My wife and I host an online Bible study at 9 a.m., Monday through Saturday on Facebook Live. It is usually attended by three to eight people—with a number of visitors that check-in, then move on. I think God is using it in ways we did not expect. One key element is the way the Holy Spirit opens the Word of God for us.
We have been having a Bible study every morning now for about two years. In November of 2019, we felt the Lord was leading us to do this online. He has blessed it in ways that are simply incredible.
We already did our studies in three different rotating places. Day one in the Old Testament. The next morning would be in an ongoing rotation in the Gospels. Then on the third day, we are in an ongoing study of the New Testament. Currently, we are in 1 Kings 21, then Matthew 12, then 1 Corinthians 13.
The nature of these studies are as follows:
We do not “pre-study.” There is nothing wrong with being prepared at all. But we do it this way so that we can rely on the Holy Spirit to download what HE wants to tell us. I want to emphasize that there is NOTHING wrong with studying for a Bible study.
We open with a prayer not to just know the Word of God better, but to know God better. To know the Word is to know the Author. That, we believe, is the ultimate goal.
When we finish, we spend time praying for the needs of all those involved.
God meets us!
I felt the Lord leading me to blog what He is showing us. Specifically, as we are led through 1 Corinthians 13. The Love Chapter. It is fairly short, so we have been starting by reading it through and then going back to what God has highlighted for us. So let’s begin…
1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal.
2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.
3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.
4 Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up;
5 does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil;
6 does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth;
7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
8 Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away.
9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part.
10 But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away.
11 When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
12 For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.
13 And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
(1 Corinthians 13, NKJV)
It’s super important to remember that we have just come off of an amazing chapter about Nine of the Gifts of the Holy Spirit. That list is not ALL the gifts, just what Paul calls the “best (greater) gifts” (1 Cor. 12:31). But what strikes us so strongly as this chapter (12) closes, is the statement he makes, “And yet I show you a more excellent way.” How could there be a more excellent way than to be so anointed by God that people are healed by your ministry? How could there be something better than prophesying the very words of God? Words of Wisdom and Knowledge?
Were a person to walk out all of the Gifts and utilize them to their fullest, they would still lack. As chapter 13 begins, we immediately see what that lack is.
Christianity is not founded in Prophecy. It’s not founded in the Working of Miracles. It is founded in the action of one Man. Jesus. It is founded in Who He is and the action He took as that Person.
Jesus was God. He was the Messiah. He was CHRIST. It is the origin of the name of our belief system. And as this Person (God, Messiah, Christ) His love was so exuded that He paid the ultimate price by dying in our place. So the Gifts of the Spirit (as legitimate as they may be) do not make us Christians. As wonderful and amazing as they are, they do not show the world what the Love of Jesus is all about. As mind-blowing as they can be, they are not the foundation that makes Jesus the King of Kings.
Verse 1 of chapter 13 says that whether I have the most basic things to say (like a man) or the greatest things to say (like an angel), I am merely making a racket with all of it unless I have love. In the grand scheme of it all, the man who accomplishes nothing but has genuine love will stand taller than the greatest philanthropist in history.
So, as we always like to do, we try to grasp a specific lesson from the study. I believe this is what we gain:
Speak your words of persuasion. Grant your millions. Do the kindest acts. But step not an inch outside of Love, lest thou wasteth your time!
Featured Image by Amy Tran