LOVE: This word “love” is applied to both human and divine relationships in the Bible. Although love tends to connote spontaneous feeling given its emotive nature, love is also a deliberate and carefully measured choice based upon the duration and depth of a relationship. Other Old Testament words used in conjunction with love illustrate the richness and complexity of this kind of relationship, especially the ideas of clinging to (Deut. 11:22) and seeking (Ps. 40:16) the one loved, showing faithfulness in the relationship (Jer. 31:3), and being knit soul to soul in desire and purpose (1 Sam. 18:1, 3). This kind of biblical love is described as the passionate desire to be intimately joined with another person (or God) in all of life’s experiences appropriate to that particular relationship.
God bless all membership and staff during this Valentine’s Day weekend. Let your light and love shine on all who are special in your life and community.
The Way of Love
“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing. Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.” (1 Corinthians 13:1-7 ESV).
“As the last element in this parade of love’s activities is the claim that it does not end (literally, “it does not fall”). Paul names 3 things which are of central value to the church: faith, hope, and love (verse 13). These three forms a brief summary of the life of the church, repeated elsewhere in the New Testament (1 Thessalonians 1:3, 5:8; Colossians 1:4-5; Hebrews 10:22-24; 1 Peter 1:21-22). Faith will one day become sight, and hope will end in fulfillment (Romans 8:24-25). Love will still remain, however, because God’s love will not fall, fail, or falter. We are drawn into that love of God, and we are remade by that love so that we become lovers.
Paul never says that such love feels good, and this is where the typical use of this chapter goes off the rails. Such misunderstanding creates trouble not only for expectations regarding the day-to-day realities of marriage, but also for the realities of the church. Because of our disordered assumptions about what love actually is, we often act as though the mission of the church is to gather like-minded and likable people together. We think that in such a community it will be easy for us to love or, more honestly, to “feel the love.” But true love is not measured by how good it makes us feel. In the context of 1 Corinthians, it would be better to say that the measure of love is its capacity for tension and disagreement without division.”
 Eugene E. Carpenter and Philip W. Comfort, Holman Treasury of Key Bible Words: 200 Greek and 200 Hebrew Words Defined and Explained (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2000), 120.
 Brian Peterson, “Commentary on 1 Corinthians 13:1-13 by Brian Peterson,” 1 Corinthians 13:1-13 Commentary by Brian Peterson – Working Preacher – Preaching This Week (RCL), January 31, 2016, https://www.workingpreacher.org/preaching.aspx?commentary_id=2734.