Summary: Paul’s Description of having Charity
Richard GarlikovThe Meaning of Love offers and explains a definition of love in a way that is interesting, intense, clear, logical, and meaningful. All relationships --love, infatuation, friendship, dating, marriage, family, community, and professional-- involve three key elements:
Emotions --how we feel about each other
Ethics --how good or bad we are for each other
Joys --how much we satisfy or dissatisfy each other
These determine the quality of our relationships; and The Meaning of Love explains how they interrelate, and why attraction --the normally considered most important emotional element and conventional hallmark of love-- is not sufficient to signify a relationship as one of love, no matter how strong or how enduring that attraction may be.
Love is patient and kind; love is not jealous or boastful; it is not arrogant or rude. Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right. Love bears all things; believes all things; hopes all things; endures all things.
1Co 13:1 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.
1Co 13:2 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, and have not charity, I am nothing.
1Co 13:3 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 me nothing.
In the previous chapter, chapter 12, Paul had been speaking of the gifts of the body of Christ. 12:28 … apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.
No matter what gift you have whether it be teaching, prophesying, able to do miracles, some that have the gift of helps or whatever it is…..the greatest of these is love.
1. Glorious in Speech (vs. 1)
a. 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.
b. GBN [Though] Paul reasons first of charity, the excellency of which he first shows by this, that without it, all other gifts are as nothing before God. What reason those gifts are given? To what purpose are those gifts but to God’s glory, and the profit of the Church as is before proved? So that those gifts, without charity, have no right use.
c. gift of prophecy, the most profound knowledge,
Faith by which the most stupendous miracles might be wrought
Benevolence the most unbounded, and zeal for the truth
Even to martyrdom, would all be unavailing to salvation
Charity, or love to God and man, the sum and substance of all true religion
d. Barnes - The Excellency of love above the power of speaking the languages of men and of angels; above the power of understanding all mysteries; above all faith, even of the highest kind; and above the virtue of giving all one’s goods to feed the poor, or one’s body to be burned. All these endowments would be valueless without love,
2. Great in Prophecy (vs. 2)
a. Barnes - And all knowledge.
b. 1Co 12:8 For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit;
i. No matter what gift you have, if you don’t have love all others are in vain. Paul speaks throughout chapter 13 of all the gifts different ones may have, but in chapter 13 the greatest of these is love.
RWP – vs 2
understand all mysteries
have all faith
c. Paul is not condemning these great gifts. He simply places love above them and essential to them. Equally futile is wonder-working faith "so as to remove mountains"
d. Though I knew everything.
3. Giving of yourself (vs. 3)
a. PNTC - Though he exhibit what the world calls charity in the highest degree, unless he is filled with love, it is nothing.