Wednesday, January 17, 2007

1 Corinthians 13

1 Corinthians 13 is a really famous passage about the importance of love. And at least a dozen times I've heard people suggest reading verses 4-8 substituting your name for "love" and asking if it is true. This is about what I find more challenging about the passage.

The first few verses are well known.

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.
1 Corinthians 13:1-3,NIV

But those things which are meaningless without love are things that the Corinthians value or things that Paul values. So think of what you value most about people, and substitute that in there.

If I am always completely sound in my doctrine, and never make any mistakes but don't have love, I am nothing.

If I know everything there is to know about my chosen subject but don't have love, I am nothing.

If I am really popular and well-respected but don't have love, I am nothing.

If I am spectacularly gifted and humble with it but don't have love, I am nothing.

I find that sort of thing challenging.


Rosie said...

How very true; and something that I am very aware that people don't do; coming from a fairly conservative evangelical background of a large church in London (which shall remain nameless!) where the "soundness" etc was the thing that mattered.. rather than love, and not just warm feelings, but truly self-sacrificial love etc.

Phillip Fayers said...

On the soundness front I've not been able to forget what Caleb said when commenting on Revelation 2:12-17:
It's interesting that the church was considered faithful even though their teaching and beliefs were wrong. You'd think that the two wouldn't go together, but the church was obviously still dedicated to Jesus even though they were doing lots of wrong things.