by J.D. Jones

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The Qualities of Love (3 of 5)
J.D. Jones
I Corinthians 13:5

Dr. Thomas Charles Edwards, commenting on this verse, thinks that in this further description of love as something which does not 'behave itself unseemly,' the apostle has still the condition of the church at Corinth in his mind. For the rivalry and jealousy that prevailed amongst the members of the church led directly to unseemly behavior in the conduct of public worship. To understand how this could be, we must remember that worship in the early church was a much more free and spontaneous thing than it is with us. There were not set or stereotyped orders of service such as we have in our churches today. Worship was not standardized. It did not follow any fixed plan. We place the conduct of worship in the hands of persons specially set apart to that work. But in the Corinthian church there was no person corresponding to what we call the 'stated minister.' When the Christians gathered together for worship no one knew who was going to take part in it-for the simple reason that it was open to anyone to take part if he was moved to it by the Holy Spirit. I suppose theoretically the Friends' meeting reproduces the practice of the early church as nearly as anything we have today-for the theory of the Friends' worship is that anyone moved by the Spirit may participate. But in actual experience the modem Friends' meeting is very unlike the meetings of the Corinthian church. For while the characteristic feature of the Friends' meetings is a reverential silence and devoutness, the characteristic of the meetings of this Corinthian church was noise and confusion and disorder. This was due in part to the wealth of spiritual gifts the Corinthians enjoyed. When the Spirit of God comes in full flood upon a community it cannot be confined within fixed and rigid forms. During the Welsh Revival orders of service were flung aside for a whole twelve-month: the minister became almost a superfluity because all kinds of p ...

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