1 Corinthians 13:1-13
Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.…
I. THOUGH MANY EXTERNAL VIRTUES MAY SEEM TO EXIST WITHOUT IT. There might be —
1. Great gifts of speech.
2. Great grasp of understanding.
3. Great fulness of faith.
4. Great almsgiving.
5. Great martyr enthusiasm — yet with all this if a man has not love he is a spiritual "nothing," a moral "nobody," a nonentity in the great realm of being, where whosoever dwells in love dwells in God and God in him.
II. BECAUSE IT INSPIRES, ENSURES, AND ENERGISES ALL SUCH VIRTUES. The virtues described are desirable. "Covet them." But they are only ensured by love, and are certain to be found, and to be found in their fulness, where love is. It is the true inspiration and energiser. Without love such virtues are —
1. Mere sound.
2. Mere appearance "I am nothing" — only the semblance of moral manhood.
3. Mere abortive effort, "it profiteth me nothing" — it is labour in vain. Whereas not one of these virtues but will flourish where love is. St. 's great saying, "Love, and do what thou wilt" is warranted by "Love is the fulfilling of the law."
(U. R. Thomas.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.