In 1 Corinthians 13:8, The Greek word, "παύσονται | intransitive future middle" appears as the indicative of the Greek verb παύω (pauō, "to cease").

Does the form, tense, and mood of this particular verb suggest that the spiritual gift of tongues was to cease before the arrival of "the perfect"?

Closely Related:
- 1 Corinthians 13:10 - What does Paul mean by "Completeness"?
- 1 Corinthians 13:10 - What does "The Perfect" Refer to?
- 1 Corinthians 13:10 - Should "The Perfect" Be Interpreted in an Eschatological Sense?
- 1 Corinthians 13:10 - What Will Cease when "The Perfect" Comes?
- 1 Corinthians 13:9-10 - What Does "ἐκ μέρους" Mean?
- 1 Corinthians 13:9 - How Should "Out Of" Be Translated?

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    The final question is the same as: What does Paul mean by 'Completeness' in 1 Corinthians 13:8-10? -- as this was not in the original, I'm going to remove that part.
    – Susan
    Commented Apr 2, 2016 at 16:59
  • Related to: In 1 Cor 13:10, What does “The Perfect” Refer to? Commented Aug 1, 2016 at 17:40

3 Answers 3


The second principal part of παύω, which provides the future stem, is παύσω. This verb, when used actively, can be transitive, and means "to stop [something/someone]". But when the verb is used in the middle voice, as it is in 1 Corinthians 13:8, it means "to cease". The future middle indicative is παύσομαι (first person singular) and the third person plural is παύσονται.

Thus, the verb has future tense and middle voice. This gives it the meaning: "(they) shall cease".

Ἡ ἀγάπη οὐδέποτε πίπτει· εἴτε δὲ προφητεῖαι, καταργηθήσονται· εἴτε γλῶσσαι, παύσονται· εἴτε γνῶσις, καταργηθήσεται. (1 Corinthians 13:8)

Love never fails. If there are prophecies, they will be brought to naught. If there are tongues, they will cease. If there is knowledge, it will be brought to naught.

The tense is important because it is saying that these gifts, which Paul had discussed before, will eventually be brought to naught, so we should not value them over the things that will abide: faith, hope, and love. And of these three, he says, love is the most important.


Will pass away, will be ceased, all gifts are no longer needed once Jesus comes. Perhaps finding parallel constructions might lend more information but since tongues are the 2nd of 3 things, Paul is not singling this out but grouping it with the others.


The use of γλῶσσαι in this verse is in relation to language in general. Language in our realm of existence is a barrier to oneness, regardless of whether it be human language or angelic utterance.

Paul is saying in this passage from 1 Corinthians 13, that when the 'perfect' is come, language will no longer be a barrier to unity, neither will knowledge (of God) be a barrier, nor will the need for prophets and prophecy, because "then shall I know even as also I am known", i.e. FULLY.

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