¶ Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal (1 Cor. 13:1, NKJV).
Paul’s overriding theme in 1 Cor. 13:1-3 is that serving God and other people without love is empty and useless.
Explanation of Love. “Love” translates the Greek, agapen, from agape, which is defined as “concern, interest” (Concise Greek-English Dictionary of the New Testament, s. v. αγαπην, in Bible Windows CD); “to have love for someone or something, based on sincere appreciation and high regard” (Greek-English Lexicon, s. v. αγαπην); “placing a high value upon some person or thing, or of receiving them with favour” (Warnach, SacVb 518, Horst Balz and Gerhard Schneider, eds., Exegetical Dictionary of the New Testament, n. p.: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1990 in PC Study Bible V.5 CD, Seattle: Biblesoft Inc.,1988-2007)
While I was driving some friends home one day, they thanked me
for my kindness. I asked, “Do you know the difference between kindness and loving kindness?” “What?” they replied. I said, “I bring you home. That’s kindness. But if I bring you home and buy bread and coke along the way, and give it to you, that is loving kindness.”
Love involves 2 things—a concern and an object of your concern. You have to be deeply concerned and interested in others in the Body of Christ. That includes sincerely appreciating some people whom you might not like. You have to value them highly. You have to receive them with favor. You do not love somebody because that somebody loves you. You love because you seek the good of that somebody. You seek to “do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith” (Gal. 6:10, NKJV).
Paul is not talking here about your romantic love for your girlfriend or boyfriend, or your husband or wife. He’s talking about building the body of Christ with your spiritual gifts. And in doing so, you are to be driven by this kind of love—agape love.
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