1 Corinthians 13 may be one of Paul’s most eloquent chapters. Perhaps only Romans 8 or Philippians 2 can rival it. But the mood is absolutely not a warm and fuzzy one. Its character is one of sustained rebuke, not one of pleasant encouragement. To miss this mood may be to miss the point.
Perhaps you’ve heard that love is patient and kind (1 Cor 13:4). That it does not envy or boast. I’m willing to wager you’ve either seen these words on a plaque or heard them at a wedding, or both. And what mood do these words create when you hear them read? Comfort? Security? Compassion? Warmth? Mood really matters as something we ought to observe in a text. And if we take a passage like 1 Cor 13 out of context, we’re in danger of missing the mood. Which may cause us to miss the point.
Matters - Bible - Collection - Sayings—we - Passages
Context matters. If we learn to read the Bible for what it is—and not as a collection of independently assembled proverbial sayings—we’ll discover that some of our most familiar passages don’t actually mean what we’ve always assumed.
While 1 Corinthians is not Paul’s harshest letter—that honor would fall to Galatians—it comes pretty close. He has nice things to say about the Corinthians at the start (1 Cor 1:4-9), but he quickly moves into one criticism after another.
Reputation - Divisions - Cor
They have a reputation for quarreling and divisions (1 Cor 1:10-11).
They boast about themselves and their teachers (1 Cor 1:12).
Nothing - Cor
They forget where they came from, that they were nothing special (1 Cor 1:26-29).
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