WHAT’S LOVE GOT TO DO WITH IT?
Famous singer Tina Turner had a worldly way of understanding love on behalf of a hit song she is most known for. And there is no fault in perhaps enjoying the song she sung. However, we Christians do not follow the world's definition of love, but rather we want to know what the Bible says about it.
1 Cor. 13:1-8, Context:
Christians in Corinth had been given the ability to perform miraculous gifts. They needed instruction as to how to properly conduct themselves with these gifts. They also needed to utilize them with a righteous mind intended to be used for the further growth of the gospel.
vs 1. Communicating to men with language, void of love & truth.
“Tongues of men” = Supernatural ability allowing one to speak in a known language which they had never learned before. A natural linguistic among mankind, uninspired, common. If this power was not used for the gospel, it became noisy and useless.
I’ve never spoken Chinese, I’ve never learned the language. If at this moment I would begin to speak the language (with the understanding of the words I am uttering). This would be miraculous. For it would break the natural law.
“Tongues of angels” = a known language which would come from a messenger of the LORD with a purpose to declare direction or command. This language, if not for the further purpose of Christ, is nothing but useless noise.
This language has absolutely nothing to do with modern day denominations who claim the gift by incoherent mumblings. God always communicated in an orderly and understandable manner. That’s why Paul made sure they knew what the gift was for, who was to use it, how it was supposed to be used, and the office of interpreter.
Paul is simply revealing a spiritual fact. It don’t matter what kind of known language you speak, if it is not backed by agape love, it bears no fruit. If it does not seek to further the cause of Christ, it is noisy and useless.
vs 2. Communicating to men with powerful display, void of love & truth.
So not only are verbal communicative skills useless without love (whether from men or from messengers). The same applies to anyone who would have power beyond their ability. If you had powers above and beyond your ability, perfect power and faith like God, without love? Useless. If you could literally move a mountain (an impossible task but for God), without love? Useless, you’re just making noise.
If you’re not proclaiming the right gospel (Gal. 1). If you’ve either removed, or added to it. Your talents and opportunities are nothing but deafening, loud and useless, so much so people can’t hear the purity of the true gospel around you, because you’re noise drowns out the truth.
How many religious leaders out there, with big names and big money have millions following and supporting them? Noisy gongs. Who are they converting to Christ? No one. They are useless. Why? They don’t use their influence for the greater good of the kingdom. They are enemies of the cross.
Paul is making it very clear for these Christians. If you’re not speaking the truth in love, stop your noise!
vs 3. Communicating to men with benevolence, void of love & truth.
It don’t matter how many needy people you help out, feed, lodge, cloth. If there is no purpose to give them gospel truth? Useless, noisy, unproductive. You are producing nothing but deafening racket.
You can have all the money in the world, without love you are but a sounding brass. It seems to be greatly important, it calls attention to itself, but not to what is in important. It has no lasting value. It does not lead anyone to Christ. It does not have the right kind of heart.
Paul tells the church that anything they do without love, is useless. So naturally, Paul is now going to tell them what love looks like. In order to be useful, productive, fruitful.
vs 4-7. Communicating to men with love, the Bible kind of love.
“Patient” = You’re suffering long with everyone. Not quick to dismiss someone because of their immaturity or lack of scriptural knowledge.
“Kind” = Gentle with people. You don’t want to break them. You want to build them.
“Not jealous” = It does not find joy at the misfortune of others. You pray for their success.
“Does not brag” = It does not try to build self up while tearing others down.
“Not arrogant” = It does not boast in societal standards (i.e. I’m smarter, bigger, richer, etc).
“Unbecomingly” = Not rude, do nice things to others (i.e. open doors, etc)
“Does not seek its own” = You don’t have to have it your way all the time, allow other people to decide also. You might be surprised at the value of their participation.
“Not provoked” = Not irritable, being easily annoyed or made angry at everything and everyone. Getting worked up about every little thing that ultimately holds no true spiritual wealth for your faith.
“Account a wrong suffered” = Taking inventory of the things people have done wrong against me. Holding a grudge till the hth degree. Never letting it go. Waiting for a reason to bring it back up as a weapon.
“Do not rejoice in unrighteousness” = in words, behavior, and practice which is against doing what is right.
“Love rejoices with the truth” = the truth being preached and practiced, honesty.
“Bears all things” = puts up with everyone, no one is perfect.
“Believes all things” = desires to believe the good in others.
“Hopes all things” = has full trust in the promises of Christ and counting on His faithful followers.
“Endures all things” = perseverance in the most difficult trials, tests, circumstances. Never give up on Christ and His church. No matter how difficult things may come.
vs 8. Miraculous Gifts will cease, but love will remain.
Love is the great equalizer, everyone can be the same with love. Back then not everyone had the same miraculous gifts. And so it caused problems. It was not perfect. It was transitional. It was to confirm the word of God. All of the miraculous has since ceased in the 1st century. And now we have the two remaining elements, the Bible & love written therein.
And who better teach us about the Word of God & love than He who is love (1 John 4:8) and is the word, Jesus Christ (John 1:1).
“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” - John 15:13
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” - John 3:16
“If you love me keep my commandments.” - John 14:15
If you want the love of Jesus and His family in your life this day you simply need faith in obeying His loving gospel (Acts 2:38).
Stephane H. Maillet