I was a child, I spoke as a child, I felt as a child, I thought as a child. Now that I have become a man, I have put away childish things.
1 Corinthians 13:11
Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will be done away with. Where there are various languages, they will cease. Where there is knowledge, it will be done away with. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part; but when that which is complete has come, then that which is partial will be done away with.
1 Corinthians 13 [11.] When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I felt as a child, I thought as a child. Now that I have become a man, I have put away childish things. For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I will know fully, even as I was also fully known. But now faith, hope, and love remain—these three. The greatest of these is love.
- Childhood Analogies:
Childish Speech: The reference to speaking "as a child" reflects the limitations and simplicity of childhood communication. Paul acknowledges that, in the earlier stages of spiritual development, his understanding and expression of spiritual truths were limited.
Childish Feelings and Thoughts: The use of feelings and thoughts reinforces the holistic nature of the analogy. It encompasses not only verbal expression but also the emotional and intellectual aspects of one's spiritual journey.
- Maturation Process:
Becoming a Man: The metaphorical transition from childhood to manhood symbolizes spiritual maturation. It represents the journey from a state of spiritual immaturity to a more developed and mature understanding of faith and love.
Putting Away Childish Things: The act of putting away childish things signifies intentional growth and the willingness to let go of immature perspectives, behaviors, and attitudes. It emphasizes the transformative power of spiritual maturity.
Context in 1 Corinthians 13: This verse is situated within the famous "love chapter" of 1 Corinthians 13, where Paul eloquently describes the attributes of love. The analogy of childhood and maturity is employed to illustrate the transformative impact of love on the believer's life.
Love as a Catalyst for Maturity: The broader context suggests that love is not stagnant but plays a dynamic role in the believer's journey toward maturity. Love becomes the catalyst for putting away childish ways and embracing a more profound and selfless understanding of God's love.
Intentional Spiritual Growth: 1 Corinthians 13:11 encourages believers to actively pursue spiritual growth and maturity. It challenges them to assess their spiritual journey, identify childish attitudes or behaviors, and intentionally put them away in favor of a more mature and Christ-like approach.
Role of Love in Transformation: The verse underscores the transformative power of love in the believer's life. As individuals embrace and embody the love described in 1 Corinthians 13, they naturally progress toward spiritual maturity, putting away immaturity and embracing a more profound understanding of God's love.
Ephesians 4:14-15: "that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in craftiness, after the wiles of error; but speaking truth in love, we may grow up in all things into him who is the head, Christ." This passage from Ephesians echoes the theme of spiritual maturity and the importance of growing in truth and love.
Hebrews 5:12-14: "For although by this time you should be teachers, you again need to have someone teach you the rudiments of the first principles of the revelations of God. You have come to need milk, and not solid food." The Hebrews passage also addresses the concept of spiritual growth, emphasizing the transition from spiritual infancy to maturity.
In conclusion, 1 Corinthians 13:11 serves as a poignant reminder of the transformative journey from spiritual childhood to maturity, with love as the guiding force. It calls us to embrace intentional growth, putting away childish ways and evolving into individuals whose lives reflect the profound love exemplified by Christ.