1 Cor. 13:9-10
Charity never fails: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.
For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.”
I cannot count the times I have heard this scripture from the pulpit (yes I did time in an Independent Fundamentalist Baptist church, years ago), or read articles or entered debates on referencing these verses of speaking in tongues and that verse 9 is proof that tongues have ceased, stopped, no longer operate as one of the gifts given by the Holy Spirit to the body of Christ.
The proof, so they say, is literally snatched from the pages of the Bible and the focus is very narrow: on half the verse….”whether there be tongues, they shall cease” I am not writing this to argue whether or not tongues have ceased, I’m writing this to help others see that these verses have been taken out of context, twisted used in part to falsely claim that the Bible says speaking in tongues has stopped. They claim that verse 10 explains the reason why tongues have stopped by stating that “when that which is perfect is come” is referencing the Word of God, the Bible that we have today, once it was put together and canonized because it’s perfect, therefore, tongues have ceased because the verse continues on to say “that which is in part shall be done away”…… One problem with this is that tongues is not the only thing mentioned as ending or ceasing, in these verses. We also have prophecies that will fail and knowledge that will vanish away. So if “that which is prefect is come” is truly the Word of God i.e. the Bible, then prophecies, knowledge and tongues will all have stopped and or be done away with. One can’t pick and choose what they want to vanish away, it’s either an all or nothing here. A few years back I recall an ongoing back and forth discussion I was having about these verses with someone who was adamant about tongues ceasing. They of course went straight to these two verses. Not only did I point out that if tongues have ceased then prophecies and knowledge were out too. I went on to read the context of the chapter which brings more understanding to verses 9 & 10, in verse 12.
1 Cor. 13:12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.
Scripture clearly gives us understanding of “when that which is perfect is come” with a “now” and “then” scenario in verse 12 above. So I told the person, I still see through a glass darkly and I don’t know even as I am known; that is now. If verse 10 is truly referencing the Word of God then we would no longer be on the now side but the then side of things knowing even as we are known.
There was a time in my life that I wanted desperately to believe that tongues had ceased and the sign gifts are no longer operating. I have come to the realization that as much as I wanted to believe this, it’s not what the scriptures are saying by any means. It’s yet another lie and deception that many get trapped in.
While I will be the first to admit that I have no clear understanding of the gifts (all of them). I do understand and know that coming out of charismania has very much marred my understanding of the gifts, they have been mutilated and decimated within charismania, that’s why it’s so appealing to want to dismiss them; its quick and clean. But I know to believe that is just another lie. So I will continue to stand on God’s Word and rely on the Holy Spirit to give me understanding into these things, as messy as they may be. I still have a LOT of deprogramming to do when it comes to the lies and deceptions that I believed. I would much rather admit I don’t get it, than to just dismiss it because it seems easy and fits so well into my stand against charismania……but I won’t don’t that, I simply can’t: praying God keeps me always searching for the truth in His Word, no matter how hard it may be at times. Praying this brings clarity abd comfort for some.