This is a continuation of 1 Corinthians 13: The Most Beautiful chapter of Scripture.
Many people view 1 Corinthians 13, the chapter of love, as the most beautiful and perhaps the most important chapter of Scripture. While some earnest Bible students would disagree – this passage – penned by the apostle Paul under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, is arguably at least one of the most beautiful and more important chapters in God’s Word.
My favorite author, Ellen White, put it this way:
“The Lord desires me to call the attention of His people to the thirteenth chapter of First Corinthians. Read this chapter every day, and from it obtain comfort and strength. Learn from it the value that God places on sanctified, heaven-born love, and let the lesson that it teaches come home to your hearts. Learn that Christlike love is of heavenly birth, and that without it all other qualifications are worthless.” (RH July 21, 1904).
Imagine how it would be if every professed Christian did this!
As I have been trying to do this the past year, I have learned that I have much to learn. I have been challenged, invigorated and blessed. And it has been a paradigm-shifting experience – in a positive sense. I definitely recommend it and I want to encourage you to follow this counsel – to join me on this journey.
You will be blessed!
A helpful tool
One thing that has helped me to understand and benefit from this passage is Albert Barnes good old classic commentary, which is said to have been issued in more than a million copies already by the time of his death in 1870. Here follows verse six of the chapter together with his commentary on the verse.
Verse 6: Love rejoices in goodness
“Love[…] does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth.” – 1 Corinthians 13:6
Verse 6. Rejoiceth not in iniquity. Does not rejoice over the vices of other men; does not take delight when they are guilty of crime, or when, in any manner, they fall into sin. It does not find pleasure in hearing others accused of sin, and in having it proved that they have committed it. It does not find a malicious pleasure in the report that they have done wrong; or in following up that report, and finding it established. Wicked men often find pleasure in this, (Rom 1:32,) and rejoice when others have fallen into sin, and have disgraced and ruined themselves. Men of the world often find a malignant pleasure in the report and in the evidence that a member of the church has brought dishonour on his profession. A man often rejoices when an enemy, a persecutor, or a alandeter, has committed some crime, and when he has shown an improper spirit, uttered a rash expression, or taken some step which shall involve him in ignominy. But love does none of these things. It does not desire that an enemy, a persecutor, or a slanderer should do evil, or should disgrace and ruin himself. It does not rejoice, but grieves, when a professor of religion, or an enemy of religion, when a personal friend or foe, has done anything wrong. It neither loves the wrong, nor the fact that it has been done. And perhaps there is no greater triumph of the gospel than in its enabling a man to rejoice that even his enemy and persecutor in any respect does well; or to rejoice that he is in any way honoured and respected among men. Human nature, without the gospel, manifests a different feeling; and it is only as the heart is subdued by the gospel, and filled with universal benevolence, that it is brought to rejoice when all men do well.
Rejoiceth in the truth. The word truth here stands opposed to iniquity, and means virtue, piety, goodness. It does not rejoice in the vices, but in the virtues of others. It is pleased, it rejoices when they do well. It is pleased when those who differ from us conduct [themselves] in any manner in such a way as to please God, and to advance their own reputation and happiness. They who are under the influence of that love rejoice that good is done, and the truth defended and advanced, whoever may be the instrument; rejoice that others are successful in their plans of doing good, though they do not act with us; rejoice that other men have a reputation well earned for virtue and purity of life, though they may differ from us in opinion, and may be connected with a different denomination. They do not rejoice when other denominations of Christians fall into error; or when their plans are blasted; or when they are calumniated, and oppressed, and reviled. By whomsoever good is done, or wheresoever, it is to them a matter of rejoicing; and by whomsoever evil is done, or wheresoever, it is to them a matter of grief. See Php 1:14-18. The reason of this is, that all sin, error, and vice, will ultimately ruin the happiness of any one; and as love desires their happiness, it desires that they should walk in the ways of virtue, and is grieved when they do not. What a change would the prevalence of this feeling produce in the conduct and happiness of mankind! How much ill-natured joy would it repress at the faults of others! How much would it do to repress the pains which a man often takes to circulate reports disadvantageous to his adversary; to find out and establish some flaw in his character; to prove that he has said or done something disgraceful and evil! And how much would it do even among Christians, in restraining them from rejoicing at the errors, mistakes, and improprieties of the friends of revivals of religion, and in leading them to mourn over their errors in secret, instead of taking a malicious pleasure in promulgating them to the world! This would be a very different world if there were none to rejoice in iniquity; and the church would be a different church if there were none in its bosom but those who rejoiced in the truth, and in the efforts of humble and self-denying piety:
(a) “Rejoiceth not” Rom 1:32 (1) “in” “with”
There is still much good to go. Stay tuned for part V…