“Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels”, is the way the apostle Paul begins the 13th chapter of Corinthians as the Holy Spirit inspired him to write. Paul is not talking about a”language of the spirit”, nor “another language of man”, nor was he talking about a “heavenly language, spoken around the Throne of God in Heaven” as the Pentecostal purveyors of false doctrine teach. Those ‘men’ and ‘angels’ were preachers and prophets inspired by the apostle, who, having had an apostle lay hands on them, could speak the “mysteries of God”. Those of Corinth had a passion for speakers and held the speaker in very high esteem. Those who could speak got the “big head” and began to like to “hear themselves” and so spoke for the glory of themselves and not God. This, like speaking by the power of Satan HAD to stop! Paul had addressed this problem in the Philippian church when he wrote: “Some indeed preach Christ even of envy and strife, and some also of good will. The one preach of contention, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my bonds.” Philippians 1:14-18 There were other problems that had arisen; Satan had caused some to profess Christ as accursed because He hung on the tree. 1 Corinthians 12:1-3 Interpreters assigned to qualify the message were doing nothing.1 Corinthians 14:29 Their job had been relegated to nothingness because of the great love of the hearing the speaker. THEN, Paul, IN THE 8TH verse starts to instruct us as to WHEN these gifts would CEASE!!
He begins with a premise not seen by some: the message is permanent; the way it will be delivered will change!! Let me state what is obvious to all who know me, but not so obvious to others: I am not interested in perpetuating any traditions which are not scriptural. As a matter of fact, I prefer to shatter traditions with the sledge hammer of the Truth, so men can be FREE!! John 8:32 We will understand the idea of truth by the text and NOT strive to understand the text by what I think is truth!! Paul, by the Holy Spirit, begins by telling us that the knowing and prophesying of verse 8 will be set aside BECAUSE another source (ek, the word used in the Greek language described the manner of means by which the message would be delivered) A better source was to come—a complete source—not just what the apostle had who had laid hands on the prophets and preachers. What is not seen by the casual observer is that the gifts of prophecy and inspired knowledge produced ONLY LIMITED PIECES OF DIVINE REVELATION!! The WHOLE REVELATION of God’s will was to come; they at that time DID NOT HAVE IT ALL! “When that which was perfect (Greek word, teleios, meaning complete, final), was come, then that which was partial (Greek words ek merous—meaning out of a part) would cease. Paul did not know what Peter had written; James had not read what Paul had written—not knowing, the apostles ONLY KNEW what they had been inspired to write unless they had obviously mentioned such in their writings!! 2 Peter 3:16 The partial methods to bring the message to man would become UNNECESSARY!! Glory, if that was what men sought, would be to the MESSAGE, and not the MESSENGER as originally intended!! Another thing very interesting is that in verse 9 ‘tongues’ were not mentioned. Paul did not need to explain why they would give way to something BETTER as he did with knowledge and prophecy because ‘tongues’ were not GOING TO BE REPLACED, when the need for them had passed!! When would that something BETTER COME? Verse 10 begins with a contrast. It begins with something permanent, not something in piece-meal fashion. It begins with the word (de) which introduces a contrast.