“I may be able to speak the languages of human beings and even of angels, but if I have no love, my speech is no more than a noisy gong or a clanging bell”.

1 Cor 13:1 GNB

A wise leader, like the helmsman of a ship (see 15th May) can see and take in the tiny details, but also can see the broad picture, understand the context of a situation and bring wisdom to bear on the whole scene. The way forward is his overriding concern. What has become chapter thirteen of Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians is the key to what he wanted to say to the Christian community there. (The books of the Bible were written as long writings. They were only broken down into convenient chapters and verses for easy reference about fourteen hundred years ago).

“Chapter thirteen must be studied in the context of the rest of Paul’s letter to the church of Corinth. Otherwise it becomes mere words – noble, even ennobling, but only words. When applied to a local church it becomes dynamite. It uncovers all the weaknesses, gaps, failures and sins in any Christian community. It is a particular challenge to any church which has seen outward success in its ministry. These words cut us down to size; they humble us, because we begin to see what really matters to God. They re-direct us as the body of Christ to our true calling. It is probably good for a Christian community to assess its life together from time to time in the mirror of this chapter” (D. Prior, The Message of 1 Corinthians, p226).

These verses cut right across so much of our normal rather genteel Christian way of life. And they penetrate to the depths.


Lord, take me to the depths of faith and love in Christ.