If I have not love

1 Corinthians 13--1-3 New

Following closely on the heels of yesterday’s Verse of the Day focusing on “Increasing Faith” and “Abounding Love,” the passage that we will examine on February 10, 2018 directs our attention toward love, a concept we will hear repeatedly in the coming days. Take a look at 1 Corinthians 13:1-3 (NIV):

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. 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. 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.

Moving into the second week in February, our thoughts turn toward February 14, Valentine’s Day, a time that is set apart to celebrate love. We must recognize, however, the various forms of love, including the love of God or agape, the highest form of love. It differs from eros or passion or sensuous love of the flesh and is even beyond philos­ or love of friends or family. The root of philos is found in the designation of Philadelphia, which is known as the “City of Brotherly Love.” There is a love which is “more intimate than friend, or kin or wife;” this close-knit love is known as agape. This particular term used exclusively in the New Testament, reveals the uniqueness of God’s love

The passage offers a series of conditional phrases beginning with “If I. . .” If I performed a number of actions, followed by the results if “I” performed them outside of love, then “I” would be only so much noise or “I” would be nothing or “I” would have gained nothing. Love would not be impacted by those actions, but the individual who performed them would not fully benefit or profit from those acts if that individual chose “not to love others.”

I Corinthians 13:1-3 is also the ultimate illustration of going from articulation to manifestation. Verses 1 and 2 clearly relate to speaking or using words to express oneself, but agape or “the love of God in the renewed mind in manifestation” must be present. In other words, there must be a corresponding demonstration or tangible expression of the words that are articulated. Verse 3 provides actions demonstrating the expression of love; however, the underlying motive must generated by love or else the actions are not profitable to the individual who, in reality, “gains nothing” outside of God’s love.

During this week we will have ample opportunity to think about the love of God, as we approach Valentine’s Day, but as we follow the Scripture’s encouragement, we are to walk in love every day, not just on February 14.

I Corinthians 13 is often recited at weddings, as we see so beautifully presented in 1 Corinthians 13 – The Wedding Song – Love Never Fails by Bernie Armstrong.

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