I have tried to study about the Holy Spirit, its works and gifts, and all the myriad themes entailed in this insurmountable topic. We learn in 1 Corinthians 13 that love is superior to all the miraculous manifestations of the Spirit, and that the scriptures teach that these manifestations will cease when perfection comes (v.10). According to vv.9-12, before perfection comes, there is partial knowledge and childish reasoning, but after perfection comes, there is full knowledge and adult reasoning. The passage refers in v. 12 to seeing "as in a mirror." James 1:25 compares the scriptures to a mirror, and calls them 'the perfect law.' Moreover, the perfect is neuter in Greek, suggesting not Christ or love, but the word. All of this you mention in your book on the Spirit, and can also be found in many other sources. But if James (45-50 AD) was written before 1 Corinthians (55 AD), then James cannot be referring to the entire New Testament, since it was not yet completed. This makes me think Paul was referring to something else in 1 Corinthians 13. Do you have any thoughts? -- Juan (Nashville)

Yes, the Spirit is a huge topic! I am glad you have read my book on the subject. Yet you seem to think that I connect James 1:25 with the perfect of 1 Corinthians 13. Actually, I do not. I feel that connection is rather weak, and one of the weaknesses you have managed to describe as you compared the date of James with that of 1 Corinthians. (Well done!) In my book, I suggest that perfection (or maturity, or completion -- all valid translations of to teleion) refers not to the Bible, but to the state of the early church after the foundation laid by the apostles. I think you thought I taught the same thing you apparently have heard from other teachers in the past.

Anyway, take another look at the book and you will see that I have always rejected the notion that the perfect referred to the Bible. (And yet I do think that the writing of the New Testament does put us in a more complete or mature position than before its completion.)

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