Hello and welcome to season 2 episode 23 of The Berean Manifesto, brought to you by The Ekklesian House.  This is Pastor Bill and over the next 10 minutes or so we are going to talk about love.

At this point, I don’t just sound like a broken record, I am a song on repeat.  And I will keep repeating this message until I take my last breath or I’m caught up in the air at Jesus return, whichever comes first.  That message is summed up by 1 Corinthians 13:13, “These three remain: faith, hope, and love— but the greatest of these is love.” More important than faith and everything it encompasses, more important than hope with all of its promises, is love.

Now we’re going to look at 1 Corinthians 13:1-8 from the Amplified translation.  I’ve swapped out some wording with text from other translations, added some input of my own, and taken out some words for ease of readability.  In the spirit of transparency, I’ve clearly marked all these changes in the blog version of this episode with a key identifying each change.

“If I speak with /eloquence/ the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love for others growing out of God’s love for me, then I have become only a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.  [Like] /the creaking of a rusty gate, I’m/ just an annoying distraction. And if I have the gift of prophecy and speak a new message from God /with power/ to the people, and understand [and] /reveal/ all mysteries /making everything/ [as] /plain as day/, and possess all knowledge; and if I have sufficient faith so that I can remove mountains, but do not have love reaching out to others, I am nothing.

If I give all my possessions to feed /everything I own to/ the poor, and if I surrender my body /even going to the stake/ to be burned <in boast> /as a martyr/, but do not have love, it does me no good at all /I’ve gotten nowhere.  So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love./

Love /never gives up/[, it] endures with patience and serenity, love is kind and thoughtful /caring more for others than for self/, and[.  It] is not jealous or envious; love does not brag and is not proud or arrogant.  It is not rude; it is not self-seeking, it is not provoked nor overly sensitive and easily angered; it does not take into account a wrong endured [or] /keep score of the sins of others/.  It does not rejoice at injustice, but rejoices with the truth when right and truth prevail. Love /puts up with anything, trusting God always/ bears all things regardless of what comes, believes all things looking for the best in [everyone] each one, hopes all things remaining steadfast during difficult times, endures all things without weakening.  Love never fails, it never fades or ends. But as for prophecies, they will pass away; as for /praying in/ tongues, they will cease; as for[, and] the gift of special knowledge, /will reach its limit/ it will pass away[, but] love never fails, it never fades or ends.

1 Corinthians 13:1-8 AMP

With changes

[Authors Input]

<CSB>

Removed

/The Message/

So my take away, in my own words, is that if I learn every language man has ever come up with, or translate my messages into every language spoken in the world, but my motivation isn’t love for others then I’m just adding to the noise.  At that point, I have become nothing more than an annoying distraction.

If I call myself a prophet and I bring a word from the Lord that He’s revealed to me explaining it in a way that rallies other believers to join me on street corners where we share our knowledge, but were not rooted and grounded in love bringing the hope of the Gospel with us then I am nothing and am guilty of leading other believers astray.

If I donate everything I own to the poor; every last stitch of clothing, every last square inch of real estate, every last horsepower of automotive strength, and every last cent, but don’t love those I’m donating to then there’s no good actually done.  If I travel to the far ends of the Earth to reach the lost in missions even dying at the hands of hostile entities becoming a martyr, but it’s done for any motivation other than love, then I’ve gotten nowhere.

Love patiently endures, never giving up.  It’s kind; valuing others over itself. Love is happy for others when things are good for them and doesn’t flaunt the good that happens to itself in others faces.  Love doesn’t keep score of rights and wrongs, it allows others to mess up without getting angry and doesn’t take retribution before the other has time to make it right.  Love doesn’t rejoice at any injustice but rejoices when truth and righteousness win. Love puts up with everything believing the best in everyone remaining hopeful in the hard times without losing its strength.

I find it interesting that Paul takes the time to spend a whole paragraph explaining what love is, or at least how to recognize it.  Love, this quintessential fabric of all living breathing beings that permeates all of creation. It’s a concept we all understand and feel to a certain degree, but when pressured it's difficult to put it into words.  Paul takes the time to explain it to us.

Ultimately, no matter what I preach or teach, no matter what I believe theologically or what doctrines I hold to, no matter what feats of ministry or service I perform, without love I am utterly bankrupt.

This is Pastor Bill saying, “Until next time…”

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