1 Corinthians 13:12
Parallel Verses
New International Version
For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

New Living Translation
Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.

English Standard Version
For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.

New American Standard Bible
For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known.

King James Bible
For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
For now we see indistinctly, as in a mirror, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I will know fully, as I am fully known.

International Standard Version
Now we see only an indistinct image in a mirror, but then we will be face to face. Now what I know is incomplete, but then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known.

NET Bible
For now we see in a mirror indirectly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know in part, but then I will know fully, just as I have been fully known.

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
Now we see as in a mirror, in an allegory, but then face-to-face. Now I know partially, but then I shall know as I am known.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
Now we see a blurred image in a mirror. Then we will see very clearly. Now my knowledge is incomplete. Then I will have complete knowledge as God has complete knowledge of me.

Jubilee Bible 2000
For now we see as through a mirror, in darkness, but then we shall see face to face; now I know in part, but then I shall know even as I also am known.

King James 2000 Bible
For now we see in a mirror dimly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.

American King James Version
For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.

American Standard Version
For now we see in a mirror, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know fully even as also I was fully known.

Douay-Rheims Bible
We see now through a glass in a dark manner; but then face to face. Now I know I part; but then I shall know even as I am known.

Darby Bible Translation
For we see now through a dim window obscurely, but then face to face; now I know partially, but then I shall know according as I also have been known.

English Revised Version
For now we see in a mirror, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I have been known.

Webster's Bible Translation
For now we see through a glass darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.

Weymouth New Testament
For the present we see things as if in a mirror, and are puzzled; but then we shall see them face to face. For the present the knowledge I gain is imperfect; but then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

World English Bible
For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I will know fully, even as I was also fully known.

Young's Literal Translation
for we see now through a mirror obscurely, and then face to face; now I know in part, and then I shall fully know, as also I was known;
Parallel Commentaries
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.

Pulpit Commentary

Verse 12. - Through a glass; rather, through (or, by means of) a mirror. Our "glasses" were unknown in that age. The mirrors were of silver or some polished metal, giving, of course, a far dimmer image than "glasses" do. The rabbis said that "all the prophets saw through a dark mirror, but Moses through a bright one." St. Paul says that no human eye can see God at all except as an image seen as it were behind the mirror. Darkly; rather, in a riddle. God is said to have spoken to Moses "by means of riddles" (Numbers 12:8; Authorized Version, "in dark speeches"), Human language, dealing with Divine facts, can only represent them indirectly, metaphorically, enigmatically, under human images, and as illustrated by visible phenomena. God can only be represented under the phrases of anthropomorphism and anthropopathy; and such phrases can only have a relative, not an absolute, truth. Then; i.e. "when the perfect is come." Face to face. Like the "mouth to mouth" of the Hebrew and the LXX. in Numbers 12:8. This is the beatific vision. "We know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is" (1 John 3:2). "Now we walk by faith, not by sight" (2 Corinthians 5:7). Then shall I know even as also I am known; rather, then shall I fully know even as also I was fully known, viz. when Christ took knowledge of me at my conversion. Now, we do not so much "know" God, but "rather are known of God" (comp. 1 Corinthians 8:3).

Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

For now we see through a glass,.... In this present life, they that are enlightened by the Spirit of God, see God, the perfections and glory of his nature, the riches of his grace and goodness, as displayed in Christ; they behold the glory of Christ, as full of grace and truth, and are filled with love to him; the desires of their souls are after him, and they are changed into the same image by his Spirit; they discern the things of the Spirit of God; the veil being removed from them, they behold wondrous things, out of the law of God and Gospel of Christ, even such things as are unseen unto, and unknown by the natural man: but then it is all "through a glass"; not of the creatures; for though the invisible things of God may in some sort be seen and understood by the things that are made; and God, as the God of nature, may be seen in the works of creation and providence, yet not as the God of grace; it is only in his Son, and through the glass of the Gospel, he is to be beheld in this light: and so it is through the glass of the word and ordinances, that the glory of the person of Christ, of his offices, fulness of grace and righteousness, is only to be seen; in these he is evidently set forth to the eye of faith, as the surety, Saviour, and Redeemer of his people, and through these the knowledge of divine truths is communicated: and through all these but

darkly: "in an enigma", or "riddle", or "dark saying", as the word here used may be rendered; that is, in this present state, in comparison of the future one; for though the sight of things under the Gospel dispensation is clear, and with open face, in comparison of the legal one, yet even this is very obscure, and attended with great darkness and imperfection, when compared with the beatific vision in heaven, which will have no manner of interruption and obscurity in it:

but then face to face: there will be no intervening mediums of vision; not the glass of the word and ordinances; there will be no need of them, God and Christ will be seen as they are; the judgments of God, his providential dispensations, will be all made manifest, and will be legible without the help of a glass; the doctrines of grace and truth will lie open and clear, free of all dark speeches, obscure hints, or enigmatical expressions: and as there will be nothing to intervene by way of assistance, there being no need of any, there will be nothing to intercept the sight; the objects will be nigh, even face to face; the view will be full and clear, the sight will be perfect, as well as the converse with the objects will be familiar; and which, without the least obstruction, will always so continue: there seems to be here a double reference, partly to what the Lord says of Moses, in Numbers 12:8 "with him will I speak, mouth to mouth, even apparently, and not in dark speeches"; and partly to what the Jews say of him, with a view to the same passage:

"all the prophets (say they (s)) looked through a glass, which did not give light; (or, as they sometimes say, which was spotted, and was not clear;) Moses our master looked , "through a glass that gave light";''

or, as elsewhere, was bright and clear, and without any spot. Again, they say (t),

"all the prophets prophesied by the means of an angel; hence they saw what they saw , "by way of parable and riddle", or dark saying; Moses our master did not prophesy by the means of an angel; as it is said, "with him will I speak mouth to mouth"; and it is said, "the Lord spake to Moses, face to face"; and it is also said, "the similitude of the Lord shall he behold"; as if it was said, that there should be no parable; but he should see the thing clearly without a parable; of which likewise the law testifies, saying, "apparently, and not in dark speeches"; for he did not prophesy "by way of riddle"; (in an enigmatical way, darkly;) but apparently, for he saw the matter clearly.''

The two glasses, clear and not clear, the Cabalistic doctors call "tiphereth" and "malchuth" (u).

""Tiphereth" (they say) is a clear and well polished glass, by which Moses prophesied and had visions, "and saw all things most exactly", in a very singular manner; "malchuth" is the glass that is not clear; so that he that prophesies by that, prophesies "by riddle", and parable.''

Now the apostle suggests, that as there was such a difference between Moses and the rest of the prophets, the one saw clearly, the other through a glass darkly; a like, yea, a much greater difference there is between the clearest views saints have of divine things now, and those they shall be blessed with hereafter, and which he exemplifies in himself:

now I know in part; though not a whit behind the chief of the apostles; though his knowledge in the mystery of Christ was such, as had not been given to any in ages and generations past; and though he had been caught up into the third heaven and had heard words not lawful to be uttered, yet owns his knowledge in the present state to be but imperfect; which may be instructive to such, who are apt to entertain an high opinion of themselves, and dream of perfection in this life:

but then shall I know, even as I am known; in the other world and state, he signifies that he should know God, Christ, angels, and glorified saints, and all truths in a perfect manner, even as he was known of God and Christ perfectly, allowing for the difference between the Creator and the creature; his sense is, that he should have as full and complete a knowledge of persons and things as he was capable of; it would be like, though not equal to, the knowledge which God had of him; and which would be attended with the strongest love and affection to the objects known, even as he was known and loved of God.

(s) T. Bab. Yebamot, fol. 49. 2. Vajikra Rabba, sect. 1. fol. 147. 2. Zohar in Gen. fol. 30. 2. & 98. 3. & 103. 3. & in Exod. x. 3. & xi. 3. & xiv. 4. & 34, 2. Tzeror Hammor, fol. 46. 4. & 170. 2. Shaare ora, fol. 26. 2.((t) Maimon. Jesode Hatora, c. 7. sect. 6. (u) Lex. Cabal. p. 139. R. Moses in Sepher Hashem in ib.

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

12. now—in our present state.

see—an appropriate expression, in connection with the "prophets" of seers (1Sa 9:9).

through a glass—that is, in a mirror; the reflection seeming to the eye to be behind the mirror, so that we see it through the mirror. Ancient mirrors were made of polished brass or other metals. The contrast is between the inadequate knowledge of an object gained by seeing it reflected in a dim mirror (such as ancient mirrors were), compared with the perfect idea we have of it by seeing itself directly.

darkly—literally, "in enigma." As a "mirror" conveys an image to the eye, so an "enigma" to the ear. But neither "eye nor ear" can fully represent (though the believer's soul gets a small revelation now of) "the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him" (1Co 2:9). Paul alludes to Nu 12:8, "not in dark speeches"; the Septuagint, "not in enigmas." Compared with the visions and dreams vouchsafed to other prophets, God's communications with Moses were "not in enigmas." But compared with the intuitive and direct vision of God hereafter, even the revealed word now is "a dark discourse," or a shadowing forth by enigma of God's reflected likeness. Compare 2Pe 1:19, where the "light" or candle in a dark place stands in contrast with the "day" dawning. God's word is called a glass or mirror also in 2Co 3:18.

then—"when that which is perfect is come" (1Co 13:10).

face to face—not merely "mouth to mouth" (Nu 12:8). Ge 32:30 was a type (Joh 1:50, 51).

know … known—rather as Greek, "fully know … fully known." Now we are known by, rather than know, God (1Co 8:3; Ga 4:9).

1 Corinthians 13:12 Additional Commentaries
Context
Love
11When 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. 12For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known. 13But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love.
Cross References
Genesis 32:30
So Jacob called the place Peniel, saying, "It is because I saw God face to face, and yet my life was spared."

Numbers 12:8
With him I speak face to face, clearly and not in riddles; he sees the form of the LORD. Why then were you not afraid to speak against my servant Moses?"

Job 19:26
And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God;

Job 36:26
How great is God--beyond our understanding! The number of his years is past finding out.

1 Corinthians 8:3
But whoever loves God is known by God.

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

1 Corinthians 13:11
When 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.

2 Corinthians 3:18
And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

2 Corinthians 5:7
For we live by faith, not by sight.

Philippians 3:12
Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.

James 1:23
Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror

1 John 3:2
Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.
Treasury of Scripture

For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.

we see.

2 Corinthians 3:18 But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the …

2 Corinthians 5:7 (For we walk by faith, not by sight:)

Philippians 3:12 Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: …

James 1:23 For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like to …

darkly. Gr. in a riddle.

Judges 14:12-19 And Samson said to them, I will now put forth a riddle to you: if …

Ezekiel 17:2 Son of man, put forth a riddle, and speak a parable to the house of Israel;

face.

Exodus 33:11 And the LORD spoke to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his …

Numbers 12:8 With him will I speak mouth to mouth, even apparently, and not in …

Matthew 5:8 Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.

Matthew 18:10 Take heed that you despise not one of these little ones; for I say to you…

Romans 8:18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy …

1 John 3:2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it does not yet appear what …

Revelation 22:4 And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads.

now.

1 Corinthians 13:9,10 For we know in part, and we prophesy in part…

John 10:15 As the Father knows me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down …

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