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nChrist
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« Reply #15 on: April 01, 2008, 08:09:05 AM »

THE POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
SHOULD I SPEAK IN TONGUES

28. Therefore, these indeed God hath placed in the church as chief members: First, apostles, who being endowed with the word of wisdom, from them all must receive the knowledge of the gospel; Secondly, the superior prophets, who, possessing the word of knowledge, are qualified to interpret the ancient revelations; Thirdly, teachers, who boldly preach the gospel through the world, and confirm it by miracles: Next, those who communicate to others the spiritual powers: Then those who possess the gifts of healing diseases: Helpers, who, speaking by inspiration to the edification of the church, are fitted to assist the superior teachers, and to help the faith and joy of others: Directors, who, by the gift of discerning spirits, are fitted to direct the church: Lastly, persons who, having the gift of speaking different kinds of foreign languages, can preach to every nation in it’s own language.

29. Are all apostles? Are all superior prophets? Are all teachers? Have all the gift of communicating miraculous powers?

30. Have all the gifts of healing diseases? Do all speak foreign languages? Do all interpret what is spoken in these languages? No. The church is made up of many members, each of which has its own power and office.

31. Now, ye earnestly desire the chief gifts, that ye may become the most honorable persons in the church. But I will shew you a more excellent way of obtaining honour.
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Comment 1 Corinthians 12:12-31

We reproduce V. F. Hoven’s outline here to keep before us the analysis of this passage: Unity in using these gifts, 12:12-27.

a. Organic unity, 12,13. As the human body “is one,” so is the church; for by “one Spirit,” directing through His word, we were all immersed into one body.

b. Co-operative unity, 14-27. This, too, illustrated by the human body. Thus the sinful misuse of the gifts was exposed; they were given for the common good. Gradation of gifts according to importance, 28-31.

By ranking the spiritually gifted men in this order, precedence of each is settled.

A more excellent way than pride and strife about spiritual gifts is the manifestation of love.

We shall now take up a very plain verse by verse explanation of the text based on the above analysis:

Vs. 12. This verse contains the proposition or point to be developed in verses 13 through 31. This is a beautiful and powerful analogy between the human body and the church, the body of Christ. Please do not forget that these chapters are not a discussion of Spiritual gifts per se  —  but rather a discussion of the proper use of them. There are many members in the human body  — and they all have a separate function, but there is no disagreement or lack of unity. There is another body — it is the body of Christ — His church. In it there are many members. Does this mean there must be disagreement and contention? Not if we all recognize we are one body. We owe our existence not to ourselves but to our relationship to each other in the one body. Christ is in this world only to the extent that He is seen and heard through His body the church.

Vs. 13. How did we become one body? We did so by our baptism — in which we died and our life was hid with Christ in God. We lost our identity and became a new man in Christ Jesus. How can there be jealousy and envy when we are all members one of another in the body of Christ, His church? Does this verse teach Holy Spirit baptism for all Christians? We like the words of Kappa in Lard’s Quarterly, Vol. I, p. 432 ff:
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« Reply #16 on: April 01, 2008, 08:10:53 AM »

THE POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
SHOULD I SPEAK IN TONGUES

First. Is it not true, that we are brought into the one body by immersion in the Spirit? If so, it is certainly not proved by the passage we have been considering; for, as we have just seen, this passage, even with the rendering in question, contains an entirely different proposition. Again, by the rule which requires the term immersion, when not otherwise limited, to be understood as immersion in water, it is certain that in the latter sense, we are immersed into Jesus Christ, and into His death. This is the one immersion which brings us in the unity of the Spirit into the one body. Moreover, it is certain that neither of the two immersions in the Holy Spirit which are expressly so styled in the Scriptures (Pentecost and the house of Cornelius) brought its subjects into the one body. The apostles constituted a part of the body of Christ before they were immersed in the Spirit; and Cornelius and his friends were immersed into the one body, born out of water into the kingdom, after they had been immersed in the Spirit. Now, how is it possible for us to maintain that all are brought into the one body by immersion in the Spirit, in face of the fact that this is not true of the only persons who were unquestionably so immersed? Even if we had an express declaration that immersion in the Spirit brings us into one body, we would find extreme difficulty, if not an impossibility, in attempting to reconcile it with these facts.

Second. Is not the Baptist hypothesis the true one — that we are all first in the one Spirit, and afterwards, by immersion in water, brought into the one body? If so, we must find the historical facts upon the subject in harmony with this idea. But we find the apostles all in the one body before they were immersed in the Spirit; and we find the twelve disciples in Ephesus immersed by Paul “into the name of the Lord Jesus” (Acts 19:5-6), after which Paul laid hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit. And lest these should be considered anomalous cases, it was some days, if not weeks, after the Samaritans had been immersed by Philip, that the Holy Spirit came upon them in the answer to the prayer of Peter and John: “for as yet he was fallen upon none of them, only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus” (Acts 8:14-17). In all these cases the Baptist idea is reversed; so it appeared to Paul and Peter in reference to all other cases; for Paul says: “Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father” (Gal. 4:6); and Peter commands, “Repent and be immersed for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38 ).

We now proceed to the inquiry, what is the real meaning of the Greek expression En Heni Pneumati rendered by the writer, in one Spirit, and in the common version, by one Spirit. That en means in, and must be so rendered when there is nothing to rule otherwise, cannot be denied. And that the Greek expression En Heni Pneumati standing alone, should be rendered in one Spirit, is equally undeniable. But En is sometimes rendered by, and must be so, when either the context, or the harmony of Scriptures statement requires it. If we were to consult the context alone, there would be found nothing in either the grammatical or logical structure of the sentence to forbid the use of it. But we have already seen that other facts and statements in the New Testament forbid the idea expressed by the rendering, “in one Spirit we were all immersed into one body.” This alone is sufficient ground for inquiring whether there is any other admissible rendering which will better harmonize with other unambiguous passages. If the laws of the language admit another rendering, we are compelled to seek it; and if New Testament usage furnish any other in similar connections, we are invited to adopt it.

Now it so happens that there are just three forms in which the agency of the Holy Spirit is expressed by the Greek word Pneuma in conjunction with a preposition. These three are Dia with the genitive, Hupo with the genitive, and En with the dative. Of these three, all of which are rendered by or through the Spirit, the last occurs most frequently; so that the very expression under discussion, which the writer so unhesitatingly renders “in one Spirit,” is the Greek form most frequently rendered by the Spirit, and used in declaring that something is done by the Spirit as an agent or actor. That it is correctly thus rendered, will be apparent upon examination of a few of these passages. We find no less than four occurrences of this usage in the very chapter which contains the text in dispute, and in the immediate context. We read in the third verse, “No man speaking En Pneumati Theou, by the Spirit of God, calls Jesus accursed; and no man is able to say that Jesus is the Lord, but En Pneumati Hagio by the Holy Spirit.” In neither of these cases can we render it in the Spirit, because it is evidently the purpose of the writer to express an agency of the Spirit; and because men can say that Jesus is Lord by the Spirit, though they be not themselves in the Spirit. It was by the Spirit as the source of all evidence, and not in the Spirit, that men were able to believe in and acknowledge the Lordship of Jesus; and when a man called Jesus accursed, it was proof not merely that he was not in the Spirit, but that he did not speak by the light which the Spirit afforded through his divine testimony.
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« Reply #17 on: April 01, 2008, 08:14:15 AM »

THE POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
SHOULD I SPEAK IN TONGUES

Again, in the ninth verse we read, “To another is given faith En To Auto Pneumati by the same Spirit; to another the gift of healing En To Auto Pneumati by the same Spirit.” Now, the parties of whom these gifts were conferred were all in the Spirit; but these gifts were conferred by the Spirit, and this is what the apostle here affirms. In the ten verses of this chapter, from the third to the thirteenth, there are twelve things said to be done by the Spirit, and En Pneumati is the prevailing expression, only varied for the sake of euphony by Dia Pneurnatos Kata Pneuma once, and leaving En Pneumati, to be understood throughout the tenth verse.

As this criticism constitutes a capital point in this inquiry, I will be excused for accumulating evidence upon evidence in its favor. The two forms, Hupo Pneumatos and en pnemati, are used in the same sense by Matthew and Luke in describing the same event. Each says that Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness” (Matthew 4:1, Luke 4:1), Matthew using the former expression, and Luke the latter. Peter and Paul do the same thing. In declaring that the prophets of old spake “as they were moved by the Holy Spirit,” Peter uses pneumatos with the genitive; while Paul, in speaking of the mystery which was not made known to other generations, “as it was revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit,” uses pneumati with the dative. (Compare II Peter 1:21 with Ephesians 3:5.) In view of all this evidence, we hold it is undeniable that the expression en pneumati is frequently used by the apostles in expressing what is done by the Spirit, and that it may be rendered by the Spirit wherever it is more suitable either to the context, or to the nature of the subject under discussion in a particular passage.

I think it may now be affirmed that we have established three propositions: First, that to render the passage in question, “we were all immersed in one Spirit into one body,” would be a mis-location of the apostle’s words, and untrue in fact. Second, that it would be equally untrue to render it, “in one Spirit we were all immersed into one body”; meaning thereby, that we were first in the Spirit, and afterwards immersed into the body. Third, that the passage may be rendered, so far as grammatical propriety is concerned, “by one Spirit we were all immersed into one body.” This last rendering being entirely consistent with New Testament usage, and the only alternative if the first two are rejected, we shall be compelled to adopt it provided it yields a sense in harmony with the context and with other known facts upon the same subject.

Vs. 14. Please notice the reversal in the order of the figure. In Verse 12 the unity of the body even though many members —  in Verse 14 the many members even though one body. In the first instance (Vs. 12) unity is emphasized; in the second instance (Vs. 14), the indispensable value of each member is the point.

Vs. 15. What a strange observation is created when we personify the members of the human body, and yet this is the force of the figure. Imagine the ridiculous circumstance of the foot complaining against the hand. This is unthinkable because we know of the separate value and importance of each member — so we should of each member of the body of Christ.

Vs. 16. The apostle is saying — each member is important —  gifted or not gifted — each has a function important to the work of the body. How strange for the ear to claim it was of no value to the body because it was not the eye! And yet some ungifted —  or less spectacularly gifted persons in Corinth, were acting in just such a manner.

Vs. 17. To show the place and import of each member, try to imagine a body made of only an eye — or an ear — how much would be lost to the human body if we lost one or more of our members — and so with the body of Christ. This is to balance the thinking of both the gifted and the non-gifted in the church. No one is indispensable — but neither is anyone unimportant.

Vs. 18. God’s decisions are not to be repented of. God’s purposes are always for man’s best interest and good. The human body was created by God and therefore owes its existence and expression to Him. Man was created for God’s glory and pleasure. How much stronger is the principle of the rights of ownership when applied to the body of Christ, His church? The church does not belong to itself (Ephesians 5:25; I Corinthians 6:19,20.). Therefore, each member should be eager and content to carry out the place and work God has given him to do.

Vs. 19. There simply could not be a body without a multiplicity of members. If there was dissatisfaction on the part of one, and God, to accommodate the desires of this one member, gave him the right or power to become another member, would not soon all members want to become the most prominent? Soon the power and effectiveness of the body would be lost — we might add, that if there was a dissolusion of the body, there would likewise be a loss of every member.
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« Reply #18 on: April 01, 2008, 08:16:34 AM »

THE POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
SHOULD I SPEAK IN TONGUES

Vs. 20. Once again the conclusion: “Paul’s theme is: The Body — not one member but many. We who constitute the church and are individually gifted by the Spirit, must ever keep this great fact in mind. A living illustration of it is ever before us in our own human body. This helps us to avoid all dissatisfaction with ourselves” (Lenski p. 525).

Vs. 21. To enlarge upon the figure with illustration and application is the purpose of the next few verses (21-27).

Some members of the Corinthian church could be involved in the imagined conversation of the members of the human body. The over-emphasis upon the particular function of one member of the body is here pointed up: To glory in the power of expression as if you were not dependent upon another is not true as well as being selfish. Imagine the eye saying to the hands — ”I have no need of you.” Of what value is the power of sight without some way of expressing or reacting to what is seen? The same point is made in reference to the head and feet.

Vs. 22. To stress the interdependence of the members Paul now reminds the Corinthians of a well-known point in the care and function of the body. Not all the members of the body are as strong or as attractive as others. But this does not reflect upon their importance-some of the very feeble or inconspicuous members of the body are as necessary as the stronger more attractive ones. And so it is with the inconspicuous “feeble” members of the Church.

Vs. 23. Some parts of the body we do not naturally wish to display — we feel ashamed at their exposure upon such members we spend a good deal of time and thought to hide them and thus make them comely. Such members have a decency within themselves. The more abundant comeliness of our uncomely members is obtained by the demands of their nature.

Vs. 24. The more comely parts of the human body have no need of special care to grant them acceptance or honor. The point of the whole analogy is that God recognizes the need and purpose of each member of the human body — no one member is minimized by Him. God honors all the members of the human body in just the manner here described. The body of man is wonderfully fashioned to the advantage and honor of each member — and so has He created the body of His Son. We need to find our place and fill it — for there is no one else who can fill it for us. In this there is honor.

Vs. 25. Such a thoughtful, careful formation of both the human body and His spiritual body is for the grand purpose of maintaining the unity of the body. Each member in the church should be reminded —  yea, urged to recognize that the hurt of one is the hurt of all. The whole body is injured when one does not receive care. This care is given by God to each member of the human body — now the point is plain, let each member give the same type of care to each other — if we do not, the whole body will suffer.

Vs. 26. This verse has been anticipated in the mention of “schism” in the body in Vs. 25. How are some of the non-gifted members of the Corinthian Church feeling while some of the Spiritually gifted members look down upon them; or ignore them as though they were not needed, or indeed, as if they did not even exist? When one suffers, the whole body suffers. Men speak against the church when they speak against any member. The physical body cannot be injured in any portion of it without the whole body suffering. If the brain has accomplished, does not the whole body rejoice with its recognition? Let this same selfless concern and unity prevail in the body of Christ.

Vs. 27. We should indeed be ready for the conclusion — it has been made at least twice before-enlarged and illustrated — now in its full-orbed beauty and power we can appreciate it. “We are the body of Christ and severally members thereof,” which means unity, co-operation, concern, honor, responsibility, holy privilege.

Gradation of gifts according to importance, 28-30. By ranking the spiritually gifted men in this order (please notice it), precedence of each is settled — i.e., the order of importance is given by listing the most important first and the least important last. What is last in this list? The answer is “tongues.”

Vs. 28. We are now to consider some of the members. The order in which they are mentioned indicates their importance. God made the decision as to who would be honored. Please notice no one is left out. It might be significant that there are nine special gifts mentioned, and here we have nine expressions of service in the church.
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« Reply #19 on: April 01, 2008, 08:18:36 AM »

THE POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
SHOULD I SPEAK IN TONGUES

The word “apostle” means “one sent” — in a special way the twelve and Paul were sent by Christ —  they were His ambassadors or personal representatives. Prophets were those persons with the gift of prophecy. Such persons were given such a gift by God through the hands of the apostles — at least the only examples of the means of making prophets so indicates (Cf. Acts 19:1-6). The teachers are mentioned as the shepherds or elders of the church in Ephesians 4:11. There are the supernaturally endowed persons of whom we have already studied. These persons are those with the spiritual gifts of healing and miracles. However, God has provided areas of service for all in the church. There is much to be done and many helpers are needed to do the work. All can help in the very many ways open for service. The writer once prepared a talent sheet on which he listed 21 separate areas of service in which any and all Christians could “help.” Without such “help” we would have no need for teachers, apostles, prophets, or anyone else. There are those who display a real ability in the area of leadership and organization. There is surely a place for them in the church of the Lord. Last of all, and perhaps least of all, are those with the gift of tongues. There is a place for such persons — such a place and work is to be considered at length in Chapter Fourteen.

Vs. 29 & 30. The obvious answer to all the questions of Vs. 29 & 30 is “No, they are not.” The point of this verse should now be clear — each person has a place and service-no need for more apostles than those chosen by God — no need for more prophets. And so, we might add, there is no need for more in any area than God chose.

Vs. 31. This verse has a twofold possibility of interpretation:

(1) Desire the greater or more spiritually profitable gift — i.e., if you are only a helper you could desire or want the gift of knowledge-prophecy — wisdom — or even tongues. When one of the apostles visited the church, or you visited one of the apostles, perhaps the Holy Spirit would see fit to impart to you such power or such a gift through the laying on of the hands of the apostles.

(2) It could refer to greater gifts attendant with the obtaining of real love. Paul could be saying, “I will show you how to find the gifts or qualities of character you could never obtain except through love.” Love provides powers and abilities far superior to any of those we have mentioned, We prefer this second interpretation.
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SUPERIORITY OF LOVE IN COMPARISON WITH ALL SPIRITUAL GIFTS 13:1-13

a. The essential of love, 1-3

Text 1 Corinthians 13:1-3

1) If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am become sounding brass, or a clanging cymbal.

2) And If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.

3) And if I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and if I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profiteth me nothing.
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« Reply #20 on: April 01, 2008, 08:21:25 AM »

THE POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
SHOULD I SPEAK IN TONGUES

Thought Questions 1 Corinthians 13:1-3

42. Can we substitute the word “language” in Vs. 1 for the word “tongues”?

43. Are the “men” of Vs. 1 men of various nations? Do angels speak? In what language? What would be superior about the language of angels?

44. How do we know we have love in our speech? Please attempt an answer.

45. Why would man without love be like a sounding brass or a clanging cymbal? What is wrong with the brass and the cymbal?

46. What is emphasized in Vs. 2 that is not found in Vs. 1?

47. What is the use made of the word “prophecy” in Vs. 2?

48. Is there some distinction in the use of knowledge and mysteries?

49. What special kind of “faith” does Paul have in mind in Vs. 2?

50. How would love be expressed in the use of faith?

51. Would verse three refer to the “helps” of 12:28?

52. How could a person give to the poor and yet have not love?

53. What possible motive would a man have (apart from love) for giving his body to be burned?
..........

Paraphrase 1 Corinthians 13:1-3

1. Namely, by acquiring an eminent degree of love. For, with respect to those which ye esteem the best gifts, I declare, that though I could speak all the languages of men, and even of angels, but have not love to direct me in the use of them, I am no better than sounding brass, or a noisy cymbal.

2. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and know all the deep doctrines of the gospel, and possess a complete knowledge of the ancient revelations; and though I have all faith (chap. 12: 9. note 1.), so as to be able to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing in the sight either of God or of man.

3. And though I spend all my goods in feeding the poor, and though I deliver my body that I may be burned for my religion, but have not love as the principle from which I act, I am nothing profited by these things, as they are the actions of a vain hypocrite.
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Comment 1 Corinthians 13:1-3

We have been so greatly helped in reading Henry Drummond’s comments on these verses we reproduce them here for the help of all who read.

THE GREATEST THING IN THE WORLD

Every one has asked himself the great question of antiquity as of the modern world: What is the summum bonum — the supreme good? You have life before you. Once only you can live it. What is the noblest object of desire, the supreme gift to covet?
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« Reply #21 on: April 01, 2008, 08:25:17 AM »

THE POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
SHOULD I SPEAK IN TONGUES

We have been accustomed to be told that the greatest thing in the religious world is Faith. That great word has been the keynote for centuries of the popular religion; and we have easily learned to look upon it as the greatest thing in the world. Well, we are wrong. If we have been told that, we may miss the mark. I have taken you, in the chapter which I have just read, to Christianity at his source; and there we have seen, “The greatest of these is love.” It is not an oversight. Paul was speaking of faith just a moment before. He says, “If I have all faith, so that I can remove mountains, and have not love, I am nothing.” So far from forgetting he deliberately contrasts them, “Now abideth, Faith, Hope, Love,” and without a moment’s hesitation the decision falls, “The greatest of these is Love.”

And it is not prejudice. A man is apt to recommend to others his own strong point. Love was not Paul’s strong point. The observing student can detect a beautiful tenderness growing and ripening all through his character as Paul gets old; but the hand that wrote, “The greatest of these is love,” when we meet it first, is stained with blood.

Nor is this letter to the Corinthians peculiar in singling out love as the summum bonum. The masterpieces of Christianity are agreed about it. Peter says, “Above all things have fervent love among yourselves.” Above all things. And John goes farther, “God is love.” And you remember the profound remark which Paul makes elsewhere, “Love is the fulfilling of the law.” Did you ever think what he meant by that? In those days men were working the passage to Heaven by keeping the Ten Commandments, and the hundred and ten other commandments which they had manufactured out of them. Christ said, I will show you a more simple way. If you do one thing, you will do these hundred and ten things, without ever thinking about them. If you love, you will unconsciously fulfill the whole law. And you can readily see for yourselves how that must be so. Take any of the commandments. “Thou shalt have no other gods before Me.” If a man love God, you will not require to tell him that. Love is the fulfilling of that law. “Take not His name in vain.” Would he ever dream of taking His name in vain if he loved Him? “Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy.” Would he not be too glad to have one day in seven to dedicate more exclusively to the object of his affection? Love would fulfill all these laws regarding God. And so, if he loved Man, you would never think of telling him to honor his father and mother. He could not do anything else. It would be preposterous to tell him not to kill. You could only insult him if you suggested that he should not steal — how could he steal from those he loved? It would be superfluous to beg him not to bear false witness against his neighbor. If he loved him it would be the last thing he would do. And you would never dream of urging him not to covet what his neighbors had. He would rather they possessed it than himself. In this way “Love is the fulfilling of the law.” It is the rule for fulfilling all rules, the new commandment for keeping all the old commandments Christ’s one secret of the Christian life.

Now Paul has learned that; and in this noble eulogy he has given us the most wonderful and original account extant of the summum bonum. We may divide it into three parts. In the beginning of the short chapter, we have Love contrasted, in the heart of it, we have Love analyzed, toward the end, we have Love defended as the supreme gift.

THE CONTRAST

Paul begins by contrasting Love with other things that men in those days thought much of. I shall not attempt to go over these things in detail. Their inferiority is already obvious.

He contrasts it with eloquence. And what a noble gift it is, the power of playing upon the souls and wills of men, and rousing them to lofty purposes and holy deeds. Paul says, “If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not love, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.” And we all know why. We have all felt the brazenness of words without emotion, the hollowness, the unaccountable unpersuasiveness, of eloquence behind which lies no Love.

He contrasts it with prophecy. He contrasts it with mysteries. He contrasts it with faith. He contrasts it with charity. Why is Love greater than faith? Because the end is greater than the means. And why is it greater than charity? Because the whole is greater than the part. Love is greater than faith, because the end is greater than the means. What is the use of having faith? It is to connect the soul with God. And what is the object of connecting man with God? That he may become like God. But God is Love. Hence Faith, the means, is in order to Love, the end. Love, therefore, obviously is greater than faith. It is greater than charity, again, because the whole is greater than a part. Charity is only a little bit of Love, one of the innumerable avenues of Love, and there may even be, and there is, a great deal of charity without Love. It is a very easy thing to toss a copper to a beggar on the street; it is generally an easier thing than not to do it. Yet Love is just as often in the withholding. We purchase relief from the sympathetic feelings roused by the spectacle of misery, at the copper’s cost. It is too cheap — too cheap for us, and often too dear for the beggar. If we really loved him we would either do more for him, or less.
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« Reply #22 on: April 01, 2008, 08:28:08 AM »

THE POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
SHOULD I SPEAK IN TONGUES

Then Paul contrasts it with sacrifice and martyrdom. And I beg the little band of would-be missionaries  —  and I have the honor to call some of you by this name for the first time-to remember that though you give your bodies to be burned, and have not Love, it profits nothing  —  nothing! You can take nothing greater to the heathen world than the impress and reflection of the Love of God upon your own character. That is the universal language. It will take you years to speak in Chinese, or in the dialects of India. From the day you land, that language of Love, understood by all, will be pouring forth its unconscious eloquence. It is the man who is the missionary, it is not his words. His character is his message. In the heart of Africa, among the great Lakes, I have come across black men and women who remembered the only white man they ever saw before-David Livingstone; and as you cross his footsteps in that dark continent, men’s faces light up as they speak of the kind doctor who passed there years ago. They could not understand him; but they felt the love that beat in his heart. Take into your new sphere of labor, where you also mean to lay down your life, that simple charm, and your lifework must succeed. You can take nothing greater, you need take nothing less. It is not worth while going if you take anything less. You may take every accomplishment; you may be braced for every sacrifice; but if you give your body to be burned, and have not Love, it will profit you and the cause of Christ nothing.

b. The conduct of love 13:4-7.
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Text 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

4) Love suffereth long, and is kind; love envieth not; love vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,

5) doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not its own, is not provoked, taketh not account of evil;

6) rejoiceth not in unrighteousness, but rejoiceth with the truth;

7) beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
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Thought Questions 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

54. There are many who suffer for a long time-what added element does love give?

55. What are the evidences of envy? i.e., how can we tell when one is envious?

56. Why would love prevent pride?

57. Why do certain persons become “puffed up”?

58. Please specify some type of unseemly behavior.

59. Love causes us not to seek our own — and yet Paul said “if any man provide not for his own he is worse than an unbeliever.” Please explain.

60. Is it true that if we have love we will not be provoked? Explain.

61. Explain the expression “taketh not account of evil.” Does this relate to holding grudges or ill will?

62. Why would anyone want to rejoice in unrighteousness? Is this written to Christian people?

63. What will cause us to rejoice in the truth? Why?

64. Love “covereth all things.” (See Footnote.) Explain this.

65. Does love make us gullible that we would “believe all things”? Explain.

66. What were some of the hopeless situations in the lives of certain men in which love helped them to “hope all things”? Love for whom or what?

67. Is it really true that love will enable us to endure all things?
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« Reply #23 on: April 01, 2008, 08:32:47 AM »

THE POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
SHOULD I SPEAK IN TONGUES


4. The excellence of love appears in its operations: Love disposeth one to bear injuries long, and to be kind to those who injure him. Love preserves one from envying those who are greater, or richer, or better than himself. Love keeps one from vaunting of his attainments. Love keeps one from being puffed up with pride and anger.

5. Love doth not suffer one to behave haughtily, nor to seek his own interest only: one animated by love is not exasperated on every little provocation; and doth not put a bad construction on the character and actions of others:

6. Doth not take pleasure in iniquity committed by others, though he should reap advantage from it; but jointly rejoiceth with good men in every virtuous action.

7. He covereth all the failings of others; and being free from evil himself, believeth all things, and hopeth all things that are good of others, and patiently beareth all afflictions.
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Comment 13:4-7
Once again from Henry Drummond:
THE ANALYSIS

After contrasting Love with these things, Paul, in three verses, very short, gives us an amazing analysis of what this supreme thing is. I ask you to look at it. It is a compound thing, he tells us. It is like light. As you have seen a man of science take a beam of light and pass it through a crystal prism, as you have seen it come out on the other side of the prism broken up into its component colors — red, and blue, and yellow, and violet, and orange, and all the colors of the rainbow — so Paul passes this thing, Love, through the magnificent prism of his inspired intellect, and it comes out on the other side broken up into its elements. And in these few words we have what one might call the Spectrum of Love, the analysis of Love. Will you observe what its elements are? Will you notice that they have common names; that they are virtues which we hear about every day; that they are things which can be practiced by every man in every place in life; and how, by a multitude of small things and ordinary virtues, the supreme thing, the summum bonum, is made up?

The Spectrum of Love has nine ingredients:

Patience “Love suffereth long.”

Kindness “And is kind.”

Generosity “Love envieth not.”

Humility “Love vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up.

Courtesy “Doth not behave itself unseemly.”

Unselfishness “Seeketh not her own.

Good Temper “Is not easily provoked.”

Guilelessness “Thinketh no evil.’

Sincerity “Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth.”

Patience, kindness, generosity, humility, courtesy, unselfishness, good temper, guilelessness, sincerity — these make up the supreme gift, the stature of the perfect man. You will observe that all are in relation to men, in relation to life, in relation to the known today and the near tomorrow, and not to the unknown eternity. We hear much of love to God; Christ spoke much of love to man. We make a great deal of peace with heaven; Christ made much of peace on earth. Religion is not a strange or added thing, but the inspiration of the secular life, the breathing of an eternal spirit through this temporal world. The supreme thing, in short, is not a thing at all, but the giving of a further finish to the multitudinous words and acts which make up the sum of every common day.

There is no time to do more than make a passing note upon each of these ingredients. Love is Patience. This is the normal attitude of Love; Love passive, Love waiting to begin; not in a hurry; calm; ready to do its work when the summons comes, but meantime wearing the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit. Love suffers long; beareth all things; believeth all things; hopeth all things. For Love understands, and therefore waits.
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« Reply #24 on: April 01, 2008, 08:35:25 AM »

THE POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
SHOULD I SPEAK IN TONGUES

Kindness. Love active. Have you ever noticed how much of Christ’s life was spent in doing kind things — in merely doing kind things? Run over it with that in view, and you will find that He spent a great proportion of His time simply in making people happy, in doing good turns to people. There is only one thing greater than happiness in the world, and that is holiness; and it is not in our keeping; but what God has put in our power is the happiness of those about us, and that is largely to be secured by our being kind to them.

“The greatest thing,” says someone, “a man can do for his Heavenly Father is to be kind to some of His other children.” I wonder why it is that we are not all kinder than we are? How much the world needs it. How easily it is done. How instantaneously it acts. How infallibly it is remembered. How superabundantly it pays itself back — for there is no debtor in the world so honorable, so superbly honorably, as Love. “Love never faileth.” Love is success, Love is happiness, Love is life. “Love I say,” with Browning, “is energy of Life.”

“For life, with all it yields of joy or woe
And hope and fear,
Is just our chance o’ the prize of learning love, —
How love might be, hath been indeed, and is.”

Where Love is, God is. He that dwelleth in Love dwelleth in God. God is Love. Therefore love. Without distinction, without calculation, without procrastination, love. Lavish it upon the poor, where it is very easy; especially upon the rich, who often need it most; most of all upon our equals, where it is very difficult, and for whom perhaps we each do least of all. There is a difference between trying to please and giving pleasure. Give pleasure. Lose no chance of giving pleasure. For that is the ceaseless and anonymous triumph of a truly loving spirit. “I shall pass through this world but once. Any good thing therefore that I can do, or any kindness that I can show to any human being, let me do it now. Let me not defer it or neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.”

Generosity. “Love envieth not.” This is love in competition with others. Whenever you attempt a good work you will find other men doing the same kind of work, and probably doing it better. Envy them not. Envy is a feeling of ill-will to those who are in the same line as ourselves, a spirit of covetousness and detraction. How little Christian work even is a protection against un-Christian feeling. That most despicable of all the unworthy moods which cloud a Christian’s soul assuredly waits for us on the threshold of every work, unless we are fortified with this grace of magnanimity. Only one thing truly need the Christian envy — the large, rich, generous soul which “envieth not.”

And then, after having learned all that, you have to learn this further thing, Humility — to put a seal upon your lips and forget what you have done. After you have been kind, after Love has stolen forth into the world and done its beautiful work, go back into the shade again and say nothing about it. Love hides even from itself. Love waives even self-satisfaction. “Love vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up.”

The fifth ingredient is a somewhat strange one to find in this summum bonum: Courtesy. This is Love in society, Love in relation to etiquette. “Love does not behave itself unseemly.” Politeness has been defined as love in trifles. Courtesy is said to be love in little things. And the one secret of politeness is to love. Love cannot behave itself unseemly. You can put the most untutored persons into the highest society, and if they have a reservoir of Love in their heart they will not behave themselves unseemly. They simply cannot do it. Carlisle said of Robert Burns that there was no truer gentleman in Europe than the ploughman-poet. It was because he loved everything — the mouse, and the daisy, and all the things, great and small, that God had made. So with this simple passport he could mingle with any society, and enter courts and palaces from his little cottage on the banks of the Ayr. You know the meaning of the word “gentleman.” It means a gentle man — a man who does things gently with love. And that is the whole art and mystery of it. The gentle man cannot in the nature of things do an ungentle, an ungentlemanly thing. The ungentle soul, the inconsiderate, unsympathetic nature, cannot do anything else. “Love doth not behave itself unseemly.”

Unselfishness. “Love seeketh not her own.” Observe: Seeketh not even that which is her own. In Britain the Englishman is devoted, and rightly, to his rights. But there come times when a man may exercise even the higher right of giving up his rights. Yet Paul does not summon us to give up our rights. Love strikes much deeper. It would have us not seek them at all, ignore them, eliminate the personal element altogether from our calculations. It is not hard to give up our rights. They are often eternal. The difficult thing is to give up ourselves. The more difficult thing still is not to seek things for ourselves at all. After we have sought them, bought them, won them, deserved them, we have taken the cream off them for ourselves already. Little cross then to give them up. But not to seek them, to look every man not on his own things, but on the things of others — id opus est. “Seekest thou great things for thyself,” said the prophet; “seek them not.” Why? Because there is no greatness in things. Things cannot be great. The only greatness is unselfish love. Even self-denial in itself is nothing, is almost a mistake. Only a great purpose or a mightier love can justify the waste. It is more difficult, I have said, not to seek our own at all, than, having sought it, to give it up. I must take that back. It is only true of a partly selfish heart. Nothing is a hardship to Love, and nothing is hard. I believe that Christ’s “yoke” is easy. Christ’s yoke is just His way of taking life. And I believe it is an easier way than any other. I believe it is a happier way than any other. The most obvious lesson in Christ’s teaching is that there is no happiness in having and getting anything, but only in giving. I repeat, there is no happiness in having or in getting, but only in giving. And half the world is on the wrong scent in pursuit of happiness. They think it consists in having and getting, and in being served by others. It consists in giving, and in serving others. He that would be great among you, said Christ, let him serve. He that would be happy, let him remember that there is but one way — it is more blessed, it is more happy, to give than to receive.
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« Reply #25 on: April 01, 2008, 08:38:45 AM »

THE POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
SHOULD I SPEAK IN TONGUES

The next ingredient is a very remarkable one: Good Temper. “Love is not easily provoked.”

Nothing could be more striking than to find this here. We are inclined to look upon bad temper as a very harmless weakness. We speak of it as a mere infirmity of nature, a family failing, a matter of temperament, not a thing to take into very serious account in estimating a man’s character. And yet here, right in the heart of this analysis of love, it finds a place; and the Bible again and again returns to condemn it as one of the most destructive elements in human nature.

The peculiarity of ill temper is that it is the vice of the virtuous. It is often the one blot on an otherwise noble character. You know men who are all but perfect, and women who would be entirely perfect, but for an easily ruffled, quick-tempered, or “touchy” disposition. This compatibility of ill temper with high moral character is one of the strangest and saddest problems of ethics. The truth is there are two great classes of sins — sins of the Body, and sins of the Disposition. The Prodigal Son may be taken as a type of the first, the Elder Brother of the second. Now, society has no doubt whatever as to which of these is the worse. Its brand falls, without a challenge, upon the Prodigal. But are we right? We have no balance to weigh one another’s sins, and coarser and finer are but human words; but faults in the higher nature may be less venial than those in the lower, and to the eye of Him who is Love, a sin against Love may seem a hundred times more base. No form of vice, not worldliness, not greed of gold, not drunkenness itself, does more to un-Christianize society than evil temper. For embittering life, for breaking up communities, for destroying the most sacred relationships, for devastating homes, for withering up men and women, for taking the bloom of childhood, in short, for sheer gratuitous misery producing power, this influence stands alone. Look at the Elder Brother, moral, hard-working, patient, dutiful — let him get all credit for his virtues — look at this man, this baby, sulking outside his own father’s door. “He was angry,’ we read, “and would not go in.” Look at the effect upon the father, upon the servants, upon the happiness of the guests. Judge of the effect upon the Prodigal — and how many prodigals are kept out of the Kingdom of God by the unlovely character of those who profess to be inside? Analyze, as a study in Temper, the thunder-cloud itself as it gathers upon the Elder Brother’s brow. What is it made of? Jealousy, anger, pride, uncharity, cruelty, self-righteousness, touchiness, doggedness, sullenness — these are the ingredients of this dark and loveless soul. In varying proportions, also, these are the ingredients of all ill temper. Judge if such sins of the disposition are not worse to live in, and for others to live with, than sins of the body. Did Christ indeed not answer the question Himself when He said, “I say unto you, that the publicans and the harlots go into the Kingdom of Heaven before you.” There is really no place in Heaven for a disposition like this. A man with such a mood could only make Heaven miserable for all the people in it. Except, therefore, such a man be born again, he cannot, he simply cannot, enter the Kingdom of Heaven. For it is perfectly certain — and you will not misunderstand me-that to enter Heaven a man must take it with him.

You will see then why Temper is significant. It is not in what it is alone, but in what it reveals. This is why I take the liberty now of speaking of it with such unusual plainness. It is a test for love, a symptom, a revelation of an unloving nature at bottom. It is the intermittent fever which bespeaks unintermittent disease within; the occasional bubble escaping to the surface which betrays some rottenness underneath; a sample of the most hidden products of the soul dropped involuntarily when off one’s guard; in a word, the lightning form of a hundred hideous and un-Christian sins. For a want of patience, a want of kindness, a want of generosity, a want of courtesy, a want of unselfishness, are all instantaneously symbolized in one flash of Temper.

Hence it is not enough to deal with the Temper. We must go to the source, and change the inmost nature, and the angry humors will die away of themselves. Souls are made sweet not by taking the acid fluids out, but by putting something in — a great Love, a new Spirit, the Spirit of Christ. Christ, the Spirit of Christ, interpenetrating ours, sweetens, purifies, transforms all. This only can eradicate what is wrong, work a chemical change, renovate and regenerate, and rehabilitate the inner man. Willpower does not change men. Time does not change men. Christ does. Therefore, “Let that mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.” Some of us have not much time to lose. Remember, once more, that this is a matter of life or death. I cannot help speaking urgently, for myself, for yourselves. “Whoso shall offend one of these little ones, which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.” That is to say, it is the deliberate verdict of the Lord Jesus that it is better not to live than not to love. It is better not to live than not to love.
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« Reply #26 on: April 01, 2008, 08:41:26 AM »

THE POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
SHOULD I SPEAK IN TONGUES

Guilelessness and Sincerity may be dismissed almost without a word. Guilessness is the grace for suspicious people. And the possession of it is the great secret of personal influence. You will find, if you think for a moment, that the people who influence you are people who believe in you. In an atmosphere of suspicion men shrivel up; but in that atmosphere they expand, and find encouragement and educative fellowship. It is a wonderful thing that here and there in this hard, uncharitable world there should still be left a few rare souls who think no evil. This is the great unworldliness. Love “thinketh no evil,” imputes no motive, sees the bright side, puts the best construction on every action. What a delightful state of mind to live in! What a stimulus and benediction even to meet with it for a day! To be trusted is to be saved. And if we try to influence or elevate others, we shall soon see that success is in proportion to their belief of our belief in them. For the respect of another is the first restoration of the self-respect a man has lost; our ideal of what he is becomes to him the hope and pattern of what he may become.

“Love rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth.” I have called this Sincerity from the words rendered in the Authorized Version by “rejoiceth in the truth.” And, certainly, were this the real translation, nothing could be more just. For he who loves will love Truth not less than men. He will rejoice in the Truth —  rejoice not in what he has been taught to believe; not in this Church’s doctrine or in that; not in this ism or in that ism; but “in the Truth.” He will accept only what is real; he will strive to get at facts; he will search for Truth with a humble and unbiased mind, and cherish whatever he finds at any sacrifice. But the more literal translation of the Revised Version calls for just such a sacrifice for truth’s sake here. For what Paul really meant is, as we there read, “Rejoiceth not in unrighteousness, but rejoiceth with the truth,” a quality which probably no one English word —  and certainly not Sincerity —  adequately defines. It includes, perhaps more strictly, the self-restraint which refuses to make capital out of others’ faults; the charity which delights not in exposing the weakness of others, but “covereth all things”; the sincerity of purpose which endeavors to see things as they are, and rejoices to find them better than suspicion feared or calumny denounced.

So much for the analysis of Love. Now the business of our lives is to have these things fitted into our characters. That is the supreme work to which we need to address ourselves in this world, to learn Love. Is life not full of opportunities for learning Love? Every man and woman every day has a thousand of them. The world is not a playground; it is a schoolroom. Life is not a holiday, but an education. And the one eternal lesson for us all is how better we can love. What makes a man a good cricketer? Practice. What makes a man a good artist, a good sculptor, a good musician? Practice. What makes a man a good linguist, a good stenographer? Practice. What makes a man a good man? Practice. Nothing else. There is nothing capricious about religion. We do not get the soul in different ways, under different laws, from those in which we get the body and the mind. If a man does not exercise his arm he develops no biceps muscle; and if a man does not exercise his soul, he requires no muscle in his soul, no strength of character, no vigor of moral fibre, nor beauty of spiritual growth. Love is not a thing of enthusiastic emotion. It is a rich, strong, manly, vigorous expression of the whole round Christian character —  the Christ-like nature in its fullest development. And the constituents of this great character are only to be built up by ceaseless practice.

What was Christ doing in the carpenter’s shop? Practicing. Though perfect, we read that He learned obedience, and grew in wisdom and in favor with God. Do not quarrel, therefore, with your lot in life. Do not complain of its never-ceasing cares, its petty environment, the vexations you have to stand, the small and sordid souls you have to live and work with. Above all, do not resent temptation; do not be perplexed because it seems to thicken round you more and more, and ceases neither for effort nor for agony nor prayer. That is your practice. That is the practice which God appoints you; and it is having its work in making you patient, and humble, and generous, and unselfish, and kind, and courteous. Do not grudge the hand that is moulding the still too shapeless image within you. It is growing more beautiful, though you see it not, and every touch of temptation may add to its perfection. Therefore keep in the midst of life. Do not isolate yourself. Be among men, and among things, and among troubles, and difficulties, and obstacles. You remember Goethe’s words: Es bildet em Talent sich in der Stille. Doch em Charakter in denz Strom der Welt. ‘Talent develops itself in solitude; character in the stream of life.” Talent develops itself in solitude-the talent of prayer, of faith, of meditation, of seeing the unseen; character grows in the stream of the world’s life. That, chiefly, is where men are to learn love.

How? Now, how? To make it easier, I have named a few of the elements of love. But these are only elements. Love itself can never be defined. Light is a something more than the sum of its ingredients — a glowing, dazzling, tremulous ether. And love is something more than all its elements — a palpitating, quivering, sensitive, living thing. By synthesis of all the colors, men can make whiteness, they cannot make light. By synthesis of all the virtues, men can make virtue, they cannot make love. How, then, are we to have this transcendent living whole conveyed into our souls? We brace our wills to secure it. We try to copy those who have it. We lay down rules about it. We watch. We pray. But these things alone will not bring love into our nature. Love is an effect. And only as we fulfill the right condition can we have the effect produced. Shall I tell you what the cause is?

If you turn to the Revised Version of the First Epistle of John you will find these words: “We love because He first loved us.” “We love,” not “We love Him.’ That is the way the old version has it, and it is quite wrong. “We love — because He first loved us.” Look at that word “because.” It is the cause of which I have spoken. “Because He first loved us,” the effect follows that we love, we love Him, we love all men. We cannot help it. Because He loved us, we love, we love everybody. Our heart is slowly changed. Contemplate the love of Christ, and you will love. Stand before that mirror, reflect Christ’s character, and you will be changed into the same image from tenderness to tenderness.
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« Reply #27 on: April 01, 2008, 08:43:50 AM »

THE POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
SHOULD I SPEAK IN TONGUES

There is no other way. You cannot love to order. You can only look at the lovely object, and fall in love with it, and grow into likeness to it. And so look at this Perfect Character, this Perfect Life. Look at the great Sacrifice as He laid down Himself, all through life, and upon the Cross of Calvary; and you must love Him. And loving Him, you must become like Him. Love begets love. It is a process of induction. Put a piece of iron in the presence of an electrified body, and that piece of iron for a time becomes electrified. It is changed into a temporary magnet in the mere presence of a permanent magnet, and as long as you leave the two side by side, they are both magnets alike. Remain side by side with Him who loved us, and gave Himself for us, and you too will become a permanent magnet, a permanently attractive force; and like Him you will draw all men unto you, like Him you will be drawn unto all men. That is the inevitable effect of Love. Any man who fulfills that cause must have that effect produced in him. Try to give up the idea that religion comes to us by chance, or by mystery, or by caprice. It comes to us by natural law, or by supernatural law, for all law is Divine. Edward Irving went to see a dying boy once, and when he entered the room he just put his hand on the sufferer’s head, and said, “My boy, God loves you,” and went away. And the boy started from his bed, and called out to the people in the house, “God loves me! God loves me!” It changed that boy. The sense that God loved him overpowered him, melted him down, and began the creating of a new heart in him. And that is how the love of God melts down the unlovely heart in man, and begets in him the new creature, who is patient and humble and gentle and unselfish. And there is no other way to get it. There is no mystery about it. We love others, we love everybody, we love our enemies, because He first loved us.

c. The final values of love 13:8-13

Text 1 Corinthians 13:8-13

8 ) Love never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall be done away; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall be done away.

9) For we know in part, and we prophesy in part;

10) but when that which is perfect is come, that which is in part shall be done away.

11) When I was a child, I spake as a child, I felt as a child, I thought as a child: now that I am become a man, I have put away childish things.

12) For now we see in a mirror, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know fully even as also I was fully known.

13) But now abideth faith, hope, love, these three: and the greatest of these is love.
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Thought Questions 13:8-13

68. Verse 8a is a conclusion to all that has been said on the subject of love-indicate in what particulars that love never faileth.

69. Prophecies are to be done away. Why? When?

70. We know that languages have not passed away (there are yet hundreds of different languages today). Language will be used in heaven — just when will tongues cease?

71. When would there ever be a time when we would cease to learn and hence cause knowledge to be done away?

72. What is “that which is perfect”?

73. In what sense is prophecy and knowledge “in part”?

74. Where was Paul “a child” as in Vs. 11?

75. How is the analogy of a child used in this section? Is this a comparison of a child and the church? Explain.

76. When shall we know fully even as we are fully known? Please answer this in context.

77. In what sense is love the greatest?
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« Reply #28 on: April 01, 2008, 01:36:56 PM »

THE POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
SHOULD I SPEAK IN TONGUES

Paraphrase 1 Corinthians 13:8-13

8. Love always remaineth; nay, flourisheth most in the future life. But whether there be teachings by inspiration, they shall be abolished in the church; or foreign languages, they shall cease after the gospel has been preached to all nations; or the inspired knowledge of the ancient revelations, it shall be abolished when the church has attained its mature state.

9. Besides, we inspired teachers know the mysteries of the gospel only in part. For in the present life, we are not capable to know them fully, far less to make you understand them fully.

10. But when the perfect gift of complete illumination is bestowed on all in heaven, then that which is partial, namely, the present gifts of knowledge and prophecy, shall be abolished, as useless.

11. The difference between our present and future conceptions of spiritual things, may be illustrated by the knowledge of a child, compared to that of a man. When I was a child, my speech, my conceptions, and my reasonings, were erroneous. But when I became a man, I laid aside the conceptions, reasonings, and language of a child.

12. For now the revelations of God being made in human language, which cannot convey a just idea of spiritual things, we see them as through glass obscurely; but in the life to come we shall see them face to face, clearly. Now my knowledge of spiritual things is partial; but in the life to come I shall fully know them, even as I am fully known of superior beings.

13. Love is more excellent also than all the graces. For now abideth Faith, Hope, Love, these three being necessary to our present state; but the greatest of these is love: Because, after Faith and Hope are at an end, Love will subsist for ever in heaven.
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Comment 1 Corinthians 13:8-13

Some of our readers will no doubt wonder at the extended quotations found in these pages — the author is a teacher and has been one for two decades — he feels whenever he can cause the student to learn he has fulfilled his purpose. If this can be done by his own expression he will be more than ready to lay out whatever effort is necessary to be able to express the thought adequately — if, however, he feels others have done a better job than he could do and on the same subject he can see no reason to rehash what has already been said. This is the situation on the verses under present consideration. We quote from J. W. McGarvey, pp. 131-133.

[The superlative excellence of love is here shown in that it survives all things with which it may be compared, and reveals its close relation to God whose name is love (I John 3:8 ), by its eternal, imperishable nature. Prophecies, tongues and knowledge — three supernatural gifts though they were —  were mortals compared with the divine spirit of love. They were needful in developing the infant church, but as that institution passed onward toward maturity and perfection (Hebrews 5: 12-14; 6-1; Ephesians 3:14-21; 4:11-16), they were outgrown and discontinued, because from them had been developed the clear, steady light of the recorded Word, and the mature thoughtfulness and assurance of a well-instructed church.
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« Reply #29 on: April 01, 2008, 01:39:08 PM »

THE POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
SHOULD I SPEAK IN TONGUES

They were thrown aside, therefore, as the wheat stalk which has matured its grain; or, to use Paul’s own figure, put away as the speech, feeling and judgment of childhood when they have produced their corresponding faculties in manhood. Though the triplet of child-faculties —  speech, feeling, thought, do not form a close parallel with the triplet of gifts —  tongues, prophecies, knowledge, yet they were alike in that to both, the child and the church, they seemed severally all-important. All Christians who mistakenly yearn for a renewal of these spiritual gifts, should note the clear import of these words of the apostle, which show that their presence in the church would be an evidence of immaturity and weakness, rather than of fully developed power and seasoned strength. But if the gifts have passed from the church as transient and ephemeral, shall not that which they have produced abide? Assuredly they shall, until that which is perfect is come; i.e., until the coming of Christ. Then prophecy shall be merged into fulfillment, and the dim light of revelation shall be broadened into the perfect day. We today see the reflection of truth, rather than the truth itself. It has come to us through the medium of minds which, though divinely illuminated, were yet finite, and it has modified itself, though essentially spiritual, so as to be clothed in earthly words; and it is grasped and comprehended by us through the use of our material brains. Thus, though perfect after its kind, and true as far as it goes, our present knowledge of heavenly things is perhaps as far from the full reality as is the child’s conception of earthly things (John 3:12). And so our present knowledge may well merge, as will prophecy, into a higher order of perfection, wherein both the means of manifestation (II Corinthians 5:7) and of comprehension (I John 3:2) will be wholly perfect. So, though at present we may indeed know God, yet our knowledge is more that received by description, than that which is received by direct, clear sight, and personal acquaintance; but hereafter we shall know God in some sense as he knows us, and know the beings of the heavenly land as thoroughly as they now know us. Mirrors were then made of polished silver or brass, and were far more indistinct than our present glasses; so that to see a reflection in one of them was far less satisfactory than to see the reality.] 13 But now [in this present state] abideth faith, hope, love, these three, and the greatest of these is love. [If we give the phrase “but now” its other sense, as though the apostle said “But to sum things up, to give the net results,” then we have him saying that faith, hope and love are eternal. While it is true that faith in the sense of trust and confidence, and hope in the sense of unclouded expectation, shall abide in heaven, yet, in their large, general meaning, faith shall be lost in sight, and hope in fruition (Romans 8:24,25). It therefore seems more consistent to understand the apostle as asserting that the three graces shall abide while the earth stands; in contrast with miraculous gifts, which, according to his own prophetic statement, have ceased. He does not explain the superior excellence of love when compared with faith and hope, but the points of superiority are not hard to find.

1. If all three are eternal, the other two shall be greatly diminished as graces by the Lord’s coming, while love shall be infinitely enlarged.

2. Love is the basis of faith and hope, for we only fully believe in and hope for that which we love.

3. Faith and hope are human, but God himself is love.

4. Faith and hope can only properly work by love, and are worthless without it. But here the superiority is not so clear, for the three graces go hand in hand.

(We are indebted to D. Edmond Hiebert for the fine outline, from his book An Introduction to the Pauline Epistles, Moody Press, 1954.)
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THE PROPER USE OF THE GIFTS 14:1-40

1. The comparative value of tongues and prophecy, 1-25.

a. The comparison of their value in the Church, 1-19.

(1) The advice concerning spiritual gifts Vs. 1.

Text 1 Corinthians 14:1

Follow after love; yet desire earnestly spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may prophesy.
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