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Vieraskieliset / In-english

The greatest is charity

Siionin Lähetyslehti
Vieraskieliset / In-english
11.5.2015 14.42

Juttua muokattu:

1.1. 23:53
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“Anew com­mand­ment I give un­to you, That ye love one anot­her; as I have lo­ved you, that ye al­so love one anot­her. By this shall all men know that ye are my dis­cip­les, if ye have love one to anot­her.” (John 13:34-35).

Dif­fi­cul­ties in Co­rinth

The Apost­le Paul wrote his let­ter to the Co­rint­hi­an cong­re­ga­ti­on about 20 ye­ars af­ter Je­sus’ fa­re­well ser­mon. The city of Co­rinth was lo­ca­ted on a nar­row isth­mus, which had good con­nec­ti­ons around the Me­di­ter­ra­ne­an Sea. The city was a sig­ni­fi­cant mar­ket place in an­cient ti­mes. In ad­di­ti­on to its tem­po­ral ric­hes, it was al­so known for its evil.

But there were those in Co­rinth who ac­cep­ted the word of Christ, and a cong­re­ga­ti­on was es­tab­lis­hed there. The cong­re­ga­ti­on of Co­rinth was the lar­gest cong­re­ga­ti­on that Paul es­tab­lis­hed, and al­so the most dif­fi­cult. The Co­rint­hi­an Chris­ti­an’s strug­g­les were made more dif­fi­cult by the temp­ta­ti­ons found in the city and al­so doct­ri­nal am­bi­gui­ties and di­sag­ree­ments. They had for­got­ten what our Lord had as­ked of His fol­lo­wers in his fa­re­well ser­mon: love one anot­her.

One sign of the qu­an­ti­ty of dif­fi­cul­ties in the cong­re­ga­ti­on is that Paul wrote them se­ve­ral let­ters, of which some are re­cor­ded in the first and se­cond books of Co­rinth. A com­mon theme can be seen in these let­ters: le­a­ding the Co­rinth cong­re­ga­ti­on through dif­fi­cul­ties to­wards love.

Aga­pe, God’s love

Love is spo­ken about very much in our time. It was al­so spo­ken of a lot in Co­rinth. In the an­cient Greek lan­gu­a­ge, the word love had se­ve­ral dif­fe­rent exp­res­si­ons. When tal­king about ro­man­tic love, the word “eros” was used. Friends­hips were con­nec­ted with the word “fi­los” and bon­ding with the word “stor­ge”. So­me­ti­mes even the word “epit­hy­mia” is trans­la­ted in­to Finn as love, even though the word lust would de­pict it bet­ter.

In the Bib­le, the pre­vi­ous­ly men­ti­o­ned kinds of love are ra­re­ly spo­ken of. The Bib­le’s word for love is “aga­pe”. It is God’s love: un­sel­fish, self-de­nying, and per­fect. That love is de­pic­ted in the let­ter of John: “He­rein is love, not that we lo­ved God, but that he lo­ved us, and sent his Son to be the pro­pi­ti­a­ti­on for our sins.” (1 John 4:10). This love was mis­sing in the cong­re­ga­ti­on of Co­rinth. It had been rep­la­ced with in­dif­fe­ren­ce.

Gifts for the com­mon edi­fi­ca­ti­on

The cong­re­ga­ti­on mem­bers of Co­rinth had been gi­ven many gifts: know­led­ge, prop­he­sying, and spe­a­king in ton­gu­es. In Co­rinth, the abi­li­ties of “hu­man and an­gel speech” were es­pe­ci­al­ly va­lu­ed. These can al­so be cal­led elo­qu­en­ce or tran­ce speech. Some of the cong­re­ga­ti­on mem­bers ex­pe­rien­ced in­fe­ri­o­ri­ty or un­cer­tain­ty when lac­king these gifts them­sel­ves.

Paul en­cou­ra­ged even these cong­re­ga­ti­on mem­bers: not eve­ry­o­ne has to be equip­ped with the same gifts. Each cong­re­ga­ti­on mem­ber has their own uni­que gifts. The gifts we have re­cei­ved can be grace gifts when they are used for the glory of God, on the be­half of our lo­ved ones and the edi­fi­ca­ti­on of the cong­re­ga­ti­on.

Gifts were abun­dant in Co­rinth and there was plen­ty of pre­ac­hing, but all these would have ec­ho­ed emp­ti­ly wit­hout love.

In the time of wan­ting

Paul glo­ri­fies love and pre­sents it as “a more ex­cel­lent way” (1 Cor. 12:31). At the same time he ad­mits that in this world we are still left wan­ting. “Now I know in part; but then shall I know even as al­so I am known” (1 Cor. 13:12).

Due to our old por­ti­on, lo­ve­les­s­ness and in­dif­fe­ren­ce are close to each of us. God’s love is comp­le­te, but the work of the Chris­ti­an is left in­comp­le­te. This is why it is im­por­tant to note still one qu­a­li­ty of God’s love. While man’s dif­fe­rent ty­pes of love fo­cus on­ly on the be­au­ti­ful, per­fect, and use­ful, God’s love is dif­fe­rent.

God lo­ves the sin­ful, fai­ling and doub­ting one. In God’s love, man can be a righ­te­ous sin­ner and eve­ry day be­lie­ve all his sins abun­dant­ly for­gi­ven. This strength helps the mem­bers of Christ’s-body to re­joi­ce and suf­fer to­get­her in this world (1Cor. 12:26).

Text: Tuo­mas Töl­li

Trans­la­ti­on: An­ge­la Hän­ni­nen

Sour­ce: Sii­o­nin Lä­he­tys­leh­ti 3/2015

Teks­tis­sä kä­si­tel­lään seu­raa­vaa raa­ma­tun­koh­taa: 1 Cor. 13:13

Jul­kais­tu eng­lan­nin­kie­li­ses­sä kie­li­liit­tees­sä 6.5.2015.

27.5.2022

Hyvä on sen osa, joka luottaa Herraan, ei etsi apua pahan voimilta eikä käänny niiden puoleen, jotka valhetta palvelevat. Ps. 40:5

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