Did You Know? –The New Interpreter’s Bible Commentary, Vol 10
- In Paul’s time, Corinth was a hub commercially and religiously. Sailors and travelers came to the port bringing different religions and practices.
- The city had a reputation of the wealthy treating the poor very badly.
- Corinth was known as “Sin City.” Paul started a church here.
1 Corinthians 13:1-13 (New Revised Standard Version)
The Gift of Love
13 If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give away all my possessions, and if I hand over my body so that I may boast,[a] but do not have love, I gain nothing.
• 4 Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6 it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. 7 It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
• 8 Love never ends. But as for prophecies, they will come to an end; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will come to an end. 9 For we know only in part, and we prophesy only in part; 10 but when the complete comes, the partial will come to an end. 11 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became an adult, I put an end to childish ways. 12 For now we see in a mirror, dimly,[b] but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known. 13 And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love.
Some Thoughts on Today’s Reading—Pastor Pam
This coming June it will be 23 years since Don and I said our wedding vows in the presence of God, our friends and family. The Scripture read that warm and sunny afternoon was from 1 Corinthians 13: 1-13. I think of that day often. It was a day of faith, hope and love—the great triad the Apostle Paul spoke of often and saw as essential in coming to see God in life, in ourselves and in others.
In these verses, which were part of a letter to the church at Corinth, Paul sought to convict the congregation that we are all connected to one another. The church prided itself on gifts, such as speaking in tongues, but Paul had diagnosed them with a severe lacking in love.
The cure for the Corinthians was a dose of love.
For Paul, faith was not possible without God’s grace. Hope was a yearning for something and tied to achieving that hope. Love, however, was and is eternal, according to Paul. Love is something God shares with us. Love makes it possible for us to love one another. Love is the essence of God.
Paul writes to the Corinthians seeking to bring a prideful, argumentative and sometimes cruel church, to experience love. Paul sought to build up the church in this way. His words provide baseline teaching for those making their wedding vows as well as all people of faith who seek to know God and experience God’s persona of pure love.
Paul uses the imagery of looking into a mirror and seeing dimly. It is how we are in our early journey as Christians. We can only see a bit. And so, it goes in marriage, as we grow in love, we begin to experience God more fully and face to face in the eyes of our beloved. As we build up one another in church, we see God in our beloved congregation.
Peace and Grace,