargeō) meaning "to render idle, unemployed, inactivate, inoperative; to cause to cease."
2) "cease" - παύω (pauō) meaning "to make to cease or desist."

In other words, they mean basically the same thing. The question is, when will they cease? The answer is given in verse ten: "when that which is perfect is come." The word, "perfect," τέλειος, (teleios) means "complete," ended," "perfect." One theory is that when the Bible, which is perfect in its original text, was completed, there would be no need for the spiritual gifts of prophecy, tongues, or knowledge.

The other, which seems to be reasonable is that when an individual believer becomes perfect, that is, Christ-like, then they will cease (see the context (1 Cor. 13:11-13). However, this theory is a little shaky in that we, as believers, will not be "perfect" until we are in His presence (1 Jn. 3:2). Since all interpreted tongues, prophecies, and knowledge must be verified by Scripture, it is my view that the Bible is that perfect thing which was to come.

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