I'm in a weekly Bible study with the most amazing collection of women. We're all joined by a relationship to one woman, but come from different areas of her life. This Bible study has been a huge blessing to me in the short time we've been meeting.
One of the ladies has been employing a method of studying the Bible for years that seemed interesting to me. She has gone through and written her own paraphrase of the books she's studied. She shared some of it with us last week, and it struck me as such a good way to really understand and get the words into my heart. Being able to put an idea into your own words shows a strong understanding of the idea itself.
I've been thinking a great deal about I Corinthians 13 since pastor Greg's message a few weeks ago. So, I thought I'd try my hand at this new technique of Bible study.
So, before I share my venture with you, a word of caution: This is my paraphrase and understanding of this passage. I haven't gone to the Greek and tried to re-translate this scripture, I'm only sharing it back in my own words. Please refer to the passage itself, you can do so here:
Now for my understanding/paraphrase of I Corinthians 13:
v1 - If I speak beautifully, if the sound of my voice is pleasing and people enjoy listening to me, but I am not a loving person, in truth, I am as unpleasant as a loud and raucous noise.
v2 - If I am blessed with the ability to understand the Scriptures, to prophecy in the name of the Lord, or even have faith strong enough to actually move mountains, but I am not a loving person, I am nothing.
v3 - If I am generous with all I have, even if I am willing to die for my beliefs, but I am not a loving person, nothing will be added to me or my life.
v4 - Love is patient and kind. Love does not get frustrated or mean. Love stays calm. Love does not envy or boast and is not proud. Love rejoices over the blessings of another person. Love doesn't covet that blessing. Love does not lift itself up. It does not brag or hold itself above another.
v5 - Love is not rude - it is not sharp or heartless with others. It listens. Love is not selfish. Love doesn't chase after its own best - does not put itself first. Love isn't quick to get angry. Love gives the benefit of the doubt. love does not jump to conclusions. Love doesn't keep a scorecard or balance accounts. Love does what is right without concern for whether the other person involved is doing what is right. Love doesn't keep up with things like that.
v6 - Love doesn't get pleasure out of another's pain. Love does not rejoice over another's failure. Love does not laugh when someone falls. Love does not run to spread the news of someone's failure. But love is ecstatic when Truth prevails. Love rejoices to see lives saved, families restored, health renewed and right and justice prevail.
v7 - Love always protects - it watches another's back. Love always stands up or in the gap for someone. Love always trusts - it doesn't hold back. Love keeps at it. Love is resilient - it keeps pressing on.
v8 - Love never fails. Love doesn't let us down. Love doesn't disappoint. Everything else, prophecies, tongues knowledge - all of that will one day fade; but, not love. Love remains.
v9 - We don't know everything. We can't see everything. We only see part of the puzzle.
v10 - But, when we are perfected, all of the broken pieces will fade away. Imperfect will disappear.
v11 - When I was a child, I behaved like a child. I thought and talked like a child. I thought of myself, I wanted what was best for me, I didn't think things through to their logical conclusion. But, in growing up, I put these things behind me. I've matured and now think, act and talk like an adult.
v12 - Right now, we don't see clearly. We can't truly see the fullness of love. We see an image, a reflection; but a day is coming when we will stand face-to-face with Love. A day is coming when we will know all the depth of love and be fully known ourselves.
v13 - There are three things that stand the test of time: faith, hope and love; but nothing is greater than love.