1 Corinthians 13:1-13
1Though 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.
4 Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,
5 Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;
6 Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;
7 Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
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.
I was surprised one day when I read the King James Version of 1 Corinthians 13. This very popular verse that we hear all the time at weddings. I know that I have heard countless sermons and podcasts and not once have I heard anyone make reference to the original translation. As I said, I was surprised as this would seem to change how I understand the verses.
Faith – Hope – Love all have an internal focus for me. For example – Faith or belief for healing, a new job or to be married one day. Hebrews 11:1 tells me “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen”. Even for Love as the world would have me believe is an internal feeling – I love chocolate, or I love coffee, just to name a quick few. I Love things that make me feel good, that bring me pleasure or things that bring me relief from pain.
But when I read this verse in the King James it changed everything – Charity is says. Love or Charity is not about me! I know that we all have an initial thought when we heard that word. For me it put my Faith and Hope into action. After contemplating the word Charity, I realized that motive for charity expects nothing in return. Usually it is something that is done without drawing attention to yourself. It is about doing and helping others that often times can offer nothing in return. Sounds like what Jesus did for me on the cross – there is nothing I can offer in return to Him that will ever come close to that act of Charity.
Or is there, When I am truly walking this verse out with my wife and family and even for strangers – I am not looking for her or them to give me some kind of accolades or even to repay me. This is my chance to serve as Jesus served me.
I pray that today we will see others with a kind heart and serve them out of our need for charity.