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Genesis 2:18-24 1
18 The LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” 19 Now the LORD God had formed out of the ground all the wild animals and all the birds in the sky. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. 20 So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds in the sky and all the wild animals. But for Adam no suitable helper was found. 21 So the LORD God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and then closed up the place with flesh. 22 Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man. 23 The man said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man.” 24 That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.

clip_image188Background 2

Genesis is a name taken from the Greek, and signifies “the book of generation or production;” it is properly so called, as containing an account of the origin of all things. There is no other history so old. There is nothing in the most ancient books which exists that contradicts it; many things recorded by the oldest heathen writers, or to be traced in the customs of different nations, confirm what is related in the book of Genesis.

Biblical Truths 3

Power over the creatures was given to man, and as a proof of this he named them all. It also shows his insight into the works of God. But though he was lord of the creatures, yet nothing in this world was a help mate for man. From God everything is our helper. If we rest in God, he will work all for good. God caused deep sleep to fall on Adam; while he knows no sin, God will take care that he shall feel no pain. God, as her Father, brought the woman to the man, as his second self, and a help meet for him. That wife, who is of God’s making by special grace, and of God’s bringing by special providence, is likely to prove a help mate for a man. See what need there is, both of prudence and prayer in the choice of this relation, which is so near and so lasting. That had need to be well done, which is to be done for life. Our first parents needed no clothes for covering against cold or heat, for neither could hurt them: they needed none for ornament. Thus easy, thus happy, was man in his state of innocence. How good was God to him! How many favors did he load him with! How easy were the laws given to him! Yet man, being in honor, understood not his own interest, but soon became as the beasts that perish.

Items for Discussion

  • Why is it bad to be alone?
  • Why did God create Woman from Man’s rib, when He could have simply created her from dust, as He did Man?
  • A man’s skeleton is not missing a rib – How should this affect our beliefs?
  • What then might be the significance of God using a rib?
  • Why is it important for us to understand the creation story about men and women?

 

1 Corinthians 13:1-14
1 If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. 4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. 14:1 Follow the way of love and eagerly desire gifts of the Spirit, especially prophecy.

Background 4

Here, we are to learn about love in its fullest meaning; true love to God and man. Without this, the most glorious gifts, discussed in prior verses, from God are of no account to us, of no esteem in the sight of God. A clear head and a deep understanding, are of no value without a benevolent and charitable heart. There may be an open and lavish hand, where there is not a liberal and charitable heart. Doing good to others will do nothing for us without love both from and to God, and without good-will to men. If we give away all we have, while we withhold the heart from God, it will not profit us or relieve us from our most painful sufferings.

The content of the verses cover: The necessity and advantage of the grace of love. (1-3) Its excellency represented by its properties and effects; (4-7) and by its abiding, and its superiority. (8-13) Prophecy preferred to the gift of tongues. (14:1-5)

Bible Truths

Verse 1 The languages (tongues) of people would be foreign languages. But the language of angels can only mean speech that people cannot understand. The Christians at Corinth were not using this gift in the right way. Without love, their speech would be only a noise. Their speech would also be like a musical instrument that produces a loud crash, but no harmony. Pagans would use such instruments in their excited worship. A gong is a metal plate. It makes a loud noise when someone hits it with a stick.

Verse 2 The Christians at Corinth also emphasized ‘knowledge’. But the person with the deepest knowledge and the greatest faith is worth nothing without love. ‘To move mountains’ was a way to say ‘to overcome a very difficult problem’.

Verse 3 The most generous act to help poor people would be of no use without love. When he spoke about allowing people to burn his body, Paul may have thought about Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego (Daniel 3). He was probably using picture language for sacrifice that was the result of pride. This would be of no advantage.

Verse 4 What love is like: Patience and kindness show God’s attitude to us (Romans 2:4; 2 Peter 3:9). Jesus showed great patience with his disciples. They were slow to understand what he taught. The ‘fruit of the Spirit’ includes patience and kindness (Galatians 5:22).

Verses 4-7 What people with love do not do: The first five examples refer to the way that some Christians at Corinth were behaving.

  • They do not feel jealous. In Corinth, people were jealous of each other’s spiritual gifts. There were also groups who were competing with each other. They said that their leader was superior to the leader of other people. Paul had to show that leaders were all God’s servants. They were working together to make his kingdom grow (1 Corinthians chapter 3).
  • They do not boast. There was a Pharisee in the story in Luke 18:9-12. He told God what a good person he (the Pharisee) was. Some of the Christians at Corinth were boasting that they had wisdom and knowledge. It is not possible to boast and to love at the same time. To boast is to make people notice you. To love is to think about other people. And it is to work for the whole church.
  • They are not proud. A proud person thinks too much about his own importance. A Christian who shows love is humble. William Carey was a shoe-maker who went to India about 200 years ago. He translated parts of the Bible into many different languages. But he did not think about himself as more than someone who mended shoes.
  • They do not behave badly. To behave well means more than to be polite. Some Christians at Corinth were not respecting other people. Some people were greedy and they were not thinking about other people at the Lord’s Supper. They were without shame. To love means to think about other people’s feelings.
  • They do not look out for their own interests. Paul has already said that Christians should not use their freedom to act only for their own benefit (10:24). He repeated this advice to the Christians in Philippi (Philippians 2:4).
  • They do not easily become angry. Paul began his description of love with the word ‘patient’. One kind of patience is to be able to keep calm when other people are angry. It does not answer insults with anger.
  • They do not keep a record of how people have hurt them. God in Christ does not keep a record of our sins (2 Corinthians 5:19). So, the person who loves does not keep remembering an action or insult against him. Some people say, ‘I will forgive but I will not forget.’ This statement means that the person has not really forgiven his enemy.
  • They take no pleasure in evil things. They are happy with the truth. It is a sad fact that people like to hear about the failures of other people. Newspapers, television and radio often encourage an interest in other people’s sins. A loving Christian does not try to find fault in other people. ‘Love covers over a great number of sins’ (1 Peter 4:8). Gossip can ruin a person’s life. But a loving person is happy when anyone succeeds.

Verse 7 Paul ends his list by emphasizing that love never changes. People with love do not talk about other people’s faults. They do not give in to insults and difficulties. Christians can trust God’s promise to give them ‘hope and a future’ (Jeremiah 29:11). Christians can live with courage in every circumstance. This is because of their trust in God’s love for themselves and for other people.

Verse 8 In verses 1-2, Paul spoke about three gifts. They were prophecy, tongues and knowledge. He said that without love they had no value. Here he contrasts love with these gifts. Love is permanent. These gifts will all become unnecessary.

Verses 9-10 In this life, our knowledge of God can never be complete. One day, we will no longer need anything that is not complete. That will happen in eternity when Christ comes again.

Verses 11-12 Paul uses two examples to show what he means:

  • An adult does not speak or think like a child. And he does not reason like a child. The behavior of a child is only suitable while he remains a child. Spiritual gifts are necessary for the growth of the church. But they will no longer be necessary in eternity.
  • Corinth was famous for good mirrors. They did not have clear glass then, so they made them out of metal. But highly polished metal is not as good as a modern glass mirror. It would reflect the image of a person, but not a perfect image. John said, ‘We know that when Jesus appears, we shall be like him. Because we shall see him as he is’ (1 John 3:2). God already knows us completely. In the next age, we shall understand God’s ways. We cannot understand them completely in this life.

Verse 13 Faith, hope and love seem to have been a well-known group of qualities. Paul speaks about them in other letters. For example, 1 Thessalonians 1:3; Colossians 1:4-5. These three words explain the whole of the Christian life in this world. Christians have ‘faith’ that God will forgive them because of Christ’s sacrifice. They have ‘hope’ for the future, because of Christ’s resurrection. They live a life of faith and hope among Christian brothers and sisters whom they ‘love’. Of these three, only love will remain into eternity. Faith will no longer be necessary. Hope will become knowledge. Love is the greatest, because God himself is love (1 John 4:8). A friendship with him will never end, but it will continue into eternity.

Verses 14:1-5 The Christians in Corinth were emphasizing the gift of ‘tongues’. Paul possessed the gift himself (verse 18). But he was thinking about how all the members of the church could grow in their faith.

Verses 1-2 He urges the Christians at Corinth to desire spiritual gifts. But especially they should want the gift of prophecy. A Christian who praised God in a tongue was helping himself. He was using sounds in no known human language when he could not find words to use. But other people could not understand him.

Items for Discussion

  • What are your personal thoughts about the Spiritual Gift of Tongues?
  • How might someone take advantage of this gift and use it improperly?
  • When considering Spiritual Gifts in general, how would the test of “loving God” and “loving each other” help in understanding those gifts?
  • Why would the Apostle Paul tell us first about love by telling us what it is NOT?
  • Why is it hard to love?
  • Paul contrasts three gifts, Prophecy, Tongues and Knowledge with love – Why these three?
  • Of the gifts Paul mentions, which ones are the hardest and why?

Discussion Challenge

  • The world celebrates Valentine’s Day – How do we help them celebrate the love of their God?
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