Learning 1 Corinthians 13

As a new believer in the early 1970s, I loved the Maranatha! Singers out of Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa. Yes, yes — I know Calvary Chapel is Charismatic, and I know they’ve gotten wonky in recent years. But back then, much of their theology was fairly solid, and the Maranatha! Singers offered Christian teens a healthy alternative to Rock music.

More than 45 years later, I don’t remember many songs from their albums. One song, however, has stayed with me, always reminding me of 1 Corinthians 13. Even though it takes a few liberties with the text in order to conform to the melody (which, by the way, is absolutely beautiful), it stays remarkably faithful to Paul’s words.

So, instead of a hymn today, allow me to treat you to this exquisite little song that I’ve cherished throughout my Christian life. The Lord has used it often to help me learn 1 Corinthians 13. Perhaps He’ll also use it to help you.

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6 thoughts on “Learning 1 Corinthians 13

  1. Hi Debbie,

    Is 1 Corinthians 13:13 quoted in the skinny book of TULIP? I know it is quoted in a much thicker book referred by many, as the Holy Bible


    • I don’t understand what the skinny book of TULIP is. Those who read my blog widely know that I love the Bible and do my best to follow its teachings.

      If you wrote this comment as a subtle dig against Reformed Theology, I suggest you test your motives against 1 Corinthians 13.

      If it is a sincere question, couple you help me understand what the skinny book of TULIP is? I’ve never heard of it, and would like to better understand your question. Thanks!


  2. Thanks Debbie,

    It was a sincere question, I attend an Independent Baptist Church where a preacher accepted a calling while purposely keeping his doctrine a complete mystery for 2 years. We would ask him where he was coming from and his answer was “Truth” and verbally retaliate to those he considered a threat in his pursuit of secretly indoctrinating the church toward Calvinism.

    I was able to take enough notes and research his sermons. None of us heard of Calvinism or Reformed Calvinism and he knew it.

    He never once preached on love, as he put it, he doesn’t tickle ears. One might consider that loving an adversary isn’t for sissy’s.

    When I confronted the Board that he might be a Calvinist, they confronted him and in turned he asked “how did you find out?” Then he whipped out a very thin book called TULIP. As it turned out, his teachings stayed within the perimeters of TULIP. His ministry was more Law and Sin Centered than Christ Centered. Himself, practicing a form of judge and election theology based on works, kind of like Catholism. (though the Catholics preached more about Christ than he did)

    I stumbled across your blog, when I research 1 Cor 13:13 and TULIP. So that is why I asked if 1 Cor 13:13 was in TULIP.


    • Although I unapologetically align myself with Reformed Baptists, I question whether this pastor really understood Reformed Theology. When we preach Law, we ultimately do so with the goal of leading people to understand their need for God’s grace. Certainly, no true Calvinist would EVER make election contingent on works! Reformed Theology teaches quite the opposite!

      I don’t know what book that pastor was using, but from what you’ve written I’d say he was a poor representative of Reformed Theology. His deceptive practices deeply disturb me. Titus 1 teaches that elders (i.e., pastors) must be above reproach. I’m so sorry he treated your church with such contempt.

      Whatever his TULIP book is, it doesn’t seem consistent with either Reformed Theology or Scripture.


  3. Isn’t there different variations of Reformed Theology involving different doctrines?

    Until he showed up, I didn’t know what an Arminian was or a Calvinist, but I’m made to understand one can be a Reformed Arminian and another can proclaim to be a Reformed Calvinist, some of whom refer their Calvinist Doctrine as Reformed.

    I followed Adrian Rogers and liked his interpretations of scripture before I even knew he was Arminian. There were many times I’d come home from church and watch him interpret the passages in scripture that countered the 5 Point Calvinist preachings of our former Pastor.

    I’m not so sure you are a Reformed 5 Point Calvinist if you aren’t familiar with the Book of TULIP. TULIP is what Calvinist embrace as a narrow outline of their doctrine, again they usually stay with-in those narrow perimeters.

    You have a big TULIP on you blog so I thought you were a full blown 5 Point Calvinist, which is why I asked if 1 Cor 13:13 was even in the Book of TULIP.

    And yes, I agree that when we practice judge or election theology on both Christians and non-Christians we are acting like Pharisees. The members of our church were so beat up, that it made it impossible to expose joy in knowing who Christ is. Why would a non-Christian want what we have in Christ, if by appearance Christians lack joy more than non-Christians?


    • I believe I’m a 5-point Calvinist, but I’ve never heard of the skinny book of TULIP. Granted, I’ve only embraced reformed doctrine in the last 10 or so years, but I’ve never heard of that book. Unless you mean Calvin’s Institutes. But the TULIP acrostic was developed after Calvin at the Council of Dort.

      Anyway, we can’t continue this discussion here. I’m not feeling well physically. Look up James White of Alpha and Omega Ministries on YouTube. His Radio Free Geneva programs might help you understand Calvinist beliefs.


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