The Love Chapter, a new perspective…
Spoiler alert, you may never look at First Corinthians 13 the same again; you have been warned. Chapter 13 of First Corinthians is most often called The Love Chapter, and for good reason, love is patient, love is kind etc. etc. This chapter is often used in wedding ceremonies among other things. Most of the chapter is pretty self-explanatory, but when you get to the end and it starts talking about prophesying in part and thinking like a child, I always got a little confused; what does this have to do with love?… until I stepped back and looked at it in CONTEXT.
Love is NOT the point Paul is trying to make here; most of this chapter is just a parenthetical statement (According to compopedia.com, Parenthetical statements are clauses or phrases used in sentences that contain secondary information unnecessary for the completion of the independent clause). The beginning section about the resounding gong and the clanging cymbal, and the end part about prophesying and looking in a mirror are transition into and out of this parenthetical statement.
Paul is instructing the folks of Corinth that they need to work together. In chapter 12, Paul is talking about using their Spiritual gifts for the glory of God, and that they need to use these gifts by working together in love as if they were one body... Then he ‘stops’ and says ‘but wait, I should probably tell you what love is’…If you have all these gifts, but don’t use them in love you’re just a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. In other words, if you can speak like an angel, prophesy, and fathom all mysteries but don’t do it in love, you’re BUGGING God. I always picture that little monkey that just sits there and claps his cymbals together endlessly. Then, at the end of the chapter he transitions back to talking about spiritual gifts. When we get saved, we all receive spiritual gifts; and everything changes. Turning to the beginning of chapter 14 Paul goes back to speaking about the gifts of The Spirit again.
So there you have it; one of the most famous and beloved verses in The Bible is really just an aside, an ‘oh, by the way’ (it does make more sense when you realize that). Don’t worry, it’s still a great chapter. That doesn’t make it any less important, or for that matter any less beautiful. It is, and it will always be The Love Chapter, and with good reason.
I hope you have found this helpful. I’ll be honest, I need your feedback to keep motivated, so if you have any questions, or comments or you just found this helpful, please leave a little comment.
The Minute Bible Guy
For a quick overview of First and Second Corinthians, check out these Minute Bible videos
First Corinthians in one minute
Second Corinthians in one minute