A Better Way

untitledPaul, in 1 Corinthians 12, is teaching the church about both unity and diversity. He says in verse 27:

27        Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.

Essentially, Paul is telling us that while we are all one in Christ, we are still individual members within the body with differing functions. He goes on to list a few of those functions:

  • Apostles
  • Prophets
  • Teachers
  • Healers
  • Speakers of tongues

Can every member share the same gift and the body work properly? The obvious answer is “no.” So Paul tells the members that he will show them a more excellent way. In I Corinthians 13, the famous “love chapter,” Paul teaches us three attributes of this better way.

Love is essential

13:    1     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.

          2     And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.

          3     And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.

Love is entire

         4     Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,

             Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked.       

        6     Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;

        7    Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.

Love is eternal

        8     Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.          

        9     For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.

       10    But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.      

       11     When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.

       12     For now we see through a glass darkly, but then face to face: now I know in part, but then shall I know even as also I am known.      

      13     And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.

The lesson to the Corinthian church is the same as today. We ought not covet the gifts of our brother, rather we should all participate in the gift that is available to the whole body, namely, loving each other. Remember today that even if you cannot move mountains with your faith, or speak in multiple tongues, or preach, or ________________ (whatever gift you wish you had), you can play a part in God’s church that is most essential, entire, and eternal. Jesus told his tongue speaking, dead raising, sick healing disciples that there was one thing that would set them apart as true disciples of Christ:

John 13:35       By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.

“Desire the best gift. There is a better way” – Paul 


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