One of most commonly mis-quoted portions of scripture is found in 1 Corinthians 13 – where the use of “charity” is replaced with the word “love”. This is most often seen in cards given to people, or even in modern-day bibles. But the King James Bible I believe has it right, and even before that, the Tyndale bible did the same. Why you say?
Is “charity” supposed to be love?
Because there are 28 references to the word “charity” in scripture, and secondly because God did not make a mistake, instead what He was trying to do, was draw our attention to a different facet of love, and that being “charity”. To call “charity” love, is to call an engine a car. Sometimes we need to pay attention to a specific part of a car like the engine, so we can figure out what’s wrong to get the car to work again. You get my point 🙂
Charity the Definition:
Webster’s 1828 defines it as, “In a general sense, love; more specifically – that disposition of heart which inclines men to think favourably of their fellow men and to do them good.”
Google defines it in it’s old use as “Christian’s love for one’s fellow”.
If you not completely sold, 2 Thessalonians 1:3, “We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is meet, because that your faith groweth exceedingly, and the charity of every one of you all toward each other aboundeth;”. Notice the direction of charity – is in the direction of those around you. But that sounds like love? True. But I can love God, that’s one direction, I can love my wife, that’s another direction, both with different needs and responsibilities, and so too “charity” is a facet of love, but in the direction of “others”.
For further evidence consider this; Galatians 6:2,“Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.” Note, bearing one another’s burdens, fulfils the law of Christ. So then consider this; 1 Timothy 1:5, “Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, …..”. I’m sold! Charity is the end of the commandment, and it involves bearing one another’s burdens. It’s a love for “others”.
What Charity is Not:
Charity is not however what modern day society considers it – that is giving of alms to the poor. It is not charitable organisations doing good work. How so? We go to scripture for the answer. 1 Corinthians 13:3 “And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.”. So friend, charity is not giving to the poor it’s so much more. I hope this clarifies it.
What Does Charity Look Like:
If you looking for a deeper understanding to what Charity looks like, read 1 Corinthians 13:3-8, but far more when you reading verses, consider it in relation to your dealings with others. Upon reading it, I understand how much more “charity” needs to be present in my life. Be blessed – 1 Corinthians 16:14 – “Let all your things be done with “charity”.