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1 Corinthians 13:11

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

When I was a child - This future state of blessedness is as far beyond the utmost perfection that can be attained in this world, as our adult state of Christianity is above our state of natural infancy, in which we understand only as children understand; speak only a few broken articulate words, and reason only as children reason; having few ideas, little knowledge but what may be called mere instinct, and that much less perfect than the instinct of the brute creation; and having no experience. But when we became men-adults, having gained much knowledge of men and things, we spoke and reasoned more correctly, having left off all the manners and habits of our childhood.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

When I was a child - The idea here is, that the knowledge which we now have, compared with that which we shall have in heaven, is like that which is possessed in infancy compared with that we have in manhood; and that as, when we advance in years, we lay aside, as unworthy of our attention, the views, feelings, and plans which we had in boyhood, and which we then esteemed to be of so great importance, so, when we reach heaven, we shall lay aside the views, feelings, and plans which we have in this life, and which we now esteem so wise and so valuable. The word “child” here ( νήπιος nēpios) denotes properly a baby, an infant, though without any definable limitation of age. It refers to the first periods of existence; before the period which we denominate boyhood, or youth. Paul here refers to a period when he could “speak,” though evidently a period when his speech was scarcely intelligible - when he first began to articulate.

I spake as a child - Just beginning to articulate, in a broken and most imperfect manner. The idea here is, that our knowledge at present, compared with the knowledge of heaven, is like the broken and scarcely intelligible efforts of a child to speak compared with the power of utterance in manhood.

I understood as a child - My understanding was feeble and imperfect. I had narrow and imperfect views of things. I knew little. I fixed my attention on objects which I now see to be of little value. I acquired knowledge which has vanished, or which has sunk in the superior intelligence of riper years. “I was affected as a child. I was thrown into a transport of joy or grief on the slightest occasions, which manly reason taught me to despise” - Doddridge.

I thought as a child - Margin, “Reasoned.” The word may mean either. I thought, argued, reasoned in a weak and inconclusive manner. My thoughts, and plans, and argumentations were puerile, and such as I now see to be short-sighted and erroneous. Thus, it will be with our thoughts compared to heaven. There will be, doubtless, as much difference between our present knowledge, and plans, and views, and those which we shall have in heaven, as there is between the plans and views of a child and those of a man. Just before his death, Sir Isaac Newton made this remark: “I do not know what I may appear to the world; but to myself I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the sea-shore, and diverting myself by now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, while the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me” - Brewster‘s Life of Newton, pp. 300,301. Ed. New York, 1832.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
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.
Ellen G. White
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 3, 194

The Bible should be read every day. A life of religion, of devotion to God, is the best shield for the young who are exposed to temptation in their associations while acquiring an education. The word of God will give the correct standard of right and wrong, and of moral principle. A fixed principle of truth is the only safeguard for youth. Strong purposes and a resolute will close many an open door to temptation and to influences that are unfavorable to the maintenance of Christian character. A weak, irresolute spirit indulged in boyhood and youth will make a life of constant toil and struggle because decision and firm principle are wanting. Such will ever be trammeled in making a success of this life, and they will be in danger of losing the better life. It will be safe to be earnest for the right. The first consideration should be to honor God, and the second, to be faithful to humanity, performing the duties which each day brings, meeting its trials and bearing its burdens with firmness and a resolute heart. Earnest and untiring effort, united with strong purpose and entire trust in God, will help in every emergency, will qualify for a useful life in this world, and give a fitness for the immortal life. 3T 194.1

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Ellen G. White
This Day With God, 98.4

Satan and his confederate angels point to those who profess to be children of God, but who by their disposition and actions show that they are after the similitude of the apostate, and taunt Christ and the heavenly angels. How long shall we thus crucify the Son of God afresh, so that God is ashamed to call us His sons and daughters? Is it not time that we put away childish things? Shall we be of the number who are ever learning, yet never able to come to a knowledge of the truth? TDG 98.4

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Ellen G. White
This Day With God, 332.5

Christians are to love one another, as Christ has loved them. Upon the manifestation of this love hinges the world's recognition of the truth of the gospel. It was for this that Christ prayed in the last prayer He offered. Christians must not act like unruly children. Before the world those who claim to be God's children must give evidence that they have left behind them the childish ways of their unconverted life.—Letter 179, November 19, 1902, to C. P. Bollman, editor of the Southern Watchman, published in Nashville, Tennessee. TDG 332.5

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