Skip to main content

1 Corinthians 13:1-13

You can read the text here.

Here Paul defines 'the better way,' the way of love. For Paul, love is the enactment of a disposition or inward orientation, an orientation focused outward towards others and their benefit. Whatever one does whether speaking in tongues, great deeds of faith, giving away one's money, no matter how hyperbolic,[1] if it isn't rooted in love, in other regard, it's worthless. It does not make one pleasing God, especially if its done to draw attention to oneself.

Paul then explicates what is at the heart of love. Here I will cite Thiselton's translation of the paragraph as it captures it so well:
Love waits patiently; love shows kindness. Love does not burn with envy; does not brag - is not inflated with its own importance. It does not behave with ill-mannered impropriety; it is not preoccupied with the interests of the self; does not become exasperated into pique; does not keep a reckoning up with evil. Love does not take pleasure in wrongdoing, but joyfully celebrates the truth. It never tires of support, never loses faith, never exhausts hope, never gives up.
Compared with the standard translations, Thiselton's translation draws out the activeness of love. It's not just having a certain disposition, it's acting in an other-oriented fashion.

Love is worth pursuing because it's something that will have lasting effect, not just now, but in the age to come. The gifts of the Spirit will cease because they will no longer be needed after the return of Christ. But we will still have each other, so there will always be a need for love. Every aspect of our Christian existence is either temporary or a foretaste of what's to come. Even among the cardinal virtues of faith/faithfulness/fidelity, hope, and love, only love is supreme and will endure in a manner largely unchanged after Jesus return.

--------------------------------------
[1] Ciampa and Rosner are helpful in pointing out Paul's use of hyperbole.

[2] Thiselton and Ciampa and Rosner are on different pages on this last verse. It's worth reading both perspectives.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Commentary Series Overview

When I write commentary reviews, one of my main goals is to assess how well the commentator hit the intended audience of the commentary and utilized the format of the commentary. This often necessitates cluttering up the post discussing issues of format. To eliminate that, I thought that I would make some general remarks about the format and audience of each of the series that appear in my reviews. Terms like liberal, conservative, etc. are not used pejoratively but simply as descriptors. Many of you are familiar with Jeremy Pierce's commentary series overview. If you don't see a particular series covered here, check out his post to see if it's reviewed there. I am making no attempt at covering every series, just the series that I use. Additionally, new series (such as the NCCS) have been started in the five years since he wrote his very helpful guide, so I thought that it might not be completely out of order to have another person tackle commentary series overviews. This…

Paul's Argument in Galatians 3:15-29

15 Brothers and sisters, let me take an example from everyday life. Just as no one can set aside or add to a human covenant that has been duly established, so it is in this case. 16 The promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. Scripture does not say “and to seeds,” meaning many people, but “and to your seed,” meaning one person, who is Christ. 17 What I mean is this: The law, introduced 430 years later, does not set aside the covenant previously established by God and thus do away with the promise. 18 For if the inheritance depends on the law, then it no longer depends on the promise; but God in his grace gave it to Abraham through a promise. 19 Why, then, was the law given at all? It was added because of transgressions until the Seed to whom the promise referred had come. The law was given through angels and entrusted to a mediator. 20 A mediator, however, implies more than one party; but God is one. 21 Is the law, therefore, opposed to the promises of God? Absolutely not! Fo…

Doctor Who: Rose Tyler - Traitor?

The end of season four was very, very controversial. When I first saw it, I felt cheated. I was angry. The more I think about it, the more I think I see what Russell Davies was doing. He is too good of a writer and the show is too carefully crafted for him to screw up Rose's character and the end of a four season storyline. So while the ending isn't strictly part of our series, it is tangentially related, and I've agonized over that scene in Bad Wolf Bay so much that I have to write about it. :)

To briefly set things up, near the end of the final episode of season four, there is a meta-crisis, that results in a part human. part Time Lord Doctor being generated. He has all of the Doctor's memories, and thinks and acts like the Doctor. However, importantly, he only has one heart and cannot regenerate. He only has one life to live. The meta-crisis Doctor brought full resolution to the battle fought against the Daleks, and in the process, wiped them out. Thus, the real Doc…