1 Corinthians 13
-Paul now shows his readers the more excellent way of love in this monumental-climatic chapter in this letter and an epic chapter in all of Scripture. He begins by announcing how everything in the Christian life is vain and worthless without the essential ingredient of love (1 Corinthians 13:1-3). Having eloquent language, communing with God in the Spirit with the tongues of angels, prophesying, complete understanding and knowledge, unwavering faith to move mountains, total generosity, and even martyrdom is absolutely nothing without love (the agape Greek form of love is used throughout this passage, the highest love form). *Application* Doing Christian service without the right heart attitude of love renders us null and void of doing the Lord’s real bidding. It would be like making an omelet without the eggs. It just doesn’t work.
-Paul now defines what love looks like (1 Corinthians 13:4-8). It is patient (it waits) and kind (merciful and compassionate). It does not envy (jealous, competitive heart), boast (prideful attitude, bragging), or act rude in arrogance (puffed up, inflated with ego, act disgraceful). Love does not insist on having its own way (self-seeking); it is not irritable (provoked to wrath, angered) or resentful (take into account an evil, bitterness). It does not rejoice at wrongdoing (injustice), but does rejoice when the truth is revealed. Love bears all things (forebears, puts up with a lot), believes all things (is trusting and trustworthy, has complete faith), hopes all things (great expectations, foresees good), endures all things (remains, stands, stays with it, holds out, abides), and never ends (never falls apart or fails). *Application* This is what love is. How are we doing with our love?
-Paul now begs his audience to grow up knowing that they need to give up childish things and let God develop them in humility with honor for one another. All of the partial things, like prophecies, tongues, and knowledge, will one day pass away when the perfect (the Greek here is teleios = completion, attainment of the end result) comes. That will come with our glorification in the eschaton when we are fully known and will fully know (1 Corinthians 13:8-12). *Application* Some cessationists will use this passage as a proof text to claim an ending of the gifting of speaking in tongues and prophesying. But, this is certainly not the contextual theme of this passage. This pericope is about becoming who we should be in Christ. It has nothing to do with when and how these spiritual gifts will actually cease. The important thing for us to think about in this section is how can we become more and more like our Lord and Savior in the fullness of His love (Philippians 3:12-16).
-Faith, hope, and love abide (remain, stay), and the greatest of these three is love (1 Corinthians 13:13). *Application* The message of our Living God is love from the first commandment to the last. Let love dominate your life as you think about your Creator and your dealings with your fellow man.
Verse to Memorize- 1 Corinthians 13:13