Archive for September 19th, 2005

I Corinthians 13 (RSV)

Monday, September 19th, 2005
  • If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.
  • And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.
  • If I give away all I have, and if I deliver my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.
  • Love is patient and kind; love is not jealous or boastful;
  • it is not arrogant or rude. Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;
  • it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right.
  • Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
  • Love never ends; as for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away.
  • For our knowledge is imperfect and our prophecy is imperfect;
  • but when the perfect comes, the imperfect will pass away.
  • When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became a man, I gave up childish ways.
  • For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall understand fully, even as I have been fully understood.
  • So faith, hope, love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

This passage of Scripture has been so helpful to me throughout the time that I have been married, and my husband and I have been raising a family. This morning I am especially thinking of the portion which states “Love is patient and kind.” Whenever I have been tempted to be irritable with my family, I have considered this verse. If at times I have chosen to be irritable, impatient, or unkind, at that point I have not loved my family. The Scripture defines the concept of love for me, so that I can know whether I am or am not being loving. I think also of I John 3:18,

My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.(KJV)

It is not enough to say, “I love you,” to a family member, but I must show through my actions, my patience and kindness, that I love them in reality.

The Greek word for love used in I Corinthians 13 is agape. Hogg and Vine in Notes on Thessalonians, page 105, state

Christian love, whether exercised toward the brethren, or toward men generally, is not an impulse from the feelings, it does not always run with the natural inclinations, nor does it spend itself only upon those for whom some affinity is discovered. Love seeks the welfare of all, Rom. 15:2, and works no ill to any, 13:8-10; love seeks opportunity to do good to ‘all men, and especially toward them that are of the household of the faith,’ Gal. 6:10. See further I Cor. 13 and Col. 3:12-14.

So then, agape love is something that I choose, by God’s grace, to show to my family. It does not depend upon how I am feeling today, or whether or not my family are pleasing me at that precise moment in time. For Christ’s sake, by God’s grace, I choose to love my family. This is not some lofty attainment, but is simply what I owe them.

Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law. For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law. Romans 13:8- 10 (KJV)