Sunday, October 2, 2011

The Way of Love

“And now faith, hope and love abide…. And the greatest of these is love.” (1 Corinthians 13:13)

When doing a Bible study, my preference is to use an actual Bible translation to understand the exact meaning and nuance of the words as originally written. However, at times it is not only appropriate, but also quite helpful to read and use a Bible paraphrase. Paraphrases sometimes help us see a scripture passage in a new way, or help to bring fresh meaning to a text that’s lost it’s impact and “edge” because we’ve grown too familiar hearing it using only one translation.

This is exactly how I felt when I first read Eugene Peterson’s paraphrase of 1 Corinthians 13. It made me stop and think about the degree to which I am a person who’s actions and behavior is generally marked by agape love. As you read it below, my prayer is that it will have the same impact on you, as well:

“If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don’t love, I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate. If I speak God’s Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, ‘Jump,’ and it jumps, but I don’t love, I’m nothing.

If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.

Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut,
Doesn’t have a swelled head,
Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first,”
Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.

Love never dies. Inspired speech will be over some day; praying in tongues will end; understanding will reach its limit. We know only a portion of the truth, and what we say about God is always incomplete. But when the Complete arrives, our incompletes will be canceled.

When I was an infant at my mother’s breast, I gurgled and cooed like an infant. When I grew up, I left those infant ways for good. We don’t yet see things clearly. We’re squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won’t be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We’ll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us!

But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love.”
--Eugene H. Peterson, THE MESSAGE (1 Corinthians 13:1-13)

Always remember that God loves you and I do, too (with agape love)!

1 comment:

  1. Brian, I love this refreshing transcription of my favourite scripture. I have posted it on FB. Still love the original, but you are right, it does freshen it up a bit for us to internalise anew.

    Blessings - Alan