A few weeks ago, my son got married to an incredible woman. I am so excited for the two of them.
During the ceremony, my sister Lucille read I Corinthians 13. This portion of Scripture is often called “The Love Chapter,” and is taken from Paul’s first letter to the church in Corinth. My sister decided to use three different translations: The Message, Amplified and Phillips’ Modern Translation.
If you’re like me, you’ve heard this Scripture so many times you can say the words without reading them. Yet my sister shared some interesting insights from a famous portion of Scripture using all three translations. Listen to the words:
1 Corinthians 13
If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don’t love, I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate.
If I speak God’s Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, “Jump,” and it jumps, but I don’t love, I’m nothing.
If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve achieved nothing.
So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.
This love of which I speak endures; it is slow to lose patience. It never gives up.
It looks for a way of being constructive and cares more for others than for self. It is not possessive.
It is neither anxious to impress nor does it cherish inflated ideas of its own importance.
Love is considerate of others, not rude but instead has good manners and does not pursue selfish advantage. It doesn’t force itself on others. It isn’t always “me first”
It is not touchy. And doesn’t fly off the handle
Love doesn’t keep score of the wrong doings of others
It does not rejoice at injustice and unrighteousness, but rejoices when right and truth prevail.
Love bears up under anything and everything that comes. Love knows no limit to its endurance
It is always ready to believe the best of every person. There is no end to its trust, and no fading of its hope; it can outlast anything.
It is, in fact, the one thing that still stands when all else has fallen. You see, God’s love never dies.
Inspired speech will be over some day; understanding will reach its limit. We know only a portion of the truth, and what we know and say about God is always incomplete. But when the Complete arrives, our incompletes will be canceled.
When I was a little child, I talked and felt and thought like a little child; now that I have become an adult, I am done with childish ways. My childish speech and feeling and thought have been put aside.
It is the same way with us. We don’t yet see things clearly. We’re squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won’t be long before we shall see clearly! The time will come when we shall see God’s love and see Him face to face!
At present all we know is a little fraction of the truth, but the time will come when we shall know it as fully as God now knows us! We will see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing Him directly just as He knows us!
But for right now, until then, we have three things to do, three great lasting qualities:
Trust steadily in God
And the best of the three is love.
I’ll be back in two weeks. Until then, live well, my friend.
Rev. Tony Marciano is executive director of the Charlotte Rescue Mission, which provides a free, long-term Christian recovery program for men and women addicted to drugs and alcohol.