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LAST UPDATED 02/02/2009
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Salvation by Faith

Part 4

Love
1 Corinthians 12:31 – 13:-17

Charles Corno

In preparing a study on the awesome theme of agape in the New Testament I have decided to present the study in parts. To begin I will cover Paul’s “Love Chapter” 1st Corinthians 13, then John’s writings about agape.

The command from Jesus “you love (agapao) one another, even as I have loved (agapao) you; and "By this all will know that you are My disciples (mathetes), if you have love (agape) for one another." Are the key texts that launch our studies in the next part, we will spend time on them.

Now let’s look at 1 Corinthians 12:31 – 13:-17

31 But zealously desire (zeloo) the greater gifts. And yet I will show you a more excellent (huperbole) way (hodos)

zeloo - to have warmth of feeling for or against, affect, covet (earnestly), (have) desire, (move with) envy, be jealous over, (be) zealous

huperbole - a throwing beyond others, i.e. (figuratively) supereminence; adverbially (preeminently, abundance, (far more) exceeding, excellent, more excellent, beyond (out of) measure.

hodos - primary word; a road; by implication a progress (the route, act or distance); figuratively, a mode or means, journey, (high-) way.|

Note: In chapters 12 through 14 Paul is discussing Spiritual Gifts and their abuses by the Corinthian Church as they fought over supremacy of gifts. Paul tells them “the most excellent way.” is Love, without it you have nothing, with it you have everything. Love is the character of God. As you look at this chapter you can substitute for the word “love,” (agape.), “Jesus or God”. You will see the revelation of God as revealed by, in and through Jesus Christ.

1 Though I speak with the tongues (glossa) of humanity (anthropos) and of angels (aggelos); but do not have love (agape), I have become a noisy (echeo) gong (chalkos) or a clanging (alalazo) cymbal (kumbalon).

glossa - uncertain affinity; the tongue; by implication, a language (specially, one naturally unacquired), tongue.

anthropos - humanity. a human being:

aggelos – (probably derived from to bring tidings); a messenger; especially an "angel", messenger.

agape - love, i.e. affection or benevolence; specially (plural) a love-feast, dear, love
echeo - to make a loud noise, i.e. reverberate, roar, sound

chalkos - the idea of hollowing out as a vessel (this metal being chiefly used for that purpose); copper (the substance, or some implement or coin made of it)

kumbalon (- a cymbal (as hollow)

alalazo - from alale - (a shout, "halloo"); to vociferate, to wail; figuratively, to clang:

Note: Paul tells us that the gifts of eloquent speech, whether human, ecstatic, or Angelic are just noisy and out of place, they are worthless without love.

2 If I have the gift of prophecy (propheteia), and know (eido) all mysteries (musterion) and all knowledge (gnosis); and though I have all faith (pistis), so that I could remove (methistemi ) mountains, but do not have love (agape), I am nothing.

propheteia – prophecy, prediction (scriptural or other),prophesying.

eido - properly, to see (literally or figuratively); by implication to know, be aware, consider, have knowledge), look (on), perceive, see, be sure, tell, understand, wish.

musterion - from a derivative of muo (to shut the mouth); a secret or "mystery" (through the idea of silence imposed by initiation into religious rites)

gnosis - knowing (the act), i.e. (by implication) knowledge, science.

pistis - persuasion, i.e. credence; moral conviction of religious truth, or the truthfulness of God or a religious teacher, especially reliance upon Christ for salvation; abstractly, constancy in such profession; by extension, the system of religious the Gospel -) truth itself, assurance, belief, believe, faith, fidelity.

methistemi - to transfer, i.e. carry away, depose or (figuratively) exchange, seduce, put out, remove, translate, turn away.

Note: The prophetic gifts include preaching and teaching, and the gift of knowing all there is to know including the so called secret knowledge; and faith that can move mountains. Paul says that even these amazing gifts are worthless without love.

3 And if I give all my possessions (huparchonta) to feed (psomizo) the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits (opheleo) me nothing.

huparchonta -- things extant or in hand, i.e. property or possessions, goods, that which one has, things which (one) possesseth, substance, that hast.

psomizo - to supply with bits, i.e. (generally) to nourish: to feed.

opheleo - to be useful, i.e. to benefit, advantage, better, prevail, profit.

Note: If we give everything we have to the poor, and even suffer martyrdom (something that would make others see us with awe) our actions are meaningless and worthless without love. Applied to God, since He is love, everything about Him is valuable and awesome.

4 Love is patient (makrothumeo), love is kind (chresteuomai) and is not envious (zeloo); love does not brag (perpereuomai) and is not arrogant (phusioo),

makrothumeo - to be long-spirited, i.e. (objectively) forbearing or (subjectively) patient, bear (suffer) long, be longsuffering, have (long) patience, be patient, patiently endure.

chresteuomai - to show oneself useful, i.e. act benevolently, be kind.

zeloo - to have warmth of feeling for or against, affect, covet (earnestly), (have) desire, (move with) envy, be jealous over, guard zealously.

perpereuomai - to boast, vaunt itself.

phusioo - the primary sense of blowing; to inflate, i.e. (figuratively) make proud haughty, puff up.

Note: Looking at the descriptive words Paul uses in verses 4-7 we can see what God is and what we are not, we can praise The LORD for the great gift of Salvation. In Jesus we are justified, Sanctified, and glorified. This is the joy of the Gospel message. We can proclaim along with David his words in

Psalms 92:
It is good to give thanks to Yahweh
And to sing praises to Your name, O Most High;
To declare Your loving kindness in the morning
And Your faithfulness by night,

5 does not act unbecomingly (aschemoneo); it does not seek (zeteo) its own, is not provoked (paroxuno), does not take an inventory (logizomai) of evil (kakos)

aschemoneo - act unbecoming. Behave self uncomely, unseemly.

zeteo - to seek (literally or figuratively); specially, to worship God, or in a bad sense to plot against life, desire, endeavour, enquire (for), require,

paroxuno - to sharpen alongside, to exasperate, easily provoke, stir up.

logizomai - to take an inventory, i.e. estimate (literally or figuratively), conclude, account of, despise, esteem, impute, lay, number, reason, reckon, suppose, think on.

kakos - worthless depraved, or injurious, bad, evil, harm, ill, noisome, wicked

6 does not rejoice (chairo) in unrighteousness (adikia), but rejoices (sugchairo) with the truth (aletheia);

chairo - to be "cheerful", i.e. calmly happy or well-off; impersonally, especially as salutation (on meeting or parting), be well, farewell, be glad, God speed, greeting, hall, joy, rejoice. all things, endures all things.

adikia - legal injustice, morally, wrongfulness of character, iniquity, unjust, unrighteousness, wrong.

sugchairo - to sympathize in gladness, congratulate, rejoice in or with

aletheia – truth, truly, truth, verity

Note: Love is never selfish. It doesn’t keep a record of wrongs (it is forgiveness as God forgives). God is always honest and upfront.

7 bears (stego) all things, believes (pisteuo) all things, hopes (elpizo) all things, endures (hupomeno) all things.

stego - to roof over, to cover with silence (endure patiently):

pisteuo - to have faith (in, upon, or with respect to, a person or thing), i.e. credit; by implication, to entrust (especially one's spiritual well-being to Christ):

elpizo - to expect or confide, (have, thing) hoped for, trust.

hupomeno - to stay under (behind), i.e. remain; figuratively, to undergo, i.e. bear (trials), have fortitude, persevere, abide, endure, (take) patiently), suffer, tarry behind.

Note: Love is as solid and enduring as the Rock of Gibraltar.

8 Love never fails; but if there are prophecies, they will be done away with (katargeo); if there are tongues, they will cease (gauo); if there is knowledge (gnosis), it will be done away with (katargeo).

katargeo; to be entirely idle, useless, abolish, cease, cumber, deliver, destroy, do away, become (make) of no (none, without) effect, fail, loose, bring (come) to nothing put away (down), vanish away, make void.

gauo - to stop restrain, quit, desist, come to an end, cease, leave, refrain.

gnosis - the act of knowing , (by implication) knowledge, science.

Note: God will never fail His people because He is Love. We have just read the ultimate definition of what love is and therefore what God is. Jesus is the revelation of God and Love reveals His character and His motivation while He was on earth.

9 Because we know in part and we prophesy in part;

Note: We only know very little because our knowledge and wisdom are marred by sin. Therefore, even our concept of love is flawed by sin.

10 but when that which is perfect (teleios) comes, the partial (meros) will be done away with (katargeo).

teleios - complete (in various applications of labor, growth, mental and moral character, etc.); completeness, of full age, man, perfect.

meros - a division or share (literally or figuratively, in a wide application: half, course, coast, craft, particularly), partly, piece, portion, respect, some

11 When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with (katargeo) childish things.

12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I am fully known.

Note: As we mature we grow out of the childish things we did; we adopt adult ideas and thinking. The same is true in Christ. We grow daily and mature in our relationship with Him. The more we get to know Him and His love the more we love Him. The more we love Him, the more we can love others. This is what true discipleship is all about.

13 But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love.

Note: The ultimate has been reached – love is the greatest of all that remains. Because love is the character of God, and the characteristic of His people it is worthy of our pursuit and study. We, as His people, are defined by our love for God and for others. There is no other qualification. Love sounds so simple, but as we contemplate it it is profound. It appears easy to love, but when we apply it on our lives it is difficult. By God’s grace we can, by the indwelling Spirit, really LOVE.

Salvation by Faith - Part 1 Part 2 Part 3

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