I was putting together a page for the Bible studies I have done on my blog, and I realized that I never finished posting any of them! Isn't that horrible?! First and foremost, I ask your forgiveness. Secondly, I am going to see if I can get some of them finished up. Starting with 1 Corinthians 13. This should have been the second post in the series, you can see the first post (about verses 1& 2) here.
If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing. ~ 1 Corinthians 13:3
When I read this verse I think of all of the people who have been martyred for their faith. I think of people like Mother Teresa who gave all she had to care for the poor. I think of Polycarp who was burned at the stake and then killed with a spear because the fire wouldn’t burn his body. I can’t fathom giving from myself like this without love. But then, I think of people like the Pharisees… people who would give things away and make a show of their suffering, not because of love, but to make themselves look greater. Then it makes more since. They didn’t have love. All of these actions mean nothing. Christianity isn’t a checklist that we can go through and check off what we are doing and say that we are doing well. We aren’t saved by works, but for works. Why do we do works? Because we love God. If we don’t do them out of love, then they are all for nothing. When I think that way, this verse makes perfect since to me.
After thinking about Polycarp I had to go back and read the letter to the church of Smyrna in Revelation where he was the pastor at the time it was written. He was executed only shortly afterwards, but in the letter John wrote about the church being physically poor, but spiritually rich. I think that is important here too. Our physical state isn’t nearly as important as our spiritual state. We can be poor both physically and spiritually. But Jesus says that it is almost impossible to be both spiritually and physically rich (Matthew 19:23-24). I have more notes on this from the study I was doing with my women’s Bible study group last year in Revelation… I might add them later. But for now, what are your thoughts? What does verse one remind you of? Are there any verses that this makes you think of?
(As noted above, this is the second post in this study. To see the following posts for verse 4 check out the following: