1 Corinthians 13
Please go to our series on The Gifts and Fruits of the Holy Spirit for in depth articles on those subjects
Paul now speaks of the chief gift of God’s Spirit which is Godly Love as defined by the Word of God. Love is defined by Almighty God as the keeping of the laws, commandments, statutes and judgments of God, and living by every Word of God. If we do not love God enough to be zealous to live by every Word of God; than NOTHING else matters.
1 Corinthians 13:1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels [though I speak all languages], and have not charity [the love of God as defined by every Word of God], I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.
We are like a sound that is here and gone in the night if we do not zealously live by every Word of God which defines true Godly Love.
13:2 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 [the love of God as defined by every Word of God], I am nothing.
We are like a sound that is here and gone in the night; if we do not zealously live by every Word of God which defines godly love. In other words there is no lasting value to anything that is not consistent with the whole Word of God which defines godly love.
13:3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity [we must have enough love for God to live by every Word of God in Christ-like zeal], it profiteth me nothing.
13:4 Charity [God’s nature is love, and is defined by the Word of God] suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, 13:5 Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil [does not lust after evil or meditate on wickedness]; 13:6 Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;
This is the exact opposite of the false “love” being pushed by many today. They reject the truth and any zeal to live by every Word of God, they are easily provoked and they are filled with pride.
God’s Word is TRUTH
13:7 Beareth all things [endures all trials to keep God’s Word of love], believeth all [godly] things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. 13:8 Charity [Godly love as defined by the Word of God] never faileth [God’s Word goes on forever]: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail [come to an end, having been completed; but the Word [nature and love] of God can never end]; whether there be tongues, they shall cease [languages are living changing things]; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away [be replaced by more complete knowledge].
13:9 For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. 13:10 But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.
13:11 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.
13:12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know [after the change to spirit we shall know the things of God more fully] even as also I am known.
13:13 And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity [Godly love as defined by God’s Word].
We are nothing but a passing noise with no permanency: if we do not zealously live by every Word of God which is the definition of Godly Love.
Where Has the Love of God Gone in Today’s Ekklesia?
I live in a very mountainous area and it is common to fence off steep precipices:
Why? To warn of the dangers and to protect people from bad falls; to warn of dangers that we might not notice before getting caught up in them.
God’s law is a protective fence to keep us from danger; to keep us from hurting others; and to keep us from getting hurt ourselves.
God’s law is love; we love, first by obeying God our Father as he teaches us how to do good toward him, ourselves and others. God’s law is love because it protects ALL of God’s children from hurting one another; it brings peace and stability; God’s Word is the Constitution of his Kingdom.
If we have God’s love in us, we would be obeying our Father: To disobey our Father is not loving him.
To break God’s law and harm others is not loving them. To love is to live by every Word of God; and to be kind and quick to forgive repented faults as God is quick to forgive.
If we truly loved God and our neighbor, we would be zealous for the Law of Love; we would be zealous to keep that law of love with all our hearts and beings; and we would be zealous to encourage our brethren to do likewise, for their own good because we love them.
Would it be love to stand and watch as our brother is run down by a truck? Or would it be love to give a shout of warning? God’s law warns us of the dangers in our lives and if we keep God’s Word it protects us from those dangers.
For far too long, zeal for God’s law has been regarded as Pharisaic when the exact opposite is the truth.
Who drove the money changers out of the temple: Jesus Christ or the Pharisees? Who made the law of God of no effect by their traditions; Jesus Christ or the Pharisees?
Jesus Christ was filled with zeal for his Father’s law; because Jesus Christ LOVED his Father and he gave himself for our lawbreaking to pay for our sins and give the sincerely repentant a new start, because he LOVED us.
The religion of Christ is an ACTION oriented love. Jesus Christ died because he LOVED his Father’s law and he died to reconcile us to God the Father by cleansing us from our law breaking and turning us back toward God the Father.
How are we turned back to God the Father? By turning back to keeping God’s LAW OF LOVE. God is LOVE; his LAW IS LOVE.
To be one with God; we must BECOME LOVE as God is LOVE: which is defined by the whole Word of God.
To become LOVE as God is love, we MUST become like him; and we become like him by doing what he does and commands us to do.
Among some in the major religions there is a very strong drift toward the shallowness of an emotional kind of false love which neglects the practical application of the Word of God.
I have heard of this laxity in the very highest places. This false “love” is the first step AWAY from the true love of God; replacing an action oriented KEEPING of the commandments; with a shallow emotional experience.
Lip-service is paid to the commandments while the practical application of those commandments is compromised.
This attitude of replacing the action of godly love with a good time experience, makes the law and love of God of no effect,
It is a great sin against godly love to rely on false teachings that can be shown to fall short of a good understanding of sound doctrine; instead of being willing to continually look into the mirror of God’s Word to diligently learn and obey the whole Word of God, which is true godly love.
The love of God is an action, based on God’s law. God’s law defines who God is [which is LOVE] and reveals how we can become like him!
We become like God by doing what God says and does.
Yes, Paul is correct; We NEED to be filled with God’s love; which is defined by and described by: God’s Word.
The only way to fulfill the love of 1 Corinthians 13 is to live by every Word of Almighty God; including fulfilling the mercy of God.
God forgives those who sincerely repent of breaking the law of love; God will NEVER accept his mercy and grace being used to justify continuing in sin defying him and his Word!
In that case there is NO more Sacrifice for sin, (Heb 10:26)
The law of God is the foundation of Godly behavior; the Word and Law of God is the foundation of all proper behavior.
All other things must be consistent with God’s Word and must not be contrary to God’s law.
God’s Word, commandments and teachings are the foundation of all Godliness; and if the foundation is allowed to fall into decay in our lives: we will be rejected by Christ into severe correction until we have learned our lesson.
1 Corinthians 14
1 Corinthians 14:1 Follow after charity [seek to be filled with the love of God; through diligently living by every Word of God], and desire spiritual gifts, but rather earnestly desire the gift of prophesy; [This does not mean to predict events only; it means to teach God’s Word through the inspiration of God.] that ye may prophesy.
14:2 For he that speaketh in an unknown tongue speaketh not unto men, but unto God: for no man understandeth him [no one can understand the strange speech]; howbeit in the spirit he speaketh mysteries.
If we speak Greek to an audience of Chinese; only God will understand what we are saying. Our words will be a mystery to our listeners.
14:3 But he that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort.
The gift of prophecy [inspired speaking] benefits all who hear and keep it!
14:4 He that speaketh in an unknown tongue edifieth himself [for only he understands his own words]; but he that prophesieth edifieth the [audience] church.
14:5 I would that ye all spake with tongues [many languages], but [more so] rather that ye prophesied: for greater [more value to the congregation] is he that prophesieth than he that speaketh with tongues, except he interpret, that the church may receive edifying.
14:6 Now, brethren, if I come unto you speaking with tongues, what shall I profit you, [Words will profit only if they are understood, therefore it is better to speak under inspiration of God than to speak in a strange language. This proves that “Tongues” is only the inspired knowledge of languages.] except I shall speak to you either by [inspired] revelation, or by knowledge, or by prophesying, or by doctrine?
These gifts of the Spirit are very closely related, for the same spirit inspires an understanding of languages, and the same Spirit gives the gift of inspired speaking; and all gifts are from God because we are zealous to keep God’s Word which is Godly Love. To keep God’s Word we also need the gift of faith in God; and how can we teach God’s Word if we do not have the gift of knowing and retaining God’s Word of knowledge?
14:7 And even things without life giving sound, whether pipe or harp, except they give a distinction in the sounds, how shall it be known what is piped or harped? 14:8 For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle?
1 Corinthians 14:9 So likewise ye, except ye utter by the tongue words easy to be understood, how shall it be known what is spoken? for ye shall speak into the air. 14:10 There are, it may be, so many kinds of voices in the world, and none of them is without signification.
The warning must be crystal clear and loud enough to be heard; so that all the brethren will hear, know and understand the warnings; so that many will turn to the Eternal and that those who do not, will have no excuse before God against God’s correction.
14:11 Therefore if I know not the meaning of the voice, I shall be unto him that speaketh a barbarian, and he that speaketh shall be a barbarian unto me. 14:12 Even so ye, forasmuch as ye are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek that ye may excel [seek to excel in inspired speaking that you may instruct the people] to the edifying [the building up of the Ekklesia into a bride without fault before her Husband] of the church.
14:13 Wherefore let him that speaketh in an unknown tongue pray [When we desire to pray or speak before the brethren in a language different from them, we must keep silent unless there is someone there who can interpret so all will understand.] that he may interpret.
14:14 For if I pray [publicly pray (speak) before the assembly] in an unknown tongue [language], my spirit prayeth, but my understanding is unfruitful [The hearers may also be praying in spirit, but do not understand what is being said; and so cannot agree with the speaker.].
14:15 What is it then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also: I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also. 14:16 Else when thou shalt bless with the spirit, how shall he that occupieth the room of the unlearned say Amen [How can a man agree with another and say Amen, if he does not understand what has been said?] at thy giving of thanks, seeing he understandeth not what thou sayest?
14:17 For thou verily givest thanks well, but the other is not edified [if he does not understand your words]. 14:18 I thank my God, I speak with tongues [Paul spoke more languages than others in the congregation] more than ye all: 14:19 Yet in the church I had rather speak five words with my understanding, that by my voice I might teach others also, than ten thousand words in an unknown tongue.
Why then would Paul not write in the language of his addressees? Paul wrote to the Greeks in the Greek language and to Jews in their own language; as he himself taught men to do.
14:20 Brethren, be not children in understanding: howbeit in malice [be not malicious but full of childlike innocence from sin] be ye children, but in understanding [of godliness] be men [be mature and filled with godly understanding]
14:21 In the law it is written, With men of other tongues and other lips will I speak unto this people; and yet for all that will they not hear me, saith the Lord. 14:22 Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not:
Most people reject godliness and it is as if they are hearing the things of God in some strange foreign language that they cannot understand.
It takes the Spirit of God to interpret [give us understanding] the Word of God to our minds; and it takes a physical interpreter to give us understanding of a foreign language otherwise incomprehensible to us.
14:23 If therefore the whole church be come together into one place, and all speak with [different languages] tongues, and there come in those that are unlearned, or unbelievers, will they not say that ye are mad [they will say that this is incomprehensible confusion]?
14:24 But if all prophesy [in one local language], and there come in one that believeth not, or one unlearned, he is convinced of all, [because he understands what is being said] he is judged [he is convicted by the message because he understands it] of all: 14:25 And thus are the secrets of his heart made manifest; and so falling down on his face he will worship God, and report that God is in you of a truth.
14:26 How is it then, brethren? when ye come together, every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying. [let everyone speak, in decent order and in the language of the audience or with an interpreter, and not in a confused commotion]
14:27 If any man speak in an unknown tongue, let it be by two, or at the most by three [in foreign languages], and that by course; and let one interpret. 14:28 But if there be no interpreter, let him [whoever does not speak the language of the local brethren should keep silent if there is no interpreter] keep silence in the church; and let him speak to himself [speak quietly n his mind], and to God.
14:29 Let the prophets [inspired speakers] speak two or three, and let the other judge [Let the brethren judge his words by the Scriptures.].
14:30 If any thing be revealed to another that sitteth by, let the first hold his peace. 14:31 For ye may all prophesy one by one [provided they are orderly and are consistent with God’s Word], that all may learn, and all may be comforted.
14:32 And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets.
God’s Spirit does not possess and control a person; it guides, teaches and leads. Those who have God’s Spirit have a choice whether to follow or not to follow, God; and if people refuse to follow God’s Spirit, that Spirit will be quenched within them. When a spirit seizes a person in an uncontrollable manner; that spirit is of Satan the devil
14:33 For God is not the author of confusion [God does not allow confusion within his own household: God does author confusion among his enemies], but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.
The context here is proper order and decorum in the service, and in a formal worship service a woman is to be subject to her father or her husband if she has one. If she has neither, she should ask outside of the formal services.
14:34 Let your women keep silence in the churches [the word “church’ is not in the bible, properly this means “in the services / meetings” and refers to people interrupting the service]: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law. 14:35 And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.
This is about standing up before the saints and teaching them in a formal service.
This forbids a woman to enter the ministry for it is would be unseemly and unlawful for a woman to publicly teach and reprimand her husband, or the husbands of other women; because they are under their own husband’s or father’s authority.
A woman may certainly discuss the Scriptures with her father or husband, with other women, and with her children; and with the elders in the Church with the knowledge and consent of her husband. She may teach like Priscilla and Deborah, only she is not to usurp her husband or father or the ministry; or the proper order and dignity of formal worship services.
Women are not to participate in the ministry because the law teaches that women are to be subject to their husbands
Genesis 3:16 Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.
1 Corinthians 11:3 But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.
Aaron and his sons were called out of the tribe of Levi to be the Priests of God.
Exodus 28:1 And take thou unto thee Aaron thy brother, and his sons with him, [not his daughters], from among the children of Israel, that he may minister unto me in the priest’s office.
This command of God signifies that only males may serve as the priests or ministry of God. Women may serve as teachers and may even be called to become prophetesses or even Judges [Deborah being an example] and rulers of the people in the Civil Administration, but they may not serve as priests.
This is because the priests or ministry, serve as types of the spiritual High Priest Melchizedek [who gave up his Godhood to become flesh and give himself as a perfect sacrifice as Jesus Christ]; who as the Husband of Israel must be represented as a male.
The law says that the man is the head of his wife (Gen 3:16, 1 Cor 11:3) and our spiritual High Priest is our Husband and our Head, it is therefore only proper that those acting on behalf of his headship and priesthood also be male.
Melchizedek was always presented as a male and Jesus Christ was a man, therefore those that are types of our spiritual High Priest must be male.
14:36 What? came the word of God out from you? or came it unto you only? [Did you originate the Word of God, or did it come to you from God?] 14:47 If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord.
This includes everything written in First Corinthians and all the word’s of Paul in all his epistles [including his words on hair covering]
14:38 But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant. 14:39 Wherefore, brethren, covet to prophesy, and forbid not to speak with tongues. [Don’t forbid people to speak in different languages, but insist that all things be done in an orderly manner, with proper interpretation, for the benefit of the hearers.] 14:40 Let all things be done decently and in order.