1 Corinthians 13:1-13 – “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging 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, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing. 4 Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; 5 does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; 6 does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 8 Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part. 10 But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away. 11 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. 12 For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known. 13 And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” NKJV
In the English language, we sometimes have significant communication problems and the word LOVE is no exception. The word, in the English language, has evolved to mean a myriad of things and many not remotely connected to the Bible word for LOVE. The word LOVE in the New Testament translated from the Greek ‘AGAPE’ and has no real English translation. The word we must most of the time is more akin to the Greek word “Eros” which is largely foreign to the New Testament directive. In the writing of the New Testament, the Holy Spirit drew a word out of obscurity a word that most Greeks barely knew what it meant. The New Testament brings us the definition of AGAPE.
The definition is incredibly simple and is found in 1 John 4:8 – “God is AGAPE!” Many believers like the word Agape but have little real knowledge of its meaning and impact. Most of the time when we speak of love it is by the human definition. This Love that Paul is referring to is the God kind of Love or the God quality of Love. Remember Jesus said, “Love one another as I have loved you.”
This chapter is more than amazing. Most Christians know this almost by heart and can quote it readily but it has virtually no impact on multitudes. It is nothing more than words to place a salve on our consciences rather than transform our lives. In verse 3 the apostle declares, “…if I deliver my body to be burned, but do not have AGAPE it profits nothing.” Hear that, please. You can become a martyr for God or the Christian faith and if you do not have AGAPE it is nothing!
What is a martyr? Someone who, because of what they believe regarding God and the meaning of life give their lives. He or she is willing to die for that belief and conviction. But let’s take it a step further because AGAPE has to do with relationships with people. In a very real sense, AGAPE has nothing to do with me loving God but me loving people. Therefore the entire chapter is about you or me loving AGAPE People. That screams to me, “It is not what a person does that counts it is the source from which it comes.”
If we are going to find, experience and manifest REAL LOVE then we must understand what real love is. God is Love! God does not just have love HE IS LOVE. This is not what God has but what God is. Additionally, Love is of God. It issues forth from God for there can be no AGAPE outside God for He is the source! If man is severed from God, what is he left with? The stuff he is made of – Flesh! There is a hole in his heart. There is an emptiness or lack in his makeup. Man has a longing for love and to be loved. God’s AGAPE is life giving but man’s perversion of Love can be toxic.
God bless you as you go through this day!