Pastor Thomas G. Wilson

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.  1 Corinthians 13:1-3 (KJV)

This introduction has always been one of the most intriguing in the New Testament to me. It makes reference to the Gifts of the Spirit which were the subject of chapter 12.  Most people would be greatly gratified in the operation of the gifts in their lives and yet it could be the source of pride. But the passage let’s us know that apart from “agape”, i.e. covenant love, fidelity, favor, tender mercy, and lovingkindness of God, the gifts are nothing. In reading 1 Corinthians 13 through today in the King James I saw this introduction in an even  more introspective manner. I looked at the “I” portions to see what it was saying to me.  Personalizing study time will always cause spiritual growth as well as keep it from becoming routine and boring.

 

The first verse says Though “I speak… I am become”.  I believe there is a reference here to the power of the tongue.

Death and life are in the power of the tongue… Proverbs 18:21 (KJV)

 

Your heart is where your tongue draws it’s power. This verse specifies languages of “men and angels”.  This is referencing the ability to communicate in two different realms. No other being except God has that capacity, yet, without love, I am become as a lifeless (dead) noise maker when I should be a compilation of human and divine just as my savior combines man and God.

In verse 2 Though “I have… I am nothing”.  The gifts of wisdom, insight, and faith are of no value without love.

Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding. [14] For the merchandise of it is better than the merchandise of silver, and the gain thereof than fine gold. [15] She is more precious than rubies: and all the things thou canst desire are not to be compared unto her. [16] Length of days is in her right hand; and in her left hand riches and honour.  Proverbs 3:13-16 (KJV)

 

Without love there is no happiness, no gain, no extended life, riches nor honor.  To “have” what is intended to bring all of these blessings into your life and not receive them would be a great tragedy.

 

Lastly, verse 3, Though “I bestow… it profiteth me nothing”.  This verse has to do with the dedication of a gift or a sacrifice for what is a seemingly good cause.  Again without love the spiritual law of giving and receiving does not work for you.

He that hath pity upon the poor lendeth unto the Lord ; and that which he hath given will he pay him again.  Proverbs 19:17 (KJV)

It is clear that without agape spiritual things do not benefit you as they are designed to benefit the born again believer.  The gift does not make you, the cause does not profit you and the style of speech does change you. Covenant love changes everything

…what I say which changes what I become,

…what I have which changes (the value of) what I am

…and what I give which changes my profit.

Pay careful attention to the qualities of love in 1 Corinthians 13 as you read them.  Begin to:

  1. Say them about yourself and you will become them.
  2. Once you have them the true beauty and glory of who God has created you to be will shine.
  3. What you share of who God created you to be will be a blessing to those with whom you share.

 

Love is the greatest gift of all! ♥