Implications of I Corinthians 13, Part 1

This is the conclusion my group recently composed for our project on I Corinthians 13. The next two points in the conclusion will form Part 2, and 3.

There are three issues here that the modern church is in need of hearing: 1) this passage cannot function as a justification for a cessationist view of gifts, or cannot be used to argue against the manifestation of charismata 2) this passage reminds us that the purpose of the Spirit giving gifts to the church is for the edification of the body, and not for the fame of the possessor of the gift, and therefore that the value of some charismatic expressions in the church are left without ‘witness’ (biblical support), and lastly, 3) our own gifts (however dubious the equivalence between our supposed list of gifts and Paul’s) leave us empty and barren if they are not for the benefit of the church.

1) Revelation 22:18-20 would serve as a much better text for a self-referential closing of the NT canon: "For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book. He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming quickly.” Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus! " (NASB) While it is clear that I Corinthians 13 places the ceasing of gifts at the appearance of Christ, this does not necessarily mean that there is no ground for that view. The point here is this: I Corinthians 13 is a testimony against our "cerebral version of Christianity in the West," as Fee calls it, which elevates the lack of gifts as a sign of maturity. If only our maturity were so great that our love for our brothers stood out clearer, then this might be more plausible. This text is an alert to us that our particular flavor of Christianity may be very far from what the Lord calls us to.

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