Charity

1Corinthians 13:1-7 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. 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. 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 profits me nothing. Charity suffers long, and is kind; charity envies not; charity vaunts not itself, is not puffed up, Does not behave itself unseemly, seeks not her own, is not easily provoked, thinks no evil; Rejoices not in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; Bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

‘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.’ Paul here shows the possibility of exercising gifts in a backslidden condition (13:1-3), as Solomon did (Eccl. 2:9).

‘Tongues of men and of angels’ – This suggests that those who speak with tongues could be using earthly and angelic languages.

‘Charity’ [Greek: agape] spontaneous and divine love, the unconditional love that God has for us. It is more eternal than gifts. Nine ingredients of divine love: Patience- love passive: no hurry; suffers long; bears, believes, hopes, and endures all things (13:4, 7). Kindness- love in action: never acts rashly or insolently; not inconsistent, puffed up, or proud (13:4). Generosity- love in competition: not envious or jealous (13:4). Humility- love in hiding: no parade; no airs; works then retires (13:4). Courtesy- love in society: does not behave unseemly; always polite; at home with all classes; never rude or discourteous (13:5). Unselfishness- love in essence: never selfish, sour, or bitter; seeks only good of others; does not retaliate or seek revenge (13:5). Good temper- love in disposition: never irritated; never resentful (13:5). Righteousness- love in conduct: hates sin; never glad when others go wrong; always gladdened by goodness to others; always slow to expose; always eager to believe the best; always hopeful, always enduring (13:6-7). Sincerity- love in profession: never boastful and conceited; not a hypocrite; always honest; leaves no impression but what is strictly true; never self-assertive; does not blaze out in passionate anger, nor brood over wrongs; always just, joyful, and truthful; knows how to be silent; full of trust; always present.

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