Go to any wedding and you will almost always hear I Corinthians 13 read, or what is commonly known as the ¡§love¡¨ chapter. Needless to say I was really surprised to find this chapter as one key section in my textbook on the study of the Holy Spirit and its various gifts within the Bible.
One thing that Bible scholars seem to focus on (and I better pay attention if I ever want to become one) is making sure that as you read a passage you take into context the entire chapter it is in, the context of the specific book and location, and even as far as understanding the entire content of the Bible and what its saying¡Kwhew¡KI know overwhelming. Yet, I guess these are actually basic ideas when it comes to how we normally read books. I mean you would never read the Lord of the Rings one small passage at a time...that would be totally confusing (who is this Frodo guy and why does he have a ring???)º
Getting back on subject; so in understanding this concept I have to look at I Corth 13 in context of where it¡¦s located. Right between chapters 12 and 14¡Kduh! Chapter 12 talks about the gifts of the Holy Spirit and how each has equal importance in the church, and Chapter 14 speaks about the gifts of tongues and prophecy.
So what is Chapter 13 really talking about? The way in which we should use these various gifts of the Spirit! Paul starts Chapter 13 talking about how meaningless the gifts of the Holy Spirit are without love, but does that mean that we should get rid of all gifts of the Spirit because love is better? (I used to wonder this actually). No way! Paul never says that, and in fact if he did feel that, then why would he spend the following chapter discussing more gifts of the Spirit in the church?
Now don¡¦t let me ruin the love chapter for you. Paul shows us the qualities of love and it can be easily applied to all parts of our lives, but if we really want to be a good Bible scholar (and I do) then it is important to get as close to what Paul originally was talking about as possible. It is very clear that he was showing us the best way to use our gifts given by the Holy Spirit, and that we are to do it in love. Then he lists the qualities of love so we can see if we are truly using our gifts in that way.
It¡¦s a brilliant chapter really if you think of it this way. I mean I have seen church¡¦s that focus on gifts of the Spirit, and church¡¦s that focus on love, but none that really tie the two together.
What would it be like if we did? Now that is the real mystery of the love chapter¡K