1 Corinthians 13 (Missionary Version)

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,
respecting them,
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 . . .
Identification,
Contextualization
and
Love,
BUT THE GREATEST OF THESE IS LOVE.

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4 Responses to 1 Corinthians 13 (Missionary Version)

  1. SB says:

    Great depths lie within the word LOVE…
    It is very difficult to love!
    We manage to make a start with the ‘loveable’ ones, but soon run into difficulties with all the ones Christ loves first.
    Is it by being loveable that we make a first attempt to shine Christ’s Light?

  2. tony sheng says:

    wow, thats really good. i’d never heard/read that before. where did you dig that up? thanks for posting it.

  3. Keith says:

    Great stuff. After 15 years as a missionary in Burkina Faso, I can say that the most effective missionaries I know are not necessarily those who are the most powerful preachers, or most contextualised, or have the best language – important as all these are. They are those who love people as Jesus did, and so people are drawn to him through them.

    Why do we avoid the obvious teaching of Jesus to love? Because it’s much easier to prepare messages, stand before a crowd, or even learn fulfulde than it is to give yourself sacrificially to others. God help us!

  4. Mehran says:

    my god you are whith me closer than every distance. I had found you in myself but i don’t know where am I? you are cloze to me but I’m far from myself. tell me anything you want. i want that too. beacause I want you. there is no wall between lover and his love. I know that the distance is myself. break me in your beauty. “You” My God I feel you near. CLOZER THAN MY VESSELS. Call me. I’m in a long sleep. Awake me. all the word orbits for you. You the onle center of this huge cyrcle. let me cyrcle in this orbital space. show me myself. love me, please.

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