1 Corinthians 13:8-10 is the key text that establishes the temporary nature of the sign gifts. In order to understanding their temporary nature, it is necessary to define terms and expand the translation. 1 Corinthians 13:8 states, “Love never fails; but if there are gifts of prophecy, they will be done away; if there are tongues, they will cease.” By studying each of the terms in verse eight, it can be translated as follows: “Sacrificial love will not perish: but those discourses emanating from divine inspiration, will become inactive; the ability to speak in languages previously unknown, will discontinue; the ability to discern divine revelation will become inactive.”
- 1 Corinthians 13:9 states, “If there is knowledge, it will be done away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part.” Again, by defining each of the terms, verse nine can be rendered, “For we understand divine revelation partially, and we speak divine revelation partially.
1 Corinthians 13:10 states, “But when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away.” After exploring the terms, verse ten can be rendered, “As soon as that which is complete is established, the partial will be rendered inactive.”
Having an understanding of 1 Corinthians 13:8-10, will provide the answers to when and why these nine sign gifts ceased in the next Two Minute Theology post — Spiritual Gifts and the Holy Spirit: Part 17