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  • Writer's pictureJulie Gross

I Love Jesus and 1 Corinthians 13! Part 1

Wow, another year has come and gone, and it is 2024! I’ve been considering what to write about for my first blog of the new year for a while now, and I’ve settled on writing about the first 3 verses of 1 Corinthians chapter 13, the love chapter. Actually, I am planning to write four blogs about 1 Corinthians 13. I’ll write about verses 1-3 this week, then verses 4-7, verses 8-12, and then verse 13. This is my plan, and it will mean that my fourth blog about 1 Corinthians 13 will be coming out on February 13, 2024, a day before Valentine’s Day, so I think that works out well! Here we go!


Here are the first 3 verses of 1 Corinthians 13 (NIV): “If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.”


The first three verses of 1 Corinthians 13 are set up in a parallel structure, which is very cool and not easy to do. The writer, Paul, really took his time to come up with that structure, and it creates a repetition of ideas for his readers. This draws attention to the things he’s discussing, and it really makes his ideas clear. 


The parallel structure goes like this: “If I _________, but do not have love, I ____________.” The first part of each verse that comes after the “If I,” states good traits or characteristics. This is the list of the good traits/characteristics that Paul mentions in verses 1-3:

  • “speak in the tongues of men or of angels . . .”

  • have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge . . .”

  • “have a faith that can move mountains . . .”

  • “give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast . . .”


When I read those things, I think, “Wow, whoever can do those things must be an amazing Christian.” I mean, who can “fathom all mysteries and all knowledge”? That’s pretty impressive. Or, who has “a faith that can move mountains”? That’s quite a faith! Aren’t these things that I should be striving for? Now, Paul isn’t negating any of these things–he is just showing us that these things on their own don’t mean anything unless they are paired with LOVE.


He goes on to say that even if I have all of these things in the first list, but I don’t have LOVE. . .

  • “I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.”

  • “I am nothing.”

  • “I gain nothing.”


Thus, without LOVE, I am not effective. I can still do some great things, but those things really don’t mean anything if they’re not rooted in LOVE. In Matthew 40:37-39, it mentions the Lord’s two greatest commandments, and those are loving God and loving your neighbor. It all comes down to LOVE.


In a blog a while back, I talked about 1 Corinthians 13, and I mentioned that I wanted to memorize the chapter. I tried, but I did not accomplish that goal. I want to take that goal on again and memorize this chapter by February 13, 2024. These are verses I want to put in my heart and my mind, as they can help me focus on what’s really important: loving God and loving others.


Thanks for reading friends–I hope you’ll come on this journey with me as I work through 1 Corinthians 13!



Love,

Julie



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