Oh look, they’re bringing out a new tray of food to the serving island.
Let’s go see what it is, shall we.

8 Charity never faileth: but 1 whether 2 [there be] prophecies, they shall fail; whether 2 [there be] tongues, they shall cease; whether 2 [there be] knowledge, it shall vanish away.
1 δέ deh [G1161] but; a disjunctive conjunction.
2 εἴτε ī‘-teh [G1535 III. 15]
but, whether, whether, whether.

Here we have a peculiar situation in which a thought that ends one verse begins another, much as an Anadiplosis would in the repetition of the same word or words at the beginning of one sentence, after ending the former sentence (“Charity never fails”). However, the actual word(s) is/are not repeated, only the thought. Verses 4-7 gave us “ Charity suffereth long, [
and] is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things”. This enumeration joins nine things together in one thought, but without a conjunction, making it an Asyndeton.

With “ Charity never fails as the ending thought of verses 4-8a, we are presented with a pithy maxim, short and to the point, but oh so powerful. Then we are given the reason why  Charity never fails…“ Charity never fails, but whether [there be] prophecies, they shall fail; whether [
there be] tongues, they shall cease; whether [there be] knowledge, it shall vanish away ”.

Infused into this menu item is the figure Catabasis, which goes down slowly, so each flavor can compliment the other.

Fail: καταργέω; kä-tär-ge’-ō: [G2673] “ to cause a person or thing to have no further efficiency ”. When does this occur? When it has been fulfilled.

Let’s look at two verses that compare and contrast the idea of something being attempted, resulting in a lack of successs, and something that has succeeded and been fulfilled.
Romans. 4:14
For if they which are of the law [be] heirs, faith is made void, and the promise made of none effect:
κενόω Cause a thing to be seen to be empty, hollow, false ”.
Made of none effect:
καταργέω. The promise God made to Abraham to bless his seed is being fulfilled at this very moment in Christ Jesus did not fail, and neither will we as we persevere

Philippians 2:7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:
Made himself of no reputation:
κενόω Cause a thing to be seen to be empty, hollow, false ” Jesus denied his pride. He put God’s will ahead of his own. It was only by declaring his “self ” of none effect that he could be effective for God. This is a challenge each of us faces each and every day. Be patient with yourself and with others as we grow more Christ-like.

Cease: παύω; pau’-ō: [G3973] come to an end. When will this occur? When tongues are no longer needed.

Vanish away: καταργέω; kä-tär-ge’-ō: [G2673]. Same as “ fail ”, only I believe a slightly different hue is intended here, one which Google defines as “ without purpose or effect; pointless ”. Not that knowledge will “ vanish ”, but that what is known will no longer carry with it the same purpose it once did. This verse is in reference to the hope we have of being like Jesus Christ upon his return to gather together the church. “ But when that which is perfect is come, that which is in part (not the whole) shall be done away (καταργέω)” (see verse 10).

This brings to mind a road I travel on that once had traffic lights and intersections, but was reconstructed into a limited access highway. Now, when traffic joins, it is no longer necessary to stop the flow, but it can merge with caution. Nevertheless, the knowledge of what once was is in the memories of some.

9 For
3 we know in part, and 4 we prophesy in part.
3 γάρ [G1063 for]
4 καί [G2532 and]
In part, or, a part, as opposed to the whole
μέρος [G3313].


When the 10,000 pieces of that puzzle you put together are joined into a picture, you no longer have pieces, but a whole, or one piece. When we bite into that breaded chicken, we don’t think of the separate parts, just the chicken. (Mmm, I wonder what kind of breading they use).

I don’t believe verse 9 should be considered a part of the figure in verse 8, because it is simply stating a reason for what was said in verse 8, and not superfluously (that’s a big word to swallow, I should have cut it into smaller bites.).

10 But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.

I have heard it said that when Christ returns, we will no longer remember this present form we are in. It’s a clever come-back that when someone claims speaking in tongues has ceased, to say “ if it had, you wouldn’t know it, because knowledge would have vanished away ”. However, the best way to begin to understand our hope of being “ like him, for we shall see him as he is ”, is to learn what he was/is like in his resurrected body. Let’s take a look at that next time. We’ll be hungry again by then.


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