1 Corinthians 13:1-13
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.…
I. ITS ESSENTIALITY.
1. The apostle contrasts it with the highest and richest endowments possible to man.
(1) The mastery of all languages.
(2) To voice forth God's purposes.
(3) To interpret all secret things and comprehend all truth.
(4) To be inspired with the highest supernatural faith.
(5) To be moved with the noblest philanthropy and by the spirit of martyrdom.
2. Though possessing all these highest gifts, the apostle declares that without love to God the Christian is nothing. Nothing —
(1) In view of God's purpose of grace, to make His children to be "conformed to the image of His Son."(2) In view of the highest characteristic of the Divine nature. "For God is love."(3) In view of the essential attribute of Christian character — "He that loveth, not knoweth not God." "This is life eternal to know Thee," etc.
II. ITS CHARACTERISTICS.
6. Not arrogant.
10. Has no sympathy with sin.
11. Loves the truth.
12. Hides faults.
15. Firm in trials.
III. ITS SUPERIORITY.
1. In permanence —
(1) To prophecies.
(2) To tongues.
(3) To knowledge.
2. In nature. Superior —
(1) To faith, because faith expresses helpless dependence on God, and love expresses the exercise of the most exalted attribute of God.
(2) To hope, because hope expresses desire for the good of ourselves, and love expresses desire for the highest good of others.Practical lessons:
1. How opposite the Divine and human estimates of true glory.
2. How equal is God's plan for human good. All cannot speak with tongues; all cannot master science and knowledge, but all can love.
3. Do we believe the testimony which the Holy Spirit bears in this chapter?
(D. C. Hughes, A.M.)
Parallel VersesKJV: 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.