“When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things.”
When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child;
Paul now gives himself as an illustration about the “perfect” and “in part.” By analogy, children’s understanding is incomplete and partial. They speak, think, and reason as a child; they do not have the same capacity as an adult in this regard. Before the finish of the canon, Paul did not have a completed revelation; for example, John had not received revelation of his books yet.
The church was in its infancy in the book of Acts and covered a quarter of a century of church history. The church went through its infancy with many childhood diseases, for there were many problems with the church in Acts. The church at Corinth delighted with childish glee in their gifts.
but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
Adulthood has a much clearer and complete perspective on reality. The Greek word for “put away” is the same word used for prophecy and knowledge in verse eight and “done away” in verse 10. The word does not mean to come to an absolute cessation but to render inoperative; that is, these gifts are still functional but not fully functional. The gifts of prophecy and knowledge had the function of revelation in a partial sense. Prior to the completion of the canon, the Christian had only limited capacity to understand God.
With the completion of the canon, we have all that God wants us to know about His mind.
The gifts of knowledge and prophecy are child’s play compared to the full-grown revelation of God’s Word in the canon. All Christians can mature in the final revelation of God. They will love with mature love. Love is the highest virtue (13:13). As we apply principles of Scripture to experience, we grow into relative maturity in love.