Every part of the Bible is relevant and helpful. But some parts speak to contemporary problems more than others. The fourteenth chapter of 1 Corinthians is one of those. Someone once asked me a question to which this chapter speaks directly. This person had a friend in a charismatic fellowship who always insisted on speaking in tongues in a disruptive manner and when there was no one to interpret. He asked me what should be done, so I told him what 1 Corinthians 14 teaches.

Today we come to the last point in 1 Corinthians 13, which is where Paul has been leading us. He has talked about the importance and nature of love. What he is saying is that if you understand the importance of love and the nature of love, it follows that love never fails. All these other things are going to fail. Prophecies, tongues, knowledge - all these will pass away because these things are partial. But where there is love, love will not pass away. He puts faith, hope, and love together, and, he says, "These three remain." I suppose Paul means that they remain through life and through eternity.

1 Corinthians 13 is a portrait of Christ. If you substitute the name of Christ for the word love, it gives us a perfect description of his character. That is why he is so lovely. Jesus Christ is patient. You know what we are like. We produce anything but patience in the reaction of other people, yet Jesus Christ is patient with us. He does not give up. When we sin again and again, when we’re so thick to learn a spiritual lesson, oh, how patient he is!

In the thirteenth chapter of 1 Corinthians the Apostle Paul is saying that if we love Christ, we ought to love one another. In dealing with the importance of love, it strikes me that John's tests correspond to three kinds of Christianity that we find in our present day. The first kind of Christianity puts an emphasis on the supernatural gifts. The second kind of Christianity emphasizes knowledge of the mysteries of God, a doctrinal, theological approach. Finally, the third kind of Christianity emphasizes doing good deeds.

In the context of the entire book of 1 Corinthians, Paul has repeatedly set love over against the things that the Corinthians thought were most important. He contrasts love with the supernatural gifts. He also contrasts love with the idea of wisdom. In verse 3, Paul contrasts love with doing good deeds, even to the point of becoming a martyr for the sake of something good. He says you can be famous for doing extraordinarily good works, but if you have not love, it profits you nothing.