Just a Few Thoughts on 1 Corinthians 13

1 Corinthians 13 is the "love chapter" I guess. It's always kind of aggravated me that some take the Bible to be a disjointed set of verses, with no flow and certainly no context. I've heard that chapter read at many weddings. I don't think there's really anything wrong with that, but marriage isn't really the context of this "love chapter." The prior chapter and the chapter after it deal with spiritual gifts. Paul is laying out some guidelines for the zealous-for-spiritual-gifts Corinthians. Right in the middle of that he says, "look, these gifts are cool and have their place, but if you want to build each other up, if you want to impact your community as the people of God, there is no better way to do any of that than to love one another."

Lately I've been thinking about how I'm doing relating to others, especially Christians, and I've got to say, this chapter is a great study. Sure, it has a lot to do with how you ought to love your spouse, but its primary application is how you ought to love each other in the church.

So here's the first few verses, in a nutshell:

If you speak with tongues (a pretty spectacular gift), but if you don't love each other, your speaking in tongues is pretty much an annoying noise.

If you have a little bit of revelation, if you have some serious faith, if you have some good deeds of feeding the poor, even if you endure being persecuted for being a Christian, but you don't love each other, it's all worthless.

Love first, then let all these other things flow out of that love.

There's plenty of other things to say, but here's the rub: if there are other Christians in your life that you don't love, then you're just spinning your wheels. You have dampened your impact. If you don't love them, people won't take you seriously.

2 Corinthians 5 talks about the ministry of reconciliation. Basically, if we can't be reconciled to each other, when we tell others about the reconciliation between God and man through Jesus Christ, how will they take us seriously?

I'm totally guilty.

No comments: