Several months ago, I stuck 1 Corinthians 13 (um, printed on a piece of paper) on the window over the sink, with the intent of committing it to memory. I’m at the sink (nearly) every day, sometimes for hours–with “nothing” to do with my mind… so, I figured, this should work splendidly.
Well, I still haven’t memorized it. However, I did discover something: when one stares at the same chapter of the Bible, even if it’s one you’ve heard approximately 15,237 times, you will learn new things from it, and things that used to confuse you will start unraveling themselves in your brain and begin to transform into something that makes beautiful sense.
Thus was the case with myself and the said chapter in Corinthians. It has always confused me. The part about “Love is” and “Love is not” seemed to make sense, for the most part. But then there’s the part where it starts talking about prophecies and stuff, and about face to face… and… huh? I thought we were talking about… love?
And in the hours I spent at the sink (and at other times, I’m sure) it started making sense. (I love it when things make sense!)
Love never fails. . . .
See, God is love. (Rebeka tells me I don’t have to say “obviously” because everyone already knows I state the obvious… anyways, in this case, we needed to start with that bit of obviousness.) And God is eternal–hencely, since God IS love, love is eternal. To put that another way, love is of God… hence “love never fails.” It isn’t that our human love will never fail: just that love itself will never fail, since God won’t. (and can’t.)
. . .But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; . . .
Prophecies aren’t always right (unless of course they were real prophecies from God)… sometimes they fail. Or sometimes they are misunderstood. They are just a prediction… they aren’t anything in and of themselves. And there will come a time when there is no need for prophecies. Hence… “they will fail.”
. . .whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away.”. . .
Our human knowledge is imperfect… we don’t really know. We can learn… and we can think we know things about God… but we really don’t know.
. . .For we know in part and we prophesy in part. . . .
At this point, here on earth, it’s all in part.
10 But [again, “but” is such an awesome word sometimes] when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away. . . .
Someday… oh, someday! We will KNOW! And all this partial knowledge here… will be gone. It will be of no worth to anyone… it will be completely eclipsed by “that which is perfect.”
. . . For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. . . .
Face to face! *shakes head* I can’t really fathom that… It’s too wonderful.
Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known. . . .
And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
The first two are human virtues, in a way. God doesn’t have faith: He already knows what’s going to happen. He doesn’t have to “wait and see” or “trust” for anything. And it’s very similar with “hope” as well. But love… love starts with and is God. So, naturally, it is the greatest.