1 Corinthians 13:9 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

1 Corinthians 13:9, NIV: For we know in part and we prophesy in part,

1 Corinthians 13:9, ESV: For we know in part and we prophesy in part,

1 Corinthians 13:9, KJV: For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.

1 Corinthians 13:9, NASB: For we know in part and prophesy in part;

1 Corinthians 13:9, NLT: Now our knowledge is partial and incomplete, and even the gift of prophecy reveals only part of the whole picture!

1 Corinthians 13:9, CSB: For we know in part, and we prophesy in part,

What does 1 Corinthians 13:9 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Paul is showing that for believers to treat each other with self-sacrificing, Christ-like love is far superior than the exercise of spiritual gifts. He has just written that another way it is superior is that love is an eternal act. Spiritual gifts will eventually cease to be necessary and "pass away."

Now Paul begins a thought that he will conclude in the following verse. For now, "we know in part and we prophesy in part." He is referring to the spiritual gifts of knowledge and prophecy and showing that they are only partially effective.

Any knowledge given to the church by God through someone with the gift of knowledge is just a tiny slice of all there is to know of God. In a similar way, any revelation from God to the church through someone with the gift of prophecy only reveals a small window on the enormous picture of all there is to be told about who God is and what He will accomplish.

Our understanding of what is knowable, even as Christians in churches with gifted prophets during Paul's day, is incredibly small. We know only "in part."