This Bible verse about love is popular partly because it is the first passage in 1st Corinthians 13. This chapter is known as the "love chapter" and is a very well-known Bible passage. 1 Corinthians 13:1 is a great one because it helps see the most important way to talk with others. Let's take a look.
The writer of 1st Corinthians, Paul, seems to be writing this verse to a group of people who may have been having some disagreements about spiritual gifts. Much of 1st Corinthians 12 is about spiritual gifts and as you might already know, when a group of Christians starts to talk about spiritual gifts often times toes get stepped on. Once this happens it can be very hard to get everyone back on track. Paul takes an aggressive stance on this and starts out with this Bible verse about love: "If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal." Next, we'll look at the meaning.
This passage doesn't really have a complicated meaning. Paul starts out the love chapter by saying that even if you speak with any language known in heaven or on earth (the word "tongues" refers to different languages spoken by man or angels) but you don't do it in a loving way, then you are just annoying. You are just talking to make noise. Let's see how this applies to our lives.
This Bible verse about love is a great verse about boundaries. I'm sure you've had that person in your life who always gives you advice when you don't ask for it...or they give you that disapproving look when they don't even know what you are going through. We've all been there. I know for myself that I would definitely agree with the "clanging symbol" imagery in this passage. There are some people that start talking and all I hear is "blah, blah, blah".
Let's turn the tables now though. When I talk to someone about a sensitive subject (finances, health, kids, relationships, etc.) what to they hear when I start talking? What do they hear when YOU start talking?
I think what Paul really wanted his readers to get out of this verse is to speak carefully about sensitive things. Speak with love. Too often we just want to tell someone that they are doing something stupid (and often times they are) BUT we forget about their feelings.
This love passage tells us to be sensitive to their feelings. It doesn't matter if you are the smartest person in the world who can fix everyone's problems. If you were a jerk about it no one would listen anyway. Talk to others in a caring way, like you truly do love them and if you do love them, then it will be worth it.
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