1 Corinthians 13:11
When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man…
The half informed and the immature in character are sometimes puffed up with conceit and pride; whilst humility often comes with a higher wisdom and a riper experience. The Corinthians were crude and unformed; the apostle was enlightened and inspired; yet they were puffed up with spiritual pride, whilst he was lowly in heart and free from arrogance. Hence this language, which is poetry and piety at once.
I. THE LITERAL FACT OF HUMAN NATURE AND LIFE. Childhood has its own speech, its prattle and babble; the babe utters inarticulate noises, the child speaks words, but with indistinctness and with many mistakes. Childhood has its own feelings, some of them Very deep when inspired by trivial causes; feelings succeeding one another with rapidity in striking contrast. Childhood has its own thoughts, sometimes upon the most mysterious themes, always with little knowledge of the thoughts of others; thoughts unfounded, unjustifiable; thoughts, too, which may be developed into a larger and richer experience. Now, he who becomes a man puts aside these infantile ways. His language is articulate, perhaps elegant and precise, perhaps copious and poetical. His feelings are less easily roused, but they are deeper and more lasting. His thoughts range over heaven and earth, the past and the future; they "wander through eternity."
II. THE ANALOGY OF THE SPIRITUAL LIFE BASED ON THIS FACT. This the apostle suggests and leaves his readers to work out in detail. There is an obvious resemblance between the life of the individual upon earth and the larger, longer life of the soul. As is childhood to manhood, so is this present state of being to the immortality beyond. This being so, there is a measure of probability that the resemblance extends where we cannot follow it. This is the argument of analogy; alike in many points, alike probably in more.
1. The future will be a development and expansion of the present. The speech and the feeling, the thoughts and the judgments, of the man are based upon those of the child. They are not radically different. Even so our earthly faith and hope and love, our earthly consecration, obedience, and praise, are the germ of the experiences and services.of the heavenly sanctuary. Heaven will witness the manhood of that intelligent piety, that devotion of heart and energy, of which earth has witnessed the infancy and childhood.
2. The future will immensely transcend the present. Great as is the difference between the acquirements of the child and those of the man, greater will be that between the religious knowledge and experience of earth, and what is reserved for us hereafter. It is vain for us to suppose that in this present state we can form any conception of the glorious future. We are now God's children, and we know not what we shall be. This we know: "We shall put away childish things." - T.
Parallel VersesKJV: 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.