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Bible Commentaries

Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible

1 Corinthians 13

Verses 1-13

1 Corinthians 13:1. Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.

If there be no love to God, and no love to man, the vital element is wanting. Whatever sound we make if the Word of God is not in us, it is a sound that has no meaning, conveys no heavenly meaning. “I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.” What if any of us who bear witness for Christ with our tongues should be found to be no better than this?

1 Corinthians 13:2. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.

Judas had, no doubt, faith in God’s miracles, but yet he was not saved. Selfishness was his ruling motive; he had no love to God or man. How this clips the wings of those lofty ones who hover on high, boasting of their knowledge and of their gifts! There are many who have few gifts —obscure and unknown — who love God much, and these are the accepted ones. Before God the balances of the sanctuary are rather turned by the shekel of love, than by any weight of talent or position.

1 Corinthians 13:3. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.

Love is a matter of the- heart, and if the heart be not right with God, external acts, though they are very similar to the highest acts that flow from love, are of no service. God requires the heart to be right, and if that be not right, whatever cometh out of us is not acceptable in his sight.

1 Corinthians 13:4-5. Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;

Always try to put the best construction on other people’s actions and work. Let gentleness triumph.

1 Corinthians 13:6-11. Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.

Much of what we call knowledge, much of what we call eloquence, will all be put away. As our spiritual growth shall increase, we shall not want these childish things.

1 Corinthians 13:12-13. For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three;

Three abiding graces. Some have said that faith and hope will not be found in heaven. Why not? Why not? It seems to me there will be plenty of room for them — plenty of space for them. Am I to be an unbeliever when I get to heaven then? Am I not to believe when my disembodied spirit goes to heaven? Am I not to believe in the resurrection of the dead? Am I not hopefully to expect it? Am I not in heaven to believe in the second advent of Christ? Am I not to be hoping for it? Am I not to believe in the complete conquest of Christ, and that he shall reign from the river, even to the ends of the earth? And am I not to hope for it? To miss faith and hope in heaven were to miss two things which the Apostle expressly tells us are the abiding things.

1 Corinthians 13:13. But the greatest of these is charity.

It is the highest, the pinnacle. It is not the foundation — that is faith. Just as a rose in full bloom is greater than the stem that bears it, so, whilst faith is most needful, and hope most cheering, love is he most beautiful and brightest of the three.

This exposition consisted of readings from 1 Corinthians 13; Ephesians 1.

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Bibliographical Information
Spurgeon, Charle Haddon. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 13". "Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible". 2011.