Today, we conclude our look at 1 Corinthians 13. This a most amazing chapter on what love is, what it is not, and that without it there is nothing. Let’s take one more look at the chapter in full, and then look at verses 8 and 13. But please take the few moment to reach through the entire chapter of 13 verses. It’s so important.
13 If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 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 do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 11 When 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 put the ways of childhoodbehind me. 12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
I really like the full chapter description from Halley’s Bible Handbook Notes, and I think it is a perfect observation to close out our study of this chapter:
This chapter contains the premier teaching of Christianity. It is an undying expression of Jesus’ doctrine of heavenly love. This chapter is more potent for the building of the church than any, or all, of the various manifestations of God’s power.
Love is the church’s most effective weapon. Love is the essence of God’s nature. Love is the perfection of human character. Love is the most powerful, ultimate force in the universe. Without love, all the various gifts of the Spirit are of no avail.
“If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing” (v. 3). The gift of speaking like an angel, of prophesying, of having all knowledge, of faith that moves mountains, of giving the last dollar to charity, even martyrdom—all are of no use unless we have the spirit of Christian love. What a call to self-examination!
Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
Everything else will fail, or come to an end. There is just one exception…that is love.
And there you have it. Love. It is the premier teaching of Christianity. We are nothing without love. Love that is freely given away, for when we try and hold onto it, we become empty souls. When there is hesitation to give it away, I simply think of what Jesus did for me. He died for me…out of love.
Lord, You have shown me what true love is and how it is selflessly given away without any expectation of payback. It is freeing to give love away, even if it pains us at the moment. You gave us the ultimate example of what love is and gave it away unlike anyone ever will be able to do. May I always remember that kind of love and never hesitate to give it. Help my empty soul to be filled and help me to see that I have no right to chose who should get my love. For You gave it to everyone, and to follow You means I must do the same. I pray in Jesus’ Name. Amen.