A spiritual gift is an ability given by the Holy Spirit to be exercised in the church for the edification of others. In Ephesians 4, the ultimate objective for these gifts is mentioned as everyone becoming like Christ.
Features of spiritual gifts:
These gifts were temporary – for apostolic times. More on this after the list.
How do we know that these gifts are temporary?
These 9 items can be divided in 3 parts
We recognize these parts by the Greek word "Heteros" (another of another kind) demarcating them (rendered "another" in English) and the Greek word "allos" (another of the same type - also rendered "another" in English) separating those within the same category. In Chap 13:8, these gifts are said to cease - 3 are mentioned (prophecy, knowledge and tongues), one from each of the above 3 categories. All these gifts were necessary in the foundational time when the canon of scripture was not yet complete.
Prophecy and knowledge will cease(Greek: katargeo, in v8 and also in v10 of 1 Co 13). The Greek passive voice indicates that some agent will render them redundant. What could this agent be? Verse 10 says that "when that which is perfect (complete) will come, that which is in part will be done away with". So, what is this perfect thing that would displace prophecy and knowledge? Could it be:-
The perfect entity is a "thing", not a person. So #1 is ruled out. The wording of verse 9 and 10 indicates that the "that which is in part" has to be of the same category as "that which is perfect". This rules against #2 and in favor of #3 since scripture is the same as prophecy and knowledge. The eternal age is perfect/complete, but prophecy is not part of that age.
Conclusion: Prophecy and knowledge ceased when the Bible was completed. But was the Bible recognized as such when it was completed?
What about tongues? 1 Corinthians 13:8 says they will cease (Greek: Pauo). The Greek middle deponent voice implies that tongues will cease by itself. Well, when and why? The logical reason for something to cease by itself is that its purpose is accomplished. This brings us to the purpose of tongues:-
Tongues are a sign for unbelievers, not for believers (1 Corinthians 14:22). Also note that in God's scheme of things, it is the Jews (not the Gentiles) who require a sign (1 Corinthians 1:22). So tongues are a sign for unbelieving Jews. The question arises: sign of what?
In the context of Jewish apostasy, Isaiah says:
"For with stammering lips and another tongue will he [God] speak to this people." - Isaiah 28:11
Paul quotes this verse in 1 Corinthians 14:21. Thus, tongues are a sign that God is doing something new as part of His judgment on the Jewish nation. What's the new thing God was doing? The church! Up till then, in order to relate to God, you had to become a Jew. Now that was to be changed. We can learn this from Acts 10 and 11. Although Peter and others were believers, they thought that Christ's church was meant for Jews alone. God told Peter to go and preach the gospel to Cornelius (who became the first known "western" Christian). This offended the Jewish believers in Jerusalem:
"And when Peter was come up to Jerusalem, they that were of the circumcision contended with him, Saying, Thou wentest in to men uncircumcised, and didst eat with them." Acts 11:2,3
Peter then narrates all that has happened, culminating in "the Holy Ghost fell on them, as on us at the beginning (in which tongues was the prominent feature)". The implication was clear to the Jewish believers: They concluded:-
"Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life." - Acts 11:18
Putting all this together, tongues are a sign to unbelievers, unbelieving Jews in particular, that God has (temporarily) set aside Israel, and His chosen people on earth will now not be Israel, but the church, a totally new entity that consists of Jews and, surprise, Gentiles!
By the end of the first century, more than 50% of believers were Gentiles. The message was clearly sent across, and thus tongues became redundant, and ceased by themselves when it became clear that to join the church, you don't need to become a Jew.
A couple of other clarifications concerning tongues:
All these "sign" gifts of 1 Corinthians 12 were to to confirm the word (Mark 16:17-20). In Hebrews 2:3,4 we're told that God bore witness to the great salvation which was spoken (that is, the NT revelation/word of God) with signs and wonders, and the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Thus the signs were to attest the credibility of the word of God. Just as a document is attested only once, the word of God does not need continued authentication. Those who insist on tongues and healing today don't have the courage to drink poison, which the Lord Jesus mentioned in the same breath, and are thus being inconsistent.
We can divide these into two categories: speech and action.
Any authoritative speech can be classified as prophecy. In 1 Corinthians 12, prophecy was temporary because the others were. Here all the rest are permanent, suggesting that prophecy also is permanent. This prophecy is speaking the word of God to people.