John Bengel Commentary - 1 Corinthians 13:1 - 13:1

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John Bengel Commentary - 1 Corinthians 13:1 - 13:1


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This Chapter Verse Commentaries:

1Co 13:1. Εὰν, if) All the gift s [although they may be, in the highest degree, delightful, extensive, and useful.-V. g.] ought to be estimated, exercised, and elevated, according to love and its standard. The apostle introduces into the discussion of the gifts a more efficacious discussion respecting love. So in Disputations, we must always return to those points, which give a higher degree of grace.-ταῖς) all.-γλώσσαις, tongues) A gradation: with the tongues, 1Co 13:1 : prophecy, 1Co 13:2 : faith, 1Co 13:2 : I shall have bestowed, 1Co 13:3.-λαλῶ, I speak) The tenor of love causes, that, whereas he just before used the expression, to you, he should now however speak in the first person singular. He does not except even himself in the condition supposed [viz., Though I speak, etc., and have not charity, etc.]-καὶ τῶν ἀγγέλων, and of angels) Angels excel men, and the tongue or tongues of the former excel those of the latter. Moreover, they use their tongues at least to address men: Luke 1, 2-ἀγάπην, love) by which the salvation of our neighbour is sought.-μὴ ἔχω, have not) in the very use of the gifts, and in the rest of the life. Many indeed have prophecy and other gifts, without charity and its fruits, 1Co 13:4; Mat 7:22, which are called gifts, not so much in respect of themselves, as of others.-γέγονα) I have become, for want of love. The language becomes severe [obtinet ἀποτομίαν].-χαλκὸς, rass) Brass, for example a piece of money of that metal requires less of the skill of the artist, than a cymbal, for instance, of silver. He may be compared to the one who speaks with the tongues of men without love; to the other, who speaks without love with the tongues of angels.-ἠχῶν-ἀλαλάζον, sounding-tinkling) with any sound whatever, mournful or joyful, without life and feeling. The language varies, I am nothing; it profiteth me nothing, 1Co 13:2-3. Without love, tongues are a mere sound: prophecy, knowledge, faith, are not what they are [seem to be]: Mat 7:22; Mat 7:15; 1Co 8:1-2; Jam 2:14; Jam 2:8; every such sacrifice [gift exercised without love] is without [the heavenly] reward,[115] however much such a man may please himself, and think that he is something, and promise to himself a great recompense. With love, the good things which are the antitheses to these defects, are understood.

[115] Comp. Mat 6:2.-ED.