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The Duration of Prophecy: How Long Will Prophecy Be Used in the Church? (Part 1) by Wayne A. Grudem

1 Corinthians 13:10, therefore, refers to the time of Christ’s return and says that prophecy will last among believers until that time. This means that we have a clear biblical statement that Paul expected the gift of prophecy to continue through the entire church age and to function for the benefit of the church until the Lord returns.




Next Issue: Part 2: Objections to This Interpretation

Future Issues:

The Relationship between the Gift of Prophecy and Scripture

Spiritual Gifts as Characteristic of the New Covenant Age

Application for Today  


  1. Greek epignosōmai ta panta would say, “I shall know all things.”
  2. I have stated it this way because, more precisely, “the perfect” in 1 Corinthians 13:10 is not Christ himself, but is a method of acquiring knowledge which is so superior to present knowledge and prophecy that it makes these two obsolete. For when this “perfect” comes it renders the imperfect useless. But only the kind of knowledge Paul expected in the final consummation of all things could be so qualitatively different from present knowledge that it could provide this kind of contrast and be called “the perfect” as opposed to “the imperfect.”
  3. D. A. Carson, Showing the Spirit: A Theological Exposition of 1 Corinthians 12–14 (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker, 1987), 70-72, gives several similar reasons why the time “when the perfect comes” must be the time of Christ’s return (with references to other views, and to the literature).Among “cessationists” (those who hold that gifts such as prophecy have “ceased” and are not valid for today) some, but not all, agree that the time “when the perfect comes” must be the time of Christ’s return. See John F. MacArthur, Jr., The Charismatics: A Doctrinal Perspective (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan, 1978), 165-166; and Richard B. Gaffin, Perspectives on Pentecost (Phillipsburg, N.J.: Presbyterian and Reformed, 1979), 109.


“The Duration of Prophecy” is Chapter 12 of The Gift of Prophecy in the New Testament and Today by Wayne A. Grudem, Copyright © 1988, 2000, Revised Edition, Pp. 400. Used by permission of Crossway Books, a division of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, Illinois 60187. Publisher’s page.

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Category: Spirit, Spring 2001

About the Author: Wayne A. Grudem is Professor of Theology and Biblical Studies at Phoenix Seminary, Phoenix, Arizona. He has authored over twenty books, including Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine (1994), Politics According to the Bible: A Comprehensive Resource for Understanding Modern Political Issues in Light of Scripture (2010), The Poverty of Nations: A Sustainable Solution (2013), The Gift of Prophecy in the New Testament and Today, Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood: A Response to Evangelical Feminism, and "Free Grace" Theology: 5 Ways It Diminishes the Gospel (2016). He was also the General Editor for the ESV Study Bible (Evangelical Christian Publishers Association Book of the Year, 2009).

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