When do the gifts end? Paul speaks of the end of the gifts, but can we tell the timing of this end from 1 Corinthians 13? Some streams of Christianity contend that gifts such as tongues, prophecy, and words of knowledge have already ceased. Other parts of Christianity say that these gifts continue to this day. What does Paul tell us?
When is the Perfect?
Paul spoke of a time when prophecy, tongues, and special knowledge would be useless (NLT). The ESV version explains it even more emphatically. 1 Corinthians 13: 8 Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. 11 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. 12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.
Those who think the gifts have already ended claim that the perfect refers to the completion of the Bible. They say that the gifts were only to support the spread of the Good News until the completion of the Bible.
However, I would say Paul considered the day of the Lord’s return as the gifts’ endpoint. I believe this is when we will live in perfection. In verse 12, Paul notes, then we will see face to face. We certainly will be able to see the face of the Lord at His return. We don’t look at the Bible face to face.
The Irony of the Corinthians’ Focus
As we walk this earth, our comprehension of God’s plans is too vast to understand, even with the Holy Spirit’s help. But when the Lord returns, we will enter into perfection. The need for tongues, prophecy, and special knowledge will end then. Ironically, these were the gifts that caused division among the Corinthians. They were arguing about temporary things. Paul urged them to focus on the gifts that lasted for eternity. 1 Corinthians 13: 13 Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love. This is good advice for us today. We need to keep our focus on Jesus and the things that last forever: faith, hope, and love.
When will the gifts end? To find out more, listen here:
 The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.