If you officiate or attend weddings, as I do, you often hear 1 Corinthians 13 being read. It’s the love chapter of the Bible, which begins:
“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.”
Perhaps in addressing the Corinthians Paul was speaking to himself, for he needed all the love he could muster in dealing with this dysfunctional church.
Corinth was a prominent city in Greece. It was a rich, immoral place, a city without control. In the 1st century, if you talked about “living like a Corinthian,” everyone knew what you meant.
It was code language for indulging in a wild and unrestrained lifestyle.
Paul was concerned that believers in that city were living more like Corinthians than Christians. Both of his letters to Corinth, 1 and 2 Corinthians, were problem-solving letters, and 1 Corinthians deals primarily with inter-church problems.
As Paul worked his way through the letter, he tackles one troublesome area after another:
- confusion about marriage,
- abuses of the Lord’s Supper,
- disrespect in worship,
- heresy about the Resurrection, and
- lack of discipline in finances.
But in the middle of it all, he spoke of the love we need for dealing with troublesome people in our lives, and his words still ring true in our hearts:
“Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,
Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
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” (1 Cor 13:4, 7-8).
Christians are to live more like citizens of heaven than citizens of earth, which requires us to exhibit healthy hearts and united churches.
“And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power:
That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God” (1 Cor 2:4-5).
Ask the Lord of the Church to restore the selfless love that only He can give and grow.