1 Corinthians 13
Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.
2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.
3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.
4 Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,
5 Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;
6 Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;
7 Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
8 Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.
9 For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.
10 But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.
11 When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.
13 And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.
Paul describes a special kind of agape love in vs. 4-8. We have to ask ourselves: is everything that we do leading us to become a more “loving and lovable Christian?” (Ellen G. White, Ministry of Healing, pg. 470). In one of my pastoral districts, a church conflict ended with a couple having their church membership removed. The reason they were voted out of membership by their fellow church members was not theology per se, but rather their mean spirit in constantly pointing out the mistakes of others.They did not demonstrate God’s love, but instead brought deep pain to fellow believers and potential new members.
The closer we get to Jesus, the more we see our need of Jesus. This is why Paul reminds us about Christian maturity. “When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things” (vs. 11). We are reminded that none of us have all the love we should have, but as we grow daily closer to Jesus we become more like Him.
Michael W. Campbell
Associate Professor of Religion
Southwestern Adventist University
Keene, Texas USA