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“A Brief Explanation”
1 Corinthians 13:8-13
1 Corinthians 13 verses 8-13 (overview)
Thoughts for Today:
Verses 8-13 are some of the most hotly contested verses in the Bible. On one hand, scholars argue that faith and hope cannot exist after the coming of Christ because He is the object of our faith (1 Peter 1:9: for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls."). Therefore, the perfection Paul speaks about in verse 10, cannot be the coming of Christ. Rather, it is the completion (or canonization) of the New Testament which did not occur until after Paul's death.
On the other hand, the Greek word Paul uses is MENO (translated as "remain" in verse 13). It means "continue to be, not to perish". In reference to faith and hope -- Paul says they last forever. Perhaps he meant that Jesus would be with us forever, therefore faith and hope remain. I don't know for certain, and I don't profess to have all the answers. But, what I do know is that in the previous verse when he says, "then I will be fully known", he is talking about heaven not the Bible.
I had to take a position on these verses, so I chose the latter rather than the former. Why? Because it's what Paul said. This is important because it has to do with the gifts of the Spirit. My position remains the same -- gifts of the Spirit continue beyond the canonization of the New Testament and will remain with the church until the return of Christ. Also, there is ample evidence of the Holy Spirit's ongoing use of miraculous gifts in the world today.
Questions to Ponder:
As I discussed the forgoing with the pastor of my church, he said, "Why do Christians always feel like we need to lock down these concepts tighter than the Bible does? Isn't there room for alternative perspectives on a range of issues that don't involve the cornerstones of our faith?" I couldn't agree more. So read on and come to your own conclusions.
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About the author
Pocket Devotions are written by Mike Brooks. A retired businessman, he is Moderator of South Shores church, leads the Deacon Board, serves on the finance committee, and he teaches a Men's Bible study and the Men's Ministry. Mike has a passion for evangelical missions. He is the husband of Sherry; the father of Ryan, Natalie, Krissy, Rebecca, and Amanda; the father-in-law of Ariel; and the grandfather of Conner and Christian.