Do Everything in Love

Throughout these months we have had memory verses each week. Whether you have tried to memorize these verses or not, I hope you’ve benefited from the visuals I’ve made. The goal is to better understand the meaning of the verse with these graphical representations, or to at least make them easier to remember. Now at the end of 1 Corinthians we have our final Bible visualization.

A theme of 1 Corinthians has been love. Love is what will right the wrongs of the church and love should be the theme of the Christian life. So it no wonder that in his closing words to Corinth that Paul would encourage them to live in love. He says, “Be on guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong.” Then follows that by saying do everything–and I would take that as including the above list–in love. For the Christian, there is no way of being strong that is not a loving strength. There is no courage apart from love. All we do should be done in the love we receive from God and should have love as its goal.

To help you memorize that, here is the final visual. Enjoy.

Memory Verse for 1 Cor 16.13-14

To review the past Bible Visualizations from 1 Corinthians go here.

Build a cathedral, not a new vacation home

In my commentary on 1 Corinthians by NT Wright, he uses a great illustration for the purpose behind these spiritual gifts. Paul desires that they be used for the body, for love, and to build up. Wright then describes two different building projects in his writings on this section.

And the key question, which he highlights in the first verse, is: are you behaving according to the principle of chapter 13? Are you exercising the gifts God gives you in the spirit of love? The underlying contrast here is the same as we saw in chapter 8, verses 1–2: there are some things which can ‘puff you up’, making you proud and self-important, but what builds people up is love. And this chapter is all about making sure that public worship ‘builds everybody up’ rather than simply everybody developing their own spiritual giftedness and displaying it like so many strutting peacocks. When people come together to worship the God revealed in Jesus, they are not building their own private houses. They are building a great cathedral for all to share and enjoy.

Love Never Ends

Lover Never Ends

Love never ends.

1 Corinthians 13:8a

These three words have great force especially when we remember that this is love that has its roots in God. It is God’s love that never fails. Reading these words this week brought this song to mind: One Thing Remains.


Love Bears All Things–Even the Cross

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7

It wasn’t that hard to choose a memory verse for this week. It’s not an unfamiliar one but it is a powerful one. Paul wants the church to turn from all that has divided them and caused them turmoil and turn to love. In this short chapter, 1 Corinthians 13, he lays out what that means.

In putting together a visual, I wanted to keep it simple and remind us that we wouldn’t really know love if not for the love that we see in Jesus Christ.

Memory Verse for 1 Cor 13.4-7

How would you define love?

If you’ve already read through 1 Corinthians 13, well done. If you haven’t, that’s fine and maybe you’d want to do a little exercise. This is a chapter on love. It’s a very famous chapter on love. Paul helps us to better understand what it is. But there are many other people in the world today that would want to do that job for us. Things like music, movies, and even greeting cards compete with one another to tell us what love is.

With all those definitions floating around it’d be good to know what you think. So, before you read and study this week’s passage, try sitting down and reflecting on how you’d define love. What is it? What’s love look like?

Then after you do that, see how well your understanding lines up with what we see in 1 Corinthians.

To Eat or Not to Eat? The Question of 1 Corinthians 10

Dinner Plate

In reading 1 Corinthians 10:23-30, I found Ken Bailey’s commentary, Paul Through Mediterranean Eyes, very helpful. He again brings to focus the cultural writing style of Paul that differs from our own. We often put the point of greatest emphasis at the end, while Paul repeatedly in his letter puts it right in the center of his argument. Because of that, it can be a bit confusing. Here is Bailey on this passage, with the numbers in parentheses corresponding to the points Paul makes in the order they are found in Scripture:

This order confuses the modern reader. We are accustomed to:

On the one hand:

(1) Think of others and try to be helpful. (7) Don’t offend people. (2) Eat (or don’t eat) the meat you buy in the market for it is the Lord’s. (6) Do so to the glory of God. (3) At a meal in a pagan’s home eat whatever they serve you. (5) You are a free person, give thanks and eat.

But on the other hand:

(4) If someone whispers to you “This is idol meat, I am sure you would want to know,” then do not eat (out of respect for his or her conscience, no your conscience).[1]

Knowing the style in which Paul writes helps us to understand this section much better. It is easy to read it as though he is going back and forth, saying two things at once. But much of that is because we assume his argument builds linearly and concludes at the end. But his central emphasis, as it has been in past chapters, is seeking to love others and seek their good, rather than express our own rights or freedoms.

  1. Ken Bailey, Paul Through Mediterranean Eyes, 285. ↩

What sort of movie rating would you give the Bible?

Given all the sinning that seems to be so popular among the people of the Bible, you’d think it may come sealed in plastic and watched closely by booksellers so small, innocent children wouldn’t accidentally find themselves reading such graphic materials. It is a great story of God’s love, but it doesn’t shy away from the awful depths to which humanity falls.

Song of Songs may cause you to ask yourself how’d you rate the Bible (PG-13?), but not because of sin, but because of the intimate picture of love presented in it. Just read its opening lines:

Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth!
For your love is better than wine;
your anointing oils are fragrant;
your name is oil poured out;
therefore virgins love you.
Draw me after you; let us run.
The king has brought me into his chambers.

Song of Songs 1:2-4

This is not what you may expect to read as you open up a book of the Bible. But read through it and ask yourself why it would be included in our Scriptures. What does it say of love? What place does love have in our Christian belief? Does the relationship present here clue us in on God’s intent for our own relationships?

It is a unique book that isn’t often preached or taught, so I hope you take the time in this lighter week to read through it.