When I Was A Child: What Does 1 Corinthians 13:11 Mean?


1 Corinthians 13:11, “When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.” King James Version (KJV)

Translation1 Corinthians 13:11
ESVWhen I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways.
NASBWhen I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things.
NIVWhen I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.
NLTWhen I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things.

When I Was A Child: Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary

13:8-13 Charity is much to be preferred to the gifts on which the Corinthians prided themselves. From its longer continuance. It is a grace, lasting as eternity.

The present state is a state of childhood, the future that of manhood. Such is the difference between earth and heaven.

What narrow views, what confused notions of things, have children when compared with grown men! Thus shall we think of our most valued gifts of this world, when we come to heaven.

All things are dark and confused now, compared with what they will be hereafter. They can only be seen as by the reflection in a mirror, or in the description of a riddle; but hereafter our knowledge will be free from all obscurity and error.

It is the light of heaven only, that will remove all clouds and darkness that hide the face of God from us. To sum up the excellences of charity, it is preferred not only to gifts, but to other graces, to faith and hope. Faith fixes on the Divine revelation, and assents thereto, relying on the Divine Redeemer.

Hope fastens on future happiness, and waits for that; but in heaven, faith will be swallowed up in actual sight, and hope in enjoyment. There is no room to believe and hope, when we see and enjoy. But there, love will be made perfect.

There we shall perfectly love God. And there we shall perfectly love one another. Blessed state! how much surpassing the best below! God is love, 1Jo 4:8,16. Where God is to be seen as he is, and face to face, there charity is in its greatest height; there only will it be perfected.

1 Corinthians 13:11 | Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

11. When … a child—(1Co 3:1; 14:20).

I spake—alluding to “tongues.”

understood—or, “had the sentiments of.” Alluding to “prophecy.”

I thought—Greek “reasoned” or “judged”; alluding to “knowledge.”

when I became … I put away—rather, “now that I am become a man, I have done away with the things of the child.”

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