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In our study of 1 Corinthians chapter thirteen, we will look at love and how it is the method of victory for the kingdom of God. The "love" that we will look at is the highest form of love and is commonly known as "agape". This was the basis for Jesus coming to the earth to pay for our sins and it is the basis for our sharing of our faith with others.
"And now I will show you the most excellent way." NIV translation
Although this verse is a part of chapter twelve in the NIV translation, it is a bridge to this chapter. As we saw in chapter 12, God has given many spiritual gifts to His people in order to build up the body of believers. This bridge reminds us that the gifts are given to believers so that we may build each other up in our faith.
"If I speak in tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal." NIV translation
We must remember that Paul sent this letter to the believers in Corinth which was the "sin city" of the day.
This was where people came to indulge in their own pleasure which is the opposite of the biblical definition of love found in 1 John 3:16.
Paul reminds them and us that the gift of speaking in tongues is not some cheap sideshow but is to be used to reach those around us. When the gift is used to say "look at me", the people will ignore us just as a repeated noise becomes background and is not even noticed.
"If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing." NIV translation
Many times these spiritual gifts can cause us to allow pride in ourselves to creep into our walk. We are reminded that, no matter how big our spiritual gift is, it is still a tool given by God for the benefit of others. If it becomes about us, then, people will not want to hear anything about our Master and so it is worthless.