A More Excellent Way

Jeff Munroe

READ : 1 Corinthians 12:31–13:13

Love never ends. (v. 8)

I had a professor for hermeneutics—the art of biblical interpretation—who captured my attention by saying that the Bible is more like a mountain range than a prairie. He meant that the Bible has peaks. “All Scripture is inspired and useful,” he taught us, “but some parts tower over other parts.” Surely 1 Corinthians 13 is one of those peaks.

Let’s be honest here: Paul’s letters can be difficult to interpret sometimes. His arguments can be dense. It takes skill to unwind them. Even Peter admitted his frustration, saying about Paul’s letters: “There are some things in them that are hard to understand” (2 Peter 3:15-16). Anyone who has read the New Testament knows what Peter means.

But that frustration does not apply to 1 Corinthians 13. Want to be really unified? Paul’s message is crystal clear—make love the center of your life. As verses 4 through 7 make plain, love isn’t a mushy feeling but an act of the will. Sometimes we get confused and think love is something we have to feel. It is a feeling, but more than that, love is also an action. Patience and kindness, for example, aren’t feelings but actions. All the things love is “not”—not boastful, not rude, not irritable—are also actions. We decide daily, in every situation and with every person we encounter, whether or not we will choose love. When we do act in love we happily discover that our feelings follow in the same way.

PRAYER

Let us choose love in all our actions.