Southern Christian University       

A Study of I Corinthians #4

James A. Turner


Beginning with chapter eleven through chapter fourteen.

Please read all the references. They will help you to gain a better understanding.


Chapter Eleven

Be ye imitators of me, even as I also am of Christ.” Again, we see that Paul practiced what he preached. He is saying if you follow me you will be following Christ! “Now I praise you that you remember me in all things, and hold fast the traditions, even as I delivered them to you.” It looks like verse two and verse seventeen indicate that they had, in the letter that they had sent to him, asked questions about the things that he gives instruction about in the first sixteen verses, and then in verses seventeen through the rest

of the chapter he answers questions about the Lord’s Supper. In verse two he praises them for “holding fast the traditions”, that he had taught them, and of course he is referring to the God given tradition that had been given to him by the Holy Spirit. Verse three, “But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is man; and the head of Christ is God” So the head and subjection order is, God, Christ, man, woman.


“Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonoreth his head (Christ). But every woman praying or prophesying with her head unveiled dishonoreth her head (man) for it is one and the same thing as if she were shaven.” The latter part of verse five may mean that she would be behaving like a shameless prostitute. Instead of with her head unveiled” in verse five The King James says, “with her head covered”; The New King James, “with her head uncovered”; The Revised Standard, “with her head unveiled”; The New Revised Standard, “with her head unveiled”; The New International, “with her head uncovered”; Contemporary English, “without something on her head”; Translation by Charles Williams, “bareheaded”; The New American Standard, “who has her head uncovered”; New English Bible, “bare headed”; Phillips “head uncovered”.

All of the above versions say that a man should not have his head covered in the public assembles of the church, and that the women should have a veil, covering, or something on her head in the assemblies of the church.


“For if a woman is not veiled, let her also be shorn: but if it is a shame to be shorn or shaven, let her be veiled. For a man indeed ought not to have his head veiled, for as much as he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of man. For the man is not of the woman; but the woman of the man: for neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man; (Genesis 2:18-24) for this cause ought the woman to have a sign of authority on her head, because of the angels. Never the less, neither is the woman without the man, nor the man without the woman, in the Lord. For as the woman is of the man (Genesis 2:18-23) so is the man also by the woman; (by child birth) but all things are of God (11:6-12)”. All things are of God by His creation, authority, and commandments to man.      


Judge ye yourselves: is it seemly that a woman pray unto God unveiled? King James, “uncovered,” New King James, “head uncovered”, New American Standard, “head uncovered”, Contemporary English Version, “without something on her head”, Revised Standard Version, “with her head uncovered”, New Revised Standard Version, “with her head unveiled”, Williams “with nothing on her head”, Phillips, “bareheaded”,

New English Version, “bareheaded”. “Doth not even nature itself teach you, that if a man have long hair, it is a dishonor to him? But if a woman has long hair, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her for a covering. But if any man seemth to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither the churches of God (11:14-16).” Does this not mean that all men should have their hair short and women should have their hair long? Some can argue about when is short, short and when is long, long, but the prevailing custom in nearly all societies today is in accord with the instruction of these two verses?


Now, let me see if I can remember some of the arguments that some brethren have given as to why women should not wear a veil, covering, or something other than her hair in the worship service of the church today.


1. Some say that this instruction was given because of the customs and behavior of the Greek women in Corinth, and they leave the impression that this instruction was not given in the other churches. Paul affirms that he taught the same thing “everywhere in every church” (I Corinthians 4:17), and ordained the same thing in “all the churches” (I Corinthians 7:17), and that his teachings were the commandments of God (I Corinthians 13:33-34, 13: 37).


2. On the bases of the reading in the King James and American Standard Versions on verse sixteen, that if a man contends against the instruction, then forget about, it is not binding! Boy, isn’t that really logical! The inspired apostle uses fifteen verses giving the instruction, and then a troublemaker can cancel out all of the instruction! Verse sixteen in the New International Versions, “If anyone wants to be contentious about this, we have no other practice- nor do the churches of God.” The Contemporary English Version reads, “This is how things are done in all the churches, and that is why none, of you should argue about what I have said.” Williams, “But if anyone is inclined to be contentious about it, I for my part prescribe no other practice than this, and neither do the churches of God. The New American Standard Version reads, “But if one is inclined to be contentious, we have no other practice, nor have the churches of God.


3. On the bases of the reading of the latter part of verse fifteen, “For her hair is given her for a covering” some say that statement rules out two coverings for men and women as given in verse four through seven and also verse thirteen. If these verses are not talking about two coverings, one an artificial covering and the other a covering of hair, then most men would have to have their heads shaved to meet the requirements of verses four and seven. This would be necessary, even for an ancient model like myself, because I still have a covering of hair!


4. I remember one preacher brother reasoned that you know it is not necessary for a woman to wear a covering when she prays to God. His argument was on this order, “Just suppose that she is in a car, and she sees that she is going to have a tragic accident, and she does not have time to get her coving on her head.” His statement reveals that he did not have much understanding of the nature of God (I John 1:7-9; Romans 14:4; I Corinthians 1:8; I Thessalonians 3:13, 5:22; I Timothy 6:19), and he was also not making a distinction between the worship service of the church and other occasions of daily living.


5. The most recent argument that I remember is also based on verse fifteen that the translators just made a big mistake, that the latter part should read, “for her hair is given her instead of a covering.” I checked eleven different versions, and not a single version reads instead of a covering. Does it seem reasonable to you that all of those Greek scholars who had a part in translating the more accurate versions like the K.J.V., the N.K.J.V., the A.S.V. and the N.A.S.V. would have made such a mistake?


Frankly, I get skeptical of any person who makes an argument based on his great knowledge of the Greek Language, and a few great authorities that he quotes to set aside what is given in the more accurate versions of the Bible. Is he not in substance reasoning that you cannot know the real meaning of any passage of the Bible, unless you are a real authoritative scholar in the Hebrew language for the Old Testament, and the same in Greek for the New Testament? Such reasoning leaves at least ninety-nine and ninety-nine hundredths of us in a hopeless condition!


May the reading of the various versions assist you in making up your own mind about what these sixteen verses teach. I am surely ready for each person to make up, his or her, own mind about what these verses teach.


Now, please let me make a few comments about what some few preacher brothers have done. I have seen and heard, and heard of, some getting into the pulpit and making fun of, and trying to shame women who were sincerely wearing artificial coverings in the worship service of the church. They absolutely have no right to do such a thing in the pulpit or anywhere else! It is a plain violation of the principles set forth in the fourteenth chapter of Romans. Even if it fits in a category of what Paul refers to as a “scruple”, meaning that a person thinks that something is right or wrong when that is not the case. Please read (Romans 4:1-4, 4:19-23). I also wonder what such preachers would say if all the men the next Sunday wore their hats and caps, and kept them on in the assembly of the church.


          The rest of the chapter deals with the Lord's Supper.  Paul affirms that when they came together, they were not coming together for the better, but for the worse.  Instead of partaking of the Lord's Supper in the proper way, they were eating the Lord's Supper with a common meal, and they were not even charitable to those who did not have anything to eat.  Verse seventeen, "But in giving this instruction, I do not praise you because you have come together not for the better, but for the worse."  I believe the great black preacher Marshall Keeble had a sermon entitled, "Been To Church But Wrong."  He made application primarily to people in denominationalism, but people in the church can come together, “not for the better, but for the worse”, and Paul says this was the case with the Corinthians.  "For in the first place when you come together as a church, I hear that divisions exist among you, and in part I believe it. There must also be factions among you in order that those who are approved may be made manifest among you.  


Verse twenty, “When therefore you assemble yourselves together, it is not possible to eat the Lord's Supper."  Why?  They were eating a meal and mixing it with the Lord's Supper and setting at naught those who did not have anything to eat.  "For in your eating, each one takes his own supper and one is hungry and another is drunken.” Their eating and drinking to drunkenness was wrong, plus mixing it with the Lord’s Supper; and putting to shame those who did not have anything to eat.


In verse twenty-two, Paul rebukes them with righteous indignation.  "What do you not have houses in which to eat and drink in, or do ye despise the church of God and put them to shame who have not?  What shall I say to you?  Shall I praise you? In this I praise you not."  Verse twenty-two again, "What have you not houses to eat in and to drink in or despise ye the church of God and put them to shame that have not."  So they were not even charitable in respect to eating those meals.  Those who had food were eating and despising the church of God in respect to those who did not have anything to eat.  "What shall I say to you?  Shall I praise you? In this I praise you not?  It is on the basis of the reading of the first part of verse twenty-two that some have concluded that it is wrong to eat in the church building. The thing that was wrong was their mixing a physical meal with the Lord’s Supper. There is nothing scared about the building, or ground, or trees where brethren assemble to worship. Many, many churches first met in homes. I remember that the church in Alexander City first met in sister and Mr. Maynard’s home, and the Lord’s Supper was served from their table. Was it wrong for them to eat their evening meal from the same table?


Verse twenty-three, “For I received of the Lord that which also I had delivered unto you."  So Paul had given them plain instruction about the Lord's Supper.  And they were going contrary to his instruction.  "That the Lord Jesus in the night in which he was betrayed took bread.  And when he had given thanks, he break it and said, this is my body which is for you.  This do in remembrance of me.  And like manner also the cup after supper saying, this cup of the new covenant in my blood, this do as often as you drink it in remembrance of me.  For as often as ye eat this bread and drink this cup, ye proclaim the Lord's death until he come."  Verse twenty-six tells us one way that every child of God can show that he believes in Christ, that he believes in his victorious death, and in his resurrection, and in his coming again.  "For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup. Ye proclaim the Lord's death till he comes."  What about the child of God who just decides he will do something else on the first day of the week?  He is going contrary to the Lord’s instruction! Some denominational people reason that on the basis of, “For as often as ye eat this bread and drink this cup ---‘’ that Jesus did not give us any specific time to partake of the Lord’s Supper. The practice of some is every three months, some every six months, and some once a year, and still others do not follow any set time.


How would you respond to such reasoning? Most of our brethren who would respond would use Acts 20:7, “And upon the first day of the week, when we were gathered to break bread –.”  Acts 20:7 is an approved example, but an example is not binding without a back ground command. Note some of the other things in the context. Paul “prolonged his speech until midnight, and note the other things in verse eight through ten.  Are any of these other things binding? Is your preacher doing wrong when he does not preach to midnight?


What is the best answer? I Corinthians 16:1-2 shows that the churches of Galatia and the church at Corinth had a specific day to meet together for worship, and that day was the first day of the week, and the Corinthians met together to eat the Lord’s Supper on the first day of the week (I Corinthians 11:33). Verse thirty-four shows that verse thirty-three is referring to eating the Lord’s Supper. After you call attention to these verses, which bind the day, then go to Acts 20:7. Then call attention to the fourth commandment of the law, “Remember the Sabbath Day, (Saturday) to keep it holy.” The people of Israel realized that they were to keep each Sabbath day as a holy day.


Jesus instituted the Lord’s Supper at the last Passover Supper, which he kept with his apostles (Matthew 26:18-19, 26: 26-30; Mark 14:22-26; Luke 22:14-20). The Passover Supper was instituted before the event that it was to commemorate (Exodus 12:1-29), and Jesus instituted the Lord’s Supper before the event that it was to commemorate. John’s account shows that Jesus and his apostles kept that Passover before the regular time (John 18:28), and Jesus, “the lamb of God” (John 1:29) died at the very time that the people were to be in the process of killing the Passover lambs (Exodus 12:6; Matthew 27:45-54; Mark 15:25, 15:33-39; Luke 23:44-48).


Verse twenty-seven, "Where fore whosoever shall eat the bread or drink the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner shall be guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord."  Now, I have not heard anyone reason like this in recent years, but I can remember the day when brethren would do wrong, and when they went to church they would not partake of the Lord's Supper.  And they would reason I am not worthy to partake of it because I have sinned.  What they needed to do was to repent and pray for forgiveness (I John 1:8-9), and of all persons who needed to partake of it in order to get stronger, they did.  It is not talking about our being worthy of it.  If it were our being worthy of it, then none of us should partake of it, but it is talking about an unworthy manner.  And the unworthy manner he tells us about in the next two verses.  "But let a man prove himself and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup.  For he that eateth and drinketh, eateth and drinketh judgment unto himself if he discern not the body."  Meaning if he does not think about what he is doing.  If he partakes of it in remembrance of Christ, and the great sacrifice that he made for us, then he is eating in a worthy manner, and this instruction still applies today.  Even though we do not eat a physical meal with the Lord's Supper today, a person can still go through the motions of partaking the Lord's Supper thinking about something else.  And this passage says he is eating and drinking judgment to himself if he does not discern the Lord's body. 


Verse thirty, "For this cause many among you are weak and sickly and not a few sleep."  Now, I have heard preachers preach as though they were weak physically, and not a few of them had died physically.  In the context, I do not believe that is what he is talking about.  When we remember the Lord's death that gives us spiritual strength (John 6:53-59).  But if we do not partake of it in the right way, we become weak and sickly spiritually, and some may finally get to the point that they are spiritually asleep.  They do not recognize that they are in a lost condition.  "But if we discerned ourselves, we should not be judged."  In other words if we are careful to examine ourselves and make sure that we are thinking properly and being thankful that the Lord gave himself as a ransom for us, and that we have redemption through his blood, then we are approved of God. 


Verse thirty-two, "But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord that we may not be condemned with the world.  Wherefore my brethren when you come together to eat, wait one for another."  Now, he is talking about eating the Lord's Supper.  I like the King James Version, "Tarry one for another."  We may need to think about “wait one for another” or  tarry one for another”.  We are living in the day of a fast-moving society in the main, and we should start our services on time and close it on time as usually counted, but that can go to the extreme.  Back in that day a lot of the Christians were slaves, and they probably were not at liberty to get off any time they wanted to.  And that may be the reason why he said, “wait one for the other”.  Of course, there are societies today that move very slowly where this would still apply to “wait one for another”. 


I have known those who wanted to change the time of serving the Lord's Supper so that some that were accustomed to being a little late, would not be there for the time to partake of the Lord's Supper.  My, my, what a shame, what a lack of love!  "If any man is hungry, let him eat at home; that your coming together be not unto judgment."  Verse thirty-four shows very plainly that verse thirty-three is talking about eating the Lord's Supper.  And Christian worship centers on remembering the Lord's death, and the partaking of the Lord's Supper, each first day of the week.  Now, when Christ instituted, he emphasized this do in remembrance of me.  “This do in remembrance of me.  And as often as you drink it, (verse twenty-five) in remembrance of me”.  But then this passage (I Corinthians 11:33) with I Corinthians 16:1-2 very definitely gives the time that Christians are to observe the Lord Supper.  I Corinthians 16:1-2 "As I gave orders to the churches of Galatia, even so do ye.  Upon the first day let each one of you lay by him in store, as God has prospered him, that there be no collections when I come."          


Chapter Twelve

Verse one shows they had written him and had asked him questions concerning spiritual gifts.  And Paul goes into detail about the nine different miraculous gifts and the proper use of those gifts.  Chapters twelve, thirteen, and fourteen are all on the subject of spiritual gifts, and there is more instruction in one place here on spiritual gifts, and the proper use of spiritual gifts, than any other reference in the New Testament, by far the longest discussion.  "Now concerning spiritual gifts brethren.  Ye know that when ye were Gentiles, ye were led away unto those dumb idols, howsoever you might be led.  Wherefore I make it known unto you that no man speaketh in the Spirit of God sayeth Jesus is anathema.  And no man can say Jesus is Lord but in the Holy Spirit."  No man speaking by the Spirit of God is going to say that Jesus is cursed and condemned, but will teach that Jesus is the Son of God and that he gave himself as a ransom for us.  Spirit in my Bible is capitalized, which means that the translators thought that it is the Holy Spirit or the Holy Ghost as used in the King James Version.  We must know about Jesus and the facts of the gospel before we know that he is Lord.  "Now, there are diversities of gifts but the same spirit."  He gives the listing of the miraculous gifts then in the rest of this paragraph, nine miraculous gifts.  And these gifts were given by the laying on of the apostle's hand.  Do you remember about Phillip’s preaching to the Samaritans (Acts 8:5-13)? Phillip had had the apostle’s hands laid on him, (Acts 6:1-6) and he had one, or more miraculous gifts, (Acts 8: 6-8).  But when the apostles at Jerusalem heard that the Samaritans had received the gospel, they sent forth Peter and John, and they laid their hands on them to give them miraculous gifts.  Phillip had miraculous gifts, but he could not transfer that ability to others.  And Peter and John went down and laid their hands on them.  When Simon who had been a sorcerer saw that by “the laying on of the apostle's hands, the Holy Spirit was given”.  He wanted to buy that gift with money.  And again, one of the proofs that Paul was an apostle, as he gave in I Corinthians 9:2 and also in I Corinthians 1:7, they came behind “in no gift”, meaning miraculous gifts (II Timothy 1:6). 


          Verse five, "There are diversities of gifts, but the same Lord and there are diversities of workings, but the same God who worketh all things in all.  But to each one is given the manifestation of the spirit to profit with all."  Each one of the spiritual gifts was to be used for the profit of the whole church, and in chapter fourteen, we read how that there were those who were misusing those gifts.  "For to one is given through the Spirit the word of wisdom."  This is referring to miraculous wisdom, and not wisdom that a man gets by obtaining a lot of knowledge and by observing and acting properly for a long time, but this was a miraculous wisdom.  "To another the word of knowledge.  (miraculous knowledge) According to the same Spirit, to another faith.  (miraculous faith) in the same Spirit  And to another gifts of healing in the one spirit, and to another workings of miracles, and to another prophecy (received by revelation, so that they could teach others) And to another discerning of spirits.  And to another diver's kinds of tongues."  The Lord gave the apostles the ability to speak in tongues that they had not learned, and that ability overcame the language barrier of that first generation. I get the idea that anywhere Paul went, regardless of what kind of language the people spoke, that he could communicate to them.  And that is what the miraculous gifts of speaking in tongues was, the ability to speak a foreign language that they had not learned, but given them by a miraculous gift.


I have been in services when I was a teenager, where they supposedly had those who were speaking in tongues, and they did not make sense in their speaking in tongues.  You couldn't learn anything from what they were jabbering, and I never did see an interpreter get up and interpret what they had said.  But in chapter fourteen we read, if a man had the ability to speak in tongues and he could not interpret, and there was not an interpreter present, he was to keep silence in that service.  "But all these worketh the one in the same spirit.  Dividing to each one severally even as he will."  The nine gifts of the Spirit, but they are all a part of that divine working of God's Holy Spirit.  Then he compares that to the physical body, how that each member of the physical body doesn't have the same rank as we think of it, but all of them are necessary for the proper functioning of the body.  And if one member of the body is hurt in some way, the whole body suffers with it, and so it is to be in the church.  I Corinthians twelve and Romans chapter twelve have quite a bit in common. 


Verse thirteen, "For as the body is one and hath many members, and all the members of the body being many are one body, so also is Christ.  For in one spirit were we all baptized into one body whether Jews or Greeks, whether bond are free and were made to drink of one spirit."  There are three passages, which teach that baptism is that final act that puts one into Christ and into Christ's spiritual body, the church.  In Galatians 3:26-27, Paul says, "For we are all children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.  For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ." Is there any salvation outside of Christ?  Paul affirms that we are baptized into Christ.  "For as many of you that have been baptized into Christ."  There are many who have not been baptized for the right purpose. I remember being present at revival meetings, and when people went forward to become members of that church, they would ask them, “Do you believe that God for Christ’s sake has pardoned your sins”, and they would say, “yes, I do”. So the doctrine of that church was that one is to be baptized because, he or she has already been saved.


Romans 6:3-7, "Know ye not that so many of us as were baptized into Christ, were baptized into his death.  Therefore we were buried by baptism into his death, that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life, for if we have become united with him in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection; knowing this, that the old man was crucified with him that the body of sin might be done away, that we should no longer be in bondage to sin.”  Many denominational churches have one saved and walking in newness of life before they are baptized.  But those who teach that baptism is not essential to salvation are burying a live person according to their doctrine, but we are to bury a dead person, one who is dead in sin, and baptism is a burial. “For as many of you that have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ (Galatians 3:27).” 


Okay. Baptism not only puts one into Christ, but also into Christ's spiritual body, the church.  “For in one spirit were we are all baptized into one body.”  And remember those passages, Ephesians 1:22-23 and Colossians 1:18.  Ephesians 4: 4 reads, “There is one body and one spirit---.’’  So baptism puts one into Christ, and into Christ's spiritual body, the church.  I can remember when churches had their revival meetings, and they would set a date beginning on a certain night and say, “we are going to up open the door of this church for new members”.  Well, the door of the Lord's church was opened on Pentecost, and it has never been closed.  And when one believes the gospel, and repents of his sins, and confesses the name of Christ before men, and is then buried in baptism for the remission of his sins, the Lord adds him to the church.  Acts 2:47says, “the Lord added to the church daily, such as were being saved.”  So baptism puts one into Christ and into Christ's church.  "Whether Jews are Greeks, whether bond are free,  and were all made to drink of one spirit.  For the body is not one member, but many:  If the foot shall say, because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it not therefore not of the body?" Just because one part of the body reasons that another part is more important, that part is still necessary for the proper function of the body, and so is the spiritual body of Christ.  There are those in the church, and one can do one thing, and another can do another thing, and another can do another.  And regardless of what their ability is, they are still very important for the proper functioning of the body.  "And if the ear shall say, because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; it is not therefore not of the body?" In other words it is still a part of the body, regardless of how it reasons.  "If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing?  If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling?"  We all recognize that hearing is very important, but maybe we do not recognize that smelling is very important.  But smelling is also very important to the proper functioning of your body. 


For many years some talked about those unnecessary parts of the body, but further knowledge has shown that all of those parts have a function.  And for the best performance of the body, all those parts of the body need to be healthy.  Our youngest daughter got her big toe cut off in a bicycle chain when she was four years old.  And the doctor told us, do not start giving her something for the relief of pain, she will get to the point where she will depend on something, and it would not be the proper thing.  He said, “That big toe effects the balance of the body, and her back will hurt”.  Well, the fact that she was so young, that second toe grew much larger, and somewhat in the process of time took the place of the big toe.  But he was surely right that a toe is very important to the proper functioning of the body.  The boys nicknamed her Slew Foot. 


Verse eighteen, "But now hath God set the members each one of them in the body, even as it pleased him.  And if they were all one member, where were the body?  But now there are many members, but one body.  And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee:  Nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you.  Nay, much rather those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary."  They found out the appendix that they thought back yonder, could be taken out and thrown away, has a function to perform. The body will be healthier if the appendix stays healthy.  "And those parts of the body, which we think to be less honorable, upon these we bestow more abundant honor; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness.  Whereas our comely parts have no need:  But God tempered the body together, having given more honor to that part which lacked:  That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another.  And whether one member suffereth, all the members suffer with it; one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it." You do not touch your little finger against a hot stove without the whole body feeling it.  The body of Christ is to be like that.  When one member is suffering, others need to share in that suffering, and when one member has occasion to rejoice, other members of that church should have occasion to rejoice.  Sometimes we may do a better job of suffering with those that suffer, or weeping with those that weep, than we do rejoicing with those that rejoice.  But the Bible teaches we are to do both. "Now ye are the body of Christ, and severally members thereof.  And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondly prophets, thirdly teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.  Are all apostles?  Are all prophets?  Are all teachers?  Are all workers of miracles?  Have all gifts of healing?  Do all speak with tongues?  Do all interpret?" All of these, God set in the church for a good purpose.  And all of them, when used properly, serve a good purpose.  And he says then in verse thirty-one, "But desire earnestly the greater gifts and moreover a most excellent way, show I unto you." 


Chapter Thirteen

The first part of chapter thirteen is usually counted as a chapter on love, but he is comparing love with spiritual gifts.  And the first thing that he shows is, that regardless of what a person does, if it is not motivated by love, it will profit him nothing.  "If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels."  Based on what he says about speaking in tongues in chapter fourteen, it looks like the speaking in tongues was counted as the greatest gift of all by those tongue speakers.  But Paul goes beyond the gift of speaking in tongues and says with “the tongues of men and of angels”.  "But have not love, I am become sounding brass, or a clanging symbol."  You are just making a loud noise if what you do is not motivated by love, regardless of your ability to speak in tongues, unless it is motivated by love, it will not profit you anything.  "And if I have the gift of prophecy,  (another gift of the Spirit) and know all mysteries,  (another gift) and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so as to remove mountains (miraculous knowledge and faith) but have not love, I am nothing."  He is trying to press the point that everything that they do in the church is to be motivated through love, and not to show off the gift.  "And if I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and if I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profiteth me nothing."  If a man gives all his goods to feed the poor, it may help the poor, but the Lord won't put it to his account if it is not motivated by love.  If he just wants to make a big show and get attention, then Paul says it does not profit him anything.


Then in verse four he begins and gives a brief analysis of love, or the characteristics of genuine love.  "Love suffereth long, and is kind; love envieth not; love vaunteth not itself, is not puffed, doth not behave itself unseemly, seeket not his own, is not provoked, taketh not account of evil."  I believe I read from one version, I think it was Williams’ translation says, “love does not keep a score card.  In other words it does not keep a record.  Anytime a person does you wrong, and you reason well, I am going to mark this against you, and when he does something else, I got this marked up against you, and he does something else, I have this marked against you, and finally, you call his attention to all those things he has done wrong.  This passage says that love does not do that, it does not take account of evil or it does not try to keep a remembrance of all those wrong things that a person has done to you.  "Rejoiceth not in unrighteousness, but rejoiceth in the truth."  Sometimes we may have gossipers in the church, who are ready if anybody does wrong, to get on the telephone and say, “Do you know what brother Smith did, or do you know what this sister Brown did?”  And they are so glad to tell what they have done that is wrong.  Well, they are doing wrong in that process, because love does not rejoice in unrighteousness.  And if a member tells anything about what somebody has done wrong, they are to do it in such a way to try to help that person and not to hurt that person.  "Rejoiceth not in unrightousness, but rejoiceth in truth; beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.  Love never faileth." 


In verse eight he starts telling that spiritual gifts are going to cease, and this is the primary passage of the New Testament that you need to use when talking to people who  think that we are still supposed to have miracles and other miraculous gifts today.  "Love never faileth:  But whether there be prophecies  (the gift of prophecy) they shall be done away, whether there be tongues (the gift of speaking in tongues) they shall cease."  Speaking in tongues, which are the native tongue of a people have not ceased, have they?  And a person can even learn a foreign tongue, but there is one big difference; they have to learn it today.  That gift of speaking in tongues that a person had not learned has fulfilled its purpose and it has ceased.  "Whether there be knowledge, it shall be done away.  (miraculous knowledge) For we know in part, and we prophesy in part."  Paul and the other apostles did not receive all of God's revelation at one time.  And if they had, they would not have known what to do with it.  God could have miraculously handed out New Testaments on Pentecost if he had wanted to, but it would not have worked.   The apostles were inspired, and when there were problems the Holy Spirit (John 14:26, 16:7-14; I Corinthians 2:10, 2:16) gave the answers to the problems, just like Paul is doing here in this letter to the Corinthians. 


People give attention to matters when they have a problem to deal with. Back when cars had points in the distributor, if the points stuck or got out of adjustment, the car would not run correctly, sometimes it would not run at all.  But you could go into all details in telling a person about what to do if he should have that problem, but if he has never had that problem, not one out of a thousand, I guess, would remember if he did have that problem.  But let a man be stranded for a few hours because of that problem and you show him how, he will remember it then.  And so the apostles did not receive all of God's instruction at one time, but as the truth was needed, the apostles were guided into that truth.


Verse ten, "But when that which is perfect is come, that which is in part shall be done away."  If you ask the average denominational preacher what that means, he will probably say that Christ is the one that is perfect, and so all of the miraculous will be done away when Christ comes. If that is the case the language would reflect on the educational attainments of the apostle Paul, and would the Holy Spirit refer to Christ as that which is perfect.  He is talking about when all of the New Testament had been given.  James 1:25 reads, "He that looketh into the perfect law of liberty and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his doing.”  So he is talking about when the complete revelation had been given.  If verse ten is talking about Christ, surely it would read, when he who is perfect is come.  "That which is in part shall be done away." 


In verse eleven, he speaks of this miraculous period as being like the childhood period of the church.  "When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I felt as a child, I thought as a child:  Now that I become a man, I have put away childish things."  I have a fine first cousin that when he was a boy, he evidently wanted for many years a red wagon for Christmas, and for many years he did not get one.  Finally, his dad found out that he still wanted a red wagon so bad that he bought him one after the time that most boys, his age, would not play with a red wagon.  He bought it on the pretense that he would need it to carry the peaches out of the peach orchard, and that boy played with that red wagon like he was a little kid.  That seemed a little strange to some of us who were about the same age.  That is what Paul is talking about here.  A child acts like a child, but when he gets to that teenage period, they put aside some things.  And so the miraculous period was the childhood age of the church.  Some of our preachers used to illustrate it by saying that when you are building a building, there are many things like scaffolds, and ladders, and now cranes and a lot of other machinery, which are necessary for the construction of a building of any size today. But when the building is finished, you expect all those things to be removed.  So when all the revelation was given, then those things, which were necessary for the construction of the church were removed. Please read Ephesians 4:8-16 which is a parallel to this passage.


Verse twelve, "Now we see in a mirror, darkly; but then face-to-face. (after completion of New Testament) Now I know in part; but then shall I know fully even as also I was fully known.  But now abideth faith, hope, love, these three; and the greatest of these is love."  Man cannot please God without proper faith (Hebrews 11:6).  Man will not continue to live faithfully unless he has hope as an anchor of the soul (Hebrews 6:18-19).  But when Christ comes, a man's faith will be realized. He will be no longer walking by faith but by sight, and hope will also be realized.  Love is surely one thing that will be carried into eternity.