- 1 Corinthians 13:1-7
- 1 Cor 13:1 (KJV)
- 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.
When the Apostle Paul had said that he was going to show them a more
excellent way, not only was he speaking of Christ but he was also speaking
of true Christian love. There was no doubt much contention in the Corinthian
Church between believers and that is why Paul had to emphasize the fact that
all Christians are gifted differently yet all are equal. I like the word
“charity” that the King James Bible uses because charity is when a person
gives of themselves in some manner and expects nothing in return. Paul
states that if he speaks with the tongues or languages of men or of angels
but lack love, then he is no better than instruments that are out of proper
sound. True Christian charity is a great motivator in our lives, especially
since we received the Charity of Grace from God, we need to also express
this charity to others. This is why Paul goes from the spiritual gifts right
into charity. Spiritual gifts not motivated by charity will be done in the
flesh and may cause more harm to the cause of Christ also phony love which
endorses false religion will also harm the cause of Christ.
- 1 Cor 13:2 (KJV)
- 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.
Basically, Paul is saying that if he could be a super miracle working
person, and lack the love, then he is no more than nothing. Christianity
must be accomplished through the motivation of God’s supreme love. As God
loved us, we must love the brethren and have enough love to reach the masses
with the gospel of Christ. Paul is saying that love is superior to all these
types of gifts. He is trying to get the point across to these Corinthians
that Christianity does not end with the gifts, it just begins there. He
wants these Christians to know that it is love which motivates the believer
to push on in their Christian walk. 2 Corinthians 11 is the great physical
statement that Paul made concerning his love for the brethren. Love is not
only tears or warm feeling, it is also deeds.
- 1 Cor 13:3 (KJV)
- 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
Even if a Christian makes the supreme sacrifice of their life, if it is not
motivated by love, then it is of no spiritual benefit or profit. In fact if
an unloving Christian is burned at the stake, many would probably not miss
them but if one that is motivated by true and pure love is burned, then they
will be missed by many and many a revival had started because of the
martyrdom of true Christians. Love is something that continues on even after
a person is gone and this is what makes it superior. Flames cannot quench
true Christian love, it only sparks a new flame.
- 1 Cor 13:4 (KJV)
- Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth
not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,
Now the Apostle Paul begins a secton where he explains the different tenets
of true Christian love.
Charity Suffereth Long - True love is patient and longsuffering
toward others - (Col 1:11 KJV)
Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all
patience and longsuffering with joyfulness;
And is Kind - A True love shows a mild kindness toward others and is
a verb which denotes action. Kindness is not just speaking words but acting
on deeds of kindness. (Acts 9:39
KJV) Then Peter arose and went with them. When he was come, they brought him
into the upper chamber: and all the widows stood by him weeping, and showing
the coats and garments which Dorcas made, while she was with them.
Charity Envieth Not - True charity does not become with hot with
jealousy or envy which has been the ruin of many a good marriage.
(Gal 5:26 KJV) Let us not be desirous of vain
glory, provoking one another, envying one another.
Charity Vaunteth Not Itself - True charity does not boast nor place
itself on display. (Dan 4:30 KJV) The
king spake, and said, Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for the
house of the kingdom by the might of my power, and for the honour of my
majesty? Nebuchadnezzar really learned about
boasting when he was made to eat grass with the cattle.
Is Not Puffed Up - True charity does not become proud or arrogant but
remains truly humble. (Gen 18:27 KJV)
And Abraham answered and said, Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak
unto the Lord, which am but dust and ashes:
Abraham was the father of the faithful, yet he walked humbly before God.
- 1 Cor 13:5 (KJV)
- Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own,
is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;
Doth Not Behave Unseemly - True Christian charity does not behave
indecently nor improperly, but lives with proper spiritual conduct.
(2 Th 3:7 KJV) For yourselves know how ye ought
to follow us: for we behaved not ourselves disorderly among you;
This is why when Christians go to bed with each other outside of marriage,
they are not showing love but rather they are showing lust.
Seeketh Not Her Own - One of the greatest tenets of true Christian
charity is that it is a self-sacrificing love. The greatest example of this
was the Lord Jesus Christ who went to the cross on behalf of His Elect.
(Heb 12:2 KJV) Looking unto Jesus the
author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him
endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of
the throne of God. When was the last time you did
something for someone from a pure and non-selfish motive?
Is Not Easily Provoked - True Christian charity is not quickly
aroused to anger but maintains a calmness, even in the face of provocation.
(2 Pet 1:6 KJV) And to knowledge
temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness;
Thinketh No Evil - True Christian charity does not make an account of
the sins of others against ourselves. It does not cause us to keep a record
of wrongful deeds by others and has no evil desires.
(Phil 2:5 KJV) Let this mind be in you, which
was also in Christ Jesus:
- 1 Cor 13:6 (KJV)
- Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the
Rejoiceth Not In Iniquity - True Christian charity does not find any
happiness in sin nor any injustices done to anyone. They do not find joy
whether it be in their own sins or in the sins of others.
(Jude 1:23 KJV) And others save with fear,
pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.
But Rejoiceth In The Truth - True Christian charity rejoices when
truth is proclaimed and brought to light.
(John 14:6 KJV) Jesus saith unto him, I am the
way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
True Christian charity rejoices in the Lord Jesus Christ and the position
which He has given us because of Calvary.
- 1 Cor 13:7 (KJV)
- Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all
things, endureth all things.
Beareth All Things - True Christian charity will bear the burdens of
others without divulging the stresses and struggles within that help.
(Eccl 9:17 KJV) The words of wise men are heard
in quiet more than the cry of him that ruleth among fools.
Believeth All Things - True Christian charity will believe all things
written in the Word of God and will exercise faith in that Word. It will
also believe brethren who may be in a bad situation also giving them the
benefit of the doubt until proven otherwise.
(Gal 5:6 KJV) For in Jesus Christ neither
circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh
Hopeth All Things - True Christian charity will exercise firm hope in
God especially as we await the return of the Lord Jesus Christ.
(Titus 2:13 KJV) Looking for that blessed hope,
and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;
Endureth All Things - True Christian charity will exude the strength
of endurance. This is one of the major tenets of true charity which we saw
in the martyrs of the faith. They endured much persecution for their
unyielding allegiance to the Lord Jesus Christ.
(James 5:11 KJV) Behold, we count them happy
which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of
the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.