Greetings! If you’ve been to a wedding, you’ve probably heard this passage. It isn’t just about marital love, though. This is about agape love, the highest form of love – the kind that puts the interests of others before our own.
13 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. 2 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. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. 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. 12 Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
Some people thing that spiritual truths are unknowable, but that isn’t the Christian worldview at all. We don’t know everything, but we can know what we need to know. And we’ll learn much more later.
13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984. Grand Rapids: Zondervan.
One exercise I’ve heard to do with this next section is to read it three times:
- Once as written
- Once with “God” or “Jesus” instead of “love” (i.e., “God is patient, God is kind, . . . “). This will help you understand God’s attributes
- Once with your name instead of “love.” This will keep you humble and challenge you to be more loving! When I use my name there I am tempted to have question marks instead of commas (“Neil is patient? Neil is kind? Really?!).