We continue on with 1 Corinthians 13 (week 2 day 4). I love how Jen has us continuing to dig deeper into these 13 verses and that’s it. We’ve now been looking at them for three days in a row. Here’s the thing, each day I get that much more out of them. I love the growth I gain by doing this.
1. I am directed to re-read the verses as well as the first two journal entries.
2. Then I am to journal through the following questions. The most important things I need to remember is to listen to what the Spirit is talking to me about. The insights He shows me. How He helps me to push past any limits I think I might have.
a. Why did verses 1-3 come before verses 4-7?
To be honest, I’ve never given it any great thought before doing this study.
I said in class the night we met covering the second week that many of the New Testament books in the Bible are letters written to different sects of people. When they were written they didn’t have it broke down into chapters and verses. We did that so we better understood the Bible as we referenced a specific part.
So overall, in a letter you go from one thought to the next in a logical way when it’s written. The same applies here. The beginning of chapter 13 is simply a continuation of chapter 12. It makes sense when you read them one after the other.
b. Why might Paul have used the examples of “a noisy gong” and “a clanging cymbal” in verse 1?
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.
I may speak in different languages of men or even angels. But if I do not have love, then I am only a noisy bell or a ringing cymbal.
What if I speak in the most elegant languages of people or in the exotic languages of the heavenly messengers, but I live without love? Well the, anything I say is like the clanging of brass or a crashing cymbal.
In other words, love is what makes the irritating or incoherent understood and no longer an annoyance. It’s love that brings the sounds to almost like a sweet lullaby. Without love the words are harsh and few, if any, will listen.
c. List the order of characteristics in verses 4-7. What do you see?
I see all the things I either want to or would like to have in the “What Love Is” column and all the things I don’t want or wouldn’t like to have in the “What Love Is Not” column.
I think it’s important we always continue to strive for what love is and do our best to steer clear of what love is not. By doing these things we bring ourselves not only closer to the Lord but those we love and care about around us.
d. Why is verse 11 included?
1 Corinthians 13:11
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 childish ways behind me.
When I was a child, I talked like a child; I thought like a child; I made plans like a child. When I became a man, I stopped those childish ways.
When I was a child, I spoke, thought, and reasoned in childlike ways as we all do. But when I became a man, I left my childish ways behind.
I think it’s included to show us that we are like children when we first start studying God’s Word. We’re like children constantly learning and growing in the Word. At some point we “grow up” and become more mature in the Word. We have a deeper understanding of what God is trying to tell us in His all-important Word. While even as adults we continue to grow and learn, we have a different look at life than a child. This is also true in our Christian walk. We will always continue to grow.
e. The last phrases of verses 2 and 3 are “I am nothing” and “it profits me nothing.” So what? Why was it worded this way? Where does this take your thoughts?
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.
I may have the gift of prophecy; I may understand all the secret things of God and all knowledge; and I may have faith so great that I can move mountains. But even with all these things, if I do not have love, then I am nothing. I may give everything I have to feed the poor. And I may even give my body as offering to be burned. But I gain nothing by doing these things if I do not have love.
What if I have the gift of prophesy, am blessed with knowledge and insight to all the mysteries, or what if my faith is strong enough to scoop a mountain from its bedrock, yet I live without love? If so, I am nothing. I could give all that I have to feed the poor, I could surrender my body to be burned as a martyr, [that I may brag,] but if I do not live in love, I gain nothing by my selfless acts.
It’s the fact that when we do things for the wrong reason, in the end the acts do nothing for us. However, when we do anything in the name of love and really mean it then what we do will be the real, unselfish deal because then it’s not about us anymore. It’s about who we did it for, which ultimately glorifies the Lord.
I think it’s like tithing. When we look at it as, “Oh, I have to do this. Woe is me.” and we’re practically dragging our feet when we do it, we’re most certainly NOT doing it for love. We’re doing it grudgingly.
However, when we do it to give back a portion of what we make to the Lord AND we do it because we love Him (and we want to), in other words for the right reason, then God will see that. Love matters most. He loved us enough to send His Son to die for us. We need to do our best to love Him in return in the same way.
f. Why do we need to know this?
Without love, we’d have a lot of heartless, self-serving people flooding the earth. Love is what brings compassion and graciousness to one another. We care about others more than ourselves. Love ties everything together like something knitted together.
g. Why is the Scripture necessary?
It shows us how God sees love. We in turn need to strive toward this same kind of love. Will we ever achieve God’s perfect love? Nope. We’re human and have a sin-filled nature. However, with God’s help and constant encouragement, we can do the best we can when we put our minds to it.