“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.” 1 Corinthians 13:1-2

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In light of 1 Corinthians 13, a word to Bible students, seminarians, and disciple-makers:

If I excel in seminary,
master the languages and ace every exam,
associate with notable faculty,
and abound in exegetical skills,
but have not love, I am nothing.

If I affirm biblical inerrancy,
refute the documentary hypothesis,
solve the synoptic problem,
and defeat damnable heresy with air-tight rationale,
but have not love, I am nothing.

If I acquire a biblical worldview,
equip an army of disciples,
champion Christian orthodoxy,
and confront a sin-ridden, God-hating culture,
but have not love, I am nothing.

If I abhor the prosperity gospel,
discern the disaster of easy-believism,
embrace biblical counseling and gospel-centeredness,
and decry the shallowness of nominal Christianity,
but have not love, I am nothing.

If I possess all gifts and abilities,
preach with Spurgeon-like homiletical eloquence,
boast an active itinerant ministry,
and lead a healthy, growing church,
but have not love, I am nothing.

If I intake abundant portions of Scripture,
fast with zeal and buffet my body,
pray for hours on end,
and memorize entire biblical books,
but have not love, I am nothing.

If I display radical sacrifice,
spend a lifetime in lay or vocational ministry,
ascend denominational ladders,
and build a celebrated legacy of Christian service,
but have not love, I am nothing.

Though these things are not inherently bad, I know that I’ll be tempted to learn and perform and teach and disciple and serve and sacrifice with an aim to build my personal kingdom, amass worldly accolades, and earn a reputation for godly faithfulness. That is not Christian love; it is fleshly pride and selfish ambition, and it is arsenic to the human soul.

This eternal truth remains: without love, I am nothing. This means that the necessary root and proper motivation for all my gospel laboring is a deep, abiding love for God and for others. Every personal act of Christian service should draw its lifeblood from a heart pulsating with Christian love. Without this internal love, my external action, no matter how devout it appears, becomes a putrid stench in the nostrils of God.

It is not difficult to impress men with intellect, theology, scholarship, sacrifice, dedication, eloquence, and discipline. Nevertheless, if I impress all men, but lack gospel love, my impressiveness is ultimately worthless. Such a facade of love-lacking impressiveness may earn its fleeting flash of glory from man, but in the end it’s nothing more than wood, hay, and straw, useful as kindling for divine fire.

Dear Bible students, seminarians, pastors, scholars, biblical counselors, missionaries, ministry leaders, and disciple-makers, without love, we are nothing.

Finally, do not despair if you sense that your love is small.  Ryan Fullerton said if you have any genuine love at all it’s because of the gospel and because you are saved. Recognize and rejoice that we love because he first loved us through the saving work of Christ. Pray for greater love.  Then, by God’s grace, strive to do all that you do because you love Jesus and you love people.

“There is nothing at all that avails anything without charity [i.e., love]. Let a man have what he will, and do what he will, it signifies nothing without charity; which surely implies that charity is the great thing, and that everything which has not charity in some way contained or implied in it, is nothing, and that this charity is the life and soul of all religion, without which all things that wear the name of virtues are empty and vain.” Jonathan Edwards

Posted by vankomatsu

Hawaii born and raised. Kentucky residing. Recent Southern Seminary grad. I write about the gospel, singleness, dating & marriage, ministry, biblical manhood & womanhood, and various cultural issues from a Christian perspective.

6 Comments

  1. operaprincess808 January 28, 2014 at 4:23 am

    I love this version! Applicable to anyone who wants to spread the Love of Christ!

    Reply

  2. Great! And perfectly ended with the Edwards quote.

    Reply

  3. […] Without Love, I Am Nothing: A Word to Bible Students, Seminarians, Disciple-Makers […]

    Reply

  4. Reblogged this on Truth2Freedom's Blog.

    Reply

  5. […] Vankomatsu very poignantly puts his finger on pride and probes responsibly and Biblically. Read, Without Love, I Am Nothing: A Word to Bible Students, Seminarians, Disciple-Makers | vankomatsu.word…. […]

    Reply

  6. That was so POWERFUL, brother!!!!!

    Reply

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