A Symposium on the Tongues Movement Part II: First Corinthians Thirteen and the Tongues Question -- By: Stanley D. Toussaint

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 120:480 (Oct 1963)
Article: A Symposium on the Tongues Movement Part II: First Corinthians Thirteen and the Tongues Question
Author: Stanley D. Toussaint


A Symposium on the Tongues Movement
Part II: First Corinthians Thirteen and the Tongues Question

Stanley D. Toussaint

Universally 1 Corinthians thirteen is divided into three parts—verses 1–3, 4–7, and 8–13. In the first paragraph Paul points to the necessity of love, in the second to the nature of love, and in the third to the endurance of love. Although tongues are mentioned in verse one, the outstanding contribution of this chapter to the tongues problem is found in the last part of the chapter. It is in verses 8–13 that the temporary aspect of the gift of tongues is seen. Verse 8 is to be particularly noted here. In connection with this verse our discussion will revolve around two questions. When will prophecies and knowledge be done away? Do tongues cease before prophecies

and knowledge are rendered inoperative? When these two questions are objectively answered from an exegetical standpoint, much will have been gained in an attempt to answer at least one phase of the tongues question.

When Will Prophecies and Knowledge Be Done Away?

This must be the starting point in this consideration. Until this question is resolved further discussion will be indeterminative. Basically three answers are given to this question.

At the close of the canon. Some feel that the gifts of prophecies and knowledge were done away with the completion of the canon. Vine accepts this as a possible interpretation. “With the completion of Apostolic testimony and the completion of the Scriptures of truth (‘the faith once for all delivered to the saints,’ Jude 3, R.V.), ‘that which is perfect’ had come, and the temporary gifts were done away. For the Scriptures provided by the Spirit of God were ‘perfect.’ Nothing was to be added to them, nothing taken from them.”1

While this view is very tenable theologically, the following verses do not indicate this was what Paul was saying. “That which is perfect” mentioned in verse ten is explained in verse twelve. Few would controvert the idea that verse twelve is anticipating the return of Christ for His own. The “perfect” thing then is the rapture and resurrection of the church.

At the end of the early church period. Those who take this view say Paul is looking at the church in two stages of its development. The earl...

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