The Real Thing


by HJS

To call someone a Corinthian in Paul's day was a stinging insult. It implied you were a playboy who didn't take your marriage vows seriously. Paul began his confrontation with the culture in the Jewish synagogue but soon turned to the Gentiles and began to proclaim that Jesus of Nazareth had been crucified by the Romans, placed in a tomb for three days, but rose again!

After addressing some of the abuses which were tolerated in the church at Corinth, Paul turned to the issue of what love is. He began, "If I speak in the tongues of men and angels but have not love," he wrote, "I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal" (1 Corinthians 13:1). Greeks prided themselves on their great orators. Demosthenes, Plato, Socrates and Aristotle were among the greatest. Yet Paul says without love, even if you can speak eloquently, you are only making a lot of noise, like a wind chime in a storm - loud but no melody.

"If I have the gift of prophesy," he wrote, "and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing." The Corinthians were enamored with the supernatural, yet, contended Paul, without love they were nothing. Then Paul spoke of the futility of what you may sacrifice without love. "If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames but have not love," he said, "I gain nothing" (13:2).

Love, the agape kind which comes from God, is the most powerful force in the world. Best of all, it is the kind God gives to His children.


After this, Paul left Athens and went to Corinth.   ACTS 18:1