Speaking in Tongues Part 12

This entry is part 12 of 27 in the series Speaking in Tongues: Can We Be Divinely Inspired?

“When that which is perfect is come, then that which in part shall be done away.” The literal translation from the Greek is interesting, here: “but when the whole (thing) comes, the thing (miracles, tongues, and prophecies) will be set aside.” Note again the phrase “out of a part” (ek merous) appears in verse 10 and verse 9. The “out of a part” speaks about the piecemeal source, hence, out of a part, and refers to knowledge and speech. Tongues and knowledge never gave the inspired, the WHOLE of Revelation on any subject. The “inspired spokesman” NEVER had all the PARTS to the puzzle!! This phrase is translated in the RSV version as imperfect. The word perfect-(complete, final, and fulfilled) stands in direct contrast with the words out of a part (piece). So, within its context, the only proper way the word perfect in verse 10 can be rendered is whole or complete (instead of perfect). It is here the opposite of partial. It means whole.
Then, what is the whole (perfect) or complete thing of verse 10? It is the TOTAL of the “put-together pieces” spoken of in verse 9! Or, when all the “put-together pieces” have been given, the WHOLE of Revelation is complete and the ‘parts’ would no longer be considered!! Each apostle had a ‘part’ of the Revelation of God’s Mystery, WHEN each HAD BEEN given; the whole of Revelation was complete. Inspired to give their ‘part’ of the WHOLE, each apostle added to the other apostle’s writings, giving us “all things that pertain to life and Godliness”. The “why” of verse 9, why were there tongues, prophecies, and knowledge, having been answered, Paul now gives the WHEN these ‘parts’ will cease!! The apostles were the ONLY MEN empowered to write.
Before we leave verse 9, we had better take a look at the three possible meanings of the word translated perfect (teleious). Perfect is something without flaw. Perfect is something entirely together. Perfect is something which has reached its goal, it is totally complete. Now, which is the translation in verse 10? Often I have encountered those who think the ‘perfect’ of verse 10 is the Lord of Glory, Christ our older brother. Perfect is in the neuter gender, a ‘thing’, not a being; Christ was of masculine gender, a MAN.
The little word “for” (gar) is a very important word. This is a word which introduces an explanation or a reason for the preceding statement. Verse 9 GIVES THE REASON for saying that prophecies and knowledge will be replaced. The literal translation is this—“For we are (now) knowing from a part (a piece at a time) and we are (now) prophesying from a part, BUT when the whole strategy (Revelation) is complete, the ‘part’ (a piece-at-a-time) will be divorced.” The RSV translation translates it this way: “Our knowing is imperfect and our prophecy is imperfect”, it is too ambiguous and is not helpful, for there are things we can never clearly understand if this is all we will ever have given. (Remember, the word the RSV translates imperfect is our two Greek words ek merous. Every time the New Testament uses the phrase “out of a part” {ek merous} or from a part {apo merous}, it refers to a state of incompletion—a partial situation which needs to be completed, See Romans 11:25, 15:15 ,24; 2 Corinthians 1:14; 2:5 ).
During the early days of the church, God gave to various persons special gifts for the purpose of equipping His church with His Law. Among these gifts were knowledge and prophecies directly inspired by the Holy Spirit. These gifts were given to CURB subjectivity. Many were claiming to have a word from God. To curb this each man received just a ‘part’ of God’s total revelation; this was NEVER intended to last. The time would come when ALL WOULD BE PUT TOGETHER, BE WHOLE.

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Joe David Wilson

Joe David Wilson

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