First let me begin by apologizing for having the wrong date on yesterday’s post. Not sure what happened, but I corrected it so going forward we should be fine.
I Corinthians 13 is the love chapter. I’m not sure much else has to be stated, but I will, of course, say much more. The first three verses contain hypotheticals which lift up some exaggerated charitable acts that would be hollow, if love was not a part of the equation. We can be well spoken even about God, but if we don’t have love, then that is useless. We can have the type of faith that can move mountains, but if we don’t have love, then it is for no purpose. I can be the most generous person on this earth, but if I don’t have love, then that generosity is empty. These direct contradictions reveal to us the importance that love plays in our lives. Loves is the gas that drives the engine.
We know the three different types of love that exist in ancient Greek writings. There are three types of love: Philae, eros, and agape. Philae is in the Bible and it is a type of love that brothers and sisters and friends have for each other. It is more than acquaintance, but it is not the type of love that is the most profound. Eros is not in the Bible and it is directed normally to the more sexual manifestations of love between people. The last is agape, and that is the love that is spoken of here in these verses. Agape is the deepest of love and it is that which we have with God. When Peter and Jesus are speaking together in John 21:15 the Savior asks Peter: “Do you love me?” The word that he uses is Agape. Do you love me as you love God himself? Peter answers: “Lord, you know that I love you.” The word used in that instance is philae. Peter responds with a lesser type of love which Jesus requires. It takes Peter three times to be rehabilitated until he is able to say, I agape you.
When we use the word love we should never cheapen it. The love that we have can never be the deepest it possibly can be if we do not know Jesus as Savior. I mean this not as an exclusion. Not all who love Jesus have a kind of sacrificial and intensely deep love that we ought to have for Jesus and for each other. I wish it were the case that once we have a relationship with our Savior then that love comes pouring in. But the only way one can have that love, is with a relationship with Jesus. This is a chapter that needs to be read many times over. The ending gives me pause.
Faith, hope, and love, abide these three, but the greatest of these is love. Love is greater than faith? Love is greater than hope? Paul says this almost as if it is a contest or that one is to the exclusion of the other. That last statement is categorically false. Love is not the only attribute we could have. We really ought to strive for all three. But we cannot have a true faith or a true hope without the love that comes from above. This is a strong evangelical statement, but it makes sense to me.