13:1-3 The excellent way had in view in the close of the former chapter, is not what is meant by charity in our common use of the word, almsgiving, but love in its fullest meaning; true love to God and man. Without this, the most glorious gifts are of no account to us, of no esteem in the sight of God. A clear head and a deep understanding, are of no value without a benevolent and charitable heart. There may be an open and lavish hand, where there is not a liberal and charitable heart. Doing good to others will do none to us, if it be not done from love to God, and good-will to men. If we give away all we have, while we withhold the heart from God, it will not profit. Nor even the most painful sufferings. How are those deluded who look for acceptance and reward for their good works, which are as scanty and defective as they are corrupt and selfish!
3. bestow … goods … poor—literally, "dole out in food" all my goods; one of the highest functions of the "helps" (1Co 12:28).
give … body to be burned—literally, "to such a degree as that I should be burned." As the three youths did (Da 3:28), "yielded their bodies" (compare 2Co 12:15). These are most noble exemplifications of love in giving and in suffering. Yet they may be without love; in which case the "goods" and "body" are given, but not the soul, which is the sphere of love. Without the soul God rejects all else, and so rejects the man, who is therefore "profited" nothing (Mt 16:26; Lu 9:23-25). Men will fight for Christianity, and die for Christianity, but not live in its spirit, which is love.