1 Cor.13:1 – If I were to speak with eloquence in earth’s many languages, and in the heavenly tongues of angels, yet I didn’t express myself with love, my words would be reduced to the hollow sound of nothing more than a clanging cymbal.
Many people miss the whole meaning of this beautiful passage of scripture. It could very well be the most well known passage of the Apostle Paul’s writings, we simply know it as the love chapter. A little digging will get us to Paul’s intent in this passage. He is actually correcting a problem with the use of spiritual gifts in the church in Corinth (at least they were still using the gifts). Chapter 12-14 in 1 Corinthians is an extended teaching on the purpose and proper usage of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Chapter 13 gets to the heart of the matter. The gifts are supernatural in nature but they are instigated and permeated with the love of God. The purpose of the gifts are to help hurting people. The gifts are intended to be a display of the love of God. Here is how the Passion Notes describe this passage.
“The Aramaic word for love is hooba, and it is a homonym that also means “to set on fire.” It is difficult to fully express the meaning of this word and translate it into English. You could say the Aramaic concept is “burning love” or “fiery love,” coming from the inner depths of the heart as an eternal energy, an active power of bonding hearts and lives in secure relationships. The Greek word is agapē, which describes the highest form of love. It is the love God has for his people. It is an intense affection that must be demonstrated. It is a loyal, endless, and unconditional commitment of love. Feelings are attached to this love. It is not abstract, but devoted to demonstrating the inward feelings of love toward another with acts of kindness and benevolence.”
If you take into account Jonathan Edwards’ teaching on this passage it really clears things up. He said that the Holy Spirit is actually the personification of the love of God. When we are baptized in the Holy Spirit we become saturated with God’s love. The gifts of the Spirit are the outflow of this love. Stir up the fire of God in your belly. The result will be God’s love touching hurting people through you.