1 CORINTHIANS 13
H -TO BE HOLY - 8
In the last verse of the previous chapter, Paul introduces this chapter. He is going to show them a more excellent way.
1 – He uses himself, “I,” as an example but it is true for all of us. He had been writing about the use of tongues or languages. If one could speak all the languages in the world but have not love for man and God, he would be nothing. There are some people today that can speak 5 languages but even that is rare. We think of anything associated with angels as being glorious and toward perfection. Maybe Paul was thinking of the time when he was caught up into
Paradise. 2 Cor. 12:4 The languages of men and angels would be a great gift but of no value compared to a sincere love for God and all men. Some of the idol worshippers used repetitive sounds and loud gongs and cymbals in their worship. These would be loud sounds but just noise—no harmony, no meaning.
This “agape” love was not emotional love of lovers. It included affection, good-will, regard, benevolence. Eph. 1:15; 1 Jhn. 2:10,11 God has loved us even when we were very “unlovely.” 1 Jhn. 4:10 So in turn, we love the “unlovely.” This isn’t the way of the world but because they see this love in us, the world knows we belong to Christ. Jhn.13:35
2 – We saw how important knowledge and wisdom and mysteries were to the Corinthians. But even if they had all of this understanding and could relate this to other men in a powerful way, it would be nothing without love. Matt. 7:22,23; 1 Jhn. 3:18 Our life has to follow our words.
This faith was not just consent. Mk. 11:23,24 This was miracle-producing faith for that time. Yet, we, too, have to have more than just a consent faith. When we pray, we must believe that our prayer will be answered—within God’s will. Even if we have this kind of faith and did not have love—it would still be faith in vain.
3 – This presents two types of extreme sacrifice. The Christians on the day of Pentecost did not give everything they had and yet they gave so much. This would be extreme as would giving your body to be burned. We know Christians were burned at the stake. If both of these extreme sacrifices were given without love, it would still be of no value.
These first 3 verses show us the importance of love. The next 4 verses describe the love that Christians are to possess. This completely erases “self” and “pity-parties.” Neither does it leave room for manipulating others in the body of Christ. Too often we want to manage things because we know how it should be done. That’s dangerous thinking!
4 – Love is patient. I. It is long suffering - makrothymei. It can endure evil, injury, and provocation, without being filled with resentment, indignation, or revenge. It makes the mind firm, gives it power over the angry passions, and furnishes it with a persevering patience, that shall rather wait and wish for the reformation of a brother than fly out in resentment of his conduct. It will put up with many slights and neglects from the person it loves, and wait long to see the kindly effects of such patience on him.
Love is kind. chresteuetai. It is benign, bountiful; it is courteous and obliging. The law of kindness is in her lips; her heart is large, and her hand open. She is ready to show favours and to do good. She seeks to be useful; and not only seizes on opportunities of doing good, but searches for them. This is her general character. She is patient under injuries, and apt and inclined to do all the good offices in her power. Eph. 4:2
LOVE IS NOT:
Love is not jealous.
It envieth not; it is not grieved at the good of others; neither at their gifts nor at their good qualities, their honours not their estates. If we love our neighbour we shall be so far from envying his welfare, or being displeased with it, that we shall share in it and rejoice at it. His bliss and sanctification will be an addition to ours, instead of impairing or lessening it. This is the proper effect of kindness and benevolence: envy is the effect of ill-will. The prosperity of those to whom we wish well can never grieve us; and the mind which is bent on doing good to all can never with ill to any. 1 Pet. 2:1
Love does not brag and is not arrogant.
is not bloated with self-conceit, does not swell upon its acquisitions, nor arrogate to itself that honour, or power, or respect, which does not belong to it. It is not insolent, apt to despise others, or trample on them, or treat them with contempt and scorn. Those who are animated with a principle of true brotherly love will in honour prefer one another, Rom 12:10. They will do nothing out of a spirit of contention or vain-glory, but in lowliness of mind will esteem others better than themselves, Phil 2:3. 1 Cor. 1:31
alms the angry passions, instead of raising them.
5 - Love is not unbecoming (haughty, selfish, rude)
It does nothing out of place or time; but behaves towards all men as becomes their rank and ours, with reverence and respect to superiors, with kindness and condescension to inferiors, with courtesy and good-will towards all men.
Minding its own business, without taking upon it to mend, or censure, or despise, the conduct of others. Love will do nothing that misbecomes it.
Love does not seek its own (way)
Love is an enemy to selfishness: Seeketh not its own, does not inordinately desire nor seek its own praise, or honor, or profit, or pleasure.
Love never seeks its own to the hurt of others, or with the neglect of others. It often neglects its own for the sake of others; prefers their welfare, and satisfaction, and advantage, to its own; Phil. 2:3-5
Love is not provoked (irritable or touchy)
It tempers and restrains the passions. Ou paroxynetai - is not exasperated. It corrects a sharpness of temper, sweetens and softens the mind, so that it does not suddenly conceive, nor long continue, a vehement passion.
Love does not take into account a wrong; thinks no evil.
It does not hold grudges and will hardly even notice when others do it wrong.
it keeps no record of when it has been wronged.
It will not make the worst construction of things, but put the best face that it can on circumstances that have no good appearance.
It cherishes no malice, nor gives way to revenge:
6 - Love does not rejoice in unrighteousness..
It takes no pleasure in doing injury or hurt to any. No pleasure taken when bad happens.
It wishes ill to none, much less will it hurt or wrong any, and least of all make this matter of its delight, rejoice in doing harm and mischief. Nor will it rejoice at the faults and failings of others, and triumph over them, either out of pride or ill-will, because it will set off its own excellences or gratify its spite.
Love rejoices in truth.
Is glad of the success of the gospel. 2 Jhn. 4
It gives it much satisfaction to see truth and justice prevail among men, innocency cleared, and mutual faith and trust established, and to see piety and true religion flourish.
7 – Love bears all things.
How many slights and injuries will he put up with! How many hazards will he run and how many difficulties encounter!
Love believes all things.
You will always believe in him, always expect the best of him,
It is apt to believe well of all, to entertain a good opinion of them when there is no appearance to the contrary.
Love hopes all things.
It will yet hope well, and continue to hope as long as there is any ground for it. Eph.2:12;
8:24; 1 Pet. 1:3 Rom.
Love endures all things. (very close to “bears all things”)
Bears up under all persecutions and mal-treatment from open enemies and professed friends;
(from Adam Clarke's Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright © 1996, 2003 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved. Comments from vs 4-7)
8 – This kind of love will go on and on without fail. Love will go with us through eternity. It holds up in all circumstances in this life. The gifts of prophecy will no longer be necessary some day. Giving God’s message to man is now done through His written Word. The ability to speak in languages not learned will stop. God’s Word is being translated into more and more languages. Miraculous knowledge will no longer be necessary. At first the Holy Spirit had to give God’s message to the apostles. Until the Spirit came upon them, they didn’t know many things about the church. Today God’s message has been given—orally by the apostles and the ones that the apostles laid their hands upon—the written Word as the authors were inspired to write the Holy Scriptures.
9, 10 - The Greek is neuter in gender. “That” is come is complete. There is nothing else to be added to the Word of God. Rev. 22:18,19
11 – At first Christians were “babes” in Christ. The church was in an early stage and had much to be taught to them. As they matured, they grew in Christ and in their understanding.
12 – Wisdom and knowledge was not complete in the
church yet. When the full revelation through the Bible was available, then they could fully know. Their actions indicated their lack of understanding and their immaturity. Corinth
13 – Faith would deepen. “I believe. Lord, help my unbelief.” 2 Tim. 1:12 Paul had a faith that would not be shaken.
Hope in the fact that Christ would come again as they believed in His resurrection. Rev.1:7
Love goes with us through eternity. Faith and hope will be satisfied. 1 Jhn. 3:2; 4:8,16
Hope and faith will be completed when we get to heaven for then we can see and know.