What is the perfect in 1 Corinthians 13:10

What is the “perfect” in 1 Corinthians 13:10? That is the question that Wes and Travis tackle in today’s Bible study.

This question was raised by a listner, who wrote, “1 Corinthians 13:10 says, ‘but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away.’ I’ve always heard (and my husband still firmly believes) ‘the perfect’ mentioned here is referring to the written Word of God or the Bible. Recently I’ve heard from 3 different sources that ‘the perfect’ is when Christ returns. This explanation actually makes sense to me, but I’d like your opinion about it. Thank you for your time and your podcast.”

The Greek word translated, “perfect” (τέλειος) generally means, “attaining an end or purpose, complete” (BDAG Lexicon). With that definition in mind, Wes and Travis study the context of 1 Corinthians 13:10, as well as several other passages that discuss the “end” or “purpose” for disciples. What “end or purpose” did the miraculous gifts serve? To what “end or purpose” are Christians supposed to be striving?

Another Greek word discussed in this episode is κατεργάζομαι, which is translated, “work out” in Philippians 2:12. Paul tells the Philippian church, “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” By this, he seems to mean they should live out their salvation or bring their salvation into full effect. What does salvation look like when it is fully realized, when it reaches its fulfillment? What would our salvation look like if it was “made perfect” in our lives?

These are some of the thoughts and ideas with which we wrestle in today’s Bible Study Podcast. We hope it is a blessing to you.

Bible Passages Discussed

  • 1 Corinthians 13
  • Ephesians 4:11-15
  • Philippians 2:1-16

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