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  • Writer's pictureMatt Beaney


‘For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears.’ (13:9-10)

Yesterday, we saw how gifts of the Spirit are very important, but they are passing away. We are told that ‘when completeness comes, what is in part disappears.’ What is ‘completeness’?

Completeness (teleios) is to have reached its end, be complete and perfect. The ESV translates it ‘perfection’.

Some take this to refer to the receiving of the Bible and that because we have the ‘perfect’ word of God, we don’t need certain gifts such as prophecy. Of course, the Word of God is perfect and without error. However, It seems best to see this as a reference to the return of Christ and the restoration of all things (the final consummation). Even with the Bible, which is perfect, we don’t ’see face to face…know fully’!

In this age, before completeness comes, we have the gifts to help us to enjoy and understand as much as we can of that glorious future. Paul tells us in chapter 1:

‘Therefore you do not lack any spiritual gift as you eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed.’ (1 Corinthians 1:7)

Gifts are passing- However, gifts reveal now, a measure of what we will experience fully then. Gifts serve us and build us up whilst we are 'eagerly waiting for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed'.


Do we live with anticipation of the return of Christ? Do we understand that the greatest revelation and joys of this life are a deposit of that future completeness that we will experience? If we have loved ones who have died in Christ, may it comfort us to know that they are experiencing greater glory than we, as yet, have enjoyed.



1. Notices

It might be good to begin with notices. Please share from this week’s Church News.


2. Icebreaker

Do you have any encouragements to share from how God has been speaking to you from His word recently?


3. Recap of Sunday's message - please share in your group

On Sunday, we continued with our series 'Becoming Love' from the book of 1 Corinthians, looking at 13:8-13. The title of this message was 'LIVE NOW IN LIGHT OF THEN'.

Please read 1 Corinthians 13:8-13.

Let’s remember what Paul is doing in this chapter: He’s correcting the church at Corinth. They are misusing the gifts of the Holy Spirit. He is reminding them that love is the be the motivation and goal of the gifts.

He begins by reminding them that ‘love never fails’ - Love is eternal; we will love one another and God eternally; however, the gifts are temporary and only for this passing age. Through these verses, we see this back and forth comparison between 'now' and 'then'; In this age - 'now' - we have gifts; these help us to 'know in part'. However, in the future age - 'then' - we won't need the gifts because we will see God and know God fully.

Paul uses the two illustrations of a child growing into maturity, and the incomplete nature of a reflected image in order to teach and contrast between now and then.


All of the glorious things that we will have at 'completeness' (when Christ comes) we can experience, in measure, now. We are to live now in light of then. For example:

i. 'Then', people will face judgement for sin; 'now', we are to receive Christ and be ambassadors for Christ.

ii. 'Then', we will be perfected in holiness; 'now' we are to seek and encourage sanctification.

iii. 'Then', we will be assured of our identity as loved and adopted; 'now' we are to seek to know our identity; we are to use our gifts to encourage others to know their identity.

iv. 'Then', all sickness and sorrow will pass; 'now' we can pray for the sick and bind up the brokenhearted.

v. 'Then', we will 'know fully'; 'now', we can know and enjoy God. We can use our gifts to help others to know and enjoy God.

Discussion questions

i) Did you feel that God spoke to you from any particular aspect of Sunday's message?

ii) Although the gifts are passing away, what does this text teach us about what the gifts are for?

iii) When will the gifts pass away?

iv) What does this text teach us about that future age?

v) What does it mean to 'live now in light of then'?

SIV - What effect will 'living now in light of then' have on our witness?

SIV - Do you have any encouraging stories of sharing your faith with your friends?

SIV - How do you plan to 'serve, invest and invite' into your friendships?

SIV - Let's pray for the Spirit to lead us in reaching our community.

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