To curb the confusion of all members of the body in Corinth and other Gentile congregations, the Holy Spirit directed the apostles to ‘lay hands’ on others Christians who would discern, judge, interpret what had been said. Corinth had a particular problem in that they held the interpreters in low esteem and did not give them hearing when a popular tongue speaker addressed the congregation. The interpreters had taken a “back-seat” and some in Corinth had called Jesus “accursed” during a public worship service!! 1 Corinthians 12:1-4 Because of this, the Holy Spirit DEMANDED those who spoke had an interpreter at the time of speaking and the interpreter reveal the message delivered! 1 Corinthians 14:27 Another thing done was the division of information. Each man received just a part of the Revelation. God gave to one man this part, to another, another. The apostle Paul recognized that the inspired knowledge and speaking of selected individuals was partial-a word from God here, and a word from God there and it was revealed to him that these partial revelations would not go on forever!! There would come a time when the pieces (parts, merous) would be put together!! When that happened, men would get their knowledge and speech about God’s revelation from the whole (telios) because the parts would have been done away with!! The whole would be FAR MORE beneficial to the student of the Word. For the first time it would ALL make sense. Therefore, the inspired knowledge and prophecy pf verse 8 which is from a partial source (verse) 9 will give way (be set aside) when a better source comes—the whole, the perfect (verse 10). Remember: tongues, themselves would just completely disappear, cease, stop!! As a matter of fact, church history shows that tongues did cease even BEFORE the writing of the New Testament was entirely finished!! I Timothy 4:1
In verse 10 we run into the word perfect. It can refer to nothing other than the completed “mystery” of God. Paul often speaks of God’s revelation as a mystery. That was a military word of the first century which meant the overall strategy of a general. Here’s the way it was used: Before a battle, a general would call in his leaders and give to each one a different order. Each then had a piece of the total strategy. Each would pass this on to the men of his charge who were to fulfill it. Often this was done without necessarily knowing that the other pieces were in existence. Men under different leaders were getting different pieces depending upon their part of the Battle-plan. After the battle was won, the general would call all his leaders together and explain to them the pieces of his battle plan so that each saw the total strategy. The combination of the PIECES PUT TOGETHER was called the “mystery” (musterion). The role of God’s church is to let all men see the total (put together) plan of God’s musterion. Ephesians 3:8-10 Before God’s new plan was put together, it existed in pieces because He, like the commander, gave certain pieces to various apostles and those on whom they laid hands. Paul wrote that later the possessors of the parts would have explained to them the whole. Until the whole was, the part gave the possessor only THEIR part of the battle plan!! That strategy (musterion) is OUR NEW TESTAMENT!!!
When the whole came, the parts were to be absorbed into the whole like a child is changed into the adult!! Verse 11. To see the whole is to see how all the parts interrelate. It is to see the outline and details clearly. That is what Paul is saying in verse 12. “We now see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face.” He explains his meaning in the next verse, which parallels exactly. That is, I see in a mirror dimly equals I now know out of parts (ek merous), and then face to face equals understand fully!!