1. Our Bible Study for this month is First Corinthians, chapter 13. I can’t remember the last time I used this chapter. Wana and I are in many meetings and many times we hear eight to fourteen messages during the week. I can’t remember when I heard a preacher use this chapter. BARCLAY calls this chapter, ‘The most wonderful chapter in the whole Bible.’ A.T. ROBERTSON said ‘Many others have written on Love but Paul has here surpassed them all in this marvelous prose-poem. It is the language from the heart, the greatest, strongest, deepest things Paul ever wrote.
2. There is hardly any passage in Scripture which demands such SELF-EXAMINATION for the good man as this passage does.
3. Paul is writing to a group of people who were filled with Christian ambitions, GIFTS. They coveted these gifts and it seems they were proud of themselves. In the first part of this book they were proud of the leader they followed. The Christian Church was to them a stage and they wanted to be the conspicuous figures. Paul says, ‘There is a better way….LOVE.’
4. If one has studied at all he/she knows the word Charity is LOVE. The noun is agape, 26 in W.E. Vines, an Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words and the verb form is agapao, Vine, 25. If you do not have a Strong’s and W.E. Vine, and Thayer’s you would do well to purchase them.
Verse 1, I wonder what Paul meant when he said ‘tongues of angels?’ No matter how excellent or moving the speech is if there is no Love it amounts to nothing. We need to realize this while we are hearing so many political speeches.
Verse 2, I am nothing A good translation, ‘I am a zero…0.’ J Vernon McGee says, put six 000.000 and you have nothing, but put 1 in front of them and look what you have, 1.000.000. When you put Love in front of all that Paul mentions…they become something.
V-4 Love SUFFERETH long and is to be longsuffering as opposed to being given to hasty anger or punishment. See patience or to be patient.
Lincoln appointed Stanton as his War Minister. Stanton hated Lincoln and said awful things about the President. When someone asked Mr. Lincoln why he appointed Stanton. Lincoln replied, ‘He was the best man we had.’ When Lincoln was shot and was dying, Stanton with tears in his eyes said, “There lays the greatest ruler of men the world has ever seen.”
Love is KIND, 5541, serviceable, good, pleasant—of things, or persons. Easy, good, gracious, sweet to all and useful.
Love ENVIETH not, 2206, to be zealous, moved with jealousy, covet, desire, jealousy is a common sin. It is neither jealous nor envious. (Both ideas)
VAUNTETH not itself, 4068, braggart; to exult in things one has, to boast (middle voice)
Is not PUFFED up, 5448, to inflate, from bellows, puffed up with pride, proud, haughty. Napoleon said law was for others but I am not like other men, the law of morality does not apply to me.
CAREY the great missionary and linguist, he made 34 translations of the Bible. At a big gathering some one said, ‘You were a shoemaker. His answer, No, I just repaired them, I was a cobbler.
V-5 Does not BEHAVE (807) itself unseemly, not indecent, and unbecoming. What I have seen in business meetings or in Church trouble or in Church ballgames. I have seen preachers become unseemly in the pulpit. The Spirit filled Christian has a winsomeness about him.
SEEKETH not her own. Does not insist on our own rights. It is not rights but duty. Example when someone or family sits in a certain place in the Church and if someone comes in and takes that place…trouble ahead. There is a lot of selfishness in too many of us.
Is not easily PROVOKED (3947). Never flies into a rage. Exasperation is a sign of defeat. Stay cool. Example today: ROAD RAGE. Irritation or sharpness of Spirit! A good example is Harry Ironside. He was one of God’s great Preachers. His books are wonderful. One day he was riding home with his wife on a streetcar in San Francisco. He had preached five times that day and was exhausted. His wife said something to him, and he snapped at her, giving fee reign to his selfish mood. When she rebuked him, he replied, “My dear, don’t you realize that I have worn myself out. I have preached five times today and I am all unnerved.” His wife replied, “Well, if you think you have something to complain about, look at me. I’ve had to listen to you five times today. I’m at least as tired as you are. If I can afford to be pleasant, certainly you can.” No Christian has the right to let his personal feelings lead him to quarrel with and wound others in order to gratify his own selfish moods. I admit that I have been guilty of this. HAVE YOU?
THINKETH (3049) no evil. This is the word of an accountant, entering into a ledger. ‘logizehthai’ Learn to forget, don’t keep it alive—to harm. Do not put it down in the ledger to settle the account. One of the great lessons I have learned is to forget the bad things. YOU CAN and it pays.
REJOICETH (5463) not in iniquity (93). You have no joy in the wrong, no pleasure in bad reports. Read Romans 1-32 to see what this means—people are so low that their real joy is seeing SIN TRIUMP. Think of the rejoicing in California over same-sex marriage. When some Christian falls it is SAD, very sad.
REJOICETH (4796) in the truth (225) This is not as easy as it sounds. Example, an old preacher, Fred Jones, in Oklahoma was in the hospital. He said, ‘Doctor, I want to know the truth, if you don’t tell me the truth I will ‘haint’ you.’ The Truth was bad news but he wanted the truth. Some times so many of us are not truthful.
BEARETH (4722) all things. We can endure anything. Think of John McCain, 5 years a POW. Not wanting to drag into light the fault of others. Love can bear insult, injury and disappointment. Beareth, to protect, or preserve by covering, like a roof Love covers, Read 1 Peter 4-8.
BELIEVETH (4100) all things is faith in the Bible and completely trusting and taking God at His Word. I am glad that people believed in me. My Dad brought out the best in us. Never ceases to hope. Adam Clark is one of God’s greats. As a boy he was a slow learner. The school had a distinguished visitor who heard the teacher say, ‘Adam is a stupid boy. The distinguished visitor said to Adam after class, ‘You can count’ and he did count. Read Adam Clark’s Commentary. The visitor ‘believed all things.
HOPETH (1679) all things. Never ceases to hope and does not despair. We need that hope in today’s troubled world,
ENDURETH (5278) all things. To bear, to endure, accepting what happens. Think of JONI, crippled as she is and yet God is using her. George Matheson was blind but counted for God.
I will try to finish this in another issue.
Love knows there are inequalities but Love continues to operate.
Love never dies. I love my Mother and Father more today than ever. They are far more than memories. They are alive with Jesus and they are on my mind. I weep at times when I think of them. The other day Wana was crying. She said, ‘I miss my family so much.’ They are all gone except Wana. Our hope tells us they are alive and waiting.
I love Jesus more today than I did that morning in 1940 when I knelt and asked Him to save me and to come into my heart. That love for Him has deepened through these 68 years. Paul was right when he said, 12-31, I show you a more excellent way….LOVE. He loved us and we can LOVE Him.