This version of 1 Corinthians 13 really puts things in perspective and priority.
I may be able to speak fluently the language of my chosen field
and even understand its culture,
but if I have no love, the impact of my speech is no more for Christ
than that of a businessman who comes to exploit the people.
I may have the gift of contextualizing God’s word when I deliver it to my hearers,
I may have all knowledge about their customs,
I may have the faith needed to combat witchcraft,
but if I have no love, I am nothing.
I may give everything I have to the poor, to the hungry in the favelas,
I may even give my life for them,
but if I have no love, this does no good.
Love is. . .
thinking in their thought patterns
caring enough to understand their world view,
listening to their questions,
feeling their burdens,
identifying with them in their need,
belonging to them.
Love is eternal.
Cultures pass away.
Dynamic equivalents will change because cultures change.
Patterns of worship and church administration will need revision.
Languages will be altered over time.
Institutions will be replaced.
. . . Because they are not reality.
Since I am finite, I can only study how to express the Message cross-culturally,
trying to free it from my cultural bias.
I am able to do this only in a limited way,
but I pray that the Spirit will use my life to show Christ to those with whom I work.
Meanwhile these remain . . .
BUT THE GREATEST OF THESE IS LOVE.