Paul has just been explaining to the members of the church at Corinth how the body of Christ is made up of many parts – that each of them has a spiritual gift that complements the assembly as a whole – how they all work together just like the parts of a human body. However, there is one thing that is above all the spiritual gifts put together. He says, “But now let me show you a way of life that is best of all.” 1 Corinthians 12: 31 New Living Translation
1 Corinthians Chapter 13
Paul speaking at Corinth
If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing.
Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.
Prophecy and speaking in unknown languages and special knowledge will become useless. But love will last forever! Now our knowledge is partial and incomplete, and even the gift of prophecy reveals only part of the whole picture! But when the time of perfection comes, these partial things will become useless.
When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things. Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.
Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.
Thank You for the great outpouring of love that You have for us. May we be so overwhelmed by it that we feel the need to share it with others. We want to glorify You by making Your love known and we can’t do that until we can express it within the body of Your Church. Lord help us, we beg You, that Your remaining children will see Your love shining out from us and be drawn into the body of Your church until it is complete.
Until that time comes, Lord help us to show understanding and patience to each other. Help us to encourage each other so that we may always keep our eyes and hearts focussed on you and the Great Commission that you gave us.
In Jesus Name, Amen.