Thursday, February 14, 2008

Paul's Description of Love

1 Corinthians 13

1I may speak in different languages of people or even angels. But if I do not
have love, I am only a noisy bell or a crashing cymbal. 2I may have the gift of
prophecy. I may understand all the secret things of God and have all knowledge,
and I may have faith so great I can move mountains. But even with all these
things, if I do not have love, then I am nothing. 3I may give away everything I
have, and I may even give my body as an offering to be burned. But I gain
nothing if I do not have love.

4Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous, it does not brag, and it is not
proud. 5Love is not rude, is not selfish, and does not get upset with others. Love
does not count up wrongs that have been done. 6Love is not happy with evil but
is happy with the truth. 7Love patiently accepts all things. It always trusts, always
hopes, and always remains strong.

8Love never ends. There are gifts of prophecy, but they will be ended. There
are gifts of speaking in different languages, but those gifts will stop. There is the
gift of knowledge, but it will come to an end. 9The reason is that our knowledge
and our ability to prophesy are not perfect. 10But when perfection comes, the
things that are not perfect will end. 11When I was a child, I talked like a child, I
thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I stopped
those childish ways. 12It is the same with us. Now we see a dim reflection, as if
we were looking into a mirror, but then we shall see clearly. Now I know only a
part, but then I will know fully, as God has known me. 13So these three things
continue forever: faith, hope, and love. And the greatest of these is love.

The Holy Bible, New Century Version


The Corinthians compared spiritual gifts and ministries. They rated a person's value to the church by that person's gifts.


All spiritual gifts are equally valuable to the church. But love is even greater than all of them combined.


Paul used the metaphor of the body to illustrate the interdependence of individual Christians (1 Corinthians 12:12-13). When one part of our physical body suffers, the other parts suffer; when one part accomplishes its duty, it is always a cooperative effort...

This interdependence results in a cooperative concern for the various parts of the body.... Similarly, we as Christians are connected in Christ. When one Christian fails, we share his failure and care for his needs. When he is restored to fellowship, we rejoice with him.

We can't afford to believe that it doesn't matter whether we are actively involved in the struggles against the world or whether we are drifting aimlessly with the tide. When we lose our passion for the church (Christ's Body) and are preoccupied with our own concerns, our witness will be submerged. We will drown in the icy waters of indifference....

The same is true in the local church. A church preoccupied with its own differences or torn by schism is a good candidate for ultimate oblivion....

Differences must be held without bitterness, self-righteousness, and pride. In this way, a church can work out its differences and exercise discipline without diminishing its impact on the world. (From How in the World Can I Be Holy? by Erwin W. Lutzer)


Teamwork is important, whether on the job or in a ministry. How are you doing as a team player? Are you using your spiritual gifts as well as you can? (If you're not sure about your gift, ask the Lord what contribution you can make.)


Harmony of Believers - Leviticus 19:18; Psalm 133:1; Romans 15:5-7; 1 Corinthians 1:10; Philippians 2:1-2; 1 Peter 3:8.

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