Prior to the rise of the Pentecostal/Charismatic movement in the twentieth century, there was much less debate about the interpretation and significance of 1 Corinthians 13:8-13. The reason why is because for 1900 years the overwhelming view of orthodox Christian theology had been that the close of the apostolic age produced an end of the prophetic/miraculous gifts that had operated through the apostles and prophets of the first century. All historians (both non Charismatic and Charismatic) recognize that a radical change took place after the close of the first century.
Some have tried to argue (very weakly) that the miraculous/prophetic gifts continued to be given, but this is a view that is very hard to sustain. Others have tried to argue (also very weakly) that those miraculous gifts somehow subsided but came back into power with the rise of the Pentecostal Movement in the Twentieth century. A careful analysis of Pentecostal/Charismatic practices shows that the present-day phenomena in these movements does not match up to the work of the Spirit in the apostolic age. In any case, one result is very clear: Ever since the rise of the Pentecostal Movement, the interpretation and significance of 1 Corinthians 12-14, especially verses 13:8-13 has become extremely critical.
This post will be the first of a series of blogs to explore the history of interpretation of 1 Corinthians 13:8-13. A thorough study of 1 Corinthians commentaries reveals four major categories of interpretation. These four categories might be labeled as follows: (1) The content of knowledge of view, (2) The completed canon view, (3) The eschatological views, and (4) The mature body views.
I welcome you back for this series of studies.