12:28 first apostles. The gift of apostleship obviously lasted only as long as the last of the apostles (evidently John) was living. One of its prerequisites was that of seeing the resurrected Christ in person (see note on I Corinthians 9:1). The idea of an apostolic succession in later centuries is without Biblical support, but the missionary in some measure is similar in function. The gift of prophecy was also to cease (I Corinthians 13:8) after it was no longer needed, probably when the New Testament was completed and accepted by the church.
12:28 thirdly teachers. The gift of teaching, however, which in effect would supplement and finally replace the gift of prophecy, would be needed in all churches from then on. This gift uniquely (except for that of prophecy, which it replaces) is carried in all three listings of the gifts of the Spirit (Romans 12:7: I Corinthians 12:28; Ephesians 4:11).
12:28 diversities of tongues. Note again that the gift of tongues involves many different languages, not one heavenly tongue.