In studying 1 Corinthians 13:4-8a, I wrote out the passage more like a psalm than a letter … in so doing, something different seemed to reveal itself … read and consider …
Love is patient,
Love is kind,
Love is NOT jealous;
Love does NOT brag,
Love is NOT arrogant,
Love does NOT act unbecomingly;
Love does NOT seek its own,
Love is NOT provoked,
Love does NOT take into account a wrong suffered,
Love does NOT rejoice in unrighteousness,
Love rejoices with TRUTH;
Love bears ALL things,
Love believes ALL things,
Love hopes ALL things,
Love endures ALL things.
Love NEVER fails.
Paul seems to be using an interesting approach to explain three paradigms of love …
- Fruit of the Spirit – love, patience and kindness are characteristics described in Galatians 5:22 – true love is the fruit of the Spirit not the flesh (2 times)
- Love of the flesh – I recently read that lust is concerned with what you can do for me … while love is concerned with what I can do for you. Paul seems to be exposing the fallacies of the human myth of love (perhaps more aptly called lust) by describing what the love of God is NOT … take the NOT’s out and you are easily describing what we typically experience in the love of the flesh (8 times)
- Love of God – Paul reveals the absolutes of God’s love captured in TRUTH, ALLs and NEVER – I’ll let you consider how those phrases might change if Paul was writing of the love of natural man (6 times)
OK, that’s really just two paradigms of love … Paul is basically comparing and contrasting the love of natural man with the love of God.
And while reading this passage at a wedding is indeed apropos … I believe it will be the marriage of the Lamb before the love described above is totally fulfilled in His bride … the church.
“Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready. It was given to her to clothe herself in fine linen, bright and clean; for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.” Revelation 19:7-8 (NASB)
And after all, isn’t that really what Paul is describing in 1 Corinthians 13? Not the love of a husband for a wife … but the love of believers for one another …
This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends. You are My friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you. You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you. This I command you, that you love one another. John 15:12-17 (NASB)
Chosen … appointed … love … fruit … righteous acts … fine linen … ready … marriage.
May your commandment be fulfilled IN Your bride Lord Jesus!