Today we often find empty pews in traditional churches.
There is exuberant joy and excitement at some large Christian congresses.
Charitable love “beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.” (1 Corinthians 13:7/KJV).
As I am moving on to the last part of this verse, it is good for us to remind ourselves of the bigger picture. What is this verse and what is this chapter all about.
On this site I am dealing with many details of chapter 13. Therefore from time to time it is good to put things together.
Paul had been founding the church at Corinth. Now he is concerned with guiding and instructing them as to how to successfully live the Christian live.
Christian living is not about self-gratification by displaying admirable gifts and positions. The Christian church is not a club, whose members are to fight about who is greatest among them. (Cf. 1 Corinthians 12).
Paul has pointed out: Love is to qualify all that we are doing within the church fellowship. You can have various activities or even experience miracles, but without love, all this is of fairly limited value. (1 Corinthians 13:1-3). Then Paul has moved on to describe various aspects of Christian love. (1 Corinthians 13:4-7).
Perhaps verse 6 also could be taken as a reminder that the church at Corinth was surrounded by heathenism. There are people who do not share our Christian values. As Christians we are supposed to shine as a light into this world.
In verse 7 the poetic structure of chapter 13 is evident. Here we have two sets of similar verbs, which are ‘bear’ and ‘endure’ on the one hand, and ‘believe’ and ‘hope’ on the other. Interestingly the verbs ‘believe’ and ‘hope’ are in the centre of the verse, surrounded by ‘bear’ and ‘endure’.
Focussing on this structure of verse 7, two conclusions come to my mind:
- Christian living is not always easy. As we pursue Christian faith and Christian hope we are surrounded by problems. We are to face difficulties and challenging situations.
- As we seek to cope with pressures of the Christian ministry within the church, and as we seek to stand the challenges of being a Christian witness to those outside the church, we need faith and hope at the core of our hearts. As we are facing adversities, we must not lose sight of faith and hope in Jesus Christ. We may find ourselves in various battles, but we don’t have to do it all on our own, nor in our own strength.
This may serve as an introductory article to subsequent posts on love “endureth all things”. As previously done, I will also try to explain this word by looking at other verses of scripture with the same Greek word in the original text.
As my posts kind of build on each other, you will benefit more if you read several of my articles on every section of the verse under consideration. This is why I like to invite you to follow my blog.